Friday, June 26, 2015

For Your Eyes Only (1981) | Villains

The biggest flaw of For Your Eyes Only is that it has a dull villain. Kristatos is smart - I like how he uses Columbo to throw Bond off the scent, and how he tricks Melina into coming to the Alps so that he can bump her and Bond off at the same time - but he's just not that interesting or cool. Julian Glover (General Veers from Empire Strikes Back, and of course Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) plays him as coldly arrogant, so it's difficult to connect with him. His interest in sponsoring Bibi's Olympic career could have been humanizing, but even that turns cynical and sour by the end. And for no good reason.

And really... Kristatos isn't the film's actual villain anyway. He's just a very powerful henchman.

Emile Locque has a great look for a cold-blooded assassin. He doesn't have anything to prove; he's just frightening as hell.

I also love how he sub-contracts the Havelock's deaths to Gonzales, presumably to protect Kristatos' involvement. And then how he stays detached when the crap hits the fan at Gonzales' estate.

Erich Kriegler looks like your typical big, blonde, thuggish henchman in the tradition of Grant and Hans. He's got a lot more backstory than Hans though. He's introduced as an Olympian friend of Bibi, but we quickly learn that she doesn't really know him and that he's standoffish in general. Then we find out that he's actually an assassin and we assume he's working for Columbo and then Kristatos, but nope! He's a KGB agent working for Gogol. Which leads us to...

This is an interesting role for Gogol. He's been in two movies before this and both times he was a friendly ally, united with Britain to bring down an independent threat. This time, he's the Big Bad. He makes some noises early on about not taking a direct role in the search for the MacGuffin, saying that he'll simply buy it if it becomes available. But then he immediately puts out the order to contact Russia's "friend in Greece," who turns out to be Kristatos. So he is responsible for everything that happens in the movie. He hires Kristatos, who has the Havelocks killed and starts looking for the ATAC. Gogol even sends a KGB assassin to assist Kristatos in all the murder. Sounds like a pretty direct role to me.

Not that I'm complaining. The script and especially Walter Gotell do a great job of making him the villain without compromising the goodwill he's built up in Spy and Moonraker. He runs the KGB. Of course he's going to end up on the opposite side from Bond occasionally. If anything, FYEO helps his character out by showing that he's not a big marshmallow. But his history with and fondness for Bond come through even here and I love his reaction to the final détente scenario. Easy come; easy go.

He also doesn't ever screw up. He almost gets exactly what he wants. Except for a ridiculous coincidence where someone said the wrong thing in front of a parrot, he and Kristatos would have won.

Top Ten Villains

1. Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
2. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia With Love and Thunderball)
3. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
4. Francisco Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun)
5. Dr. Kananga (Live and Let Die)
6. Doctor No (Dr. No)
7. General Gogol (For Your Eyes Only)
8. Karl Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me)
9. Emilio Largo (Thunderball)
10. Hugo Drax (Moonraker)

Top Ten Henchmen

1. Baron Samedi (Live and Let Die)
2. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
3. Grant (From Russia with Love)
4. Nick Nack (The Man with the Golden Gun)
5. Naomi (The Spy Who Loved Me)
6. Oddjob (Goldfinger)
7. Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me)
8. Irma Bunt (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
9. Miss Taro (Dr. No)
10. Tee Hee (Live and Let Die)

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