How do you think that sensibility would have manifested in For Your Eyes Only?
Let's see. Raiders
was 1981 and E.T.
was his very next film. then Twilight Zone
and more Indy. He didn't refine his dramatic technique for another four years (Color Purple
, followed by Empire of the Sun
). Now, there's no argument that he had dramatic chops all along - take Jaws
for example - but mostly his work was fairly restrained unless he truly invested.
There's also the fact that the Broccolis were notoriously controlling with the franchise until it ran out of steam (in that way the Bond series had parallel development woes to Star Trek, but I digress). There was, however, strain on the movies by this point, as evidenced by the four year break after FYEE and Moore's exit after his next outing, A View to a Kill
. There was also behind-the-scenes chaos, what with the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. lawsuit and Blofeld's deplorable demise (clearly the result of a personal grudge between creators).
I think that ultimately, Spielberg's smart and savvy enough that steering away from Bond at the time was inevitable, but let's say for a moment that he made the wrong call and dove into the shark pit. (Here begins crazy conjecture) I think he'd probably have pushed for either a true-to-Fleming work - an effort likely to fail since pretty much all of them had been poorly mined by then, and too recently to simply shrug off the first attempts - or an original effort not inspired by the books. At the time, the movies were being culled from pieces of different novels and the results were all over the place. Spielberg's all about focus, so he wouldn't have stood for that. Also, camp was the name of the day for Bond and despite Spielberg's penchant for fanciful stories his work is very grounded, so that would have shifted as well.
One remote possibility is that Speilberg might have sided with the new
novels. Gardner's License Renewed
hit in 1981 and while it wasn't his best work, it showed promise and might have been something Spielberg could sell to the studios as a strong move ("It was just published. We've got a new direction. Why not bring the movies in line?"). The extra added benefit of this direction is that it would let Spielberg drop the goofy camp of the 70s Bond movies and focus more on the character and his deep internal conflict. It would also let him reset things to remove all the embellishments and variations that had piled up over the last decade.
Now, Moore was also notoriously controlling with Bond, changing so many little details that fans' heads melted the world over, and I'm going to hazard that Spielberg would have clashed with him repeatedly over this, extending and undermining the production nearly unto ruin. I would predict that as a result either FYEE/LR would wind up Moore's last Bond movie instead of AVTAK, or he would be vindicated by the Brocollis defending him against Speilberg, resulting in a PR nightmare. Either way the whole affair would become cinematic legend, winding up on countless horror story lists with Apocalypse Now
What would the actual movie be like? Hm... Honestly, I think it would depend on who won out in the editing room. Chances are you'd have an Alien 3
like scenario where there's a bunch of footage and it tells different stories in different ways according to how it's assembled. Thus we'd see at least 3-4 versions over the next 20 years, each marked a "Director's Cut" or "Ultimate Vision" or "Franchise Reboot."
The cast would be wildly different if they went with a Spielberg-headed License Renewed
. I don't have the time just now, but perhaps some of industrious forumites might find the challenge of casting such a film interesting. There's also the divergent plots yielded by the various edits to envision....
That kind of what you were looking for, Gentry?