Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lynn-Holly Johnson: Dynamite as Bibi Dahl in "For Your Eyes Only"

Lynn-Holly Johnson: Most Athletic Bond Girl

Lynn-Holly Johnson in bathing suit in Where the Boys Are 1984 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
Where the Boys Are '84

Lynn-Holly Johnson is one of the lesser-known Bond girls, unless you came of age in the late-70s, early-80s time frame, in which case she probably roams around somewhere in the back of your mind.

Lynn-Holly Johnson in blue leotard jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
Lyn-Holly Johnson as a child star

Johnson was a "child star." She gained early fame as a professional figure skater, placing second at the novice level at the 1974 US Figure Skating Championships. She kept skating until 1977, then gave it all up to join the Ice Capades. Her skating training no doubt made rollerskating for Japanese magazines a breeze.


Lynn-Holly Johnson in Japanese magazine jamesbondreview.filminspector.com

Ice Capades was a big deal back in the '70s. It had three different touring companies under one corporate umbrella. It owned railway cars and was packaged in deals with the Harlem Globetrotters. You didn't get much bigger in the '70s family entertainment field than the Harlem Globetrotters!

Lynn-Holly Johnson in Japanese magazine jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
While Johnson no doubt was a phenomenal skater, she didn't have to skate with the Ice Capades for long - which is a good thing, since the Ice Capades went out of business in 1995 due to competition from Disney (which started mounting all of its hit animation productions on ice) and Stars on Ice, which featured skating competitions.

Lynn-Holly Johnson in Japanese magazine jamesbondreview.filminspector.com

Johnson was a natural for movie roles featuring skating prodigies having to surmount the usual tremendous obstacles that figure skaters in Hollywood movies have to surmount. Usually, there's a cute guy who somehow winds up as her skating partner, but he'd rather play hockey or ride dirt bikes or do just about anything other than skate with some lonely little hottie who could skate rings around him. But all the girl needs is someone that believes in her, and they'll win the championship!

Lynn-Holly Johnson in Japanese magazine jamesbondreview.filminspector.com

Indeed, Johnson found just such a part. Ice Capades executive Michael Kirbay and coach John Nicks mentioned Johnson to the producers of "Ice Castles" (1978), which was filmed at the Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs. Johnson had a bit of experience as an actress, having done some tv commercials and minor stage work. The producers were going to use someone for just the skating, but decided the difference between the actor and skater would be too great, so they needed a top skater who could also act. Johnson was on tour with the Ice Capades, but flew to Minnesota to demonstrate her talents. A screen test in Toronto, Canada followed a week later, and she won the part.

Lynn-Holly Johnson in Ice Castles jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
Ice Castles
In "Ice Castles," Johnson plays a young girl who is on top of the skating world until she has a tragic accident. Then, she must recover her past glory, but she can only do that if people believe in her. Robby Benson was the cute guy who helped out.

Lynn-Holly Johnson signed photograph purple leotard jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
Signed, Bibi Dahl

"Ice Castles" is a big weepy melodrama with all sorts of unintentional hilarity. However, girls and their mothers often rank it right around "Gone with the Wind" or "Grease." It is one of those dividing lines in life: either you revere "Ice Castles," or you laugh throughout. Films like "Ice Castles" pop up every few years. A typical example would be "Ice Princess" (2005), starring Michelle Trachtenberg.

Lynn-Holly Johnson jamesbondreview.filminspector.com


They even re-made "Ice Castles" in 2012, with the same director. Lynn-Holly has a cameo that was cut out of the theatrical version but can be seen in the DVD extras. The funniest thing is that Johnson still loves to tell how the producers wanted her to do a nude scene, which sure would have spiced things up for all those mothers and daughters who watch it for inspiration.

Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only
In any event, the original "Ice Castles" did good business, and no doubt still sells a few copies here and there today. It led to a Disney movie for Johnson, "The Watcher in the Woods." It was a typical spooky drama where a family moves into a country house and strange things start going bump in the night. It was pulled from theaters and then re-released after Lynn-Holly's next film, which raised her profile substantially. It still didn't do that well, but it wasn't Johnson's fault. Bigger things were on the way.

Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only wishing he was 20 years younger

By "For Your Eyes Only," Roger Moore was getting up there in years. He was older than Sean Connery, who had retired from the part ten years earlier looking haggard. However, Roger Moore was James Bond 007 for those who grew up during the 1970s, and each time the producers or Moore started having second thoughts about him playing the role, they always found some way to bridge the difference.

Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only

Johnson was brought on board to play Bibi Dahl, a young skating prodigy financed by the the bad guy, Aristotle Kristatos. Her character was intended as kind of a joke - a very sexy joke - as she comically tried and failed to seduce the much older James Bond. The producers very cleverly make Moore's age part of the gag. The Moore years were known for a subtle undercurrent of self-parody and in-jokes, and this was one of the better examples.

Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only

Johnson plays the sex kitten to perfection. She actually doesn't do a lot of skating, it is more a question of standing around in sexy ski outfits and the like. Practically every line she delivers, though, is said with an almost mockingly sexual tone as she tries to score with the super spy. Roger Moore as James Bond parries her increasingly desperate come-ons with Moore's trademark arch-British humor and raised eyebrow.

Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only

Bibi: That's a laugh. Everyone knows it builds up muscle tone.
James Bond: Well, how about you build up a little more muscle tone by putting on your clothes?
Bibi: Don't you like me?
James Bond: [Wearily] Why, I think you're wonderful, Bibi... But I don't think your uncle Aris would approve.
Bibi: Him? He thinks I'm still a virgin.
James Bond: Yes, well... 


Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only

The best of Johnson's scenes - and each one is a gem - comes when James Bond returns to his hotel room. Who should be waiting for him but Bibi, in bed, naked, ready to go.

Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only

James Bond: [after she kisses him] Do you ever come up for air?
Bibi: That's why I'll win the gold medal. Breath control.
James Bond: Yes, well... you can't lose! 


Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only

Moore just manages to look annoyed as Bibi bubbles on about how they should just get down to business. He finally shuts her up, though, by telling her that he will take her into town "and buy you some ice cream." It was Moore at his best and Johnson at her best. She never had as good a role again (though "Where the Boys are '84" is almost at the cult classic stage), but Johnson handled the role of Bond girl to perfection, and that ain't bad!

Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only
Bibi: Farewell Mr. Bond, but not goodbye... 

Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl in For Your Eyes Only 1981 jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
For Your Eyes Only


Below is a scene from "Where the Boys Are '84." Lynn-Holly Johnson plays Laurie, the car driver with the best lines.

Lynn-Holly Johnson jamesbondreview.filminspector.com
Lynn-Holly Johnson with her family

Lynn-Holly Johnson suffered a stroke in 2010, but she survived and has staged a remarkable recovery. She even saved the life of her brother, an airline pilot for United Airlines, by suggesting he get a heart checkup, which found an issue. Apparently, Lynn-Holly is back to normal. We wish all the best to our favorite Bond girl, Lynn-Holly Johnson!

Below is a clip of Lynn-Holly Johnson in "Where the Boys Are '84."

2014

1 comment:

  1. I just saw For Your Eyes Only tonight. Latest of many times but tonight I was driven to actually find out more about her.

    She actually skated off camera? Cool! I like when they get actors who can really do what they portray.

    I always loved the notion of a woman who threw herself at Bond but he rejects her, as he never normally rejects anything female!

    Even though you might make a case that she was not truly a Bond Girl and just a character in a Bond movie that happened to be female, I thought she was actually better looking than like half the women in Bond movies! Plus she came off so well, enthusiastic and funny.

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