The Art of Film Posters Hits Its Apex
|Original concept art for the poster for "For Your Eyes Only."|
Now, it's possible to argue about a lot of "which is best" topics in the James Bond canon. For example, who was the best Bond, who was the best villain, which was the best theme song - lots of arguments. One thing you cannot argue about is, which movie's film poster was the most memorable. Love it or hate it, the poster for "For Your Eyes Only" scored an absolute bullseye in terms of memorability. People who are not offended by it - and there no doubt are some of those - undoubtedly will classify this as the best film poster in the history of James Bond.
Never let it be said that the James Bond people are loathe to try cutting edge gimmicks to try and sell their films. Nothing wrong with that, and they have done some pretty outlandish things to stir up interest in their product when the public's attention required a little jogging. Framing James Bond, in an action pose, between the legs of a woman in a bathing suit just pulled all the previous threads of James Bond promotions together in one brilliant shot.
Now, "For Your Eyes Only" otherwise was a fairly routine entry in the James Bond series. Despite being saddled with a fairly rote script, the James Bond team wound up and connected solidly when they created the poster for "For Your Eyes Only." It connects on so many levels that it should be a featured presentation in any graphics art class, not only for its final form, but how it was put together painstakingly over a sequence of photographic sessions. You can read about the process here, along with the various controversies that arose over who is the model in the picture.
|This was the shot used for the arm and gun. The rest came from another model's pose.|
"For Your Eyes Only" wasn't all that memorable otherwise. The only really outstanding aspect of "For Your Eyes Only," in fact, was the poster. It featured a very provocative pose by an anonymous (at the time) lass with quite extraordinarily attractive legs. All sorts of controversy erupted, with people offended by the scandalous pose. It was kind of funny going into staid locations like libraries and seeing this risque pose on the wall. Ultimately, the poster worked like a charm. It created just the right kind of buzz for "For Your Eyes Only," reinvigorating the franchise after the financially successful but critically lambasted "Moonraker" and most likely keeping Roger Moore in the role of James Bond for a couple more turns.
|Just for comparison, on the left is the original concept art, on the right a pose used for the final poster. Only the right arm and crossbow was used from that shot on the right, the rest of the poster came from other sources.|
To make the view a little better, the photographer had the model put her swimsuit on backwards to make the cut in the back a bit higher. This is the kind of decision that makes or breaks careers. The finished shot actually is a combination, one model having held the proper spear gun, the other model having the right look everywhere else. The two models fought for the credit of having the most exposed legs of all time on this poster, a dispute finally settled only when the photographer was forced to come forward with the original shots (see below). The legs turned out to belong to one Joyce Bartle. I'm sure she got a lot of dates out of the notoriety. People still remember her name. Well, some people. You know who you are. I sure do.
|"For Your Eyes Only" alternate poster.|
The "For Your Eyes Only" poster lives on as, without question, the most popular one of the entire James Bond series. It is one of the best remembered film posters of all time, ranking up there with the poster for "Gone with the Wind" for many, probably higher for more than a few. And, may I add, deservedly so.
|Cortina is a town in Italy where many scenes from "For Your Eyes Only" were filmed. They had a reunion to celebrate the film in 2016.|
The best form of flattery is imitation. Many others subsequently have adopted the "For Your Eyes Only" theme to sell their own films, some as recently as 2014-2016.