Saturday, December 22, 2012

Joyce Bartle: "For Your Eyes Only" Poster Girl

Joyce Bartle: The Way to Become Immortal is to Pose for a Sexy James Bond Film Poster

Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
"For Your Eyes Only."
Some things in the James Bond film series are just legendary. This is one of them.

The film poster of "For Your Eyes Only" (1981) showed a shot of a woman standing with her legs spread, looking down at Bond, who is holding a crossbow. The poster was produced by Bill Gold, who previously had done the iconic "Dirty Harry" posters.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
Believe it or not, one of the great controversies of the entire Bond series was: who was the girl holding the crossbow? You can actually read about the great mystery in an article from 1981 that you can access online in the People Magazine archives. The quotes below are from that article.
Raw shot of the famous poster "For Your Eyes Only" 1981
Raw shot of a model holding the crossbow, apparently of Jane Sumner. You can tell that the legs are different by looking at the angle of the shoes.
The primary model for the shot was Joyce Bartle, and the photographer was Morgan Kane. That is straightforward, "I'm on Jeopardy and I need to know this instant!" answer.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
However, two other models, former Miss Florida Nancy Stafford and British model Jane Sumner, were involved in the project. In a hilarious turn of events, all three claimed to own the pair of legs used after the poster became universally praised as one of the best in the entire James Bond series. Side note: it is uncertain if this Nancy Stafford was the Nancy Stafford who appeared on "Matlock" and remains a top Hollywood actress. Actress Nancy Stafford is from Florida and was working for the Ford Model Agency at the time, so that fits. She also was 25 at the time, which was the age for the model given by the People article. There is no definitive proof that it is the same woman, though that seems likely.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
Brian Bysouth worked up some concept art for the poster. The final version was strikingly close to his original concept.
United Artists initially claimed in the press kits that the model was Stafford, adding to the confusion. They were wrong. Perhaps they did it because Stafford had an ounce of name recognition from her beauty contest days and some appearances on soap operas. More likely, they simply were lazy, remembered that the photographer had hired Stafford, and then didn't pay any attention to what happened after that.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
The "For Your Eyes Only" poster remains powerful even decades later. It was used for a special screening in Italy in July 2016. Numerous locations were used by the film in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Belluno, Veneto, Italy, including the ski run.
After milking the attention for a while - and why not? - photographer Kane finally confessed that Stafford was only used for a "rough shoot." That was a shoot designed to figure out what had to be done to make the actual shoot perfect. Apparently, no part of Stafford found its way into the final product.
Japanese poster for "For Your Eyes Only."
Kane then went and hired Sumner for a "final" shoot. This went very well. However, the production team decided that the legs didn't look quite right, they were too big. The only portion of Sumner's shoot that was used was of her arm, hand and the crossbow because they apparently didn't use that kind of fancy model crossbow in the Bartle shoot. That is called attention to detail - the choice of crossbow involved a lot of thought, too. Even though the legs were fine, they did another set of shoots to get a good view of the crossbow.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
Danish ad sheets issued by United Artists. The Danish title translates as "Agent 007 - Strictly Confidential."
If you look at the different shots, it's difficult to see what they found wrong with either girl, I mean, what's wrong with Nancy Stafford's legs? And what was so important about having that ultra-fancy crossbow there? Did they really think that anyone even noticed the crossbow?
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
Kane then set up a third photo shoot, with Joyce Bartle. Everything of the woman in the poster aside from the arm, hand and crossbow is Bartle.
Alternate version of film poster "For Your Eyes Only" 1981
They may look the same, but they made subtle changes.
So, Sumner is holding the crossbow, but everything else is 22-year-old New York model Joyce Bartle. “I know the contours of my legs,” Bartle says. “They didn’t retouch a thing.” Bartle added:
I’ve been looking at my legs since I was 4 years old, and I can tell they’re mine.
Sumner recognized her rings, so she knew it was her hand gripping the crossbow. She also suspects that the entire shot is of her and that Bartle didn't make it in at all. However, photographer Kane is adamant: Bartle was the main model.
Foreign language poster "For Your Eyes Only" 1981
The ad was slightly altered for different countries, but the legs remained the same.
Kane backs Bartle to the hilt as the model. “I have the shoes and the bathing suit,” he says. “In fact, when Joyce put on that suit it came down too low so we asked her to put it on backward. They’re Joyce’s legs.”
Home video package "For Your Eyes Only" 1981
They liked the girl's legs so much, they have used the pose in other versions, too.
Several newspapers censored the final result - well, actually, there were several final results - but the advertising campaign was ubiquitous.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
"Kingsman: The Secret Service" (2014) nicked the idea for foreign markets. 
It is fair to say that at least some viewers liked the posters more than they liked the film itself.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
"Fifty Shades of Black" (2016) used the same idea.
That is perhaps the second-highest compliment that you can pay to a film poster.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
A poster for Jason Statham's "The Transporter" (2002). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 
The highest compliment that you can, of course, is using the idea for your own film.
Film poster For Your Eyes Only 1981
CBS-Fox ads for newfangled videocassettes in the early 1980s apparently featured the actual photograph of the legs, without any enhancement aside from the addition of the crossbow and, of course, James Bond.
Joyce wasn't actually in "For Your Eyes Only," but because of her appearance on the film poster, she got a lot more - ahem - international exposure than any of the girls actually appearing on screen.


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