A series by Patrick Brennan

Moonraker, the eleventh Bond film and fourth to star Roger Moore, is mainly remembered as the one where 007 goes to space, and was chosen as the next movie to take advantage of the sci-fi craze started by films such as Star Wars.
Directed by Lewis Gilbert and written by Christopher Wood, the film stars Lois Chiles as CIA agent Holly Goodhead, Michael Lonsdale as the sinister, ultra-wealthy villain Hugo Drax, and sees Richard Kiel return as the metal-toothed giant Jaws.

The film begins with a space shuttle, one of the titular Moonrakers, being hijacked from the back of a jumbo jet. Meanwhile Bond is on the ‘last leg’ of a mission on-board a small plane when the air hostess and pilot turn on him. The pilot, wearing a parachute, battles with Bond and 007 tosses him from the plane, only to be pushed from the plane himself, without a parachute, by Jaws.

In one of the greatest and most complex Bond stunts, 007 catches up with the pilot, steals his parachute and lands safely despite Jaws trying to catch up and bite him.

The skydives were performed by Jake Lombard as Bond, BJ Worth as the pilot, and Ron Luginbill as Jaws. Both Lombard and Worth had to have 1-inch thick parachutes fitted behind removable flaps in their jackets so it looked as if they’re falling without parachutes and it took an incredible 88 skydives to get all the footage needed.
After Maurice Binder’s title sequence backed by the dreamy Shirley Bassey theme, Bond is tasked with investigating the disappearance of the space shuttle.

He visits the shuttle’s owner Hugo Drax at his enormous chateau in California, flying in a helicopter piloted by a woman named Corinne Dufour. Drax is little help, and suggests to his henchman Chang that ‘some harm’ come to Bond.

The agent meets an astronaut named Dr. Holly Goodhead, who lets him test out the complex’s centrifuge. However, Chang takes control and spins the centrifuge so fast Bond almost dies, saved only by firing his new wrist dart gun at the controls.

Later Bond looks for more information about Drax and finds it in a safe with the help of Corinne. The next morning, Bond is asked by Drax to join a hunting party, while a sniper of Drax’s up in a tree aims at Bond. Drax gives Bond a gun and points at an overflying pheasant. Bond fires, but the pheasant is unharmed.

“You missed, Mr. Bond,” says the villain.“Did I?” says 007, as the dead sniper falls from the tree.
When Bond leaves, Drax summons Corinne and tells her he knows she aided Bond. Drax sets his two attack dogs on her, who chase her through a forest and kill her.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own