The James Bond film series has been home to some of the most ridiculous feats and spectacles in the history of cinema. Take your pick on your favourite: is it the invisible car of Die Another Day, or perhaps the “cleared by legal” not-Blofeld (wink-wink) of For Your Eyes Only? Maybe it’s the arctic windsurfing scene of Die Another Day or the cello bomb in The Living Daylights. It might even be the casting of Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist in The World is Not Enough, or the ethnicity changing of Die Another Day, a film that is a never-ending well of ridiculous behaviour.
But if we’re talking about silliness, one Bond often stands above the rest: Sir Roger Moore. During his 12 year, seven-film run as 007, Roger Moore engaged in the kind of buffoonery that not even the goofiest of Pierce Brosnan moments could come close to popping Dr. Kanaga like a balloon in Live and Let Die, incapacitating Nick Nack with a suitcase in The Man with the Golden Gun, riding through the streets of Venice on a gondola in Moonraker. If Roger Moore is present, rest assured that some laughable hijinks will ensue — and that’s not even mentioning his clown dress up in Octopussy.
But the one moment that takes the eye-rolling cake has to be the car corkscrew jump in The Man with the Golden Gun. It has nothing to do with the actual stunt, which is absolutely breathtaking to watch. With no CGI, no miniatures, and no special effects, stunt driver Loren Willert corkscrew jumped an AMC Hornet X across a river in a single attempt in what is still one of the most impressive car stunts ever captured on film.
The only thing is that you might want to watch the scene on mute. That’s because composer John Berry, uncharacteristically asleep at the wheel in his eighth outing as the composer for a Bond film, decided to include a sound effect that single-handedly turned the incredibly impressive stunt into a groan-worthy slice of stupidity: a slide whistle. Any seriousness or danger, or actual effort that might have resonated from the car flip was immediately undermined by a damn slide whistle. Coupled with the insufferable Sheriff J.W. Pepper, inexplicably returning from the previous film Live and Let Die hamming it up by squealing like a lunatic, the scene is close to unwatchable.
Even worse, producer Cubby Broccoli decided to keep the slide whistle in the film, despite realising that it completely undercuts any real excitement involved in the scene. Even the instigator of the noise, Berry himself, came to regret the inclusion, saying on the film’s DVD commentary that “broke the golden rule” that was “for what it was all worth, a truly dangerous moment… true James Bond style”.
James Bond is rarely ever above some goofy fun, but the slide whistle is the most egregious example of the series going too far in that particular direction.