“For your eyes only, only for you, the nights are never cold.
You really know me, that’s all I need to know.
Maybe I’m an open book because I know you’re mine,
But you won’t need to read between the lines.”
It’s time for another 00 Saturdays here at Film Seizure. This week, I’ll be discussing the various music pieces of For Your Eyes Only.
A new conductor steps in for this film with Bill Conti. More on him in the second section of this review. He worked with lyricist Michael Leeson to write “For Your Eyes Only” which would eventually be sung by Sheena Easton. Thanks to the growing popularity of music videos, we have, for nearly all of the remaining films in the series, an official music video for Easton to promote the film’s title song.
This is a pretty good entry in the series for theme songs. It both follows the feeling of “Nobody Does It Better”, while also kind of setting a tone for the next theme as well. I remember this being a pretty popular song for a pretty popular movie when I was a teeny tiny tot. I believe this got radio play well after the film’s theatrical run. After all, this was a fair sized hit that came right at the beginning Easton’s career and helped launch her into a decent career through the 80s.
I seem to remember that Easton was one of the girls that would be all over Prince, but that’s not actually true. She did do duets with him, including one of my favorite songs from Prince’s Batman soundtrack, “The Arms of Orion”, and was good friends with him, but I do not believe she was his protege or lover at any point. Either way, 1981 was a giant year for Easton and “For Your Eyes Only” was a big part of that.
It should come as no surprise that there is another song out there vying to be the theme of the movie. The rock band Blondie wrote a song titled the same thing, but believed they were going to get to do their song for the movie. This is not how it really works with the Bond movies. They decided to bow out because they did not want to perform the Leeson/Conti written song. Their song of “For Your Eyes Only” ended up on their next album the following year.
The song recorded by Easton was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe, and it’s deserved. It’s one of the better songs that you can listen to multiple times. Admittedly, it is a little more my cup of tea than the earlier songs, but that’s probably due to it being an 80s pop song which is when I was growing up.
The score is kind of interesting – mostly for two reasons. Before we get to them, let’s talk about Bill Conti. There are two things I know him for that don’t even include For Your Eyes Only. I always kind of forget that he did this score until I see the soundtrack cover or watch the movie and see his credit. The first thing I know him from is the soundtrack to the Rocky movies. That theme for those movies are etched in every American’s brain. The other thing is he often conducted the orchestra at the Academy Awards ceremony.
This score is divisive. It often gets knocked for hanging too much onto the disco sound and pop music influenced scores that the two previous movies used. Movies, I might add, that were much better situated during the brief popularity of disco. For the most part, I have a hard time really remembering the score as a whole. It’s not like the other two films that preceded it with their strong themes and emotional scores. However, I do not find myself hating the score. One critic once said that the film’s score was a constant source of annoyance while another would say it stands apart as the best of the scores of the 80s.
Me? I find myself humming the theme song more than anything else. That said, I am glad that Conti seemed to bone up on the Bond scores of the past to give nods to some of Barry’s previous work as well as Hamlisch’s music for “Nobody Does It Better”. All in all, the score, I suppose, is fine, but not nearly as memorable as the Easton sung theme song.
The Opening Title Sequence
So remember when I said earlier that music videos became a thing, and therefore, going forward, there are now music videos online I can share? Well… The opening titles even get in on the fun of the music video craze.
That, there, is the only time in Bond history, at least to that point, that the singer of the theme song appeared on screen during the movie’s titles sequence to “perform” the song. The reason for this is kind of obvious when explained. Maurice Binder thought Sheena Easton was pretty and kind of looked like a Bond Girl. And… yes. Yes, she is very pretty. She does not look out of place in this film’s credits. Binder still does his normal stuff with having lots of silhouettes, a straight up nude woman at the end of the titles sequence, and a lot of use of watery motifs that play into the movie mostly taking place in Greece.
This is something definitely of its time, though. I don’t expect any singer agreeing to do this same thing ever again. I feel like there was a reason it was never done before, and far be it for me to disagree with Maurice Binder’s decisions on his credits, but it was a nice experiment that probably shouldn’t be done again. The only time I can ever think of that maybe you might have seen this happen again would have been for Die Another Day since it was Madonna and that whole movie and song were messes anyway. That’s a tale for another post a few months from now.
For this opening sequence, this was fine. It barely works, but, as I said, it was a good experiment but shouldn’t be something anyone would want to see done again.
Join me next week for a look at the thirteenth Bond film, Octopussy.