1979: Frank Rich reviews Moonraker

Frank Rich is considered one of the most important journalists in America. He writes a weekly column for The New York Times and has been a contender for the Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious U.S. journalism award.

A long time ago, the 1970s to be precise, he was the movie critic for Time magazine. And one movie he liked a lot was 1979’s Moonraker. An excerpt:

Producer Albert R. Broccoli, the major-domo of the James Bond movies, is the proverbial Jewish mother of cinema: he is not about to let anyone go away hungry. In Moonraker, the eleventh 007 opus, Broccoli serves the audience a space-shuttle hijacking, a jumbo-jet explosion and a protracted wrestling match between two men who are falling from the sky without parachutes. All this happens before the opening credits. From there, it’s on to gondola chases in Venice, funicular crashes in Rio and laser-gun shootouts and lovemaking in deep space. Meanwhile, beautiful women come and go, talking (ever so discreetly) about fellatio. When Broccoli lays out a feast, he makes sure that there is at least one course for every conceivable taste.

Want more? Here it is:

The result is a film that is irresistibly entertaining as only truly mindless spectacle can be. Those who have held out on Bond movies over 17 years may not be convinced by Moonraker, but everyone else will be. With their rigid formulas and well-worn gags, these films have transcended fashion. Styles in Pop culture, sexual politics and international espionage have changed drastically since Ian Fleming invented his superhero, but the immaculately tailored, fun-loving British agent remains a jolly spokesman for the simple virtues of Western civilization. Not even Margaret Thatcher would dare consider slowing him down.

These days, Rich tackles larger, more imporant topics. To read his latest NYT column, just CLICK HERE. Meanwhile, if you’d like to read his Moonraker review in full, just CLICK RIGHT HERE.

4 Responses

  1. Was only 17 in 79′ but wasn’t still entirely convinced by Moonraker …
    Thought the film lacks an action sequence/chase/whatever with the good ole James Bond theme playing in background ( not counting the precredits here ) .
    Also thought it’s damn too…Slow ( or long ) and lacks energy ( the Iguacu Fals boat-chase isn’t innovative at all : you KNOW Bond will just push the right buttons in time ! ) .
    Very disapointed by John Barry score too ( perfect for The Black Hole …Inadequate for a Bond film ..)

  2. Dear Frank,
    When did a female character in Moonraker make a reference to fellatio? Bond did comment on Holly’s taste in Bollinger (“if it’s sixty-nine you were expecting me”), a line that is still excised on network TV to this day. Funny, his reference to preferring a 10-year-old Bollinger in A View to a Kill has never been edited for television.

    PS: Segio Leone did not direct The Magnificent Seven.

  3. […] Kiel) suffering various indignities. The movie got good reviews from some critics, including Frank Rich, then of Time magazine. A sample of Rich’s take: ” When Broccoli lays out a feast, he makes sure that there is […]

  4. […] Kiel) suffering various indignities. The movie got good reviews from some critics, including Frank Rich, then of Time magazine. A sample of Rich’s take: ” When Broccoli lays out a feast, he makes sure that there is […]

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