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 Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?

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PostSubject: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:48 am

I've long thought about this. As one of the Bond books notes, Stromberg seems to just sit around and push buttons all day long. If not doing that, he's issuing orders to his minions. He is an interesting villain - but his strangeness is underplayed. Christopher Wood's novel fillis in the details in Flemingesque style but he leaves this detail out of the film story. A little more motivation could have been shown - his webbed hands could have been made more of a plot-point than they were and his strange conception and upbringing too, but again all of this was passed up on in favour of the star villain attraction - Jaws. Kingsley Amis noted that he was the best thing in both film and book and boy was he right! One of the few cases where a henchman overshadows the main villain of the piece, I fear.

What are our thoughts on this one?

Hugo Drax was a much more interesting character and his actions, motivation and backstory were better explained in MR than Stromberg's were in TSWLM. Stromberg comes across as an oceanic nutter and little else, but then the film was more obsessed with action, stunts and spectacle and little else - a criticism that could be levelled against all of the Lewis Gilbert Bond films - but most especially this one. I've never understood all the love for this comic book Bond film, really.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:22 am

While it's true that Stromberg is hardly the most active villain in the Bond series, I've always considered him much underrated. Credit Jurgens. His Stromberg radiates evil more palpably than any other Bond villain, and his murder of the spying secretary via shark puts flesh--so to speak--on Stromberg's psychic malevolence. On the whole, I wish we had seen more of him. The same could be said for Julius No, by the by.

PS--I also am not a huge fan of Spy, but the film does have a charismatic grandiosity. Spy is the prototypical stereotypical Bond film, and we haven't seen its like in quite some time. I wouldn't be averse to B24 recapturing some of Spy's over-the-top, larger-than-life qualities.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:40 am

Perilagu Khan wrote:
While it's true that Stromberg is hardly the most active villain in the Bond series, I've always considered him much underrated. Credit Jurgens. His Stromberg radiates evil more palpably than any other Bond villain, and his murder of the spying secretary via shark puts flesh--so to speak--on Stromberg's psychic malevolence. On the whole, I wish we had seen more of him. The same could be said for Julius No, by the by.

PS--I also am not a huge fan of Spy, but the film does have a charismatic grandiosity. Spy is the prototypical stereotypical Bond film, and we haven't seen its like in quite some time. I wouldn't be averse to B24 recapturing some of Spy's over-the-top, larger-than-life qualities.

Stromberg and Drax are, for better or worse, the prototypical/stereotypical Bond villain that was often parodied by The Simpsons or Austin Powers, as was YOLT.

"Motivation" for each character is a bit of a misnomer, as the writers weren't really interested in establishing a villain's back story then nearly as much as they are now. Drax's entire back story is left in the book, as it's clear the writers weren't going to use much of anything from the original novel, which is all the more curious because movie-Drax's plan to populate the earth with nothing but perfect physical specimens would seem to beg for a German Drax that, uh, was actually included in the book Fleming wrote (a lot of missed opportunities in that movie, which is why I've always felt a remake of MR would be more than appropriate).

Drax is just a French version of Karl Stromberg. One wants to destroy the world and repopulate it with colonies under water....one wants to destroy the earth and populate it with sexy young people from outer space. Quite honestly, in the type of world we live in today...with all of the environmental and social pressures we all face...the clashing at the intersection of religion and science....commerce versus environmentalism....either one, or both, of these two films could easily be made into a much better, more prescient, serious film about where we all are as humans headed..
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:50 am

I persinally SPY very drab anf dated, and while Jurgens was a fine actor, his performance is a bit too sedate and one-not, though I guess was due to his frail health while filming and the pain killers he was taking. On the other hand Michel Lonsdale's Drax is chilling yet witty. He has fun with the role.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:58 am

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
Drax is just a French version of Karl Stromberg. One wants to destroy the world and repopulate it with colonies under water....one wants to destroy the earth and populate it with sexy young people from outer space. Quite honestly, in the type of world we live in today...with all of the environmental and social pressures we all face...the clashing at the intersection of religion and science....commerce versus environmentalism....either one, or both, of these two films could easily be made into a much better, more prescient, serious film about where we all are as humans headed..

Thank God for QUANTUM OF SOLACE.
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PostSubject: z   Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:18 am

Largo's Shark wrote:
Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
Drax is just a French version of Karl Stromberg. One wants to destroy the world and repopulate it with colonies under water....one wants to destroy the earth and populate it with sexy young people from outer space. Quite honestly, in the type of world we live in today...with all of the environmental and social pressures we all face...the clashing at the intersection of religion and science....commerce versus environmentalism....either one, or both, of these two films could easily be made into a much better, more prescient, serious film about where we all are as humans headed..

Thank God for QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

Heh heh. The bloke's got a point.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:08 am

I don't like The Spy Who Loved Me either. I think Fleming's novel was a better story. And Wood's book was more a porn novel, with all those descriptions of Anya's breast and all the focus on physical love.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:54 am

Walecs wrote:
I don't like The Spy Who Loved Me either. I think Fleming's novel was a better story. And Wood's book was more a porn novel, with all those descriptions of Anya's breast and all the focus on physical love.

I've kind of forgotten Fleming's story, but I do remember at the time that it was certainly better than what I was expecting. I don't think the Fleming estate really ever needed to prohibit the book from being adapted because I think the very nature of the story would have precluded the writers from seriously adapting it. But I did enjoy reading it and thought it was pretty good. Never quite understood why the estate didn't like it.
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PostSubject: d   Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:14 am

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
Walecs wrote:
I don't like The Spy Who Loved Me either. I think Fleming's novel was a better story. And Wood's book was more a porn novel, with all those descriptions of Anya's breast and all the focus on physical love.

I've kind of forgotten Fleming's story, but I do remember at the time that it was certainly better than what I was expecting. I don't think the Fleming estate really ever needed to prohibit the book from being adapted because I think the very nature of the story would have precluded the writers from seriously adapting it. But I did enjoy reading it and thought it was pretty good. Never quite understood why the estate didn't like it.

Yes, it's really a very good novel. And there's no way in hell it could be made into a genuine Bond picture. But certain aspects could certainly be adapted. I wonder if adapting particular features of the novel would violate the legal ban against its filmic realization?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:12 am

Perilagu Khan wrote:
Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
Walecs wrote:
I don't like The Spy Who Loved Me either. I think Fleming's novel was a better story. And Wood's book was more a porn novel, with all those descriptions of Anya's breast and all the focus on physical love.

I've kind of forgotten Fleming's story, but I do remember at the time that it was certainly better than what I was expecting. I don't think the Fleming estate really ever needed to prohibit the book from being adapted because I think the very nature of the story would have precluded the writers from seriously adapting it. But I did enjoy reading it and thought it was pretty good. Never quite understood why the estate didn't like it.

Yes, it's really a very good novel. And there's no way in hell it could be made into a genuine Bond picture. But certain aspects could certainly be adapted. I wonder if adapting particular features of the novel would violate the legal ban against its filmic realization?

It probably would - Fleming didn't even want the paperback TSWLM to be publlished!

Hard to overturn the dictum of the author on this - not that EON would ever film the TSWLM novel, anyway!
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PostSubject: a   Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:19 am

SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:
Perilagu Khan wrote:
Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
Walecs wrote:
I don't like The Spy Who Loved Me either. I think Fleming's novel was a better story. And Wood's book was more a porn novel, with all those descriptions of Anya's breast and all the focus on physical love.

I've kind of forgotten Fleming's story, but I do remember at the time that it was certainly better than what I was expecting. I don't think the Fleming estate really ever needed to prohibit the book from being adapted because I think the very nature of the story would have precluded the writers from seriously adapting it. But I did enjoy reading it and thought it was pretty good. Never quite understood why the estate didn't like it.

Yes, it's really a very good novel. And there's no way in hell it could be made into a genuine Bond picture. But certain aspects could certainly be adapted. I wonder if adapting particular features of the novel would violate the legal ban against its filmic realization?

It probably would - Fleming didn't even want the paperback TSWLM to be publlished!

Hard to overturn the dictum of the author on this - not that EON would ever film the TSWLM novel, anyway!

Well, I certainly favor respecting Fleming's wishes. But it's a doggone shame we'll never see Sluggsy Morant and the Dreamy Pines Motor Court on screen.

:cry:
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:13 am

Any other thoughts on Karl Stromberg as a James Bond villain - is he a Blofeld clone, for instance?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:38 am

SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:
Any other thoughts on Karl Stromberg as a James Bond villain - is he a Blofeld clone, for instance?

He is, with no doubt. I can't remember Stromberg's face, I always think of Charles Gray's as Blofeld when I think to Stromberg, even after watching the movie.

It's justified from the fact they wanted to reprise Blofeld's role as villain in TSPWLM, but they obviously couldn't because they didn't have the rights. It's funny to notice how SPECTRE had a mention in Fleming's Spy.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:56 am

Talking about villainy in EON'S SPY, there's a very interesting discussion to be had on Anthony Burgess's proposed treatment (hint hint).
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:04 am

Largo's Shark wrote:
Talking about villainy in EON'S SPY, there's a very interesting discussion to be had on Anthony Burgess's proposed treatment (hint hint).

Yes, I have part of Burgess' autobiography where he tells of his "piss-take" of an entry for TSWLM script - I think that he was actually trying hard to draw attention to the fact that the films had moved so very far away from their Fleming source material, rather than submitting a credible script for the TSWLM film. That's my reading of the matter, at least!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:34 am

Wow, A Clockwork Orange's author writing a Bond movie? That would be very interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:42 am

Was Burgess' idea the one with people from various terrorist organisations (IRA, Red Brigade, ETA and so on) storming SPECTRE HQ and taking over? Or something like that, anyway.

FWIW, Stromberg's never reminded me of Blofeld.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:15 am

Blunt Instrument wrote:
Was Burgess' idea the one with people from various terrorist organisations (IRA, Red Brigade, ETA and so on) storming SPECTRE HQ and taking over? Or something like that, anyway.

FWIW, Stromberg's never reminded me of Blofeld.

No, I think that was another scriptwriter - name escapes me, though funny enough I was reading about this this morning.

Burgess' was a spoof - not to be taken seriously.

I'm writing an alternative review of TSWLM that will be full of all of this type of stuff - see The Bondologist Blog soon!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:06 am

SILHOUETTE MAN wrote:
Blunt Instrument wrote:
Was Burgess' idea the one with people from various terrorist organisations (IRA, Red Brigade, ETA and so on) storming SPECTRE HQ and taking over? Or something like that, anyway.

FWIW, Stromberg's never reminded me of Blofeld.

No, I think that was another scriptwriter - name escapes me, though funny enough I was reading about this this morning.

Burgess' was a spoof - not to be taken seriously.

Ah! Must've confused the two. Always thought Burgess was the one who proposed a younger, more ruthless generation of criminals taking over SPECTRE in some kind of coup, and demanding things like for the pope to dance naked through the Vatican.

That's the treatment I'm really interested in, as I think some of the ideas still hold up.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:26 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spy_Who_Loved_Me_(film)

According to that the 'band of terrorists' idea was in the script Richard Maibaum submitted, with ideas incorporated from all the other writers who had been asked to come up with stuff for Spy.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:38 am

Blunt Instrument wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spy_Who_Loved_Me_(film)

According to that the 'band of terrorists' idea was in the script Richard Maibaum submitted, with ideas incorporated from all the other writers who had been asked to come up with stuff for Spy.

Yes, I thought that it might have been Maibaum, but I didn't wanrt to hazard a guess, earlier!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:52 am

I was watching Sink the Bismarck! and look who is playing the A.C.N.S.:



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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:04 pm

^
Geoffrey Keen, later the Minister of Defence (1977-1987) in the James Bond films. Kenneth More once offered to play M for Bernard Lee in LALD after Lee's wife died in a tragic house fire. He would have given his fee for the performance to Lee, so a very nice little Bondian link there too.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:11 pm

I always wonder what Stromberg's trial would have been like, had he valued his life more and quietly surrendered to Bond?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Karl Stromberg under-utilised in The Spy Who Loved Me?    Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:47 pm

But then Drax might not have inherited his flashing neon 'villain' sign to wear around his neck in MR.
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