Roger Moore as James Bond, suave and sophisticated British MI6 agent
Cairo, Egypt, August 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
Tailor: Angelo Vitucci
A man in a sharply tailored tuxedo meets a beautiful woman over martinis in an exotic cocktail lounge. Hours later, he finds himself—Walther PPK in hand—stalking a seemingly unstoppable metal-mouthed killer through the Egyptian pyramids. This quintessential James Bond sequence is one of many iconic moments in Roger Moore’s third 007 outing, The Spy Who Loved Me, and it’s how I remember him on his first birthday since his passing last May at the age of 89.
Born October 14, 1927 in south London, Roger Moore brought charismatic warmth, self-deprecating charm, and a killer eyebrow muscle to his seven-film stint as James Bond from 1973 to 1985.
In Bond on Bond: Reflections on 50 years of James Bond Movies, Sir Roger himself recalls that his favorite of his own 007 films, The Spy Who Loved Me, was released on “Jim’s lucky number”: July 7, 1977. The film underwent a necessary plot reinvention on the instruction of the late Ian Fleming who, so uninspired by his own novel, forbade the Bond filmmakers to use any part of it but the title for their own adaptation. Given this blank slate, writers Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum outdid themselves with a spectacular Bond adventure now considered to be among the best—if not the best—of Moore’s tenure.
Moore’s more autobiographical volume, My Word is My Bond, recounts a spaghetti dinner cooked personally by Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, the legendary producer at the helm of EON Productions and one of the men responsible for bringing Bond to the big screen in the first place. Reportedly, someone forgot to refrigerate the food that would be served to the crew one afternoon for lunch. Moore, never one to throw someone under the bus, recalled that “there was one day when something went wrong in Egypt and word reached us mid-morning that there wouldn’t be any lunch. Cubby knew he’d have a revolt on his hands, and so—somehow—gathered together huge great cooking pots, bundles of pasta and meat, and made a wonderful pasta with meatballs and sauce.”
“He served it up to the boys and girls himself too,” wrote Moore, modestly neglecting to mention that he also ladled out spaghetti for the hungry crew members even in full black tie costume as 007.
À bientôt, Sir Roger.
What’d He Wear?
James Bond is known for his dinner jackets even by those who aren’t fans of the series, so I wanted to highlight my favorite of Roger Moore’s black tie ensembles in the series: the double-breasted dinner suit in The Spy Who Loved Me.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about a double-breasted dinner jacket in Amazon’s The Last Tycoon, set in 1936 Hollywood. Men’s fashions of the 1930s underwent a revival during the ’70s so it makes sense that Moore’s fashionable take on Bond would find the agent in his signature tuxedo with a double-breasted dinner jacket in the classic pre-war style of a high-buttoning six-on-two front. Moore’s 007 would wear double-breasted dinner jacket in three consecutive Bond films throughout the ’70s—The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), and Moonraker (1979)—as well as a much more ’80s-styled jacket in A View to a Kill (1985).
Roger Moore’s exquisite double-breasted dinner jacket has been exquisitely written about by Matt Spaiser on The Suits of James Bond with an in-depth exploration into the fit, the tailoring, and the tailor himself—Angelo Vitucci of Angelo Roma—who added a distinctively Roman touch to Moore’s black tie kit.
Moore’s midnight blue dinner suit shines under the morning sun, implying a possible wool-mohair blend that would breathe well in the hot Egyptian desert. The ventless jacket’s peak lapels are faced in black satin silk, matching the bow tie and the trouser side striping. The six buttons (with two to fasten) on the front and the three buttons on each cuff are also covered in black satin.
Per traditional black tie conventions, the side pockets are appropriately jetted rather than flapped, and Moore wears no pocket square in his welted breast pocket.
Moore wears a white dress shirt from his usual shirtmaker Frank Foster, with a very large point collar typical of the ’70s. Double cuffs are standard for black tie shirts, but Moore’s shirt has the distinctive pointed-tab single-button cuff invented by Ted Lapidus, the influential French fashion designer who also popularized the safari suit during the ’60s and ’70s.
The popularity of the tab cuff during the decade also extended to the fringes of organized crime as an element of the shirts created by Anto Beverly Hills for Robert De Niro to wear as Sam “Ace” Rothstein to wear in the 1970s-set scenes of Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995).
Matt Spaiser explores the shirt further at The Suits of James Bond, suggesting cotton voile as a possible fabric based on the sheer shirting and investigating the distinctive dark shiny buttons sewn through with white thread for a distinctive pop on the shirt’s front placket and cuffs.
Bond wears a standard black satin silk bow tie in a large butterfly (thistle) shape, coordinating with his larger shirt collar and wide peak lapels without approaching the excessively large bow ties seen in embarrassing prom photos from the ’70s.
In My Word is My Bond, Moore recalled a cheeky story when he and Barbara Bach were filming outside Cairo. “As wewalked across the frame in a David Leanesque shot, I’m afraid I let my trousers drop down. I had hoped they might leave it in, but it was vetoed.”
Moore’s trousers match his dinner jacket in the same shiny midnight blue wool/mohair suiting with a black satin stripe down the sides and a strip of black satin around his waistband in lieu of a cummerbund. The trousers emit minimalist elegance with their lack of pleats, pockets, waist adjusters, or cuffs.
Moore further dresses down his black tie ensemble with squared moc-toe slip-on shoes rather than the more traditional oxfords, though his loafers are the most formal variant in glossy black patent leather that nicely coordinates with the shine of his mohair-blend dinner suit.
Each loafer has a strap across the vamp with a squared gold-toned buckle on the outside, sometimes referred to as “side bit” detailing as opposed to the full-width “horse bit” on the more casual slip-ons that Moore wears with his suits and odd jackets.
The maker of Moore’s loafers is unconfirmed, though I speculate they’re Ferragamo. Reportedly, Moore’s neighbor—the spouse of Salvatore Ferragamo’s eldest son—was horrified to see her friend sporting the rival wares of Gucci in his first two appearances as James Bond, and Moore was subsequently converted to Ferragamo leather goods.
His black dress socks are probably silk.
The “quartz revolution” was in full swing by 1977, and even James Bond had turned in his trademark Swiss dive watch for a Japanese quartz-powered digital watch. Roger Moore had been the first Bond to wear a digital wristwatch on screen with his Hamilton Pulsar in Live and Let Die, but the novelty of digital timekeeping in 1973 was mainstream just a few years later when Moore strapped on the first of his many Seiko timepieces for The Spy Who Loved Me.
Throughout The Spy Who Loved Me, whether dressed in business suit, dinner suit, naval uniform, or casual attire, Moore’s 007 wears a Seiko LC Quartz DK001 digital display wristwatch, model 0674-5009, in a stainless steel case on a stainless expanding bracelet. More information about this comparatively rare watch can also be found at James Bond Lifestyle as well as Dell Deaton’s blog James Bond Watches.
This dinner suit was also worn by Roger Moore for the film’s opening gunbarrel sequence, the first formal wear to be featured as all previous gunbarrels—including Moore’s for Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun—featured the Bond actors (and stunt coordinator Bob Simmons* doubling for Connery) in a dark business suit.
The Spy Who Loved Me began a tradition of a black tie gunbarrel sequence that would last through Pierce Brosnan’s final Bond film, Die Another Day (2002).
* Bob Simmons was the James Bond franchise’s legendary long-time stunt coordinator and, in fact, appeared in the Alpine-set pre-credits sequence of The Spy Who Loved Me as one of the gun-toting KGB assassins on skiis.
What to Imbibe
Buy you a drink, Major Amasaova… or may I call you XXX?
After their first encounter at the p-p-pyramids, Bond and Anya Amasaova catch up at the Mojave Club for a meeting with the club’s owner, the doomed Max Kalba (Vernon Dobtcheff), whose black market greed would eventually seal his hate.
Bond: The lady will have a Bacardi on the rocks.
Anya: For the gentleman, a vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred.
Bond catches up with the disreputable Kalba to get his hands on the film’s MacGuffin microfilm, but Anya isn’t far behind.
Anya: Just a moment. I would like to bid for it too. You forgot your drink, Mr. Bond.
Bond: Thank you. Na zdorovje.
Kalba: It seems you have competition, Mr. Bond. And from where I sit, I fancy you will find the lady’s figure… hard to match.
If you plan on toasting to Sir Roger’s birthday with a Saturday evening martini, keep in mind that the actor preferred gin to vodka. As he wrote in Bond on Bond:
I myself prefer a gin martini and, in all my years of traveling, believe the best is served in the bar of Maison Pic, in Valence, France. How do they prepare it?
First, the ingredients. My gin of choice is Tanqueray and vermouth has to be Noilly Prat.
Take the glass or cocktail shaker you are using and, for two sensible-sized martinis, fill 1/4 of each glass with Noilly Prat. Swill it around and then discard it. Next, top the glasses up with gin, drop in a zest of lemon, and place the glasses in a freezer or ice-cold fridge until you are—or should I say she is—ready.
How to Get the Look
Roger Moore blends a classic aesthetic with a casual approach for his elegant double-breasted black tie ensemble in The Spy Who Loved Me.
- Midnight blue wool/mohair double-breasted dinner jacket with black satin-faced peak lapels, satin-covered six-on-two button front, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, satin-covered three-button cuffs, and ventless back
- White cotton voile shirt with large point collar, front placket with smoke faux-stud buttons, and “Lapidus” pointed-tab single-button cuffs
- Black satin butterfly/thistle-shaped bow tie
- Midnight blue wool/mohair flat front formal trousers with black satin side stripe, black satin fitted waistband, no pockets, and flared plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black patent leather sidebit moc-toe loafers
- Black silk dress socks
- Seiko LC 0674-5009 Quartz DK001 stainless steel digital wristwatch
The Spy Who Loved Me features some firearm fluctuation as James Bond’s signature Walther PPK is swapped out in some scenes—such as the earlier Cairo rooftop fight—with a Beretta Model 70 pistol.
This sequence at the Egyptian pyramids finds 007 with his trusty Walther PPK back in his hands. Bond isn’t wearing his usual shoulder holster when he removes his dinner jacket for his long walk to Cairo, so he’s likely carrying the pistol loosely in his pocket.
A prop Walther PPK pistol carried by Roger Moore for non-firing scenes in The Spy Who Loved Me can be viewed at YourProps. A closer look at the markings of this PPK indicates that it’s actually a replica produced by the Spanish manufacturer Denix.
Denix still markets its replica PPK, described as “Semiautomatic pistol, Germany 1919” on its site, for 94.62€. Blued and nickel finishes are available, and the serial number—#382480—is consistent with the one printed on the YourProps PPK listed to have been used by Moore.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
If you’re interested in hearing firsthand tales of the production from 007 himself, the two Roger Moore-penned books that I sourced in this post are:
Sir Roger’s final book, À Bientôt, was released in the UK in September 2017 and will hit American bookshelves in a few weeks on November 1.