The late Victor Tourjansky made a habit of looking on in disbelief for a trio of James Bond films in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
The assistant director had a more prolific career behind the camera than in front of it, but Bond aficionados refer to him fondly as “Man With Bottle” or “Man With Wine Glass,” a role he played in three consecutive franchise entries: 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me1979’s moonraker and 1981’s For Your Eyes Only.
The Spy Who Loved Me features a high-wire chase in which Bond and Major Anya Amasova drive off a pier and into the ocean to escape an attack helicopter in Bond’s Lotus Esprit sports car, which converts into a submarine. Tourjansky sits on the beach and watches, dumbfounded, as the Lotus emerges from the water. He gapes at the car, then looks back at the wine bottle in his hand.
A similar gag takes place in moonraker, as Bond pilots a hovercraft gondola through St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Tourjansky, sitting outside a cafe, once again sits in stunned disbelief before directing his attention back to his wine bottle. In For Your Eyes Onlya wide-eyed Tourjansky tries to make sense of things while looking over the destroyed lodge balcony, wine glass in hand, after Bond barrels through a ski lodge on a motorcycle while being pursued by assassins.
Watch Victor Tourjansky’s First Bond Scene
Tourjansky’s initial cameo was purely a matter of being in the right place as the right time. He was working on-set in Italy as a local assistant director and wound up in The Spy Who Loved Me as “a ghastly in-joke of [director] Lewis Gilbert and myself,” associate producer William P. Cartlidge said in 2000’s Inside ‘The Spy Who Loved Me.’
“I have done a few parts here and there, like helping out, you know, at the last moment when an actor was not on time or something,” Tourjansky said in the same documentary. “And they asked me to do it, so I said, ‘Well, let’s try. Can I use a bottle?’ So I’d take a double take. I was looking first at the Lotus, then at the bottle. And he said, ‘Do anything you want to do and let’s see what happens.’ But he was happy.”
Tourjansky racked up less than a handful of other acting credits following his Bond cameos, though he served as a second unit director or assistant director on nearly 30 features, according to IMDb. Despite his scant acting resume, his onscreen appearances were enough to earn him a special place in the hearts of many Bond fans.
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The James Bond movies have been many things over the years: one of the longest-running film franchises in the history of cinema, box-office behemoths that have routinely topped all-time-money-making-films charts and textbook examples of how to stage action pictures.