Although Eon Productions’ first Bond film, “Dr. No,” included an elaborate hidden base for its villain, the next few Bond movies were a little more lowkey. That changed with 1967’s “You Only Live Twice,” which saw Bond’s nemesis Blofeld establish a giant rocket base inside an active volcano. From there, each subsequent Bond movie attempted to one-up its predecessor, and “The Spy Who Loved Me” is no exception: Not only does the film’s villain, Karl Stromberg (Curt Jürgens), run an elaborate ocean-bound hideout known as the Atlantis, he also commands the supertanker known as Liparus, which has been constructed to capture nuclear submarines from both the British and the Soviets.
Building the massive set for the interior of the Liparus required Ken Adam to erect an entire new soundstage on the Pinewood Studios lot, the water tank-equipped building that would subsequently be known as the 007 Stage. Although the construction of the set was a feat in and of itself, lighting the set was another matter entirely. As Claude Renoir explained in Matthew Field and Ajay Chowdhury’s 2015 book “Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films:”
“That set is completely closed on top and we show the ceiling in most of the shots, so the problem is the same as it is in some real-life locations — no place to put lights, without showing them in the picture. There is no room for big lamps, so I am using a lot of very small lamps.”
Yet Adam hoped for the set to be much more dramatic for its initial reveal, as he explained:
“On this big set we have a major light change. When the submarine enters the set it is in relative darkness, and then the lights go on and expose the whole set.”