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[FILM] On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)


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#1 Stefancos

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 03:43 PM

One of the best Bond films ever made. if only they had gotten a better actor

 

Conney as Bond was a huge star, so it's actually rather a strange choice to replace him with Lazenby, a model with no experience what so ever when it comes to acting.

Lazenby often looks the part, but he is lacking both any kind of acting experience, and that almost natural charisma that Conney had.

 

An Bond, Lazenby is too often  trying too hard to act. For instance if there's a shot of him looking at his watch, he's really looking at his watch. All the casual attitude that the character had when being played by Connery, Moore, Brosnan, Dalton and especially Craig is gone.

Also, he fails at the "my name is Bond...James Bond line" Delivering it with a  huge smile on his face even after just saving a women from drowning...

 

Throughout most of the film Laenby doesnt find the right notes. But there strangely are moments where he does. And it's usually when the film is allowing him to be more human then Connery was. His scenes with Tracey (played to perfection by the stunning Diana Rigg) are uniformly good, and his marriage proposal has a simple earnest nature to it that simply works. Also the almost boyish wave he gives Moneypenny as he goes out for a faithful drive with his new wife. Simply charming. And the final scene feels like a hammer blow, partly because of Lazenby.

He had a down to earth quality that, in a few scenes at-least, made up for not quite having the sardonic charisma of many of the others. He's more convincing being vulnerable then Conney or Moore would have been.

Sadly it's not quite enough to pull him though this whole film. But if he had done more films, he might have improved...

 

Diana Rigg is outstanding as the difficult, petulant Tracy. Stunning to behold, like most Bond girls, but with actual depth as a character. Here sudden appearance where she basically saves Bonds ass is excellent, and for the first time the death of a Bond girl actually has an emotional impact. Diana Riggs Tracy Bond remains one of the best characters from this 50+ year old series of films. Virtually unmatched till decades later by Eva Green.

 

Peter Hunt worked as an editor on several Bond films before being promoted to director.  

This film looks amazing. Taking place mostly in the alps it truly has some sumptuous visuals. Hunts experience as an editor is significant in the fight scenes. OHMSS really puts the boat out and goes for a highly stylized way of shooting and editing. Not only is the footage slightly sped up and deliberately cut very fast. Often the actors (stuntmen) exaggerated their movements in the fight scenes. Sp punches are pulled with huge strokes. If a baddie is jumping at 007, he's really jumping at him etc.

This style if fight scene could have looked comical, yet for some reason it doesn't.

Sadly taut, hard hitting fight scenes would become much rarer in subsequent films.

 

Telly Savalas takes over the role as Blofeld. Playing him rather as a hood then an aristocratic super villain. Bond and Blofeld being played by different actors only partly disguises this films huge continuity error, the biggest in the series. Both characters already met in the previous film, yet Blofeld doesn't recognize Bond.

Savalas isnt much worse or much better as Donald Pleasance.

Like Felix Leiter, Blofeld is an essential Flemming character that the films never did justice. Perhaps SPECTRE will.

 

The stunts in this film are top notch. The first ski chase of the series is still one of the best. And the stock car race is exhilarating. Always ashamed to see so much obvious back projection though.

 

John Barry delivers one of his most sumptuous scores for the series. His instrumental main theme is fantastic, and the song "We Have All Time In The World", while not being much like a traditional Bond song is still marvelous in the way the orchestra gently supports Louis Armstrong raw, yet silk as honey voice.

I do feel Barry made a mistake blaring out the Bond theme loudly after the depressing finale. But otherwise another sterling effort.

 

OHMSS is the last film to be truly faithful to it's corresponding novel. Though with some additional action scenes. Ironically it's the first of the books Flemming wrote when the movies were actually starting to be made. Not even Casino Royale would stick this close to the source material (essentially the first half of CR has almost nothing to do with the book)
.

 

People often say that OHMSS would be the best Bond film if it has Connery in it. Bit the very fact that this film was made the way it was is because Connery left the role.So it's an eternal catch 22.

I'm also not sure if Connery's Bond would have been as convincing in the few moments where 007 is vulnerable, and in love.

 

Watching OHMSS I started thinking how much this film seems suited to Daniel Craig's interpretation of the character!

 

Daniel Craig is James Bond 007 in Ian Flemming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service!

 

That would have made this film perfect!

 

As it is it's still a rather excellent ***1/2 out of ****



#2 Drax

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 03:47 PM

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

 

Insightful review!



#3 Stefancos

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:23 PM

What do you mean?



#4 Jay

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:45 PM

At the time he wrote that, your main post did not have a review in it.



#5 Bespin

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:48 PM

I love all the Sean Connery JB movies... and this one.

 

Very good :-)


"And I see him powerful, quiet, reasonable and especially polite.
Because the politeness, especially in quibble, always amazed me." - Félix Leclerc

 


#6 Stefancos

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:52 PM

At the time he wrote that, your main post did not have a review in it.

 

Really?



#7 Jay

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 05:14 PM

Yes.



#8 Stefancos

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 05:15 PM

Anyway, have you seen this movie Jason?



#9 Jay

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 05:23 PM

I think I saw most of it in college, but I don't really remember anything about it

 

Marcy and I are making our way through the blu ray box.  We've seen the first four now, so have one more to go before getting to this one.  I neglected to write about any of them so far



#10 Sweeping Strings

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 07:20 PM

I wonder what sort of 70s Bond films we would've had if Lazenby had stayed on? 


'Kidneys! I've got new kidneys!

 

I don't like the colour'.


#11 Bespin

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 07:27 PM

I wonder what sort of 70s Bond films we would've had if Lazenby had stayed on? 

 

As ridiculous as they actually are, but at least played by a real man.


"And I see him powerful, quiet, reasonable and especially polite.
Because the politeness, especially in quibble, always amazed me." - Félix Leclerc

 


#12 Strangways

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 07:43 PM

I wonder what sort of 70s Bond films we would've had if Lazenby had stayed on? 

 

Hard, tough, Bond.



#13 Stefancos

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 09:17 PM

Do hard, tough men really stare at the Playboy centerfold and steal it from the mag for later use?

Maybe in the 60's that scene looked suave, but these days it just screams "wanker"!

#14 Wojo

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:37 PM

Why doesn't the hard, tough Steef tell us what he does with the centerfold?

#15 Drax

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 08:45 AM


I wonder what sort of 70s Bond films we would've had if Lazenby had stayed on? 

 
As ridiculous as they actually are, but at least played by a real man.

There's no way DAF would've been as silly and campy as it was if they continued the OHMAHMAS way.

#16 Stefancos

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 09:00 AM

DAF is where things really started to go wrong

#17 Drax

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 09:48 AM

As much as I enjoy it and it's one of my favourite Connery Bond films.



#18 Sweeping Strings

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 07:00 PM

Yeah, those who don't like the overt emphasis on campy humour often blame the Moore era for bringing it in. But it starts with DAF.


'Kidneys! I've got new kidneys!

 

I don't like the colour'.


#19 Stefancos

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 07:24 PM

DAF is actually more camp then some of the Moore ones. With Willard Whyte, Bambi and Thumper, a moon buggy and those ridiculous gay villains.



#20 Drax

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 11:33 PM

But damn it's a cheeky fun movie!

#21 Stefancos

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 11:36 PM

It's quite fun, yes.



#22 Sweeping Strings

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Posted 10 January 2015 - 11:36 AM

DAF is actually more camp then some of the Moore ones. With Willard Whyte, Bambi and Thumper, a moon buggy and those ridiculous gay villains.

 

Not forgetting the pose Connery strikes when being searched in the pre-credits sequence, his pink tie in the Bambi and Thumper scenes, or Blofeld in drag!


'Kidneys! I've got new kidneys!

 

I don't like the colour'.


#23 Stefancos

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Posted 10 January 2015 - 11:44 AM

The drag was a low point!

How did Tifanny even know about Blofeld and his cat?

#24 Richard

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 10:54 PM

"OHMSS" has the best Bond-score ever. This point is not - repeat not - up for discussion!



#25 Stefancos

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 10:59 PM

Right buddy!

#26 Joey

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 05:15 AM

It ends with a punch to the gut.
If it isn't high concept the it's not worth watching believed the pseudo superior one.

#27 Drax

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 05:42 AM

I found Tracy irritating in the first half of the movie, but after she reappears at the skating ring, she's pretty damn awesome throughout the rest of the film.

#28 Strangways

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 11:10 PM

Tracy coming to the rescue at the rink must be one of my favourite if not top-3 moments in a Bond film. Much like in the book. Bond running for his life and there comes this angel to his aid.

 

"What about someones way of saying thank you?"



#29 Stefancos

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 11:53 PM

Yes! It also works because Bond seriously looks in danger here. Fatigued, helpless....

#30 MikeH

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 12:02 AM

My favorite Bond film and favorite Barry score.  Doesn't get any better than this!  I just watched it again a few nights ago.

 

Blofeld says that the slip-up of mentioning the Augsburg Cathedrals is what gave Bond away, but does anyone feel like they knew way before that?  Fraulein Bunt seemed like she knew something was up from the moment she picked him up at the station.



#31 Strangways

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 11:02 PM

I sort of figured as I do with the book, that Bond was surely rumbled before the cathedral slip. In the book Bond sees Blofeld and seems confused as to whether it really is him but is certain it is and surely in the film Bond would be the same. So, I always figured Blofeld had the same thing -"That's James Bond, spectacles and fake voice notwithstanding".

Blofeld effectively had Bond at his whim once he got to Piz Gloria.






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