Bonding with Bond, Day 7: On Her Majesty's Secret Service

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | October 27, 2008 | Comments

Today I talk about On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the first Bond film not to feature Sean Connery, and therefore a love-it-or-hate-it entry in the canon.


On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) 80%

OHMSSLazenby

Because I wasn’t alive at the time On Her Majesty’s Secret Service opened in theaters, I can only imagine how audiences would have reacted to the replacement of Sean Connery with George Lazenby as Bond. Matt, my dutiful editor-in-chief, told me it would have been something like replacing Harrison Ford with another actor, any actor, as Indiana Jones, and continuing the franchise. In other words, Lazenby had his work cut out for him. As you read the following, be forewarned once again that spoilers will abound.

For what it’s worth, I thought Lazenby to be an acceptable Bond, if different from Connery. By stature alone, he is leaner, less bear-like than Connery, and in demeanor he seems to personify a slicker Bond, full of witty quips at every turn and perhaps more romantic. The cockiness is still there, but he doesn’t really muscle his way into the pants of his leading ladies so much as he subtly charms his way into them. What’s more, he actually weds his Bond girl, Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg), in a bona fide marriage (as opposed to his faux marriage to Kissy Suzuki in You Only Live Twice) and even proclaims his genuine love for her, something Bond had yet to do with any of his women thus far. This was not something I ever expected to see, given the nature of Connery’s Bond, who probably also wouldn’t have been caught dead engaging in a romantic montage set to Louis Armstrong.

 

Lazenby’s athleticism also struck me right away. It appeared that Lazenby performed many of his own stunts (e.g. the cable car machine room scene), which was nice to see. The opening fight on the beach and the hotel room fracas shortly thereafter both felt grittier, more raw than any of the fistfights I’d seen up to that point. So I wasn’t surprised when I did a little research and discovered Lazenby himself was an accomplished martial artist who actually studied under (and was a friend to) Bruce Lee, of all people. I think this helped tremendously in lending the action sequences a bit more oomph, so to speak.

A couple of problems I had with the movie: Before the audience is introduced to the main plot, the story focuses on Tracy di Vicenzo’s father, crime boss Marc Ange Draco, and his desire to tame the free spirit of his daughter. He takes a break from his normal thuggery to enlist the help of Bond, asking him to “dominate her, to make love to her enough to make her love him,” in exchange for some info leading to Blofeld. If that’s not bizarre enough, Bond actually befriends the man, asks him for help to defeat Blofeld, then marries his daughter. Let’s keep in mind that Draco is head of the second biggest crime syndicate in Europe behind SPECTRE, but there he is, smiling and well-wishing at Bond’s wedding right alongside M, Q, and Moneypenny.

 

Speaking of SPECTRE, Blofeld is back, as promised, but he too has been replaced by another actor, namely Telly Savalas. Yes, Kojak. Furthermore, he no longer sports the hideous facial scar he proudly displayed in You Only Live Twice. But perhaps the most insulting aspect of this change is that, when Bond infiltrates Blofeld’s headquarters posing as a genealogist, Blofeld doesn’t recognize him at all. So… the guy who invaded your Japanese base, whom you had at gunpoint before getting a ninja star through the forearm, who has been singlehandedly ruining every one of your plans for world domination, is suddenly an unfamiliar face? I suppose it’s possible in a world where Sean Connery can pass for Japanese simply by getting a haircut, but I think it probably would have been easier if they had just hired the “Continuity” guy again.

Despite these flaws, I thought On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was pretty solid. I actually forgot soon enough that Lazenby was, in fact, “not Connery,” and I became comfortable with him in the role. Aside from a few funny moments attributable to dated production quality, the movie was another serious entry, and that was just fine by me. Thankfully, this also wasn’t the last appearance of Blofeld, as he does escape, so Connery may get his man after all. I suppose I’ll find out when I watch Diamonds Are Forever tonight.

Favorite line: “I have taught you to love chickens.” — A recording of Blofeld’s voice, which is played via loudspeaker to brainwash a Meg Ryan lookalike as she sleeps.

Favorite moment: Late in the movie, as Bond is making an escape on skis, he tosses a baddie in pursuit over the edge of an immense cliff. We get to see him fall all the way to the bottom, a journey that lasts for 15 glorious seconds.


Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

robots YouTube Premium El Rey The Arrangement cancelled TV shows Awards Sneak Peek Ellie Kemper ABC DC streaming service anime book kids A&E GIFs Red Carpet Mystery 2015 X-Men Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Pirates Drama directors nature Tumblr Chilling Adventures of Sabrina revenge The Purge ITV Super Bowl zombies Quiz stand-up comedy IFC Polls and Games Captain marvel Food Network ABC Family CMT supernatural tv talk canceled TV shows Netflix Christmas movies elevated horror true crime YA cars Spring TV halloween GLAAD Universal Trailer composers Sundance Opinion cults Sundance TV TCA Paramount Network TIFF 2020 Pet Sematary Musicals screen actors guild FXX Apple TV+ TNT Classic Film aliens BET Britbox AMC cats Lifetime CBS All Access Syfy Lifetime Christmas movies Masterpiece Nominations ESPN christmas movies Mindy Kaling A24 YouTube Spectrum Originals quibi Pixar NYCC rotten movies we love Lucasfilm Crackle Tubi Tomatazos Showtime comiccon romance USA Acorn TV theme song APB political drama 20th Century Fox medical drama Extras Turner Classic Movies Winter TV Thanksgiving Columbia Pictures renewed TV shows Endgame Disney Channel BBC America free movies dc Discovery Channel Rom-Com Calendar psychological thriller SundanceTV Creative Arts Emmys SXSW romantic comedy mutant RT History Nat Geo Comics on TV crossover San Diego Comic-Con Trivia 24 frames Reality Heroines Dark Horse Comics Biopics Marvel Television Comedy Central hispanic Amazon Prime Video Holidays Ovation cops Mary Poppins Returns Walt Disney Pictures Disney Ghostbusters thriller police drama cancelled Sci-Fi Emmys talk show DGA Photos Vudu Elton John Writers Guild of America Shondaland south america Awards Tour game of thrones television TCA 2017 travel natural history toy story dceu zero dark thirty The CW OWN Marathons festivals award winner TV renewals IFC Films Fall TV Emmy Nominations Sundance Now movie cancelled television Trophy Talk independent politics The Witch LGBTQ crime historical drama USA Network Film Festival Infographic slashers Apple Country singing competition strong female leads blockbuster anthology Western justice league witnail 21st Century Fox video name the review dragons series Esquire teaser binge Oscars Song of Ice and Fire TCA Winter 2020 007 jamie lee curtis Marvel Podcast E! comic facebook Election vampires based on movie war ghosts Stephen King canceled finale versus Video Games OneApp foreign DirecTV WGN Pride Month Valentine's Day Black Mirror VICE CW Seed Premiere Dates Superheroes hist MTV Teen joker Adult Swim TruTV WarnerMedia TLC latino Spike RT21 batman Peacock richard e. Grant spider-man transformers game show sag awards Comic Book psycho documentary Brie Larson science fiction Amazon Prime serial killer Music SDCC 2017 crime drama PBS children's TV TV NBC Grammys Amazon Binge Guide VH1 comics Interview Television Academy CBS spy thriller Baby Yoda MCU miniseries Action Holiday dramedy social media Anna Paquin sitcom cinemax Family CNN Paramount Rock Fantasy adventure unscripted Disney Plus Star Wars diversity E3 spain disaster Reality Competition Cannes biography technology First Look what to watch cancelled TV series boxoffice HBO Toys blaxploitation History Avengers Rocketman sequel harry potter Turner YouTube Red Certified Fresh See It Skip It reboot 2019 Disney+ Disney Plus Film TBS Summer Mary poppins zombie 71st Emmy Awards cooking Character Guide Fox News Winners animated Women's History Month The Walking Dead LGBT docudrama Hallmark Christmas movies Logo spanish language New York Comic Con Disney streaming service doctor who Marvel Studios Set visit adaptation green book Epix Animation Crunchyroll American Society of Cinematographers PaleyFest Hallmark Warner Bros. movies space GoT indie Mary Tyler Moore mockumentary HBO Max Tarantino screenings cartoon Martial Arts Cartoon Network Lionsgate Countdown Best and Worst Cosplay casting DC Comics Freeform Pop Arrowverse ratings crime thriller period drama Christmas National Geographic Academy Awards 2018 MSNBC breaking bad streaming BBC werewolf 45 Apple TV Plus Mudbound Star Trek Musical TCM Netflix Nickelodeon Box Office 2016 Starz FX Comedy sports Horror First Reviews discovery spinoff golden globes Shudder Year in Review Superheroe President Chernobyl Bravo TV Land Watching Series FOX Schedule DC Universe Rocky Sony Pictures Hulu Kids & Family