This was the first Bond movie I ever saw in the theater, Dec.31, 1969. For a young kid like me, it was the greatest way on earth to usher out the Sixties. Years of Bond hype, Bond toys, and Sean Connery worship finally came to a head. Yet this was the new guy, a somewhat blasphemous situation to be in. Still, no one ever entered a movie theater with higher expectations.
Let me just say this: from the opening credits I was transported to a wonderland of excitement and delight. The music, the villain, the fights, the women, and especially George Lazenby made it a great, great, great Bond movie. To this day, I regard it as possibly the film I have enjoyed more than any other I have seen. Briefly, let me dissect what made it such a great 007 film:
1.The Villain-Telly Savalas should have been Blofeld many more times. He is menacing and a good physical opponent for Bond. Savalas was doing many villains at this time in his career (Dirty Dozen, etc.) mainly because he was so good at it. Telly's Blofeld is very true to Ian Fleming. Along with Robert Shaw and Gert Frobe, I rate him among the best of the Bond villains.
2. The fights-the editing is outstanding, creating fast, violent brawls. Lazenby is quite formidable and believably dangerous-the way Bond should be and hasn't been since. The best Bond fight scene that stands alone is certainly with Oddjob, but the numerous fights in OHMSS are the most realistic and violent.
3.The Women-Diana Rigg (need we say more)-a real actress and the fantasy of every pubescent boy watching The Avengers. Also plenty of eye-candy in the chalet of Blofeld. And throw in Frau Bunt who seems resurrected in the Austin Power movies-she's a pure Fleming character: an evil sexless matron.
4.The music-definitely high-style John Barry. It is a departure from his earlier Connery films and very original. It's just great adventure music and the main title is damn dangerous to be listening to when driving your car. For fun, my kids and I have synchronized it to driving the mountain route in Sega Gt 2002-it's the perfect soundtrack. As an Album alone OHMSS is a proud possesion in my record collection.
5.Finally, (and ladies and gentlemen, I could go on and on about this) dear Mr. Lazenby. How anyone could be at the top, with the highest profile movie persona in the world, and then drop to almost total obscurity is lamentable to the most Shakespearean proportions. George was so young (stil in his twenties!) during OHMSS, he could have been Bond into the mid-nineties. I saw him playing a Bond-like character in some cheap John Stamos movie and he was still exciting to watch-too bad Stamos was the star. Bond must provoke intrigue, sophistication, sex, and violence. George Lazenby had it all. To you, Mr. Lazenby, wherever you are, I lift my glass in a toast to your James Bond of OHMSS.
I promised to be brief and so I end with so much unsaid about this terrific movie. New Year's Eve 1969 was an unforgettable movie experience. How many films can you remember the exact date you first saw them?