on December 24, 2003
Ok, after reading the reviews, I'm going to be the Grinch that Stole Christmas. It has been a long time since I saw this film and waited in a long que on Netflix. I sat down and turned on the DVD. The transfer was very good: clean with decent sound. However, about half way through, the DVD quit playing; it got stuck and I couldn't get it clean enough to play through to the end. That was ok. I was about to quit watching anyway and return the disc when even the DVD agreed with me and quit playing. Lazenby's performance is wooden; it also sounds as though he was entirely "looped" (his dialog completely rerecorded) in post production. The sets looked cheap and the break-away furniture a little too cheesy and Hollywood-ish. It may be true that the film comes closest to the novelist's coception of Bond, but I will still take Connery or Moore; forget Dalton - his Bond was far too angry and bloodthirsty. Diane Rigg was beautiful and a good foil to Bond, but I thought their scenes lacked resonnance. They just didn't connect. Their "getting to know you" scenes were played as a far too itsy-cutsy music video. And Bond reading a Playboy magazine and admiring the centerfold was so '60's! I agree with all the other reviewers that the ending still has an emotional impact. Many think that ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. is one of the best Bonds. I don't. Still, to each his own. My favorite remains FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.
on November 22, 2002
"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is, in my opinion, something of an unclaimed stepchild in the Bond family. It seems to have even less in common with the series than the independently-produced "Never Say Never Again", which at least had the familiar presence of Sean Connery.
Sure, the traditional supporting characters are here (Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewellyn, and Lois Maxwell), but OHMSS is such a departure from the norm they just don't quite fit in.
The main difference is with George Lazenby taking over the role of James Bond. His performance is neither exceptionally bad or good, just different. When I was younger and saw this movie on TV, I thought that Lazenby was just substituting for Connery, who was either sick or needed a break. Recently I learned the circumstances for Lazenby's hiring and departure from the series. Now I think of Lazenby as an inexperienced actor who had an incredible stroke of good luck but found himself in a role too difficult to handle. His subsequent acting career in B-movies seems to vindicate those who criticized his performance in OHMSS.
Another difference with the movie is that it was the first Bond adventure to feature actors already familiar to American audiences, Telly Savalas and Diana Rigg. Savalas's role as Blofeld was all right, but he struggled to maintain a "European" accent. Ms. Rigg looked good, but her role was something of a waste of her talent. It was definitely different seeing her play someone so vulnerable as Tracy Draco, compared to the steeliness and pluck she demonstrated as Emma Peel in "The Avengers". I thought she cried "James!" a few times too many. Ilse Steppat had a memorable performance as henchwoman Irma Bunt. Sadly, she died shortly after making OHMSS.
One scene I thought out-of-place was when one of Blofeld's henchmen got ground up in the snow-blowing machine, which proceeded to blow out pink snow. That seemed to belong in a "Friday the 13th" or some other slasher-movie series.
OHMSS's sad ending was another definite break from the Bond genre.
Just before going to sleep after watching "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" last night, I thought it wouldn't have been surprising to have the last scene showing Sean Connery waking up, thus revealing the preceding events as one of James Bond's dreams. The movie does seem like a dream to me.
on March 6, 2003
And I thought Moonreaker was bad. God. Geroge Lazenby sucks. He's a disgrace to the Bond films. Sean Connery would have made this movie a thousand times bettter.
Second, I never really got the plot. Blofeld is pretending to work at an allergy clinic? That's just plain stupid. Blofeld's actor was horrible too. The plot really never picked up until the end. The ski chase was cool. The bobsled thing was cool too, but Blofeld won't die.
The girls were ugly too. And I keep wanting Blofeld to act like Dr. Evil.
I'm starting to read the book. Frankly, I'd rather watch a movie than read a book. But, this is just a disgrace to Ian Fleming. Good thing he didn't live to see this. He would have died after he watched it anyway.
The bottom line is: This movie is the worst Bond film. Avoid it. Try watching something like Goldeneye or Goldfinger.
on November 23, 2003
It seems most people either really love or realy hate this film. Going back after not having seen this movie in years I find that I do Like George Lazenby as Bond. This is the only Bond film he ever appeared in. When the producers were able to get Connery back for one more film Lazenby was out. The film is about 10 minutes too long, most of which comes from the begining of the film when Bond is falling in love. It gets off to a sluggish start but improves as the film continues. I noticed that some fight scenes had been sped up, which gives it a rather "cheesy" look. My only other reservation is Telly Savales as Blofeld. I think Donald Pleasence from " You Only Live Twice" would have been a better Blofeld. Overall, the film is quite decent, but I was never really convinced that a playboy spy could settle down as he did in "Her Majesties Secret Service".
on October 13, 2002
There are over 150 reviews for this, a below average Bond installment, over 150! Goldfinger, considered by many to be the best Bond installment only has 135 reviews. There seems to be a lot of George Lazenby apologist's out in the world, for this is one bad Bond flick. I rank the Bonds based on their whole works as follows #1 (best) Connery, #2 Moore, #3 tied Brosnan-Dalton, #5 Niven (LOL), then the lowly last place Lazenby. If your into long, drawn out snoozers with speed film action fight scenes than this is your Bond. Oh did I forget to mention the great gagets in this one, it's because there are none. If your looking for non-gaget spy thrillers watch Danger Man, oops sorry that has more thrills than this high budget dog.
Like many of the recent reviewers of this movie, this is, unquestionably my favourite. The Daniel Craig movies are the only rivals it has. Poor Sean Connery. He seemed so right, but now we know that he wasn't the James Bond for the ages.
Lazenby was shabbily treated by almost the entire production crew, and still managed in most scenes to be the best Bond. When he failed, it was clearly because the director's simply ignored him and concentrated on the special effects and, now and then, the women. In the case of Diana Rigg, that was just fine. She knew her way around a set and is still the best "Bond-girl" ever. Even Halle Berry pales by comparison. Time, however, has been cruel to her wardrobe. The skating costume in particular is now only worth a few giggles, not the sex appeal it was meant to have. But the lady herself is stupendous. And Lazenby, with only a commercial for acting experience, was able to keep up with her. Why not have cast him in the next Bond film? He wasn't known, so had no other offers, and when the Bond people dumped him and refused to even send him on the publicity tours, they killed his career. But he is the best. Trouble is, that outside of the sections directly involving Rigg and precious few others, this was a weaker than usual script. And not even Connery could have carried off the kilt sequences that are thrust on Lazenby.
And Lazenby and Craig have also been by far the least sexist and emotionally immature of the Bonds. Unless Dalton's dour Bond is considered by some to be a mature rendering. But I see him as a spoiled brat of a Bond, unable to do anything but sulk.
P.S. I disagree with some of the other comments made in previous reviews regarding Telly Savalas. I can't see him without also seeing a lollipop in his mouth, and that doesn't scare me at all.
The weakest Bond? Let Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton fight it out over that one. And they each got more than one chance at the part, and had stronger scripts to work with.
on May 26, 2004
Most people can't get beyond George Lazenby replacing the beloved Sean Connery as James Bond. It's too bad. While Lazenby is definitely not Connery, his performance is unfairly bashed and ridiculed. He does borrow often from his predecessor, but if you have to copy somebody, make it the best. Lazenby does a fine job with the action sequences. All in all, he doesn't deserve the harsh press, even if this was his only Bond movie. Remember that he decided to leave the series, not the producers. Who knows how his legend would have played out if he played Bond a few more times? The movie itself has everything the other Bonds do. Great action sequences, pretty girls, evil villains, witty one-liners, great music. One thing it has that most of the others don't is a deeper plot beyond the bad guy ruling the world, although that is included. Bottom line, from the pre-credits sequence to the "surprise", emotional ending, this is the best movie in the Bond series. Watch it for yourself, keep an open mind once George walks onscreen and decide for yourself.
on May 21, 2003
I understand why so many Ian Flemming fans provide rave reviews of this film and I respect what they have to offer in why they feel OHMSS is such a great movie. However, what has made the Bond legacy so enduring to the action film genre is that it's precisely the overblown plots, gadgets, beautiful women, and tongue in cheek quips that most of the actors have brought to the part that make 007 such a big hit. I bought this DVD and had to watch it twice because I slept through most of it the first time because it was not the type of Bond movie I expected. It was not bad or horrible--it was just out of Hollywood character. Viewers expect to get the "James Bond" action hero that most of us have grown up watching. I'm talking about those "cheeky" Brits who can combine the action with comic relief. These days we can all do with a laugh now and again, and it's nice to know that with Bond, the "good guy" is going to win. I don't know if the series would have continued to be such a success had not Roger Moore stepped up and filled Bond's shoes after Connery finally bowed out. I have nothing against George L., and his acting was fine, but after OHMSS you can't blame the producers for going back to a formula that worked. Don't shoot me, Ian Flemming fans, but I've never read any of the books. I'm quite happy with my "Bond" being a Hollywood makeover.
on August 18, 2002
On Her Majesty's Secret Service was something of the forgotten child of the Bond film series, the 1969 film being the only Bond film whose star never returned to the role. The passage of time has been good to the film, though, as the strength of the script and the performances has made it what it is - a highlight of the series.
Following Sean Connery's departure from the series, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman decided to take a risk with a generally-unknown actor in the lead role, having already done so when casting the then-obscure Connery as 007 in Dr. No, and felt they could strike oil again.
They settled on George Lazenby, and to establish a continuity in the series they included several bits within to remind the audience that while the man portraying him had changed, the lead character was still James Bond. These little reminders include the Maurice Binder title sequence featuring footage from the five Connery Bonds to that point, and also musical clips when James enters his office at HMSS headquarters (this is the very first time we ever see James' office) and in rummaging through his desk finds a few items that remind him - and the audience - of adventures past, complete with appropriate John Barry cues - including the original version of the instrumental theme of "From Russia With Love," which is slower than the cue used in the original film.
Despite this establishment of continuity, the film also delights in its famed in-joke in the prologue - James finds a woman on a beach trying to drown herself, saves her, and for his trouble is attacked by two toughs who are beaten up while the woman escapes. Upon seeing the woman's escape, James quips, "That never happened to the other fella."
Unlike a lot of Bond fans, I dislike the "who is the best Bond?" squabbles that periodically arise, and find that all five actors in the role added something strong to the character. In George Lazenby's case, the quality he adds is an earnestness somewhat lacking in Connery's performances - Connery's persona had a discomfortingly bullying quality to it, while Lazenby and also Roger Moore show more humanity - and also a mildly boyish charm, notably after a harrowing sled chase ends in a crash and a rescue dog arrives, and James shoos him off to get the brandy.
There is also the scene with the Playboy magazine - the scene is quite funny in that, for all the suggestiveness within the films, there is never any real nudity or gratuitous sex seen, and the sight of a Playboy magazine betrays the joke's inventive self-parody.
Lazenby also adds earnestness when James' professional relationship with Sir Miles Meservy breaks down - it of course lacks the venom of Timothy Dalton's relational meltdown with M in License To Kill, in large part because of the intervention of Lois Maxwell's Moneypenny, an intervention both men show genuine gratitude for.
The source of the friction between James and M is the pursuit of fugitive crimelord Ernst Stavro Blofeld (here the film botches its casting; Telly Savalas simply lacks the menace to be a real villian here, despite his strong portrayal in The Dirty Dozen). As part of his pursuit, James enlists the aid of another crime figure, Marc Ange Draco of the Sicilian mob, who has worked with Blofeld in the past. Draco, in exchange for information on Blofeld, wants James to marry his rebellious daughter - the woman James encountered on the beach with the two toughs being her bodyguards - Teresa aka Tracy (Diana Rigg, best known as Emma Peel in The Avengers). James initially is reluctant, but as he and Tracy spend time together, their relationship grows, and the pivotal time comes when, pursued by Blofeld and his gunmen, they escape, but become trapped in a farmhouse during a blizzard - and realize how much they do love each other.
But Blofeld, who is in Switzerland preparing a deadly germ warfare smuggling attempt to the West, gets his pound of flesh in capturing Tracy, and James must enlist some help on his own to get her back, leading to a mounttaintop helicopter assault and back-breaking mountain chase that is among the series' most spectacular pursuits.
But the real emotional punch of the film comes at the very end, as the romance between James and Tracy takes a shocking turn - and adds great poignancy to Lazenby's catchphrase, "We have all the time in the world."
on March 17, 2002
New James Bond, George Lazenby, but he played in only one 007 film. This film is little different from other 007 films. First, this film does not show any action scenes until latter half. In addition, even James Bond gets married... Anyway, it shows humane aspect of James Bond. Perhaps, Because of these differences, this film seems to fail and Gorge Lazenby could not return to James Bond after this film. However, some fans of 007 think this film is the best one of James Bond films. I agree with that as I see some wonderful scenes. There are fantastic skiing scenes with the beautiful Alps for a background of this film. I think it is best of the best skiing scenes in film history. In addition, I saw tremendous avalanche that made by explosion of three bombs at the top of the mountain for this scene. It is a spectacular scene. The scene of 007's marriage also was shocking. James Bond was never married until this film and after this film. Anyway, it was taken a shot in a lovely small village of Portugal where is decorated by incredibly a great number of flowers. In every 007 films, James Bond always has many beautiful women who are just a device for visual pleasure of film and a one-night stand to James. However, he married in this work, it is a peculiar thing contrary to other 007 films. Therefore, I like this work.