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 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 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.
on February 9, 2002
The first James Bond movie without Sean Connery in the role, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" cast unknown Australian model George Lazenby in his first and only appearance as Agent OO7. Lazenby looks the part and is very capable in the action sequences, but he is short on charisma and acting ability. While no match for Connery, or even Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, Lazenby's more human Bond is preferable to the smug Roger Moore. Thankfully, Lazenby is aided by great writing and direction, as Bond infiltrates archenemy Blofeld's (Telly Salvalas) Swiss allergy clinic to uncover a SPECTRE plot to contaminate the world's food supply with an infertility virus. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is also one of the few Bond films that's actually a love story, as OO7 romances the troubled daughter (Diana Rigg) of a wealthy crime lord (Gabriele Ferzetti) with links to Blofeld. Rigg is the most classy and meaningful "Bond Girl" and Salvalas is a menacing Blofeld. The action scenes are terrific and the plot is full of suspense, with none of the silly gadgets or campy excess that would later plague the series. All in all, in league with "From Russia With Love" and "Goldfinger" as one of the best Bond films.
on January 28, 2001
George Lazenby took over for Sean Connery for just one Bond movie. Connery was a better Bond. (So was Moore and Brosnan has done better too). Because he only made one movie, Lazenby never had a chance to make the role his own the way the three actors mentioned have. He's not a bad actor at all. Just not Connery. For a long time series devotees were unwilling or unable to see past Lazenby's less than Connery performance and view the movie as a whole. OHMSS is a 007 movie with an unusually realistic and intelligent script. This film presents two major plots and holds them up quite well. Bond pursued his mortal enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld to the Swiss Alps. Switzerland is incredibly beautifully shot throughout the film. 007 also falls in love with the troubled and beautiful Tracy Draco. The romance is wholly believable. Diana Rigg is an excellent actress and is my favorite Bond Girl in the entire series. Rigg and Lazenby have an on screen chemistry that, rumor has it, they lacked in real life during the filming. Apparently, Lazenby clashed with several of the people involved in the making of OHMSS. Consequently, when he asked for way too much money to be in a second Bond movie, the powers-that-be controlling the series weren't exactly devastated to see him walk. Lazenby now admits asking for too much and not accepting less was the most foolish mistake he made in his acting career. Telly Savalas is very fine as Blofeld. My favorite portrayal of the role. He plays Blofeld as a psuedo-sophisticated arrogant meglomaniac. Both charming and lethal. The action scenes are lengthy, numerous and top notch. OHMSS just barely misses the top five in my personal rating of all the Bond films. Goldfinger and FRWL are the absolute best. Really six stars out of five. Then FYEO, TSWLM and Goldeneye are excellent and at least just a little better than OHMSS. OHMSS is excellent, but the lowest rated of the Bond movies I give five stars.
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.
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 21, 2000
After Sean Connery left after You Only Live Twice,UA needed a new actor to play James Bond.Comparing their search for James Bond to a search for Scarlett O' Harra, Albert Broccoli finally chose an unknown Australian actor named George Lazenby.Lazenby wasn't very good Diana Rigg was.Telly Savalas is my least favorite Ernst Blofeld because Ernst Blofeld is NOT supposed to be a strongman who can beat up OO7 and walk all around and wear a blue jacket.Charles Gray is my favorite Blofeld in Diamonds are Forever but Donald Pleasance was good too in You Only Live Twice.Another flaw is that OO7 does not recognize Blofeld.However,in Diamonds are Forever,Bond does not say anything to Blofeld about killing his wife.The plot is kind of lost in the movie.But incredible action sequences such as a super exciting ski chase, a great fight where OO7 battles Blofeld on a speeding bobsled and where Draco's men and Bond attack Blofeld's allergy clinic.The instrumental by John Barry was excellent as was the score.The setting high in the Swiss Alps was gorgeous.The cinematography wasn't very good though.Sean Connery ended up returning in Diamonds are Forever.An interesting thing is that the name for The World is Not Enough came from Bond's family motto which is mentioned in this film.This is also the only Bond movie in which OO7 gets married.