On Her Majesty's Secret Service
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for On Her Majesty's Secret Service can be found here.

Most of the James Bond movies are based, in some part, upon novels by British author Ian Fleming [1908-1964]. On Her Majestey's Secret Service is based on Fleming's 1963 novel of the same name. It was adapted for the screen by American screenwriter Richard Maibaum.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the sixth movie in the Bond franchise, preceded by Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967).

Who sings the title song?

Unlike previous Bond movies (except for Dr. No), there is no title song. The opening theme is John Barry's musical variation on the James Bond theme. However, the music during the montage scene, "We Have All the Time in the World", considered by some to be the film's theme, is sung by Louis Armstrong.

Sean Connery left the series after his fifth appearance in You Only Live Twice. He had grown weary of the role and had become frustrated by the constant media attention surrounding the character. As a result, after a lengthy talent search, Australian-born actor George Lazenby was selected as Connery's replacement. However, Lazenby was never signed to a long-term contract and decided to quit the series after just one film. The reason that Lazenby quit is supposedly because he and his agent considered a tuxedo-clad secret agent to be out of touch with the newly liberated 1970s.

Yes. The head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas) (parading under the name of Count Balthazar de Bleauchamp), reveals to Bond that it was he who engineered the outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease in England last year and threatens to unleash virus omega, which will render infertile all biological life, including humans, if his demands are not met.

SPECTRE stands for "The SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion." SPECTRE is an international terrorist organization run by Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Its members are recruited from the Gestapo, Smersh, the Mafia, and the Union Corse among others. With the exception of Goldfinger, all of the Bond villains from 1962-71 came from this organization. For legal reasons, the producers have been unable to use the names Blofeld and SPECTRE in Bond films after Diamonds Are Forever (1971). The villain in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) was originally supposed to be Blofeld, but the name was changed to Stromberg for this reason.

At the beginning of the movie, Bond is in Portugal where he prevents the Contessa Teresa "Tracy" di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) from drowning herself. Bond is called back to London where M (Bernard Lee) releases him from his assignment to find Blofeld. Consequently, Bond resigns from her majesty's secret service, but Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) has it changed to a two week leave. He returns to Portugal and learns from Tracy's father, Marc Ange Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti) that there may be a connection between Blofeld and a lawyer named Gebrder Gumbolt (James Bree), so he travels to Bern, Switzerland to investigate the connection. Learning that Gumbolt has been corresponding with the London College of Arms in an attempt to research the title of Comte Balthazar de Bleauchamp (French for "Blofeld"), Bond returns to London where he is briefed by College of Arms genealogist, Sir Hilary Bray (George Baker). Posting as Bray, Bond goes back to Switzerland to meet with Bleauchamp/Blofeld at his research institute atop Piz Gloria in the Swiss Alps. Following an avalanche, after which Tracy is spirited away by Blofeld's men, Bond returns to London, where M tells him once again to give up on Blofeld. Bond can't leave Tracy in their hands, so he enlists Draco to fly them back to Piz Gloria in order to rescue Tracy and blow up Blofeld's institute. Finally, its back to Portugal for the final scenes of James and Tracy's wedding.

Tracy does not explain herself, but her father, Draco tells Bond about Tracy's troubled past. He sent her off to school in Switzerland, without proper supervision, and she got involved with the international set -- one scandal after another. Consequently, Draco cut off her allowance. To spite her father, Tracy married an Italian count who later killed himself in his Maserati with one of his mistresses. It is Draco's belief that he provided Tracy with too much, which led her to live greedily and eventually to find herself with nothing to show for it. Believing that James might be just the man to tame his wild daughter, Draco makes a deal with him: marry Tracy and he'll give Bond a 1,000,000 dowry.

Several times. When Draco propositions Bond, inviting him to marry Tracy, James asks the whereabouts of Blofeld. "I wouldn't tell her majesty's secret service," Draco replies, "but I might tell my future son-in-law." Shortly thereafter, when M tells Bond that he is to stop looking for Blofeld, James has Miss Moneypenny write his note of resignation from "her majesty's secret service." Again, near the end of the movie when James and Tracy seek refuge in a barn, Bond reminds her that "Her majesty's secret service is still my job."

There are two schools of thought about this: (1) Draco was attempting to see whether or not Bond could adequately protect Tracy, and (2) Draco's thugs were following Tracy and attempted to ward off Bond's help to protect her from strangers. In the novel, Bond and Tracy had already met before Tracy tries to commit suicide, so those who commit to option (1) are correct. However, based on just the movie, James had never before met Tracy, so option (2) is also correct.

Tracy was driving a 1969 red Mercury Cougar Cobra Jet convertible, and Bond was driving a dark green 1969 Aston Martin DBS.

Apparently so. James himself says that he researched his family tree and found the Bond coat-of-arms for Sir Thomas Bond, d.1734. The motto, "orbis non sufficit" means "the world is not enough", which becomes the title of a future Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough (1999).

What is a "bezant"?

A bezant is a a gold coin of the Byzantine Empire. Bezants were introduced into English heraldry by the Crusaders and can often be found on coats-of-arms. Bond's family arms has three bezants.

In making the films, screenwriter Richard Maibaum stuck very closely to the original story when writing the screenplay for On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Bond and Blofeld had not yet met at that point. Roald Dahl, the screenwriter for You Only Live Twice, the novel of which followed On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963) but was filmed as preceding this movie, made major changes in his screenplay and added a scene where Bond and Blofeld meet.

Each of the ten girls that Bond met at Piz Gloria were from different countries. Blofeld had been "treating" them for their allergies by making them susceptible to his hypnotic suggestions. When they were "cured", they were given going-away gifts of perfumes, which were actually vials of the virus omega that Blofeld intended to unleash upon the world. When Blofeld had completed his preparations of the girls and for his master plan, he'd contact them through the radios he provided in the gift bags he gave them. The signal for the girls to release the virus would be a hypnotic trigger.

After James (as Sir Hilary Bray) has snuck out several times from his room for a romantic encounter with the female patients, the suspicious Blofeld finally identifies Bond because of a slip that the real Bray would not have made. Earlier in the day, Bond had explained to Blofeld that the de Bleauchamp tombs are in the Augsburg Cathedral, but they are actually located in the Ste. Anna Kirche (Church) in the same city.

That's because it was never filmed. For many years, books on Bond have hinted at a lost scene in which Bond finds a SPECTRE mole inside the Royal College of Arms. He chases him through the streets and across the rooftops of London, finally cornering him in the UK post office's underground railway where the villain meets a sticky end (though some sources say he escapes and tells Blofeld all about Bond). According to director Peter Hunt, quoted by author Gary Giblin in "James Bond's London", the sequence was scripted and storyboarded but cut due to budget concerns. In case the scene is resurrected in a future Bond film, the late director would not elaborate on how the sequence would have ended, but look closely at the front page of Shaun Campbell's Daily Express which he's reading at the Swiss railway station - "19 dead in railway crash"

How does the movie end?

After rescuing Tracy from Blofeld's allergy institute at the top of Piz Gloria, Draco and Tracy escape in a helicopter, leaving James behind. While the bomb ticks away, James attempts to photograph pictures of the Angels of Death that Blofeld has planted around the world. Blofeld finds him and fires a shot. James goes after Blofeld, and the both of them manage to leap from the building just before the bomb goes off, destroying the whole building. Blofeld grabs a bobsled from a nearby shed, as does James, and they race down the mountainside. James tosses a grenade into Blofeld's sled, but Blofeld retrieves it and tosses it back, blowing up Bond's sled. James cuts off Blofeld's sled, jumps on it, and they swap blows until Blofeld's neck is snared in a tree branch. James jumps off the sled just as it plunges off the mountain.

Assuming Blofeld is dead, James and Tracy marry, while Draco, M, Q, and Miss Moneypenny watch (Moneypenny crying all the while). James returns Draco's 1,000,000, and he and Tracy take off in the Aston Martin for their honeymoon, which has been covered with flowers. They stop along the roadside to remove the flowers. A car passes by revealing Blofeld (in a neck brace) driving the car, and Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat) inside. Shots are fired by Irma, missing Bond. When James gets back in the car to apparently give chase, he finds that Tracy is dead, having taken a bullet right between the eyes. As James caresses his dead wife, a police officer on a motorcycle pulls up beside them. In the final shot, James looks up just long enough to mutter, "We have all the time in the world." Despite Blofeld being defeated in his plans for the world, he and his right-hand woman, Irma, both survive to get a final back-at-you revenge against James Bond by killing his new wife, Tracy, and thus leaving the door wide open for another Bond sequel.

In the novel:

Bond is forced to remain on "Operation Bedlam". He believes Blofeld is dead.

Bond and Tracy had met (and made love) previously on the beach where he saved her life.

Bond does not fight off Draco's men, he lets himself and Tracy be taken away in a raft where they are taken to Draco.

Bond never meets Sir Hilary Bray for Bray was not in England at the time, and Bond does not wear a disguise when he travels to Switzerland.

Blofeld is now very thin and has long white hair. He claims to be "Count Bleuville".

Blofeld has women from the English territories at his clinic, not all parts of the world.

Although Bond is found out by Blofeld before he escapes, he only finds out minutes before, when he intercepts a telephone call that they are coming to get him.

Blofeld does not kidnap Tracy.

Bond and Blofeld do not fight on their bobsleds, they never even get close to one another.

Blofeld's neck is not injured.

As Bond and Tracy drive away after being married, Blofeld himself, not Irma Bunt, is the one who guns Tracy down in the drive-by shooting.

No. Although it has widely been reported that the film lost money, it did not. When documenting studio data for research histories into the Bond films, researchers learn the following about On Her Majesty's Secret Service's financial performance: 1. The film had a pre-production cost of $1 million. 2. The film had a production cost of $7 million. 3. The film had a worldwide marketing budget of $5 million. 4. The film's total cost was therefore $13 million. 5. On Her Majesty's Secret Service grossed $87.4 million worldwide at the box office through the year 1970. 5. The studios netted $32.4 million of the $87.4 million gross as their share. 6. So the film actually netted $19.4 million in pure revenues for the studios through 1970. If you inflate that figure from 1970 dollars into 2006 dollars, the figure is equivalent to $98.8 million dollars in today's money. This is actually more money earned through box office revenues than any Bond film since Live and Let Die.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service grossed $22.8 million in the US, $64.6 million overseas, and $87.4 million worldwide through the end of the year 1970. The film's overseas gross of $64.6 million was wrongly listed as its worldwide gross in The James Bond Legacy book which caused some confusion for a time as to how much the film had actually grossed. The movie box office web site the-numbers.com has also listed an incorrect worldwide gross of $82 million. This gross did not count the money the film made in Japan, because it was not listed in some sources until many years after the film's initial release. Therefore, sometimes the studios reported that figure instead of the actual total of $87.4 million. The $87.4 million worldwide gross, which is the US gross of $22.8 million, plus the overseas gross of $64.6 million, does not count any money the film made after the year 1970, as the studios have only released initial run gross figures for the Bond films, choosing to keep the liftetime grosses secret.

Yes, although it takes awhile to do it completely. Diamonds Are Forever opens with Bond pursuing Blofeld around the world and finally attacking him in a secret lair and drowning him in superheated mud that is part of a plastic surgery procedure. That man turns out to be an imposter and Bond learns that Blofeld is behind Bond's next major mission investigating diamond smuggling which turns out to be part of a scheme to terrorize the world with an orbital laser cannon. In the climatic raid of Blofeld's headquarter on a off shore oil rig, Blofeld attempts to escape in a specialized submarine (a "bathosub") only to have Bond seize control of the crane used to lower the sub into the water and wildly swing it around like a wrecking ball with Blofeld inside. How exactly Blofeld survived and escaped Bond in that situation is not revealed. Bond finally gets his revenge in the opening of For Your Eyes Only (1981). Bond (played by Roger Moore) is seen visiting Tracy's grave in the pre-title sequence. After dropping flowers off, his solemn moment with his wife is interrupted by a priest, who tells him his office has called for him and sent a helicopter to pick him up. This is actually a trap set for him by a wheelchair bound Blofeld (likely due to being severely injured at the end of Diamonds Are Forever), who has remote control of the helicopter and tries to kill Bond, but Bond manages to get control of the helicopter and uses it to snare Blofeld's wheelchair and then drops him into a smokestack.

This is actually a joke for the audience referring to Lazenby's debut as Bond. As Sean Connery had been James Bond for the previous films, always being able to seduce every woman he met and so on. George Lazenby, being the new Bond meets Tracy who runs away from him. Bond is slightly perplexed, because he is "James Bond" and women usually melt in his arms. So "the other fellow" was Sean Connery.

Her Majesty's Secret Service is the only James Bond movie featuring George Lazenby as Bond. However, Lazenby did play 'JB' in a short scene in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair (1983).

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