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Great Bond film
ametaphysicalshark14 March 2008
"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is a sadly under-appreciated Bond film which is stylishly-directed and features an outstanding score, like most of these early Bond films. Other than a silly self-referential line in the teaser and some sappy romantic montages, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is a thrilling adventure which sees Bond traveling to the Swiss Alps to encounter villains and partake in dangerous action sequences.

It sounds like a Bond film, alright, but this is actually quite different from the formulaic films one would later expect from the series, and the sort of film Bond was gravitating towards with "Thunderball" and "You Only Live Twice". It certainly delivers on the promise of sexual innuendo and lots of provocatively dressed women, but it's a different sort of Bond in that it seems to be more straight-faced and harsh, culminating in what is probably the saddest Bond ending. It's also probably the closest to Fleming's version of Bond outside of "Casino Royale", although "The Living Daylights" was also somewhat similar to the literary Bond. As a Fleming fan it is nice to see the Bond series take after the books.

Lazenby, who has been frequently criticized and is many people's least favorite Bond, actually does a decent job of the role. He's nowhere near as good as Connery, of course, but I thought that other than the scenes where he tried to seriously emote, he carried the film with his charisma and physical presence. I strongly believe he should have continued in the role. Lazenby fits the content of the film, which is certainly far more down to Earth than many other Bond films, and focuses heavily on hand-to-hand combat in the action scenes, which is somewhat refreshing after the overblown (entertaining, but seriously outrageous) action scenes in "You Only Live Twice". This is a genuinely good script, with a solid plot, good dialogue, and good characterization.

It's not just a throwaway action flick, it's an excellent espionage thriller with a strong dramatic core, and as fun as things like "Goldfinger" certainly are, it's nice to see one of these movies treat women as more than mere sex objects, and it's interesting to see a Bond girl paired with a Bond who reacts as a human would and not a cartoon character. Diana Rigg is probably my favorite Bond girl. She gives a strong performance and is helped by an excellent script which gives her a fair amount to do.

By staying closer to the source material, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" dramatically improves on its two predecessors and features some of the best locations in the series, although I admit my familiarity with the majority of the Swiss shooting locations gives me a nostalgic view of things. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is a strong contender for the title of best Bond film.

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The most moving film in any Bond picture...
Nazi_Fighter_David7 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Like "From Russia With Love," "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is filled with mysterious characters and realistic action… Blofeld's plot involves germ warfare and his stronghold this time is a converted Swiss allergy clinic… The film is loaded with action—ski chases, bobsled chases, car chases, helicopter attacks, fights in the surf, fights in the hotel, fights in the office… Peter Hunt succeeded in distracting the audience from noticing that a new Bond was on duty…

The new Bond pauses to take a finger of caviar... Dom Perignon'57 and five-star Hennessey brandy are his mouthwashes of choice... He discovers that he lived with his aunt in Pett Buttom, and his family motto is 'The World Is Not Enough.' He impersonates a genealogist to gain entrance to Piz Gloria... He wants to take the head of SPECTRE to Augsburg (West Germany) to verify certain records regarding his claim to a title... He spurns a Mafioso one million gold dowry; uses telescopic sight from a sniper's rifle to spot a beautiful young woman on the beach; wipes away a Contessa's tears; drives his Aston Martin wearing a hat and smoking a cigarette, and turns to the viewer saying in perfect seriousness, "This never happened to the other fella."

The sixth Bond film takes place all over Europe with a united nations of glamorous babes called 'angels of death,' where 007 finally meets his female match, falls in love, and gets married… The motion picture is an emotional story that reveals more of the world of 007…

It starts with Bond, ready to resign from the Secret Service for being taking off Operation Bedlam... With John Barry's best music, Bond reminds us of a whole bunch of familiar faces... He begins to look over his mementos which include Honey's knife belt from 'Dr. No,' and the strangler watch from 'From Russia with Love.' The sequences from all the previous Bond films reinforced the idea that this new Bond is still a member of the same team, a man who answers to a crusty retired Admiral, and still is engaged in sexy banter with a loving secretary...

It is Draco's daughter though, the ravishing Tracy (Diana Rigg), who adds a bit of class to the role of the Bond girl, and makes the film quiet interesting... Tracy is the troubled woman who steals Bond's heart... She is a spoiled woman wandering fully clothed into the sea... She is dangerous with her red Ford Cougar, a broken bottle, and at the baccarat table...

Gabriele Ferzetti is one of the most sympathetic Mafia dons ever to charm the screen… Draco likes the fact that Bond is interested in his daughter, and he's determined to help her find the right husband…

Telly Savalas' Blofeld does reveal sides to his character previously unseen: the class snobbery—which M remarks upon, and the vanity which Tracy flatters to force him off his guard, and his irritation with one of his skiers who ends up in a tree... Posing as a world-famous allergist, this bald arch-villain would only give up his deadly scheme throughout the world if offered a complete pardon for past crimes and a title...

Irma Bunt was perfectly portrayed by German actress Ilse Steppat, who, unfortunately died soon after the film's release… She is Blofeld's second-in-command, who keeps the Count's attractive 'patients' under control...

Angela Scoular (Ruby) becomes Bond's first conquest when she writes her room number in lipstick on 007's inner thigh…

Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) hands her boss a request for two weeks leave rather than Bond's dictated resignation... Her act results at once funny, moving and warm: 'What would I do without you?' ask both Bond and M separately once she's settled their contretemps...

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" features Barry's exquisite song, "We Have All the Time in the World," which is sung with real emotion by Louis Armstrong...
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Not a Bad Deal at All.
Bob-4527 September 2001
To understand the controversy behind `On Her Majesty's Secret Service,' one must understand the events so impacting the spy genre by the time of its production in 1969. After the back to back tremendous successes of `Goldfinger' and `From Russia With Love,' every hack producer and distributor rushed to make spy movies. There were serious ones (`The Spy That Came in From the Cold,' `The Ipcress File'), satirical ones (`Our Man Flint,' `The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,' `Get Smart' ), and incredibly silly ones (`The Silencers,' `Last of the Secret Agents,' `Casino Royale'). `Casino Royale' was especially damaging, since it was (VERY LOOSELY) based on a Fleming novel, and used the character of James Bond, 007. In fact, in `Casino Royale,' nearly EVERYBODY played `James Bond'. `If we don't know what we are doing, how will the enemy,' was the explanation `James Bond' (David Niven) gave to explain why MI6 was calling all its agents `James Bond'. To protect their franchise, the producers of the `real' James Bond movies emphasized in their promotion `Sean Connery IS James Bond.' In a demonstration of `gratitude,' Connery up and quit the series, leaving `On Her Majesty's Secret Service,' which was shortly to go into production, without a `Bond.'

Arguably the most ambitious and difficult to shoot of ALL the Bond films (at least to that time), it's a miracle ANYTHING works in OHMSS. Much of the time it works VERY well, though the shaky underpinnings of the first hour frequently threaten to undo it. There is so much choppy editing and dubbed dialogue, one begins to suspect he is watching a foreign film. The second hour plus works much better, all the more surprising since it was shot first. One reason may be that the film went WAY over both shooting schedule and budget, and there was enough made up `bad' press to put a great deal of pressure on the producers, first time director, Peter Hunt and star, George Lazenby. In the middle of it all, Lazenby's publicist announced that Lazenby was not going to do another Bond (Lazenby is credible when he says that announcement was not his idea. One suspects, from the bonus material, that Cubby Broccoli planted that story to discredit Lazenby, should the film fail). Add to all this the films' tacked-on, unhappy ending (planned to be the prologue for `Diamonds are Forever'), which plays completely against the humor of earlier moments, and it's a wonder the film was NOT a dismal failure. Quite the contrary, OHMSS is one of the BEST of the Bond films, filled with nonstop action, outstanding stunts, incredible sound, the best score (along with `Goldfinger') and a credible enough romance to lend it genuine poignancy. Lazenby overcame many tremendous handicaps: having to replace one of the best known and popular actors in the world; he was 28, younger than Connery when he made `Dr. No'; he was completely inexperienced as an actor (OHMSS was Lazenby's FIRST movie, not just his first starring role); his accent (thick Australian outback) and the INCREDIBLE physical demands (Lazenby did many of his own stunts). Considering all this, Lazenby is downright remarkable. Certainly, in my opinion he is better than either the snooty Timothy Dalton or the lightweight Roger Moore were in ANY of their outings as Bond.. The bonus feature on the DVD concludes with strong evidence that Lazenby became a scapegoat, despite the eventual financial success of OHMSS. Lazenby, refreshingly displays no bitterness that his career nearly ended as soon as it began. He's had a reasonably busy career playing character roles and we have OHMSS. Not a bad deal at all.
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Not perfect, but a realistic, classic Bond
Orpington17 August 2004
On Her Majesty's Secret Service will probably always remain the most controversial entry in the Bond series, thanks both to its unusually human and romantic story, and the notorious casting of novice actor George Lazenby as OO7. Some think these elements ruin the film, while others hail OHMSS as the best Bond ever. I wouldn't go that far in my praise, but for me this is still one of the classic Bond films, true to Ian Fleming's original vision and arguably showing OO7 in a more realistic light than any other film in the franchise.

To get the Lazenby issue out of the way first, it is certainly true to say that he lacks the charisma of the man he (temporarily) replaced, Sean Connery, and his impossibly chiselled jaw is somewhat irritating. However, he does look the part, and for a first-time actor he turns in a remarkably assured performance, particularly in the fight scenes but also in Bond's more tender moments, most notably in the highly emotional finale. If Lazenby had gone on to make more Bond films (and it was his own decision not to do so) he could well have developed into a very fine OO7, but as it is I still find his performance in OHMSS perfectly acceptable, and not damaging to the film in any way.

The film itself represented a conscious attempt to get back to Fleming after the increasingly extravagant antics of Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. Director Peter Hunt, who had edited the classic early Connery films, was very keen to remain faithful to Fleming's original story, and as a result OHMSS has an unusually strong emphasis on character and plot, with the gadgetry and humour found in most Bond films largely jettisoned. Rather like From Russia with Love, OHMSS feels like a real spy adventure, as Bond tracks Blofeld down and even adopts a disguise as he infiltrates his arch-enemy's Alpine hideaway, Piz Gloria. Where this film is unique, however, is in the level of emotion it invests in OO7's relationships with others. We see this early in the film when Bond quarrels with M and submits his resignation, a sequence which really brings out the affection which both M and Moneypenny have for him, but which M especially prefers to keep concealed. This affection is brought out again near the end during Bond and Tracy's wedding, when Q sheds his normal exasperation and shows us his fondness and respect for OO7.

However, it is of course the relationship between Bond and Tracy which gives the film its emotional heart. OHMSS sees Bond fall genuinely in love for the first and only time, and personally I found the film's romantic scenes both tender and touching, particularly for being so unexpected in a Bond film. The casting of Diana Rigg as Tracy helps immeasurably in making us believe in this romance, as she is a rare example of a proper actress taking on the role of a Bond girl, and her dynamic, spirited performance makes it easy to see why Bond would fall for her and marry her. It also helps the film's tragic conclusion, itself unique in the Bond franchise, pack far more of an emotional punch than might otherwise have been the case.

Of course, the film has more going for it than just an unusually human Bond.

Hunt directs with great skill, and the Alpine scenery that dominates the film looks absolutely stunning. There is no shortage of great action either, the highlights being a tense and gripping ski chase and an equally thrilling bobsleigh pursuit. Telly Savalas makes for a very effective Blofeld, understated and sinister, and his Rosa Klebb-like henchwoman Irma Bunt is played with relish by Ilse Steppat. There are also echoes of FRWL in the character of Draco, Tracy's father, who is a charismatic Bond ally in the style of Kerim Bey. Special mention should be given to John Barry, who produced his greatest Bond soundtrack for OHMSS. The opening instrumental theme, with its sombre and foreboding tone, sets the serious mood of the film, while the classic We Have All the Time in the World, sung by Louis Armstrong, is the perfect soundtrack to Bond and Tracy's doomed love.

However, while OHMSS is undoubtedly a classic Bond film, it just falls short of my personal top five for two principal reasons. The first of these is that the film is too long, primarily because the central section, where Bond infiltrates Piz Gloria in disguise, is dragged out for far longer than was necessary. Blofeld's plan to use beautiful women as carriers of a devastating eco-virus is the other main weakness, because it is totally preposterous and does not fit into the film's serious nature. I must admit also that, good as Lazenby is, I do wish Connery had agreed to make this film, because with him on board, and a little more editing, I think it could have been the best Bond ever, even beating FRWL. As it is, OHMSS is still a very strong film, its bold deviations from the Bond formula paying off handsomely. It is just a crying shame that it did not perform better at the Box Office, because this would encourage the Bond producers to shift to the high-camp, comic style that would dominate the franchise during the 1970s; sadly, it would be more than a decade before a serious, Flemingesque Bond would reappear on the big screen.
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The James Bond Series: Best of the Bunch.
Joseph P. Ulibas16 October 2004
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) in my opinion was the best film of the series. I felt that George Lazenby was unfairly slagged by the critics for his performance. He did the best that he could. His acting fit very well for his character.

The direction moved the film at an even pace. The action set pieces were impressive and Diana Rigg was hot. Telly Savalas was excellent as Blofield, he gave the character a suave touch. But you call tell that underneath his mack daddy act he was all business, and violent business indeed.

Everything about this movie had a cool aura to it. The stunt scenes were amazing (for it's era) and the cinematography was beautifully shot. I had one bone to pick with the film. The in jokes got a bit heavy handed. Other than that it's a fun film. Too bad George Lazenby was demoted to B-Movie hell after this flick (at least he got a three picture deal with Golden Harvest where he made three classic action films).

I have to give this movie a high recommendation. If you love the James Bond series you'll enjoy this one.
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Best (and the ONLY) James Bond film ever
wontgetfooled62229 November 2002
Once, at the library, I had a flashback of something my history teacher once told me. "Without Soviet Union, we wouldn't have had a lot of things." Then, someone mentioned, accurately, that Bond films owe their existence to the hammer and the sickle. Then he said, "Pooh, the Bond FILMS! Read the BOOKS. They're good stuff. The films are just bunch of women and gadgets." So I went to look for Ian Fleming, and the title that caught my eye was On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which is recognized as one of the best books in the series. I started reading the book. I was surprised at how slow pace and dark it was, and how Bond wasn't this confident, suave character who always knows what to do. Sean Connery is not, I repeat, not, Ian Fleming's James Bond. Of course, he is the best film version of James Bond, but he is too good a suave character to be Bond. I can't imagine a superspy who'd say "Yeesss" as Connery does.

I must say, more than anyone, George Lazenby is the James Bond of Ian Fleming's novels. He is like Bond in the books, trying to be smooth but always somewhat unsure. He has a command of the screen, that he isn't afraid to tell you he's there. The biggest gripe I have about Pierce Brosnan is how he sometimes doesn't get a grip of things on set and his somewhat higher, softer voice (and also how he pumps endless rounds of automatic fire upon enemies who have a propensity for getting hit while he himself has to be missed by endless rounds of enemy fire). Lazenby has a voice that I imagine Bond would certainly have. I certainly don't think he was a bad Bond. I think he WAS Bond. The other four actors have played their versions of Bond, but Lazenby is the only believable, human, imperfect James Bond. And his lines aren't that bad, come on. The only poorly delivered line was, "He had lots of guts." I think he should have delivered that with a bit more Connery, but that's a minor detail.

The stunts are great and so is the scenery, and the only bad cinematics are in the ski scenes when they show closeups from the front. They look very fake, but that must be forgiven for 1969 when it was made. They did not have Handicams and they certainly did not have Photoshop to blend projected images as well as we can nowadays. But they certainly do not distract the excitement from some of the best snow scenes in 007 films. The ski chases which became trademark of James Bond started here. It's funny how in the book, Bond is very worried about skiing, since he's rusty from not having skied for a long time. The sled chase is excellent also.

OHMSS is the only film where Bond drinks beer and gets married. Which brings me up to the next point, that Diana Riggs as Tracy Draco (later Bond) happens to be perhaps the best Bond girl ever. Without doubt, she is full of excitement and danger, not afraid to strap on a couple of skis amid gunfire and avalanche. Certainly not a certain Natalya Simonova. She is Bond's identical counterpart, experienced but having gotten nothing out of relationships, and quite a driver also. She's the only Bond girl to really connect with the audience, to make herself more important in comparison to Bond, but that's part of the excellent novel on which the movie is based. Whatever happens to her touches the audience more than whatever happens to Bond (who, as we all know, will always somehow make it). Her surprise appearance at the Christmas celebration brightens up everything in an instant, and the ending is probably the only genuinely sad scene in all 20 of the Bond films.

The opening scene is great in terms of action, but I found it rather disappointing that for no apparent reason, baddies want to kill Bond. The book does it a lot better, and it wouldn't have been much more difficult to do what the book did, although that would not have provided the proper material to introduce the new Bond with the immortal, "This never happened to the other fellow." See, how it is told in the novel is he spies on Tracy as she tries to drown herself, and by this time Bond knows her. He is spied on by Draco's men who take him in, and the rest of the story is told in flashback, with a car chase leading up to the casino scene and rendezvous, without all this fighting mysterious bad guys in between. But I thought the opening sequence was quite good, even with the change-up. It's just, with what proof does Bond try to rescue Tracy? She could have been just going out for a swim. It makes much more sense when he has already met Tracy. Yet some of the additions to the movie are good, such as having Tracy with Blofeld when SPECTRE headquarters is attacked. It makes it that much more personal.

This is my first review on IMDB, and OHMSS gets a well-deserved 10 out of 10. Bond in kilts, hypnosis, world domination, and Blofeld's cat combine to make it a worthy experience. Lazenby was not the best Bond, but perhaps the only real Bond. OHMSS is easily the best Bond film, and dare I say, the ONLY Bond film.
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This never happened to the other Fella
Dock-Ock2 October 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Let me give it to you straight, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is an absolute, 100% triumph. All the elements work well, firstly there is Peter Hunt's direction. Hunt should have been handed the Directors reins on a Bond movie long before this. He adds action and excitement and blends this in the most stilted and calm manor. In truth On Her Majesty's Secret Service is a return to the less Gadget and Comic Book laden world of the likes of Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice, and echoes the Flemmingesque thriller world of Dr No and From Russia With Love. Those who dont like the first two additions to the Bond series dont flinch, On Her Majesty's Secret Service has a strenghth and style beaming with enegy and excitement twinned with realism. never seen in a Bond Film before or since.

This will always be remembered as George Lazenby's go at Bond. It is also remenbered as the one Bond that flopped at the box office. Well, on a budget of $9million and with worldwide grosses of $80million, hopefully the notion of disapointment will disapeer. There is also the fact that the Video and DVD versions of the movie consistently outsell all other Bond Titles worldwide. George Lazenby is an absolute revelation as Bond. I had my doubts but was still interested to see how he did. Lazenby rivals Connery in the Romantic and Action scenes and does pretty well with the dramatic scenes. In truth he is the most under-rated Bond. He makes a very believable Flemmingesque Playboy. He looks good in a tuxedo, on ski's, with women, in punch ups. Lazenby is helped by a strong support cast. Diana Rigg is beautifull and very believable as the Contessa, Tracy, with whom our James falls in love with, and eventually marries. Rigg displays a full range of acting and beauty to make her the most memorable of Bond Girls, and for one, wich i dont mean to sopil, inparticular. Telly Savalas is a very creepy, chilling and enjoyable Blofeld. It could be said that he is the most memorable of Blofeld's. He is obviously having the time of his life with the part and it is a pitty he didn't play the character in future outings. There is also the return of M, Q in a rather quiet outing this time, and a Moneypenny, heart broken at the notion Bond could marry anybody other than herself.

Now, if you add to all the above some of the finest action set pieces in motion picture history you have an idea of the scale of this epic. The Alpine sets, and Skiing and Bobsled chases really bring out the purest sense of adventure. On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the most memorable Bond Movie from my Childhood. I remember watching this one Christmas eve with my Grandparents, and their house looked very much like Blofelds Alpine Fortress [Without the Ladies, alas]. The movie has really thrilling ski chases, you really do believe a man can ski, and once more think you are skiing with him.This is very much THE Christmas Bond movie. It is also soaked with some delightful christmas themes by the master John Barry, composing perhaps his best Bond theme. We Have All the Time in the world, sung by Louis Armstrong is a beautifuly moving song, made all the more so by Tracy's fate at the end of the movie. There is also Barry's rousing On Her Majesty's Secret Service Theme, unlike anything ever heared in cinema's or movies before.

But it is the realism between the characters and the story that helps make On Her Majesty's Secret Service work. By far the most under-rated of the Bond movies, and a strong contender for the Best Bond Movie of all time. This is the greatest. Bond movies should try to be to be like this in future. Go and see it for yourself, dont listen to the the negative reviews. You have all the time in the world.
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Best Bond?
qholway30 March 2003
Yeah, I think so. Like most people who are interested in James Bond, I saw the films over and over on TV before I read any of the books. I then got round to buying Casino Royale, and being knocked out by it - this was somewhat different to Moonraker and all that Roger Moore stuff. So I read the books in their sequence, seriously the best way, and by the time OHMSS came round, I had a pretty good idea of who James Bond was. And, I'm sorry to inform all the Seanophiles, James Bond is not Connery, Moore, Dalton (though he came close, but is Welsh..)or Brosnan. Oddly enough, given the choices, he's kind of like George Lazenby.

Sure, Sean Connery was suave, sexy, and spoke rather curiously, Timothy Dalton had the serious side sorted, Brosnan is sophisticated etc, Roger Moore.. well, another time, maybe.

George Lazenby, maybe due to his lack of experience, (though why is his debut so widely mulled over in that respect.... it's not something that most actors are subjected to?) is not so at ease with his surroundings, not so cocksure that everything is going to work out fine as the others, and this is the real James Bond. The one in the books. You can almost believe in this one. And when things don't work out fine, you feel a weird familiarity with him. He's just a man, though admittedly he's disproportionately talented at a pretty impressive range of activities, from skiing to flying, swordsmanship, shooting people, jumping out of things, carnal endeavours etc.. Oh no, sorry, that's me. Well, anyway, I'm quite tired now. OHMSS is the best of the films, though From Russia With Love contains possibly the finest fight scene of all and maybe the best trio of baddies (including a slightly peripatetic Blofeld)and is Connery's best.

George Lazenby is the best Bond, because his talents - a certain naturalistic charm, physical dexterity, and a capacity for possible failure - are used brilliantly, and he is closer by far than any of the others to the book-Bond.

There you go.

Oh, and Diana Rigg is the best 'Bond girl', though that description is not very fair to her, We Have All The Time In The World is the best Bond song, and the theme tune is possibly John Barry's finest work.. let alone being the best Bond title theme.

There you go again.

Thanks for reading, and if you happen to disagree, well... you're wrong. Cheers.
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Even if we have all the time in the world, the world is not enough.
Spikeopath8 May 2012
On Her Majesty's Secret Service is directed by Peter Hunt and adapted to screenplay by Richard Maibaum from the novel written by Ian Fleming. It stars George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Ilse Steppat, Yuri Borienko and Gabriele Ferzetti. Music is by John Barry and cinematography by Michael Reed.

Bond 6 and 007 is obsessed with locating SPECTRE supremo Ernst Stavro Blofeld. After rescuing beautiful Countess Tracy di Vincenzo from suicide, this brings Bond into contact with her father, Marc Ange Draco, who agrees to help Bond find Blofeld in exchange for 007 courting Tracy. Blofeld is located in the Switzerland Alps at Piz Gloria, where he is masterminding a fiendish plot involving biological extinction of food group species'. Bond will need to use all his wits to stop the plan from being executed, he also has big matters of the heart to contend to as well......

Connery gone, but not for good as it turned out, so into the tuxedo came George Lazenby, an Australian model with no previous acting experience of note. It would be Lazenby's only stint as 007, badly advised by those around him that Bond had no future in the upcoming 70s, his head swelling with ego by the day (something he readily admits and regrets), Lazenby announced he would only be doing the one James Bond film. The legacy of OHMSS is the most interesting in the whole Bond franchise, for where once it was reviled and wrongly accused of being a flop, it now, over 40 years later, is regarded as being one of the finest entries in the whole series. Yes it is still divisive, I have seen some fearful arguments about its worth, but generations of critics and film makers have come along to laud it as essential Bond and essential Fleming's Bond at that.

Everything about OHMSS is different to what Connery's Bond had become, the gadgets are gone and heaven forbid, Bond got a heart and fell in love. He was a man, with real aggression, real emotions and forced to use brain and brawn instead of mechanical trickery. Changes in the production department, too, wasn't just about Lazenby's appearance. Peter Hunt, previously the Bond film's editor, directed his one and only Bond film, and Michael Reed on cinematography also appears for the one and only time. New Bond, new era, but reviews were mixed and in spite of making a profit of over $73 million Worldwide, this was considerably down on previous films. The reviews didn't help, with much scorn poured on Lazenby for not being Connery, but really it's hard to imagine anyone coming in and not getting beat with that particular stick! Box office take wasn't helped by the film's length, at over 2 hours 10 minutes, this restricted the number of showings in theatres, something that should be greatly noted.

Away from Bond anyway, OHMSS is a stunning action thriller in its own right. From the opening beach side fist fight, where uppercuts lift men off their feet and drop kicks propel them backwards, to helicopter attacks, bobsleigh pursuits (resplendent with punches and flinging bodies), ski chases and a car chase in the middle of a stock car race: on ice! There's enough pulse pumping action here to fill out two Bond movies. But the Bond aspects are magnificent as well. Lazenby has wonderful physicality and throws a mean punch, he cuts a fine figure of a man and he's acting inexperience isn't a problem in the hands of the astute Hunt. Lazenby is matched by Rigg as Tracy, the best Bond girl of them all, she's no bimbo, she's tough (fighting off a guy with a broken bottle), smart yet vulnerable, funny and heart achingly beautiful, her interplay with Lazenby is brilliantly executed, so much so that when the devastating finale arrives it has extra poignancy. A scene that closes the film on a downbeat note and remains the most emotional scene ever put into a Bond movie.

Savalas finally gives us a villain who can compete with Bond on a physical level, making the fight between them an evenly matched and believable one. He lacks Pleasance's sinister fizzog, though the bald pate and Grecian looks marks Savalas out as an imposing foe as well. The Swiss Alps setting is gorgeous, with Reed capturing the scope magnificently, while some of his colour lensing in the interiors soothe the eyes considerably. Barry's score is one of his best, lush romantic strains accompany Tracy and James, operatic overtures dart in and out of the Swiss scenery and the James Bond theme is deftly woven into the action sequences. Louis Armstrong's beautiful "We Have All The Time In The World" features prominently, perfectly romantic and forever to be thought of as part of the Bond Universe. Finally it's the great writing that gives us the best sequence involving the trifecta of Bond, Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and M (Bernard Lee). 5 minutes of class that gives Moneypenny an acknowledged importance in the relationship between the two men in her life. It's just one of a number of truly excellent scenes in the greatest Bond film of them all. 10/10
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One of the best
ThomasHayden6 March 2005
Giving the series a radical twist after the glorious Connery's farewell to 007 movies in You Only Live Twice, the producers intended for the first time to introduce a new take on Bond, returning to the literary roots of the character, as originally described in Fleming's novels and short stories. So Maibaum this time faithfully adapted one of Fleming's most successful and appreciated works: On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The screenplay is so close to the book that actually the movie is somewhat contradictory with previous Bond installments: Bloefeld and Bond don't know each other (???), and, in order to make the plot line look more logical, by changing the physical appearance of the villain, the part was given to Telly Savallas, who looks too amiable to be the bad guy, instead of the scarred and terrific Donald Pleasance. The plot is also very different from what the usual fans expect from Bond movies, being mainly focused on the romance between Bond and Tracy during the first half, then moving to Bloefeld's stronghold in Switzerland, and ending with 45 minutes of extremely exciting, non stop action.

The film's pacing is pretty irregular. The romance is probably the best part, at the best of Bond tradition, mainly thanks to Diana Rigg's inspired performance as Tracy, perfectly depicting an emotionally unbalanced, yet appealing and glamorous, woman. Lazenby's OK (at least at this part of the movie), but he lacks the masculinity and roughness Connery showed, what ultimately damages the movie, specially during the disastrous sequences which take place in Bloefeld's research facility in the Swiss Alps, which are laughable). There's nothing remarkable about them. (what a silly conspiracy!!), but 45 minutes spent, which make the movie overlong. When everything seems ruined, the film revives and takes us on a wild ride on an action packed roller-coaster (ski chase, Bond and Draco raid on Bloefeld's base), with a brief romantic rest as Bond and Tracy talk about their future life in common (Bond a journalist?),a very touching scene.

The ending remains as one of the top Bond moments, tragical and romantic. The stylish pre-credit sequence is equally brilliant,showing the natural elegance and "joie de vivre" we all associate with Bond.

A question: what if Connery had accepted to play Bond this time? I think this could be the best Bond movie ever made. But the producers came up with a martial arts expert with no experience in acting, which sadly overshadows many good points(on Lazenby's defense, it was his first performance), but this film still intensely shines as an interesting, strange gem in the Bond canon.
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Liked it
cmt-223 December 1998
I must admit I initially never gave this entry much of a chance. Whenever it was on TV I tried to watch it, but I just couldn't get into it. Then last year, I saw a widescreen tape version on sale and decided to buy it. When I finished watching it I was sorry I had ignored it for so long. It's very good. I thought Lazenby did a good job as Bond, and Savalas turned in equally good work as Bond's nemesis. And Rigg is as sharp as she is lovely. This is one for the collection.
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a very unique addition to the Bond series
Tom Willis26 February 2011
I have read some of the negative reviews for this movie and I have to say that I agree with NONE of them except for the slightly unnecessary two and a half hour length. Regardless, this doesn't ruin On Her Majesty's Secret Service in any way to warrant a serious complaint as far as I'm concerned. As with the positive reviews this film received, I agree with most all of them. For one, George Lazenby replacing Sean Connery as Bond may have displeased some but I think he did just as good of a job and would not have minded a bit if he became the next Bond for a few more films. This movie also had some enjoyable action scenes; some of which would later get mimicked in future Bond installments. The bond girl is by far one of the best. To be a little more specific, this bond girl plays a significant part in the Bond series as a whole that no other bond girl shares. However, I won't reveal why that is because I don't usually give spoilers for the courtesy of those who haven't seen the films that I review. The ending alone for this movie got several mixed reviews but I can say with certainty that had it not ended the way it did, the Bond franchise might have come to an end.
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Best Bond Film?
FrankFaz28 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
For me it is. No laser beams, no "hollowed out vol-kane-O." Just story and solid acting.

I wish Lazenby had the chance to do more films so we would have a body of work with which to judge him better. I thought Brosnan had surpassed Connery in Goldeneye, but the rest of his efforts were laughable. With two in the books, I think Dan Craig is the best, with George Lazenby second, then Connery. I have hardcovers of all the Fkeming Bond novels and I think Dan Craig is the closest yet (fat and away) to Fleming's alter ego!

And how can you beat Diana Rigg as THE BOND WOMAN (he married her for chrissakes.

However, I could have done without Savalas as Blofeld.
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Beautiful Film
Mark Nurdin19 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
For many, OHMSS is the Bond Film to forget. No star actor in the role, a different style of Bond story and a tragic ending seem to be the ingredients to put an audience off this film.

This reviewer's message is simple, then: NUTS TO YOU! This is probably the most beautiful film in the entire series. We are taken back away from the gadgets and huge set pieces, and brought back to the secret agent and human being that is James Bond.

Bond meets and falls in love with Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg). Her father, a notorious gang leader, has information to the whereabouts of Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas). the evil genius plans to hold the world to ransom until he is pardoned for his crimes to humanity. Bond infiltrates and eventually succeeds in stopping Bolfeld's scheme. He and Tracy marry, but Blofeld and his assistant, Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppart) are waiting around the corner...

BOND, JAMES BOND: Is played with considerable charm and skill by George Lazenby. The man had some mighty big shoes to fill after the resignation of Sean Connery, and he fills them pretty well. The only drawback is the constant referring back to Connery's films, constantly reminding us that this is a different actor playing 007. The line "This never happened to the other fella" seems completely out of place if we are supposed to believe that every actor who has played Bond plays the same character.

EYE CANDY: Diana Rigg is gorgeous as always as the ill-fated Mrs Bond. (Remember her in The Avengers? Oh, Mrs. Peel...) The chemistry between the two leading actors is wonderful and very sweet, and you can really believe that the two characters are in love with each other.

BADDIE: Telly Savalas is an interesting choice to play the leader of SPECTRE, but a good one. However i do think they could have explained why his appearance is different a little more. Then again, this IS the Bond world, where we have different actors playing Bond and his CiA counterpart, Felix Leiter. Oh well...

OVERALL: One of the best looking Bonds to look at. It is a real pity that "Diamonds Are Forever" happened after this film.
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The best 007 film I've seen; 10 out of 10
mcfische12 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
May Contain Spoilers

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was the first time that a new actor besides Sean Connery portrayed the secret agent 007. The film in it's initial box-office release was the second-lowest grossing Bond film at it's time, although it was not a box-office faliure, and now is regarded by many as one of the best Bond films. I personally feel it is THE best Bond I have ever seen, even better then "Die Another Day."

This film has a different look to it than any other Bond film, and unlike "Thunderball" the difference in the production cast and crew doesn't isolate the film; it enhances it. The film has a very classic, lavish, "40s" look to it. I think even then that style was old-fashioned, but it works very well. Director Peter Hunt made a good choice to have this film remain very close to the original Ian Fleming novel because, although I never read the book, I can tell that the decision resulted in a great story. The film focuses less on gadgets on action and instead strives on story and character. There IS plenty of action in the film, but that's not what the film is about. It's about the story. The story has action, it has a little of 007's style of humor, it has sadness, and for once, real romance. The "world domination" plot had only once been used before in a 007 film; "You Only Live Twice." Now the villain, who for the second time is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, desires a title and a full pardon. If he does not get his way; the world economy will be destroyed through the destruction of all forms of crops with bacterialogical warfare.

The new James Bond, George Lazenby, obviously had a lot of pressure. He wasn't an actor, he was not prepared to be a star of a major film, and he had to live up to the very high standards of Sean Connery. He does it perfectly. I don't think Sean Connery could've played James Bond in the way George does. His James Bond is humorous (the typical 007 wit), he can be deadly (almost drowning a thug, killing two guards, disobeying orders) he can be frightened (scene before the car chace and after the ski chase) and for the first time, truly compassionate (truly falls in love and marries a woman). The new Bond girl, Tracy de Vicenzo, is played wonderfully by Dianna Rigg. After two films since "Goldfinger" with pathetic women who can't compare with Pussy Galore, Tracy surpasses her as a woman equal to Bond. She can fight like Pussy, and she also resists Bond's advances initially. However, she is not won over with a single kiss. Bond has to make love to her over a large period of time. She isn't the first to come to Bond's rescue, but she doesn't blow their cover. She's an even more reckless driver than 007, and can drive like that without wreacking the car. Blofeld has changed with the new actor. In additon to his plastic surgery, he now does more of his work himself, and is no longer the completely calm, Eastern-european accent talking villain of earlier. He is more witty and charming. It is established that two years have passed from "You Only Live Twice" to OHMSS, and the characters M and Monneypenny show age. Q seems to have aged a lot better. The rest of the cast does a fantastic job.

The typical Bond plot has alterations here. Bond does not simply meet two or three women and get them to love him. He actually makes love to a single woman. The woman working for the villain here is not pretty. Irma Bunt is an old lady, but she's a tough one. A lot of the gadgetry is gone in this film, with the exception of a device for opening a safe. Bond goes undercover in this film as a nerdy baronet from the Collage of Arms in London (incidentally, Bond finds his own family crest there, with the motto "The World Is Not Enough.") And the grand finale, Bond is married at the end of the film. However, the film ends on a tragic note when Blofeld murders Bond's new bride. It is this tragedy that will help audiences understand the cold dark exterior of MI6's 007. The effects of Tracy's death are not seen enough in Roger Moore's films, but Timothy Dalton (although I've never seen him as Bond yet) sounds like the way Bond would act after something like this.

I have only two minor complaints in this film. I thought Telly Savalas did a great Job as Blofeld, but he just doesn't compare to Donald Pleasance. I liked the song "We Have All The Time In The World" but they could've had a better singer.

The two complaints I have do not ruin the film. The ultimate Bond masterpiece; the best I've seen.
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OHMSS is a very good action packed Bond film with a great ending!
Movie Nuttball20 January 2003
George Lazenby played a very good James Bond and its a shame he didn't play the role anymore. OHMSS is a very good 007 film that is filled with lots of realistic fights. I just couldn't believe the ending of the film. I was really surprised. Telly Savales played Blofeld very good but his Blofeld was much different that the late great Donald Plesence's Blofeld. If you like James Bond I think you'll like this one a lot!
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Certainly one of the best.
bock_g17 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) is the first Bond film to replace Sean Connery and the only film which Australian actor George Lazenby portrays the role of James Bond. This film is probably the most faithful adaption to the Bond novels, giving the film a sense of realism and drama. James Bond is on a search for his nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld (portrayed by Telly Savalas) who had merely escaped his death from the previous film, You Only Live Twice (1967). He encounters a beautiful countess named Tracy (portrayed by Diana Rigg) who is the daughter of Marc Ange Draco (portrayed by Gabrielle Fazzetti), boss of a huge crime organization called the Union Corse. Due to Bond's detour, M (Bernard Lee) suspends him from the mission, Bond responds to almost resigning from the Secret Service as he is saved by Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) who writes to M that he was going to take a several-week vacation. As Bond falls in love with Tracy, he also finds connections to Blofeld through a College of Arms professor, Sir Hillary Bray (portrayed by George Baker). Apparently Blofeld is disguising as a Count running a clinic in the Swiss Alps that supposedly cures allergies of all kinds. Bond infiltrates Blofeld's base disguising as Hillary Bray, encountering beautiful girl patients ("Angels of Death") from various countries. Bond discovers the psychic therapy the patients go through while sleeping with one of the patients. Bond's cover gets blown and is captured by Blofeld, who reveals his plan to spread a pandemic that could wipe out the world through his "cured" patients. Bond escapes the base through an elaborate and well-choreographed ski chase as he encounters Tracy who helps him escape from Blofeld's crew. Later that night, Bond proposes to Tracy (something we will never see in a Bond film) and plans to quit his job after this mission. Unfortunately, their time is cut short as Blofeld kidnaps Tracy after another ski chase. Bond and Draco rescues Tracy and blows up Blofeld's facility. Blofeld breaks his neck during a bobsled chase with Bond, but manages to survive. Bond and Tracy get married and are happily driving down the road until a sudden machine gun fire from Blofeld's henchman Irma Bunt (portrayed by Ilse Steppat) fatally hits Tracy. The film ends with Bond in tears (another thing we'll never see in a Bond film) over his blood-shed Bride, as he murmurs to a traffic cop that "We had all the time in the World".

This film was financially successful, but did not make a profit as much as its predecessors did. The critical response was somewhat positive, but was negative towards Lazenby's portrayal of James Bond. I would give a lot of credit to the filmmakers (especially director Peter Hunt) who polished Lazenby into a fine Bond. Considering how Lazenby did not have any acting experience prior to this film, I would give him credit for portraying that very emotional and tender side of Bond. Lazenby also matched that physique of a Bond, as it is portrayed through the excellently choreographed fight sequences. Despite those feats, Lazenby quit the role of Bond from a bad career advice from his agent who saw no future into the Bond films. I would also praise Lazenby for not parroting Connery's take on Bond, as most actors would most-likely parrot their predecessor's approach to the character. This film would not have been as good if Connery was portraying his rough and cold-hearted edge of Bond. On Her Majesty's Secret Service is a great film with great action, story, and music that defines the true essence and pleasure of a Bond film.
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An excellent high octane Bond adventure
tonynworah9 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
One Her Majesty's Secret Service still remains one of my most favourite James Bond movies. It was the film that introduced an unknown Australian model called George Lazenby as the debonair agent 007, following the iconic Sean Connery's first exit from the Bond franchise.

In this sixth Bond installment, 007 is on the hunt for his arch nemesis, Enrst Starvo Blofeld, the head of the world wide criminal organization known as SPECTRE. Fate brings him into contact with Draco, another criminal boss who is the head of the Corsican Union, the French equivalent of the Sicilian Mafia. Both of them strike an unholy alliance. In return for Draco using his contacts to find out the whereabouts of Blofeld, Bond will marry his only daughter, Theresa. To sweeten the deal, Marco promises to give him a dowry of 1million pounds on the day of the wedding. As the charming Draco puts it, he has no reason to give information to an employee of Her Majesty's Secret Service but may give it to his future son in law.

With Draco's assistance, Bond posing as a genealogist penetrates Blofeld's lair in the Alpine mountains of Switzerland where the environment is as dangerous as the enemy itself. Blofeld himself is now posing as a count doing some research work into finding a cure for allergies.

Typical of all James Bond movies, there is a bevy of gorgeous girls. In this movie the girls representing almost every race in the world are angels of death orchestrated by Blofeld to carry out a diabolical corruption of the world's agricultural industry.

When this movie came out, reviews were mixed and mostly negative. Pepole were still not used to the idea of a different person playing Bond but with the passage of time, the movie shows why it is a classic.

First, the movie eschewed all those fantastic plots of world domination and in Lazenby we see a grittier, more down to earth Bond. For the first time since Dr. No, there are no survival gadgets for Bond to rely on, not even a gun. It is just his fists and wits against a bevy of gunmen and a terrain that is dangerous as the enemy itself. A lot of credit must go to Peter Hunt who as much as possible stuck faithfully to Fleming's novel and was still able to eke out an action packed suspenseful thriller without any reliance on gadgetry.

Check out the ski scenes which still remains the best and most suspenseful ski scenes in all the Bond movies accompanied with a wonderful score by John Barry. That score is among my favorites movie scores of all times. A gritty suspenseful score that for the first time, I enjoyed more than the traditional James Bond theme.

George Lazenby's performance may be average but his interpretation of James Bond was more realistic than the super cool Sean Connery (whom I still idolize nevertheless). You could see his emotions thinly veiled because of the circumstance he finds himself in-his anger with M who forces him out of Bedlam (an operation to hunt down Blofeld), his tenderness with the emotionally disturbed Theresa Draco, his fear when being pursued by Blofeld's henchmen, his helplessness as for once he has to depend solely on a woman to survive, his agony at the loss of his loved one at the end of the movie. Lazenby displayed a Bond that was not a superman but just an ordinary man as depicted by the Fleming novels.

Telly Savalas of Kojak fame easily stole the show as the charming Blofeld. He departed from the menacing specter of Donald Pleasance's Blofeld in You Only Live Twice and displayed a physical presence that could easily match Bond in physical combat. That being said, Pleasance still remains my favorite Blofeld of all times.

Using the precedent set by Goldfinger, the producers hired gorgeous Avenger girl Diana Rigg to play the ill fated Theresa Bond which she did solidly. She was not the typical helpless girl relying on Bond to save her. In one of her greatest scenes, the movie makers surprisingly and wisely made her sit behind the wheel instead of Bond in order to outrun Blofeld's men; she skis with Bond to evade capture and defends herself against two henchmen with just a broken bottle. Her performance and Savalas' performance were enough to cover Lazenby's acting shortcomings which were not much by the way. It is a pity that Lazenby did not continue with the Bond role after his agent convinced him that the Bond franchise had no future. I'm sure he would have made a great Bond actor in the future Bond films.

Of course like most Bond films, there were some illogicality, chief among them being how come Bond and Blofeld did not recognize each other after they had both crossed swords in You Only Live Twice. This was a big plot hole which has never been explained to me.

Also there were hints of racism in the movie when the angels of death were given their nations' traditional gourmets to dine on. The dark skinned Jamaican girl was given a banana, a fruit traditionally associated with monkeys and which has been a bane of racist jokes against blacks. That scene up till now rankles me whenever I watch it but I put it down to the attitude of the sixties then. Now, in this era of political correctness, I seriously doubt any Bond movie would allow such a racist gaffe.

Despite all this, OHMSS is a high octane adventure movie. The main action starts in the second half of the movie and never stops until the last tragic scene where Lazenby shows that he had the potential of making a great actor.

I recommend this fine movie to all Bond fans.
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The best James Bond
bwilson-30821 December 2010
Forget all the discussion about why George Lazenby had only one outing as James Bond and appreciate this for what it is: a perfect adventure film to delight in when wanting something to relate to either in deepest winter around Christmas time or else when the weather is sunny and things are so different.

This film transcends so much of the other Bond material: it has wit and humour without the cartoonishness of other films, a James Bond who is capable of tenderness unlike the brutal thug that is Daniel Craig's characterisation, a genuine central romance and tragedy which pulls at the heart strings of those who care, stunning scenery, unforgettable music and some of the most exciting action scenes in film.

There are, of course, weaknesses - James Bond's exploits with the girls detracts, in my view, from the central romance and causes the action to lag. But that only contrasts with Diana Rigg's Tracey who is so refreshingly different from other James Bond girls - a genuine characterisation of a strong-willed young woman who loves James Bond intensely. It is also lovely to hear this classically trained English actress speak poetry to Telly Savalas's Blofeld.

This is not cartoon mayhem. It is, of course, fantastic adventure, but it also brings characters and events that we care for and can relate to. The gadgetry is set to the side and we can concentrate more on the central action involving people in one of the most involving action films ever. My subjective feeling is that it is the very best in the series, its serious edge enhancing rather than diminishing it.
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Criminally underrated classic Bond
Enforcer6864 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Having been a huge Bond fan since I was a mere lad in the early '80s, I still don't know why I just recently saw this film for the first time in 2010. I suppose I must blame the fact that it is criminally underrated and under promoted. It's very rarely shown on TV except on holiday Bondathons (I love those!) and casual fans typically know nothing of it. I've always considered myself more than just a casual Bond fan, so I finally ordered the Ultimate Edition DVD recently and I INSTANTLY ranked this among the all time greats of the series. Wish I had seen it earlier, but no matter, I will view it many more times over the years....

Lazenby's Bond was much more realistic and true to the novels, a human being that is far more talented than most, but not a superhero and in this movie not armed with numerous gadgets. He certainly played the role with dignity and it's a shame he didn't return for at least one more. But I am glad that Roger Moore was able to enter the series in his prime shortly after this rather than waiting until later, so it worked out.

Beautiful places have always been an integral part of Bond films, and it doesn't get more beautiful than the Swiss Alps. I'm going to make a point of visiting Blofeld's headquarters (a real restaurant) one of these days. It must have been quite an undertaking to build it in such an isolated place as they discussed in the DVD extras. I also love Bond's modernized Aston Martin in this film and the look of the film in general is just fantastic. And for home theater owners, the avalanche scene sounds absolutely amazing on a powerful system! I thought pictures on the wall in my theater room were going to fall!

SPOILERS: This film is unique in that Bond falls in love marries for the only time in the entire series, but being Bond, it was bound to end badly. A touching scene, the only real one in the entire Bond series actually. His wife was a very memorable and charismatic Bond girl and now I can put into context the visit that Roger Moore made in the beginning of For Your Eyes Only.

Bottom line, if you're a Bond fan, having this in your collection is mandatory.
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I'm sure there must be a restaurant or sports club up there.
Andrew Blackburn10 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
(Contains spoilers - in fact, presumes that you've already seen the film, since most people come here after they've seen the movie to find out what other people thought of it...)

I read Fleming's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" before I saw the film. As someone who was born five years after the movie was released, I realize that this puts me in something of a minority! But there it is. With this vantage point, coming to the film after having read the book, I was able to appreciate the incredible visualization of Fleming's novel. The sets and locations were perfect. Piz Gloria looked *exactly* the way I imagined it would. (In fact, the Piz Gloria location was a restaurant that was under construction at the time of filming; I am told to this day, they display a plaque in the entrance hall marking its celluloid debut. An Internet search on Schilthorn and Piz Gloria will reveal the relevant information...)

The people who complain about the "downer" ending have clearly never read the book; if they had, they would appreciate the consistency with Fleming's novel (truly shared only by "Doctor No"; "Goldfinger" was fairly close, though).

A lot of people criticize "OHMSS" for a lack of action or a lack of gadgets, claiming that these are "necessary" to a proper James Bond film. (Curiously, these claims are often uttered by people who then say that Connery was their favorite James Bond, whose films, on average, featured very few of the over-the-top "gadgets" that appear in today's Bond films.) Those who complain about the lack of gadgets in "OHMSS" are correct - there simply aren't any (and there shouldn't be; Bond has quit his job as an agent for MI6). Those who complain about the lack of action clearly miss the fist-fight in the opening scene, the ski chase, the bobsled chase, the car chase... "Oh, but they're too spread out" the naysayers will then naysay. "Well, people don't engage in a car/bobsled/ski/ice skate chase simply because it's been ten minutes since the last one!" I counter.

Someone here speculated that "OHMSS" is the Bond film for people who don't like Bond films. That person is correct. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is the Bond movie for people who liked the Bond books. Plot, character development, suspense, action, and a little glamour thrown in.

Telly Savalas does seem out-of-place as a US citizen portraying someone who is supposedly an international criminal; since the films were made in the UK, however, his performance probably gave the *right* international feel to audiences there.

Lazenby really does a serviceable - perhaps not inspired, but adequate - job as Bond. No, he's not Connery, but neither is Brosnan. He has the right look, and the confident moves of a model suit the confident moves of someone like James Bond.

Diana Rigg, well, she's incomparable. Almost too much actress for this film (and would be, were it not for Savalas).

In all, my favorite Bond movie, period, and it's unlikely to change anytime soon. (When I went to see "The World Is Not Enough" (Orbis non suficit), I had trouble remembering whether I was at a James Bond film or a Batman movie. I expected Brosnan to put on a silly mask and cape at any moment.) All of the style, class, action, and story you could ask for from this character.
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Same Old James...Only More So
Bill Slocum9 October 2009
At the time, and for more than a decade after, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was the outlier among Bond films, the one without Connery or Moore, without a distinctive opening theme song, and - most critically - without a cute ending. Seen now from a greater remove in time, it's easier to appreciate "OHMSS" not for what it isn't, but for what it is.

For one thing, it's a love story cleverly disguised as a spy thriller. James Bond (George Lazenby) has fallen for a seemingly self-destructive woman named Teresa (Diana Rigg), the hard-fallen daughter of a genial Corsican crime boss (Gabriele Ferzetti). Bond beds her, which actually pleases her father since he thinks it will give Teresa a second chance on life. Thinking of duty, Bond offers to pursue the relationship in exchange for information on the whereabouts of that cat-loving supervillain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Lazenby remains the youngest actor to have put on the tux and Walther PPK, and he looks a bit callow in his one turn as 007. But look deeper and you see a performance rich and compelling.

Yes, Bond was established on the movie screen by Sean Connery, and Connery remains the definitive Bond in his original cold, hard-edged style. But like critic Danny Peary observed 20 years ago, is it possible to imagine Connery in a barn telling a woman that he not only loved her, but wanted to hang up his gun and marry her? Here and elsewhere, Lazenby presents a different kind of Bond, vulnerable, uncertain, and touching.

"This never happened to the other fellow" is the way Lazenby puts it, in a wink to the audience at the end of the cold opening. To me, that's a huge part of the charm of this film.

What else is terrific? Firstly, you have the best score of any Bond film. John Barry's titles music, an instrumental this time, with its crisp, chilly uniquely guitar-centered orchestration, goes very well with the ski chase that fills out most of the movie's second-to-last half hour, and his "We Have All The Time In The World" co-written with Hal David and sung by Louis Armstrong, remains the best of all Bond songs.

Rigg captivates as the troubled heroine ("Teresa was a saint. My name is Tracy.") Telly Savalas has the Blofeld role this time, and nails it with the right smooth mix of charm and menace. You watch him purr as he holds his cigarette in an effeminate manner, yet you never lose your guard with him, or with his deadly assistant Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat, in what would amount to a posthumous performance.) Director Peter Hunt knew the Bond formula from years of editing the films. This, his only time helming a 007 flick, has the classic look of the Connery films but a freshness to its presentation that makes it stand out 40 years on.

There's also the "Angels Of Death", beautiful pawns in Blofeld's latest world-wrecking scheme. Nestled within a mountaintop resort in the Alps, they giggle like schoolgirls as Bond appears in the guise of a kilt-wearing genealogist. Angela Scoular and Catherine Schell make for appealing conquests, though 007 somehow misses Joanna Lumley as one of the Angels, about the only thing in the movie Lazenby doesn't get right.

I'm not completely sold on "OHMSS". The fight scenes are choppily edited, and it runs on too long in parts. Having Lazenby dubbed by George Baker for a long stretch of the film to fit an obscure point about Bond working undercover was a mistake that rankles with repeat viewings.

But "OHMSS" is a brilliant film all told, a spy thriller that really thrills, and a Bond film that brings home the character Ian Fleming wrote about in his great novels. It's a shame Lazenby never did get a chance to follow up on his performance. At least he never suffered the indignity of becoming an old or bored 007 on screen. He's always young in this, one of the best Bond adventures, and the riveting antithesis of what you expect from 007.
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Re-evaluate this ignored classic
asdodge12 December 2008
This movie was PANNED by critics and accused of being a bomb in the theaters (it returned 10-times the production cost- but did not get the grossly huge returns of the previous two Bonds). The on-set turmoil between Lazenby and others, as well as his announcement he would not return even before the movie premiered had more to do with the film's lesser receipts than it being a poor movie.

Had Lazenby stuck around, he may have out-Bond Connery. Lazenby was better looking (more handsome and less rough) and more in line with the novels' descriptions of Bond than Connery. However, the tides are changing and now that there are 22 Bond films (from EON), folks are more willing to recognize the quality of movies outside of Connery.

The story and scripting are top notch, and once two divergent story lines merge, it gets better. The plot to OHMSS is based on the return of Blofeld and his schemes of world domination. The rumors of Blofeld running an allergy clinic and demanding recognition of some noble's title he claims is due him brings Bond in to investigate. Bond also comes across one Tracy Di Vicenzo (Dianna Rigg), a manic-depressive who rebels against the authority of her crime lord father. The father offers information and aid to Bond in exchange for Bond courting his daughter "to dominate her." Bond discovers that it is THE Blofeld and that Blofeld is up to no good (what a surprise!) and must work to stop him and his 'Angels of Death." along the way, Bond actually falls in love with Tracy, leading to a climactic and shocking end-game in the story.

Lazenby is fine as Bond- maybe not quite as comfortable as Connery had become and, even before filming he was being hounded for not being Connery. Yet, he has a charm and a smoothness even Connery did not have (though close) and was a good choice to replace Connery, as he was similar in looks, mannerisms, etc.

The big question was Telly Savalas as Blofeld- probably the least appreciated version of Blofeld, Savalas is an able actor and is diabolical enough, just not as deeply sinister as we imagine Blofeld should be. Also, his voice was not dubbed, so there is a flat American accent and not the rolling, crackly voice of the other movies. Even Donald Pleasance (Blofeld in "You Only Live Twice") put in a good accent (though again, not as cruel as the first couple of hidden-faced #1/Blofeld characters). Savalas does a fine job, very fine... but it just seems off a tad with the American accent and mannerisms.

A change from the formula is that the main henchman is a large woman- Irma Bunt. Otherwise, all the ingredients are here for an action-packed thriller straight from the Bond Formula Machine, just no Connery this time. An enjoyable movie, moreso if you can get over the obsession with Connery. Give it a second 0or even first) chance. It will not disappoint you if you like the Bond movies.
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One of the Best
grendelkhan30 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of my favorite Bond's. It has the best story and most closely resemble the original novel. It has become notorious for featuring a one-time Bond, George Lazenby, but it surpasses most of the later films.

Lazenby gets far too much criticism. As a first time actor, he is quite good. Yes, his performance is mixed, but so are several other actors, many with far more experience. More time should have been put into acting classes and rehearsal for Lazenby, to prepare him for the role. Instead, they concentrated on his look and mannerisms. This has been one of the failing aspects to the films; the emphasis on sight rather than substance.

Diana Rigg is fantastic as Tracy, which is to be expected. Who else but Emma Peel could marry James Bond? (wonder what Mr. Peel thought, or Steed, for that matter.) Rigg is the first, and arguably the last real actress to play the female lead in a Bond film. Most are chosen for their looks and their performance rarely rises above looking sexy. Rigg has the looks and sex appeal, but she also has the acting chops and tends to dominate any scene she is in.

Telly Savalas was an interesting, yet mixed choice for Blofeld. He is quite charming, but not very menacing. He was far deadlier in the Dirty Dozen. Blofeld was far more effective before he was seen in the series. Imagination was always far better than reality. Savalas seems more like a gangster than a megalomaniac. Since I saw this after Kojak, I kept waiting for him to say, "who loves ya baby?"

The stunts are fantastic and act in service to the plot. The ski chase is gripping and the tension builds throughout. Although it becomes obvious in several scenes that Diana Rigg is doubled by a man, it is not too distracting.

Ultimately, the story raises this above the level of most Bond films. The plot moves along at a quick pace and there are few sidelines. The jokes are kept to a minimum and character is stressed. The actions scenes are eye catching, but never out of place. The threat is believable and the final resolution to Blofeld's plans works.

Spoiler: The director has said he would have preferred to open Diamonds Are Forever with Tracy's death, and then lead to the search for Blofeld. I disagree. I think the death scene is one of Lazenby's best and it carries quite an impact. It let's you know that Bond must return to his work to gain vengeance. I think DAF should have opened with a flashback to the scene and then the hunt for Blofeld. If the death had not occurred at the end of OHMSS, then the opening of DAF would feel like a cheat, much like the opening of the second Austin Powers film. It would just seem like an excuse to get rid of the wife and return to business as usual.
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