The title was a corruption of a very familiar phrase known to most British people. For many decades, all correspondence sent from Government departments e.g. the Tax Office, Social Services etc, arrived in envelopes which did not have a stamp, but had the words, "On Her ("His" when there was a male monarch) Majesty's Service" printed on the envelope. Such correspondence was usually referred to as, "OHMS".
Features the only signature gun barrel sequence of all Bond films in which Bond drops down on one knee while shooting at the audience. It's also the only version of the sequence where the descending blood completely erases Bond's image, leaving only the red circle.
There are many reasons why George Lazenby only made one appearance as James Bond. According to the DVD Documentary, here are some of the main reasons: 1. Lazenby's youthful cockiness rankled Albert R. Broccoli's nerves. One incident mentioned is Lazenby skiing down the slopes on his own (resulting in the broken arm) and a moment of arrogance on Lazenby's part that spoiled a cast and crew party. 2. The notoriously harsh British tabloids writing up unfavorable stories about Lazenby and how he fails to measure up to Sean Connery, thereby swaying public opinion against the movie before it was released. One incident cited by Lazenby was during an interview with a reporter in the commissary in which Diana Rigg jokingly yelled from across the room "I'm having garlic for lunch, darling! I hope you are too!" This lead to an article in which Rigg supposedly hated Lazenby so much that "She eats garlic before love scenes". 3. Lazenby, believed that the Bond series was over in the wake of more sophisticated films like The Graduate (1967) and Easy Rider (1969), and the tuxedo-clad secret agent was out of touch with the newly liberated 1970s. He mentioned to his agent that he wasn't sure if he wanted to play Bond again, even before this film was released. The producers heard this and were none too pleased. Lazenby had been offered a seven picture deal and had signed a letter of intent to star in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). He had even been paid an initial fee installment which he later refunded. Although some claim the film was a box-office failure, it was in fact a huge hit, recouping more than ten times its cost and becoming the second highest grossing film of the year at the worldwide box-office.
The theme "We Have All the Time in the World" was the last thing that Louis Armstrong ever recorded. He died two years later. It is also the first theme song in the series not to include the film's title as part of the lyrics.
The producers originally intended to explain the change of lead actors in the film by saying that Bond had undergone plastic surgery because his "old" face was now too well known by foreign spies and terrorists for him to go undercover. But they then decided not to refer to the change at all, and thus hopefully minimize the public attention being paid to George Lazenby's replacing Sean Connery. However, after the opening action sequence, right before the titles, Bond says directly to the camera, "This never happened to the other fellow," an intentionally comedic reference to the change in actors.
This is one of the most faithful adaptations of an Ian Fleming novel; virtually everything in the book occurs in the film. Staying so close to the source actually caused some continuity problems due to the different order of the films. For example, in this film Bond and Blofeld seem to be meeting for the first time, despite having met face-to-face in the film version of You Only Live Twice (1967). Some details are different: Count Bleauville is changed to Count Bleauchamp, and Ruby Windsor becomes Ruby Barrett. The situations of Bond's taking a leave of absence, and his discovery by Blofeld, are different. Tracy is not kidnapped. Blofeld is completely different in appearance from Telly Savalas, being described as having long silvery-white hair, an aquiline nose, a wrinkled forehead, a slender body, a nostril that has been eaten away by tertiary syphilis, and no earlobes. Savalas's Blofeld has none of these features - he doesn't even have a European accent. However, his earlobes were clipped back to serve a plot element.
During the filming at Piz Gloria, the cast and crew received their per diems in cash. Upon seeing George Lazenby with a suitcase stuffed full of cash, Telly Savalas invited him to a late-night poker game that he regularly held with crew members, and promptly relieved Lazenby of having to carry so much extra weight. Upon hearing of this, Harry Saltzman visited the location, joined the game over Savalas's protests, and won back Lazenby's money. He then informed Savalas in no uncertain terms that he was not to victimize his "boy" (Lazenby) again.
Blofeld's headquarters was a partially completed restaurant on top of Mount Schilthorn. The owners allowed filming on condition EON Productions paid 125,000 dollars to refit the interior and construct a helicopter pad. When the restaurant opened, it was given the name Piz Gloria used in the film. The only public access to the restaurant is by cable car (from Mürren or Stechelberg). The Piz Gloria was the first established revolving mountain restaurant in the world.
Timothy Dalton was offered the part of James Bond, but turned it down feeling that, at 22, he was too young and relatively inexperienced to take the role. Dalton would go on to play Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989).
George Lazenby suggested a scene where Bond skis off a cliff and opens a parachute. This was scrapped, as the filmmakers lacked the resources to pull it off. It was used as the opening for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
George Lazenby wanted to do most of his own stunts but the studio wouldn't allow him. During the shooting of one of the stunt scenes, Lazenby actually broke his arm, thereby delaying the filming of many of his later scenes. When Bond is taken to Blofeld's lab at Piz Gloria, Lazenby's broken arm in its cast is hidden by his coat which was draped over his arm. Blofeld's guard removes it from him as Lazenby was unable to do so. The guard removing the jacket was played by Yuri Borienko who ironically had had his nose broken by Lazenby in the screen test fight scene that the actor had done to land the part.
This is the last time that John Barry's original Dr. No (1962) arrangement of the James Bond Theme would be used onscreen. It would however, continue to be used in trailers etc. as late as Licence to Kill (1989).
This is Christopher Nolan's favorite Bond movie, and many references can be found in the movie Inception (2010). He said, "What I liked about it, that we've tried to emulate in this film, is there's a tremendous balance in that movie of action and scale and romanticism and tragedy and emotion."
Having secured a suit ordered but uncollected by Sean Connery and getting a Rolex and haircut like him, George Lazenby talked his way into meeting Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, and Peter R. Hunt. After bluffing his way through the meeting and falsely claiming he had wide acting credits, he secured a screen test. Lazenby then confessed to Hunt that he had made it all up and that he wasn't an actor. Hunt laughed and told him, "You just strolled in here and managed to fool two of the most ruthless bastards in the business. You're an actor."
The motto, "Orbis non sufficit", given to Bond when he researches his own coat of arms before impersonating Sir Hilary Bray, is Latin for The World Is Not Enough (1999) which was later used as a Bond film title.
Certain film techniques appear in the James Bond franchise for the first time in this picture: slow motion (when Bond is knocked out in his bedroom), flashback (Bond remembering Tracy being captured), and "breaking the fourth wall" (Lazenby looking into the camera briefly, immediately after his line "This never happened to the other fella"). Though it seems to be a self referential remark (Lazenby replaced Sean Connery as Bond) it also has a meaning in the context of the story.
Adam West, a personal friend of Albert R. Broccoli, was offered the part of James Bond. West said that while he was very tempted, he ultimately turned it down feeling the role should be played by an English actor.
While cracking open a safe in a Swiss lawyer's office, Bond reads a copy of Playboy Magazine. This is a nod to the fact that "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" first appeared in Playboy. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was the first of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels to be serialized in the magazine, appearing in the May 1963 issue of Playboy. It was followed by a serialized, shortened version of the novel You Only Live Twice (not the film version) in the April 1964 issue. The issue in the film, is February 1969, featuring centerfold Lorrie Menconi (the cover of the magazine and the top part of her centerfold can be seen).
The film performed admirably, out-grossing its nearest competitor almost two to one at the U.S. box office where, according to Variety, it was the most popular film in the country for four solid weeks. It generated enough rentals at the box-office to claim ninth position on the box office chart for the year 1970. The persistent belief that it was a flop arises from its earnings in comparison to the previous three Sean Connery Bond films, all of which made more than 100 million dollars worldwide, whereas this film grossed 87 million worldwide.
George Lazenby said he experienced difficulties during shooting, not receiving any coaching despite his lack of acting experience, and with Peter R. Hunt never addressing him directly, only through his assistant. Lazenby also declared that Hunt also asked the rest of the crew to keep a distance from him, as "Peter thought the more I was alone, the better I would be as James Bond."
First Bond film since From Russia with Love (1963) to use an instrumental theme over the opening titles. The decision to forgo the usual song was prompted by the conclusion that any lyric composition that attempted to include the full title of the film would be awkward and at best sound like a humorous Gilbert and Sullivan song, which would be inappropriate for the film series. As of 2009, no other film in the series since has done so.
This was the longest Bond film, at 142 minutes, until the release of Casino Royale (2006) in 2006 which runs two minutes longer. In 2015, Spectre became the longest running Bond film, at four minutes longer than Casino Royale.
Whereas ads for You Only Live Twice (1967) loudly touted "Sean Connery IS James Bond", the marketing for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) downplayed the name of the replacement actor completely. This is the last time that the name of the actor playing Bond appears below the title, and in several of the ads for the film, there is an image of a faceless Bond. Since George Lazenby was a virtual unknown when he was cast as Bond, initial teaser advertising for the film emphasized the Bond character rather than the actor playing him. United Artists would later say that this marketing strategy was a mistake, which hurt the film's performance at the box-office.
At least for German and Italian audiences, the jump from Sean Connery to George Lazenby wasn't as sharp as for the rest of the world: He still sounded the same. Actors Gert Günther Hoffmann and Pino Locchi, the regular German and Italian voices of Connery, dubbed the new James Bond as well.
First time M's house (called Quarterdeck in this movie) is seen in a James Bond movie in the franchise. Casino Royale (2006) was the second. M's house is also seen in the unofficial Casino Royale (1967).
Joanna Lumley makes one of her first on-screen appearances in this movie. Unlike other "Avengers" actors and actresses (Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman), she is the only one to have appeared in a Bond movie before starring in The Avengers (1961). Despite having a very small part as one of Blofeld's girls, she spent two months on the production, dubbing the voices of a whole line-up of international beauties in German, Chinese, and Norwegian, in addition to teaching many of the actresses who played Blofeld's patients, how to crochet, which some of them can be seen doing on film. With time, some of the women preferred crocheting garments over attending parties for the cast. Joanna Lumley has also read an abridged version of the novel on BBC Radio 4.
The film was originally going to end with Bond and Tracy driving off in their car after the wedding, and Tracy's death being the opening scene of Diamonds Are Forever (1971). This was abandoned after George Lazenby's departure.
In order to help get himself the part of James Bond, George Lazenby went to the same tailor and barber that worked with Sean Connery, so when he showed up at Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman's production offices, he'd look more like Connery. Coincidentally, Broccoli was present in the barber's shop when Lazenby showed up for his haircut. This, in part, did help him establish an image, and led to getting the role of James Bond.
Willy Bogner performed some spectacular skiing feats for the filming of chase sequences for this movie. These included skiing backwards downhill with a hand-held camera, sometimes placing it between his legs and being towed behind a bobsleigh along the bobsled course.
Though George Lazenby made only one Bond film (despite being offered a 7 year contract) He actually made two appearances as James Bond. This was the first. The second was in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair (1983) where he helps Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin in a street fight from his car. Admittedly, he is uncredited as James Bond (in favor of an abbreviation J.B.), but his performance is so obviously Bond-ish that it's impossible for him not to be James Bond. All the elements are there, a tuxedo, Walther PPK, cool clipped persona, and Aston Martin (only the girl is missing).
Every year, the Swiss Army dynamites certain dangerous mountainsides, to remove the threat of avalanches. As the storyline called for such an avalanche, the film production worked alongside the Army in scouting appropriate sites for filming. Having chosen one, they were dismayed to discover that the avalanche occurred naturally before the crew could get there to film it, so the resulting one seen in the film is a combination of stock footage, special effects, and clever use of close-ups and sound.
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include the Aston Martin 1969 DBS; Gucci suitcase; Hennessy Brandy; Playboy Magazine; Campari; the Ford Motor Company, particularly the 1969 Ford Mercury Cougar Convertible; Jack Daniel's Whiskey; Schilthorn Piz Gloria Revolving Restaurant; Krug Champagne; Dom Perignon Champagne, particularly a Dom Perignon '57; and Rolex Watches including the Rolex Submariner 5513 and Rolex Chronograph 6238 watches.
George Lazenby also bears the distinction of being the only 007 actor who was born and raised outside the United Kingdom. He's from Australia. (Pierce Brosnan was born in Ireland, but moved to the UK when fairly young.)
Many Olympic ski competitors, as well as other ski experts, contributed as body doubles, extras, and supporting roles for performing the necessary skiing sequences in the movie. The principal actors were not allowed to ski in the movie, due to insurance regulations.
This was originally going to be the fourth Bond film. However, Thunderball (1965) was filmed instead after the ongoing rights dispute over the novel were settled between Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory. It was due to follow that, but problems with a warm Swiss winter and inadequate snow cover led to the producers postponing the film again, favoring production of You Only Live Twice (1967).
Peter R. Hunt originally wanted to direct You Only Live Twice (1967), but when that assignment was given to Lewis Gilbert, he walked off the franchise, and went on an around-the-world trip. Ironically, he was in Tokyo when he bumped into Albert R. Broccoli and Gilbert who were prepping You Only Live Twice (1967). Broccoli asked Hunt to direct the second unit on that film, with the promise of directing the next entry in the franchise.
DIRECTOR_CAMEO(Peter R. Hunt): is seen, although obscurely, directly following the opening credits. In the bottom left hand corner of the Universal Exports brass plaque, he is seen reflected while walking past the building.
Lyrics were originally intended for John Barry's main theme, but were later rejected in favor of Louis Armstrong's memorable rendition of "We Have All The Time In The World". This love theme, composed by John Barry with lyrics by Hal David, was the last song ever recorded by Louis Armstrong. A re-mix of the song "We Have All The Time In The World" was a number 3 hit in the UK twenty-five years after the movie was originally released. The song has also been covered by Iggy Pop, and it can be heard on the David Arnold Bond song compilation album, "Shaken and Stirred: the David Arnold James Bond Project". This album also features a cover of the film's main title theme performed by The Propellerheads.
The Royal World Premiere was held on Thursday, December 18, 1969, at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, London in the presence of the Duke of Kent (Edward Windsor) and the Duchess of Kent. George Lazenby attended the event sporting a beard.
Largely a result of Bond's being recast, the first movie in the franchise to make extensive use of in-jokes and tongue-in-cheek humor. The film also depicted scenes where Bond encountered and worked with a "Harem" of women. All of these would become trademarks of most of Roger Moore's Bond films.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld was allegedly named after Thomas Blofeld, with whom Ian Fleming went to school at Eton College. Also known as Tom Blofeld, he was a Norfolk farmer, a fellow member of Boodle's, and the Chairman of the Country Gentleman's Asssociation. His son is cricket commentator Henry Blofeld. Ernst Blofeld's date of birth in the literary James Bond stories is the same date as Fleming's birthday, which is May 28, 1908. Moreover, Ernest Cuneo was a friend of Fleming's. According to the book "Martinis, Girls and Guns: 50 Years of 007" (2003) by Martin Sterling and Gary Morecambe: "Cuneo may also have inspired Blofeld's forenames - it is but a short leap from Ernest Cuneo to Ernst Stavro". According to the book "For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming + James Bond" (2009) by Ben Macintyre: "Alternatively, Blofeld may owe his name to China scholar John Blofeld, who was a member of Fleming's club Boodles, and whose father was named Ernst". In addition, the book "The Bond Code: The Dark World of Ian Fleming and James Bond" (2008) by Philip Gardner states: "The name is also revealing in a psychological way. Ernst is Teutonic for 'earnest', and Stavros is Greek for 'victor', and so he is the 'earnest victor'", and "the name Blofeld means 'blue field', a swipe at his own blue blood rampant in the field, like heraldry", and moreover, "As the creator of SPECTRE, Blofeld is, in reality, the spectre of Ian Fleming that looms ever present within his divided mind".
Former ITN newsreader Carol Barnes filmed scenes with the Angels of Death after showing up to the set with her friend Jenny Hanley. She can be briefly seen serving drinks at the first meal Bond attends.
Most close-ups of principal actors skiing were actually filmed back at Pinewood Studios as back-projection process shots. The principal actors were not allowed to ski in the movie due to insurance regulations.
A scene showing Bond murdering an enemy agent who is following him was shot, but left incomplete, as George Lazenby was injured, and Peter R. Hunt deemed the scene extraneous to the thrust of the plot.
Cameraman John Jordan developed a special helicopter harness for filming aerial shots of the mountain slopes and the film's action sequences. He would hang eighteen feet below the chopper from a large round metal support apparatus.
Between the resignation of Sean Connery at the beginning of filming You Only Live Twice (1967) and its release, Harry Saltzman had planned to adapt The Man with the Golden Gun in Cambodia and use Roger Moore as the next Bond, but political instability meant the location was ruled out and Moore signed up for another season of The Saint (1962).
The first line of the novel: "It was one of those Septembers when it seemed that the summer would never end." The last line: "The young patrolman took a last scared look at the motionless couple, hurried over to his motor cycle, picked up the hand-microphone, and began talking urgently to the rescue headquarters".
It has been alleged that George Lazenby and Diana Rigg didn't get along. However, according to Peter R. Hunt, these rumors are untrue and there were no such difficulties, or else they were minor, and may have started with Rigg joking to Lazenby before filming a love scene "Hey George, I'm having garlic for lunch. I hope you are!"
George Lazenby was previously a car salesman with a part time job as a male model. He was also well-known in Britain as "The Big Fry man", after the chocolate bar commercials he starred in, carrying an outsize bar on his shoulder.
George Lazenby attended the film's premiere after growing a full beard and shoulder length hair. This was seen by some as a protest against the film's producers, while trying to intentionally sabotage his future in the series. Despite his contact for future Bond movies, Lazanby was having second thoughts, as he had difficulty keeping up with the rigors and demands of making and promoting the film. At the same time, Lazenby's agents had him convinced that the Bond film franchise would soon lose its audience. Lazenby's relationship with Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had already started to become strained over the course of the film's production.
According to George Lazenby, he and a crew member played a prank on Angela Scoular who plays Ruby, the Bond girl who writes her room number on the inside of James Bond's bare thigh. The crew member warmed a sausage, and they put it under Bond's kilt. When Scoular puts her hand under the kilt, she is ever the professional and hardly reacts.
Greek actor Takis Emmanuel, hired to play Draco's henchman Klett, refused to rehearse for the beach fight in the opening sequence, and so he was fired and replaced by stunt man Bill Morgan, a high fall and trampoline expert. Because the wedding scenes were filmed before the beach scenes, Emmanuel can be seen a few times in the film -- meaning both men technically played the same character in the same film, an unintentional first considering no plot points revolve around it.
Vehicles included James Bond's dark green 1969 Aston Martin DBS (not to be confused with a DB5); Tracy's red 1969 Ford Mercury Cougar convertible; Draco's Rolls-Royce Corniche Mulliner Park Ward Drophead Coupé; 007 ascends to Piz Gloria in a Bell 206 JetRanger helicopter; a Mercedes sedan and Irma Bunt's pursuing black Mercedes-Benz 600; three Bell 204 HUEY helicopters with dummy Red Cross markings for the attack on Piz Gloria; a cable car to Piz Gloria; two bobsleds; and various stock cars in the stock car rally.
The poetry that Tracy quotes to Blofeld ('Thy dawn, O Master of the World, thy dawn...') is derived from a speech in James Elroy Flecker's play, 'The Story of Hassan of Bagdad and How He Came to Make the Golden Journey to Samarkand'.
For the scene where Bond and Tracy crash into a car race while being pursued, an ice rink was constructed over an unused airplane track, with water and snow sprayed on it constantly. George Lazenby and Diana Rigg did most of the driving due to the high number of close-ups.
The title of the later James Bond film Spectre (2015) also lends its name to a trio of original Ian Fleming James Bond novels, which have also been anthologized, and published as "The Spectre Trilogy". The books, all featuring arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, include Thunderball (1961), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963), and You Only Live Twice (1964), which were filmed in the 1960s, in a slightly different order than which they were originally published, this being: Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond novel "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" while Dr. No (1962) was being filmed. Fleming included a mention by name of Ursula Andress in the book. The title was shared by a rare British nautical novel of the 19th century which was discovered by Fleming's friend Sir John Nicholas Henderson (a.k.a. Nicko Henderson) at a Portbello Road book stall in London. In the book's sequel You Only Live Twice (1967), Fleming named the character Dikko Henderson after Nicko Henderson.
There was originally a foot-chase in the film. Bond was to see one of Blofeld's henchmen spying on his meeting with Sir Hilary Bray and purse him across the rooftops of London, eventually catching up to him and beating him to death. Due to time constraints and delays, it was never filmed.
George Baker said that Ian Fleming had put him forward as his choice to play James Bond when he was trying to drum up interest for a film franchise, before Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli got involved. In that light, Baker noted it gave him an odd feeling to be in the studio dubbing George Lazenby's dialogue for when Bond was impersonating Bray.
Bessie Love, who has a cameo role as an American tourist, had been a major star in the silent and early sound era, and had been nominated for an Oscar for her performance in The Broadway Melody (1929).
Peter R. Hunt wanted to direct Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and would have, if George Lazenby had remained with the franchise. His original plan for the ending was to show Bond and Tracy driving away from their wedding, then have Diamonds Are Forever open with the shooting. When Lazenby declined to appear again, the idea was scrapped.
The first Bond film in which 007 used skis. It is interesting to note that the first Bond star Sean Connery never did a skiing or snow sequence Bond movie; his James Bond only ever drives through snow-capped mountains in Goldfinger (1964).
James Bond is said to be a descendant of Sir Otto Le Bon. Simon Le Bon and his band Duran Duran sang the music video for A View to a Kill (1985), wherein Simon Le Bon makes a pun about himself and James Bond.
The title lent itself to a role-playing board game "James Bond 007: Role-Playing In Her Majesty's Secret Service" in 1983 and was produced up until 1987. It was released by Avalon Books' Victory Games and was designed by Gerard Christopher Klug. The cover art picture of James Bond was not based on George Lazenby but was an amalgam of the likeness of both Sean Connery and Roger Moore and most closely resembled the poster for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). The last three digits of its game book rules' ISBN were 007.
The bobsledding chase was also filmed with the help of Swiss Olympic athletes, and was rewritten to incorporate the accidents the stuntmen suffered during shooting, such as the scene where Bond falls from the sled.
Peter R. Hunt directed this film because the producers were impressed with his editing style, and because of a long-standing promise from Broccoli and Saltzman that Hunt would eventually direct. Hunt also asked for the position during the production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), and he brought along with him many crew members, including cinematographer Michael Reed. Hunt was focused on making his mark -- "I wanted it to be different than any other Bond film would be. It was my film, not anyone else's."
Although a continental European in the books and movies, "Blofeld" is actually an English family name, being an Anglicization of the Dutch name Blauvelt, or "blue field," which is also the meaning of Bleuchamps, the original family name in the movie. The original family name in the book, "Bleuville," means "blue town."
Production was hampered by weak snowfall, which was unfavorable to the skiing action scenes. The producers even considered moving to another location in Switzerland, but it was taken by the production of Downhill Racer (1969).
According to Robbie Collin in UK newspaper 'The Telegraph', "Bond author Ian Fleming invented SPECTRE in 1959 to replace James Bond's usual, Soviet, enemies. Fleming believed the Cold War might be about to end and wanted to keep his spy thrillers relevant." Fleming's SPECTRE Executive Cabinet included "21 people including former Gestapo members, Soviet spy group SMERSH, Josep Tito's (Josip Broz Tito's) secret police, Italian, Corsican and Turkish organised crime gangs", its goals were "profiteering from conflict between the superpowers, eventual world domination", and its methods included "counter-intelligence, brainwashing, murder, extortion using weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological and orbital)."
The literal translations of some of this film's foreign language titles include On Her Majesty's Service (Israel); The Queen's 007 (Japan); On The Secret Service of Her Majesty (Belgium, Canada, France and West Germany); To Serve Her Majesty (Italy); 007 On Her Majesty's Service (Portugal); 007 On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Spain and Brazil); To Her Majesty's Secret Service (Denmark) and 007 Seized The Snow Mountain Castle (China and Norway).
Peter R. Hunt asked Simon Raven to write some of the dialogue between Tracy and Blofeld in Piz Gloria, which was to be "sharper, better and more intellectual". One of Raven's additions was having Tracy quoting James Elroy Flecker.
The car pursuit at the begining takes places at Estrada do Cabo, in Portugal, a coastal road. The beach fight is at Praia (beach) do Guincho, the hotel is in Cascais and, later, Bond is seeing crossing the Salazar Bridge (similar to the San Francisco Golden Gate), which has the name of Portuguese dictator António Salazar, who ruled Portugal for 40 years.
Albert R. Broccoli wanted to cast Jeremy Brett as James Bond after seeing him in My Fair Lady (1964). Brett ultimately declined the role, saying, "It's the sort of role you cannot afford to turn down, but I think it would have spoiled my life if I had got it."
According to a DVD Documentary during filming the producers wanted to know how George Lazenby looked in action. Peter R. Hunt asked his stunt arranger George Leech to test his action. During the fight sequence Lazenby fought with the stunt man for real. He had not learned how to withhold the punch and injured a Russian wrestler by busting his nose open. The crew were impressed with the action sequence and decided to hire Lazenby. Said wrestler, Yuri Borienko, was given the role of Grunther as compensation.
Joanna Lumley recalled that she and George Lazenby relaxed in different ways during their lengthy stay in Switzerland - she collected wild flowers and knitted a blanket for her young son; he learned to play "Hey Jude" by The Beatles on his guitar.
Oliver Reed was a candidate to star as James Bond. Albert R. Broccoli later commented that, "...with Reed we would have had a far greater problem to destroy his image and remould him as James Bond. We just didn't have the time or money to do that."
George Lazenby shared one anecdote - "One time, we were on location at an ice rink, and Diana and Peter were drinking champagne inside. Of course, I wasn't invited as Peter was there. I could see them through the window, but the crew were all outside stomping around on the ice, trying to keep warm. So, when she got in the car, I went for her. She couldn't drive the car properly and I got into her about her drinking and things like that. Then she jumped out and started shouting 'he's attacking me in the car!' I called her a so-and-so for not considering the crew, who were freezing their butts off outside. And it wasn't that at all in the end, as she was sick that night, and I was at fault for getting into her about it. I think everyone gets upset at one time."
With Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), Ralph Fiennes became the seventh major actor or actress who has appeared in both the 'James Bond' and 'The Avengers' universes, the latter being the English spy one and not the comic super-heroes one. From the original television series The Avengers (1961), three actors appeared in Bond movies: Honor Blackman played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964), Patrick Macnee portrayed Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View to a Kill (1985), and Diana Rigg played Tracy Di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). The latter film also featured as The English Girl, actress Joanna Lumley, who would later appear in The New Avengers (1976), which also starred Macnee. While Nadim Sawalha appeared in both The Avengers (1998) films, as well as two Bond movies: The Living Daylights (1987) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Fiennes actually appeared in The Avengers (1998), co-starring with former James Bond Sean Connery, who played the villain Sir August de Wynter. Of these seven actors, both Fiennes and Macnee have portrayed The Avengers' character of John Steed, in the theatrical film and television series respectively, with the latter also voicing the Invisible Jones character in The Avengers (1998). In this 1998 cinema film, John Steed (Ralph Fiennes) and Emma Peel (Uma Thurman) get across the frozen river by 'walking' on the surface inside inflatable plastic bubbles, which is similar to how James Bond gets aboard Ernst Stavro Blofeld's oil rig in Connery's final official series Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
John Barry opted to use more electrical instruments and a more aggressive sound in the music - "I have to stick my oar in the musical area double strong to make the audience try and forget they don't have Sean ... to be Bondian beyond Bondian."
The downhill skiing involved professional skiers, and various camera tricks. Some cameras were handheld, with the operators holding them as they were going downhill with the stuntmen, and others were aerial, with cameramen Johnny Jordan - who had previously worked in the helicopter battle of You Only Live Twice (1967) - developing a system where he was dangled by an eighteen foot long parachute harness rig below a helicopter, allowing scenes to be shot on the move, from any angle.
According to the book 'James Bond: A Celebration' (1987) by Peter Haining, who passed away in 2007, "Jules Verne's Captain Nemo was the inspiration for (Ian) Fleming's Ernst Stavro Blofeld". The book states that the character "has his origins in Captain Nemo, the hate-fuelled rebel of Jules Verne's classic novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870)". Blofeld was originally intended to be the villain in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Harry Saltzman suggested shooting Blofeld's lair inside the fortified Maginot Line, and accompanied Peter R. Hunt on a guided tour of the underground complex in France. Hunt was unenthusiastic and Piz Gloria was chosen.
Stuntman George Leech doubled for George Lazenby in the scenes in which Bond clings to the thick metal cable suspending the mountainside railway cars. The grease on the cable caused him to lose his grip and, as his body twisted around his remaining gripping hand, he dislocated his arm and fell on the boxes prepared for such an eventuality. Stuntmen Chris Webb and Richard Graydon' completed the shots.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In the original take of the final scene featuring Tracy's death, George Lazenby came to tears. Peter R. Hunt then made them shoot the scene again because he said that, "Bond does not cry." There were only two takes. However, George Lazenby convinced Hunt to use the first take, saying that considering the circumstances (his wife being killed), they should let this be the one exception. Accordingly, this became the first (and until the release of Skyfall (2012) the only) time in which Bond is seen openly crying.
Ilse Steppat's only ever English language role was as Irma Bunt in this movie. She was not able to enjoy her new success. She died of a heart attack less than a week after the release of this film. The character of Irma Bunt was intended to return in the next James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever (1971). But because of her passing, the character did not return.
The novel is the middle book in the trilogy of Bond novels featuring Blofeld and SPECTRE. The final novel in the trilogy, You Only Live Twice, features Bond tracking down Blofeld to avenge Tracy's death. However, You Only Live Twice was filmed first, albeit with a drastically different plot. Bond's vengeance on Blofeld was incorporated into the next film, Diamonds Are Forever, which also strayed radically from the novel.