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On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

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James Bond woos a mob boss's daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps that involves beautiful women from around the world.

Director:

Peter R. Hunt (as Peter Hunt)

Writers:

Simon Raven (additional dialogue), Richard Maibaum (screenplay)
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Popularity
1,915 ( 966)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Lazenby ... James Bond
Diana Rigg ... Tracy
Telly Savalas ... Blofeld
Gabriele Ferzetti ... Draco
Ilse Steppat ... Irma Bunt
Lois Maxwell ... Moneypenny
George Baker ... Sir Hilary Bray
Bernard Lee ... 'M'
Bernard Horsfall ... Campbell
Desmond Llewelyn ... 'Q'
Yuri Borienko Yuri Borienko ... Grunther
Virginia North ... Olympe
Geoffrey Cheshire Geoffrey Cheshire ... Toussaint
Irvin Allen ... Che Che
Terence Mountain Terence Mountain ... Raphael (as Terry Mountain)
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Storyline

George Lazenby steps into the role of James Bond and is sent on his first mission. For help with Draco, he must become very close friends with his daughter, Tracy, and heads off to hunt down Ernst Stavro Blofeld one more time. This takes him to Switzerland, where he must pose as Sir Hilary Bray to find out the secret plan of Blofeld. The facility is covered with Blofeld's guards as well as his hench-woman, Irma Bunt. What has Blofeld got in mind this time? Can Bond keep up this act for much longer? Are ANY Bond girls safe? Written by simon

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

James Bond est de retour! [James Bond is back! ; French & Belgian posters] See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

(Rating Symbol Changed) | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM | Official Site

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

19 December 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ian Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£16,460 (United Kingdom), 24 December 1969, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,200,000, 21 December 1969

Gross USA:

$22,800,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$59,200,000, 31 December 1973
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Eon Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (uncredited)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Nymphalis polychloris," the species of butterfly that James Bond detects at M's home, is a fictional taxon. See more »

Goofs

Bond, disguised as Sir Hilary, explains that there are thirteen officers in the Royal College of Arms, which is correct. However, as Sable Basilisk (Sir Hilary's title) is a fictional office, Bond should have said fourteen officers. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Q: I've been saying for years, sir, that our special equipment is obsolete. And now, computer analysis reveals an entirely new approach: miniaturization. For instance, radioactive lint. When placed in an opponent's pockets, the anti-personnel and location fix seems fairly obvious.
M: What we want is a location fix on 007.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, images are shown of Bond girls and villains. (This is the first Bond movie since Goldfinger to feature previous movies' footage in its credits.) Specifics are as follows. *First Set. *Honey Ryder from Dr. No (1962), standing on the beach. *Dr. No from the same, in front of his underground aquarium. *Tatiana Romanova from From Russia with Love (1963), messing around with her hair. *Pussy Galore from Goldfinger (1964), in the barn scene. *Second Set. *The title character from Goldfinger. *Assorted Bond girls from the Goldfinger (1964) / Thunderball (1965) era. *The "Flaming Car Crash" scene from Thunderball (1965). *Third set. *Emilio Largo, the main villain from Thunderball. *Aki, Kissy Suzuki, and a swordsman from You Only Live Twice (1967). *Blofeld's volcano lair exploding from the end of the same. Note the strategic absence of Blofeld from You Only Live Twice, as Blofeld is played by a different actor in this film. See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was edited by the BBFC to change a single line for theatrical exhibition. After Bond says "I feel a slight stiffness coming on", the line "... in the shoulder" has been badly added, ruining the joke totally. See more »

Connections

Referenced in James Bond 007: Yesterday and Today (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

We Have all the Time in the World
Music by John Barry
Lyrics by Hal David
Performed by Louis Armstrong
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Not perfect, but a realistic, classic Bond
17 August 2004 | by OrpingtonSee all my reviews

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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