James Bond woos a mob boss' daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Ernst Stavro Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps involving beautiful women from around the wo... Read allJames Bond woos a mob boss' daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Ernst Stavro Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps involving beautiful women from around the world.James Bond woos a mob boss' daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Ernst Stavro Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps involving beautiful women from around the world.
George Lazenby was not an actor when he was given the role of Connery's successor in the iconic role of James Bond. The closest he'd done was some commercials for chocolate (or something) but he was primarily a model. I'll admit, this is an instant strike against the man. I'm a major fan of this series and it's an insult that someone might've hired this man on the basis that he's good at mugging for the camera and not you know acting. It wasn't until about a half hour or so into the movie that I finally became comfortable with Lazenby in the role. He takes some warming up but he did a well enough job filling the shoes of Connery. I won't go so far as to say he's on Connery's level, but he's not as bad as so many detractors would have you believe. He's certainly got the smug confidence of 007. Diana Rigg (of the television series "The Avengers") is Tracy di Vicenzo, the first women to be more than a casual fling for Bond. She and Lazenby have a good chemistry together but I couldn't help but find it to be more than a little shoddy that their relationship is crammed down our throats over the course of a montage. We're expected to believe that James Bond, who has never seen his women as more than playthings, suddenly develops tender emotions over the course of a Louis Armstrong song. Montage gripes aside, Riggs and Lazenby are a strong pair with a believable spark between them but Riggs didn't pop off the screen like previous Bond women like Ursula Andress or Honor Blackman. If Tracy hadn't been the first (and one of the only) to win Bond's heart, there would be nothing about her performance that would stick with you after the credits rolled. Telly Savalas fills the role of Blofeld for the film, and this is where my interest wanes. Donald Pleasance was a perfect Blofeld in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. He is the man I imagine when I picture Bond's ultimate arch-nemesis, and Savalas doesn't even come close to matching him. Pleasance was sinister and his performance brought a perfect evil to the character. Savalas makes Blofeld charming, with a warm demeanor that contradicts everything Pleasance instilled in the character in the previous movie. It just feels so wrong. Sorry, Telly. You're no Blofeld.
If Connery had stuck around and brought his usual awesomeness back to the role, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE would've probably be remembered as the best of the early films. In my opinion, some more thoughtful casting is all that stood between this movie and the respect it deserved. It does have a few other issues, namely the over-long run-time and a couple technical problems. The movie is one of the longest 007 movies in the series at nearly two and a half hours, and it feels like it. I blame it on the excessive ski sequences. Ski fights are boring and this movie goes a little overboard. I can only see so many henchmen go careening out of control before I get bored. It's made worse with the horrible rear-screen projection used for the principle actors. There is no way to make it look realistic and it looks horribly cheesy. And we get not one, but two extended ski chases. On a more positive note, I love the setting. Blofeld's research lab is perched on the peak of a mountain in the Swiss Alps and it makes for a wicked final battle when Bond and his compains helicopter in for a full assault. An assault that ends in wait for it a bobsled chase. With rear projection. I understand though; technology was limited at the time. It doesn't make it any less lame. I did enjoy Blofeld's scheme in the movie though. It's a little more complex than the average nuclear weapon theft and involves a dozen gorgeous women. The man knows how to plan.
The movie culminates in one of the most important sequences in all the 007 films, as it gives us the first real emotional insight into his character. He opens up and expresses an emotion other than "murder" (murder is an emotion, right?) and he is immediately punished for it. Watching ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE can be a bit of an endurance trial, but it's a well-worth it. It's a must-see for fans of the series.
- Nov 2, 2013