On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Review

#6

1969

George Lazenby

Right off the bat there are a lot of good things about this movie. First of all, I really love the title. It’s like very formal and British-y, but there’s also something badass about it, like he’s on duty. I don’t know, it just sounds cool, and is instantly so Bond. Now I once read in an interview with Christopher Nolan that this was his favourite Bond movie. Perhaps not worth mentioning, but for some reason that always just stuck in my head. He said he thought it was the only one with real, personal stakes for the character. I mean, he’s got a point. Of course the Daniel Craig movies always have personal stakes for the character, but classic Bond is usually just on a mission, and certainly didn’t suffer any great personal tragedies in the previous five movies, save from seeing the occasional former sex partner die, but he never really seems too bothered by that. I guess the reason this movie stood out to Christopher Nolan, and the reason his comments changed the way that I think about this movie, is that it does stick out as the first time in a Bond movie that things got personal. I guess I should explain. The first act of the movie is basically all about Bond meeting this girl Tracy and falling in love with her. Not like typical Bond style I-want-to-bang-you-then-have-you-get-killed-by-bad-guys-and-not-care-about-it kind of love, this time it’s like super for realsies. Then we abandon that plot for a while and watch him chase down a lead about Blofeld, who’s still on the loose after the last movie. He winds up going to this like weird cult up in the swiss alps. It’s like on the top of this mountain peak and they have to take a cable car to get there. Basically Blofeld is posing as this doctor who claims he’s found a method for curing allegries that can only be executed by staying in his weird mountain resort, but what he’s actually doing there is brainwashing people to do evil stuff. Also, for some reason all the patients at the resort are hot young women.

So Bond goes there posing as some specialist or something, and for some reason he wears a kilt and a frilly Austin Powers shirt the whole time he’s there. I guess it’s like proper formal Scottish garb, which seems like it would make sense because James Bond is Scottish, but isn’t he using a fake identity? Is the guy he’s posing as also Scottish? And why does he feel the need to represent that anyway? He’s gone to a million foreign countries in these movies, he’s never dressed up in traditional Scottish garb before. Why now? It’s never addressed. Anyway, after sleeping with two of the girls in the resort in a row, presumably without protection, while still in a relationship with the love of his life Tracy, he confronts Blofeld. What’s weird is they have a scene earlier where they don’t seem to recognize each other, and each seem to address each other by their fake aliases (aliai?). In this scene they reveal they each knew who the other one is, but didn’t the meet before? They were together for a pretty long time in the last movie. They make passing mention of Blofeld having his ear lobes changed by plastic surgery, but you’d think Bond would still recognize his fucking face. What’s even more confusing is that he’s played by a different actor. Yeah, Bond is too, we’ll get there in a second, but no, Donald Pleasance does not return as Blofeld. In fact, when we see the character a third time in the next movie, it’s yet another new actor. That’s a big problem with these movies. there’s no consistency. If you’re trying to create a recurring villain it might help to not have him played by a completely different looking actor every time we see him. They did the same thing with Felix Leiter, Bond’s CIA counterpart and best friend. We see him in almost every Sean Connery movie and every time he’s a different actor. If you weren’t listening for the name Felix Leiter, you probably wouldn’t even realize it was the same character.

Anyway, so then there’s a pretty cool chase down the side of this mountain on skies. It’s a pretty sweet sequence, and one that feels very classic Bond. Then the chase just keeps on going. Yeah, this movie has no idea where to end. Bond ends up getting in getaway car driven by his love Tracy who he just finished cheating on twice, and they lose the bad guys in a stock car derby type race on ice. It’s pretty badly edited and you can’t really see what’s happening, but it’s a fun set piece and there’s some cool moments. Then we get some more bullshit with Bond and Tracy, who he then asks to marry him. Then we get another chase down an icy mountain, this time in a bobsled, which ends with Bond catching Blofeld on a branch and breaking his neck. Then we get a wedding sequence which feels super out of place for a Bond movie, and finally we get to the big twist ending, when Blofeld is revealed to still be alive and does a drive by shooting, killing Tracy Bond moments after their wedding. Overall, the pacing is a little off, but there’s some great action, cool locations, and I totally see Nolan’s point about the personal nature of the ending. It would probably be one of the better Bond movies except for one thing: Bond himself. After a contract dispute, Sean Connery left the series and they got Australian model George Lazenby, who had never acted in his life, to take over. The guy’s a block of goddamn wood. He’s got none of the charm, none of the style, none of the subtlety, he just good-looking-action-mans his way through the whole movie. Also his accent sucks. And so as many good elements as this movie has, I get bored every time I watch it, because at the end of the day, these movies aren’t nearly as much fun without Bond actually in them, and this guy ain’t no Bond. Fuck, I had way more to say about that movie than I thought I did.

Overall Rating: It’s also worth noting that George Lazenby has recently gone on in great lengths about how much pussy he got from playing James Bond/10

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