On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969 ★★★★★

Countdown to Skyfall continues with On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the 6th Bond film!

This has always been the most unfairly treated Bonds, due to a lot of factors. In reality, it is one of the best Bond stories, and like the best Bond stories, it features 007 as a real character, not a one liner machine. The ending is also the most heartbreaking moment in the entire franchise.

Bond Essentials Review:

Bond: You will often hear the comment that Lazenby is the worst Bond. This may be true, being that he only had this one Bond film. But if he is indeed the worst, then every James Bond has been spectacular. Lazenby is great here, and he's very unfairly compared a lot. What people should understand is that each actor gives their own take on the Bond character, and this was Lazenby's.

Even more so, Lazenby's Bond is in a situation where he's faced with having Bond in an emotional story. He gets involved with a girl he legitimately starts to love, so he's not going to be the cold killer. Even then, Lazenby still handles the character well. What's more amazing is that this is his first Bond film. If anything, it's sad we never got to see more from Lazenby to see how he could have grown into the role even more. People forget that even Connery was stiff in his first outing.

Bond Girls: Teresa is obviously one of the most important Bond Girls, along with Vesper. Here we have a Bond girl that 007 actually manages to fall in love with, and it's easy to see why. She's beautiful, smart, elegant, and even can be tough herself. Diana Rigg embodies what a Bond girl should be.

Villain: We get Blofeld here again, but this time he's played by Telly Savalas, and is better than Donald Pleasance in terms of menacing presence and is also a physical match for Bond. He doesn't get the typical Bond villain dispatch because, well, he's Blofeld.

The Action: The shakiest of the early Bonds (despite the Second Unit Director being John Glenn), but what it lacks in visual cohesiveness, it makes up for in suspense and pure spectacle. There are some really great set pieces here. Also, the finale is great.

The Theme: We have two. One being the one played over the main titles, which is for the more exciting moments, and works perfectly well. The other is for the romantic moments, which is "We Have All The Time in The World" by Louis Armstrong, and is a great Bond theme.

Main Titles: It's mainly just figures of girls referencing past Bond films, but it works.

Gadgets: Aside from the safe opener, here we have a much more grounded sense of gadgetry here, just how I like it.

9 Comments

  • Excellent review! Definitely one of the better and more underappreciated Bond films and Lazenby deserves more credit as Bond. He did a great job and he was the first actor to really make James Bond feel human and vulnerable.

  • Thanks!

    This has always been one of my favorites. It's really sad that people keep comparing to this false ideal of what Bond SHOULD be, and not what it does, which is how I feel all Bond films should be evaluated. Really, my only problem with the film is that the action is not well filmed, but as I mentioned, it makes up for that in suspense and spectacle.

    I really wish things with Lazenby didn't go sour. He could have grown to become a fantastic Bond if they kept him around. And yeah. That ending scene? I get little tears in my eyes every time, and most of it is due to how much chemistry Lazenby and Rigg have followed by his delivery.

  • I think Lazenby really got hung out to dry by the filmmakers. He's got the worst costuming of the series by far, with ruffles everywhere and that stupid kilt... And then his voice is dubbed for a large section of the movie. It's distracting stuff that makes it easy for casual fans to dismiss him. He suffers simply because he's not Connery.

    I agree about the chemistry between Rigg and Lazenby, I just wish more of it had been shown outside of that Butch Cassidy-style montage. The "Bond in love" thing gets undercut a bit by him sleeping with multiple women in the same night once he's at Blofeld's institute. I understand it has to be there for it to be a Bond movie, though.

    Did you skip You Only Live Twice?

  • Oops. Nope. I just forgot to do a write up since I watched it at like 3 in the morning. Will change that very soon.

  • Cool! I'm really curious what you think about that one since it's so ludicrous... But enjoyably ludicrous.

  • 1 - Connery
    2 - Dalton
    3 - Craig
    4 - Lazenby
    5 - Moore
    6 - Brosnan

  • Ryan: I could get behind that, although Moore is usually always last for me simply because of his last two films.

    Lazenby and Dalton are perhaps the most unfairly treated of them all, especially Lazenby.

  • I agree. Lazenby did a damn fine job. I wish he was able to do more Bond films. Same with Dalton.

    As for Moore, I really enjoyed The Spy Who Loved Me, and I don't think Brosnan has any work as Bond that's quite as good.

  • Moore has some good work, but he's also in about three of the worst Bond films, while Brosnan is in about one of them. Plus, Moore's performances in his final two films are pretty dreadful.

    Brosnan did quite a good job as Bond in The World is Not Enough, which is his finest performance as the character (it's just a shame it's trapped in such a mediocre film). Other than that he put forward mostly competent work.

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