The James Bond series was a monumental series for me growing up and, as I planned on featuring one of the 20+ films in the series as a Key Movie, I just couldn’t choose. Since I can’t choose a single one, I am reviewing each and every Bond film continuing with today’s entry, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Welcome to Key Movies Of My Life James Bond Edition.
Today’s Key Movie:
It’s a new adventure and this time an all new Bond. Starring George Lazenby, the first new actor to portray James Bond in the franchise, Bond must discover what Blofeld is after in the Swiss Alps while also finding true love in the arms of Countess Tracy Di Vicenzo. Another globetrotting, high adventure film with the ultimate secret agent, James Bond 007.
Why this movie?
As we progress through the Bond franchise it is important to note that one of the many reasons this franchise has survived for over 50 years is its ability to trade out actors in the leading role as the years go on. Unlike our American attachment to specific actors in specific roles, the James Bond franchise proves that it is not only possible but healthy for a film series to change up the lead actor from time to time. Sadly this is a poor example of this very thing as Lazenby doesn’t really do the role justice.
There is one aspect of this film that sets it apart, for the first time we actually see Bond fall in love. For the Bond Franchise this is a first and something that was both shocking and unexpected. Sure he has had love affairs all over the world but we have never seen him find someone that he wanted to settle down with. Sadly, this would be one of the last time we see this from Bond until more recently with Daniel Craig.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
I will straight out say it, this is one of my least favorite James Bond films but, for all it’s faults, it still has a solid story even if it has the weakest portrayal of 007 in the franchise. First off, throughout the film the producers make every effort to remind the audience that, this isn’t Sean Connery playing the role but it is really the same character. Even in the opening credit sequence we see images and footage of Bond’s previous adventures reminding us that he is still the same guy.
Lazenby himself is passable as Bond but comes across as someone trying to play Sean Connery trying to play James Bond. He never really gets a chance to become the character and it is really a shame since he is actually a halfway decent actor. It really makes me wonder if the director did not instruct him to act like Connery in this film just to keep a ‘continuity’. Lazenby just doesn’t have the chemistry that Connery brought to the film and he seems to be phoning in most of his performance.Through much of the film he is stiff, wooden and this makes him come off as a little heartless.
Additionally, as I said before, this film constantly reminds us that this isn’t Sean Connery in the role with lines like ‘This never happened to the other fellow.’ in the opening segment and even a custodian whistling the ‘Goldfinger’ theme as he cleaned. It is frustrating and annoying seeing that it could have been it’s own film had they not needed to keep this constant reminder alive.
Now that the bad parts are out of the way, let’s get to the story. Be warned, Major Spoilers below.
This is one that actually has a deep and rich story involving Bond and the love of his life fighting against his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Countess Tracy Di Vicenzo is probably one of the best Bond Girls in the franchise as she is 007’s equal in every way. She is tough, cunning, intelligent and not one to put up with his traditionally womanizing ways. Due to her nature we see Bond let his shields down with him not only falling in love but getting married, find happiness, even attempting to quit MI6.
It is because of this drop of his guard that his enemies are able to hurt him the most by committing the one act Bond should have expected, killing of his new bride in the closing moments of the film. Unfortunately, the role of his nemesis is played by Telly Savalas, a man who is nowhere near as menacing as you would expect from the leader of SPECTRE.
END of SPOILER ZONE
One major highlight in this film is the score. Arranged and conducted by John Barry, this is by far one of the finest scores in the entire franchise. Evoking some of the most iconic moments as well as highlighting the emotional impact of the scenes.
All in all it is a passable Bond film with a lot of heart, not the very worst in the series but certainly not the best.
OK, where do I get this movie?
yet again, this is one that you can find in just about any place films are sold. Available on Bluray and digital it is one that you will need to pick up if you intend to complete your Bond collection. That being said, if you just want to watch it, just rent it.
As normal, here is the original trailer.
Late To The Game 2/7/2019
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!