On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Genre: James Bond!
Year Released: 1969
Main Stars: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg
Last watched: January 2011
Number Watches: Twice, maybe three times.

Here’s a James Bond film I really liked as a kid and then again in my late twenties. It was released when I was 2 so bearing in mind that my 20s were 30 years after it was made, that’s quite something for a film to last that long in anyone’s credible-films list. However. I just finished watching it again in 2011 and cant believe how incredibly bad and awful and disgustingly un-bond like it is. I mean dreadful. What on earth possessed me to like this? Is it one of those kids-like-anything-vaguely-stupid things? Was I drinking… on both occasions?? I feel ashamed.

The only Bond thing about it is the fantastic soundtrack. I suppose you could include the panning shots of snow blanketed mountains but Lazenby’s Bond runs from baddies like a very tall girl, needs speeded-up fight sequences and, worse than all that, ignores all the spy stuff set up in the previous movies. Best bit about his performance is that he has no real dialogue. Let’s face it, he can’t act and shouldn’t have got the part in the first place.

As a Bond film, it fails to deliver any of the JB feel-good-spying franchise. There are no gadgets, nothing happens for ninety percent of the movie, there is an excessive lack of charm, M looks like he has the contractual-obligation blues and the two other MI6 operatives we know and love don’t do anything except wait to be relieved of their lines. I have to admit to having a soft spot for Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell and hated it when they appeared. Why did the god of films let them agree to this tripe?

I hadn’t realised how much it relied on trying to hark back to the previous movies. Flashbacks threaten to turn it into a ‘best of Bond’ montage but really just highlight the lack of originality and empty void this film unfortunately creates in the Ian Fleming legacy.

The guy who plays Draco is relaxed and believable and Diana Rigg is so good that when she appeared I almost forgot about Lazenby as he dimmed into supporting actor. I pity her having to play up to his astonishing lack of personality and I cringed as she kissed him. I wonder how much mouthwash she used after each scene.

Does anyone remember the plot? Well it seems to be that a sissy spy goes to a small café in the alps and waits until he can run to his girly friend for a rescue. Then he asks girly’s dad to do all the work. Meanwhile… nothing happens. Nothing.

I admit that the end scene is a real tearjerker and if anything adds to the Bond mythology from OHMSS then it’s the sadness in those last few words. Then the movie just ends. No rage or vengeance, nothing. It’s like the director and writer and everyone else just went “You know what? That’s enough. Let’s get a few beers and forget the whole thing ever happened. Oh, and, someone push George off the side of a cliff.”

I’ve re-watched a few of the Roger Moore’s and, yeah, he was a bit hammy but he got some lines and played them with an eye-brow twitching fun. Glamour model George and the entire production team (sans music) on OHMSS fell into a big pit of yuk and dragged it all over the big screen.

The Milk Tray advert was better. Much, much better.


Keep DVD?
A pile of crap that sounds nice if you skip the bits with words. Not one for my collection.
Watch if on TV?
Get out the Connery instead.
Snog, Marry, Avoid?
Avoid and try to remember the good times.


About Simon Trail

I'm just another film watcher with an opinion.
This entry was posted in 1960s, Action, Avoid, Film Review, Hug, Snog, Marry, Avoid. Bookmark the permalink.

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