My Review of ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969)

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Apparently, this film includes “virtually everything in the novel” it’s based upon, according to Wikipedia. That, in itself, is unusual. But it is hardly the movie’s only peculiarity.

If you’ve never seen this entry in the James Bond franchise, but enjoy the other Bond movies, prepare for surprises.

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Via Huffington Post

First, there’s Bond himself. Who is played, not by Sean Connery, who’d quit the role, but by George Lazenby. Now, Lazenby took a whole lot of crap from reviewers, who found his acting skills wanting. I’m not at all sure I agree that he was so very awful. In fact, for a guy with basically zero previous acting experience (I believe he’d previously worked as an advert model), the man did a damn good job.

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He certainly had the looks and the right build. Compared to Roger Moore … well … let’s not go there.

But the story, in a nutshell, is this. While officially on leave (after Moneypenny intercepts Bond’s two-weeks’ notice and hastily types up a request for time off), Bond is unofficially sent on a mission to find Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Telly Savalas — one of a small group of actors to take on the role, the size of which is dwarfed only by the small army of actors that have played Felix Leiter).

Where eagles dare? :)

So, Blofeld wants to establish that he’s a Count (with a capital C). This gives Bond his “in”. Word has it that this “Count” has some kind of research station located atop a towering pinnacle in the Swiss Alps. To gain access to the place, Bond poses as a genealogist. (He also learns his family motto: The World is Not Enough. Sound familiar?)

Anyway, Bond goes to this place, and, well, the joint is just lousy with “groovy looking” chicks. Oh, yeah, baby — you want to experience 60s kitsch? Watch this movie.

Via Ultra Swank

Oh, and Bond makes out like he’s gay. And you can just imagine how well that works. (It doesn’t. Of course.)

But this place is not just a 60s version of the Playboy Mansion disguised as the World’s Highest Ski Chalet. Something deeply wrong is in the works beneath the intensely chic decor and wardrobe. And, of course, [spoken in booming VO narration] “the fate of the entire world is at stake.”

And I haven’t told you the best part: Bond meets his perfect woman. She is the perfect match for him in every possible way. She is so fucking awesome, she takes my breath away every time I watch the film. She is a gangster’s daughter named Contessa Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo, and she’s played by the incomparable Dame Diana Rigg. (Aka Mrs. Peel!)

Via Game of Thrones Quote
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If you like Bond movies and have never seen this one, you owe it to yourself to see it. The film may show its age and feel a touch off-kilter, due largely to having a different Bond, the love story, and a few other things I can’t reveal without spoilers. There is also more emphasis on intense action scenes, as well as emotions, than the usual Bond fare, and a bit less of Q’s cute little gadgets.

Lazenby acquits himself pretty well in the part. He has a few awesome set pieces action and fight scenes for sure.

I forgot to mention the totally amazing soundtrack! 🙂 With that memorable song (that link contains minor spoilers, just so you know) by Louis Armstrong.

And Diana Rigg is, in my humble opinion, the best damn Bond girl ever.

There, I said it. :)
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PS: I realized belatedly that this is also a great Christmas movie! 🙂

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Via George’s Journal

Originally published at http://debbimacktoo.wordpress.com on January 2, 2020.

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: www.debbimack.com.

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