James Bond rewatch: ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’

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001. The story

A mysterious man saves a suicidal girl from a gang of assailants. That man is James Bond, as never seen before, and the girl will, for very short time, become his only wife. Oh, and her father might just be able to help 007 locate a certain elusive Ernst Stavro Blofeld…


002. The villains

Blofeld’s gone from being a scarred, limping midget with a reedy voice to a big, athletic gangster who loves skiing. He wants very little; an aristocratic title and a pardon for all past crimes (which are plenty). Or he’ll send some dolly birds armed with toxic makeup to devastate the world’s food chain. Not much, eh? He’s aided by the least photogenic Bond girl of all, hatchet faced Irma Bunt.


003. The girls

Tracy’s the main squeeze’s name, though she’s no Essex hairdresser, but the daughter of a Corsican gang lord. And SHE MARRIES JAMES BOND; although it’s a feat that doesn’t last long and is never repeated.

He also tickles the fancy of one of Blofeld’s ‘angels’, Morecambe Bay saucepot Ruby, and wakes up next to henchwoman Irma Bunt, which serves the cheating cad right.




004. Best moments

The fist fights on the beach and in the hotel room; Bond clearing his desk in the one foray we get into his office, reliving old adventures by sorting through his souvenirs; the breathtaking ski chases and the escape via the cable car room; the ultra-tense safecracking scene; and the most devastating end to any Bond movie (sorry, Vesper), that still retains the power to shock.


005. Trivia

» George Lazenby broke his arm during filming – his arm in its cast is hidden by a coat draped over his arm when Bond is taken to Blofeld’s lab at Piz Gloria.

» OHMSS contains the first use of slow motion and flashback in a Bond movie.

» A janitor in Draco’s headquarters can be heard whistling the Goldfinger theme as Bond passes.

» Brigitte Bardot, Jacqueline Bisset, and Catherine Deneuve were also considered for the role of Tracy.

» Batman star Adam West was offered the part of Bond in the movie.



006. Best quotes

» Bond (to camera): “This never happened to the other fella.”

» Draco: “She likes you, I can see it.”
Bond: “You must give me the name of your oculist.”

» Blofeld: “It takes more than a few props to turn 007 into a Herald.”
Bond: “It’ll take more than cutting off your earlobes, Blofeld, to turn you into a Count.”

» Blofeld:  “I’ve taught you to love chickens, to love their flesh, their voice.”

» Bond: “It’s all right. It’s quite all right, really. She’s having a rest. We’ll be going on soon. There’s no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world. “


007. The verdict

To change your lead actor in a series identified with one man, in the most emotionally gruelling Bond story of all, was a major gamble by the producers, especially when responsibility fell on the shoulders of a young Australian male model best known for selling chocolate bars.

Yet the unfairly-maligned George Lazenby holds his own as 007 with an honest, sincere performance and isn’t bowed by seasoned thesps Diana Rigg and Telly Savalas (both superb). One could see him growing into the role had he done more (and he’d have comfortably fit the next three films).

What makes 1969’s OHMSS great is the epic feel, groundbreaking editing style and incredible action, tempered by a strong emotional core. That director Peter Hunt only did one Bond movie is the real crime here; that Christopher Nolan loves OHMSS so much is the biggest testimonial Hunt could have for doing such an exceptional job.


What do you think of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Let us know below…