On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Article 5029 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-25-2015
Directed by Peter R. Hunt
Featuring George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas
Country: UK / USA
What it is: James Bond film

James Bond saves the life of a troubled woman, an act which eventually puts him on the trail of his old nemesis, Blofeld from SPECTRE.

This was the first movie of the Bond series that did not feature Sean Connery as Bond, and his replacement, George Lazenby, was so poorly received that he did not return to the role. Having watched this one again, I can understand why; though I don’t think his performance is bad, there’s a certain quality to Bond that I can’t quite define, but which I don’t think Lazenby possessed. However, I think this particular entry in the Bond series makes good use of him; this is, in many ways, one of the least typical entries of the series. For one thing, it’s one of the only ones I’ve seen where Bond’s emotional attachment to a woman plays a profound role in the proceedings; I find it interesting that this seems to be the series entry where none of the female characters has a sexy double-entendre name (unless Irma Bunt qualifies). It’s also less sprawling than the others; most of the action takes place in Switzerland in or around Blofeld’s fortress there. Most of the action sequences take place in this snow-covered location, with the sled chase my favorite one of these. It runs on a bit too long, but its ending is genuinely moving, and truth to tell, I’m not sure I would have bought into it quite as completely if Connery had been playing him in this one. Besides, Connery wouldn’t have been given Lazenby’s funniest line in this one (the one right before the opening credits). Some Bond fans don’t care for this one, but I have real fondness for this one. Besides, it has Diana Rigg as well. And furthermore, given that there’s a Christmas scene in this one, this is one of the few times where my movie for Christmas day actually could be called a Christmas movie.


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