Peter Hunt, 1969
Plot: The most emotional adventure of his career begins for James Bond on a deserted beach where a young woman tries to drown herself. He rescues the girl and for his trouble is attacked by two tough guys – the girl’s bodyguards. It soon becomes much bigger for 007 – the girl is Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ DiVincenzo, daughter of crime boss Marc Ange Draco. Draco wants James to marry his wayward daughter, and in return he can provide 007 with information on an even more dangerous criminal leader – Ernst Stavro Blofeld of SPECTRE. But both James and Tracy find more than they ever bargained for when their paths collide in a vicious pursuit in the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, an enormous avalanche, and a smuggling ring for germ warfare against the West by Blofeld – who proves most difficult to kill. The film followed the plot of the novel more closely than the other film adaptations of the eponymous source novels.
Honesty is one of the most important things one should have when reviewing a film. So, honestly, when I first heard about On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, I didn’t care about it that much, I didn’t even want to try to watch it at first. Why? Because, first of all, I’ve never heard of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Also, it was the first time I ever encountered a Bond film with quite a long title, so I thought: “Is this really a Bond movie? Or is it just a spoof of a Bond movie?” And the third reason is George Lazenby. I didn’t even know there was a James Bond actor named “George Lazenby.”
So one day, while I was bumming around the house, I decided to have a James Bond marathon. I watched almost all of the Bond films, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. Finally, I was able to watch this Bond movie called “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.“
OHMSS — as most Bond enthusiasts call it — is one of the films in the franchise that has substance, might be because of the film’s dramatic elements. It also has flamboyant action sequences, less unbelievable gadgets… and a vintage Aston Martin (!)
OHMSS is also one of the most dramatic and romantic Bond films. Aside from fighting his nemesis Blofeld (Telly Savalas) and the rest of the bad guys, 007 also falls in love — truly, madly, deeply — with a woman named Teresa ‘Tracy’ DiVincenzo (Diana Rigg). The film even shows a montage of James and Tracy having their romantic moments, set to Louis Armstrong’s We Have All the Time in the World.
And yes, this film also has a gorgeous Bond girl in the form of British actress Diana Rigg. She plays Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ DiVincenzo. Tracy is a tragic, daring, suicidal, lovelorn and headstrong Mafia heiress. She is also skilled in driving, skiing, and fighting. (Yes, fighting.)
“Diana Rigg“, he says. “She was good in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She was the one Bond girl who was nearly bigger than the movie.“
George Lazenby as James Bond seems a bit restrained. Lazenby may not be as “charming” as Sean Connery or the other Bond actors, but he is also good. His approach might be a bit subtle, but Lazenby was still able to convey his character.
Lazenby is also one of the most agile Bonds ever. He was a combat instructor for the Special Forces of the Australian Army. Lazenby also studied Jeet Kune Do under Bruce Lee. Though I think Daniel Craig’s agility is still the best… so far. Roger Moore kinda sucked in his action sequences; check out his lousy action sequences in Bond films like Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, A View To A Kill, etc. In fairness to Moore, what he lacks in agility, he makes up for in charm.
John Barry’s score for this film is very nice. OHMSS is the first in the EON Production series to extensively use synthesizers and electric guitars. The music in OHMSS‘s main title sequence is great.
My rating: 6/10 – OHMSS is not the BEST, but it’s one of the good Bond films.
Trailer for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service:
†Playboy, November 2008.
DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. I don’t own or claim to own any of the photos used.