On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Don't forget the ring ...
On Her Majesty's Secret Service(1969)
Distributed by MGM/UA Home Video
The sixth installment of the Bond series sees Connery exiting ( temporarily ) and Lazenby entering ( temporarily ) as MI6's secret agent James Bond 007 still trying to close 'Operation Bedlam' ( i.e. trying to catch Ernst Stavro Blofeld ! ).
The plot sticks closely to Ian Fleming's book published in 1963 except that it's a film sequel to You Only Live Twice not a prequel as in the author's work. This proves significant when Bond meet Blofeld ( minus scar and British accent ) face-to-face at Piz Gloria. I know that they're both new actors but the characters have memory loss from their last encounter !
Opening titles with hour glass images of past Bond girls & villains and no opening song means John Barry produces his best score. His excellent music adds to the great ski chase with its Switzerland / Xmas setting, thankfully Nina's awful song Do you know how Christmas trees are grown ? stays in the background but the fateful romance is aided by the classic Louis Armstrong's We Have All the Time in the World.
Australian George Lazenby's debut ( with hardly any gadgets ) as 007 is underrated ( he excels in the fight scenes ) and not given enough credit. Many commented with the film's ending that it would have given Connery as Bond a chance finally to act. Diana tv's The Avengers Rigg is excellent as classy Tracy Di Vicenzo, the daughter of crime syndicate boss Marc Ange Draco. At one time the father offers 007 £1 million to marry her but James will have none of it. He falls in love and eventually marries her, only for Blofeld to have the last word.
The cast includes the usual support from Lee as a more 'fatherly-strict' M, Maxwell as an understanding and emotional Moneypenny and Llewelyn as an advising Q. Watch out for the tv faces of Telly Kojak Savalas as a more charming and poetic Blofeld and younger Joanna New Avengers & Ab Fab Lumley & Catherine Space: 1999 Schell among the Bond girls. Unlike Lazenby, George Baker who plays Sir Hilary Bray ( who translates Bond's Arms motto as The World Is Not Enough - sounds familiar ? ) reappears in The Spy Who Loved Me as a naval captain.
It remains one of my favourite and most watched Bond movies helped by the memory of a younger reviewer seeing it with his mum at Leicester Square's Odeon cinema on a rainy London afternoon.
In 1995 after all the Bond movies to date had been released, OHMSS was released in a Widescreen Special Edition black box set which contained: the Letterbox re-mastered video, 007 magazine special ( reduced to 8"x6" ) which had within a Lazenby signed b&w photo and colour cinema poster. The video opens with trailers for OHMSS and GoldenEye released at that time.
In 2006 MGM Home Entertainment released the James Bond Ultimate Edition 2-Disc DVD set of each of the 20 movies. The format remains the same with disc one having the digitally restored movie and disc two with the extras - Declassified: MI6 Vault, 007 Mission Control, Mission Dossier, Ministry of Propaganda & Image Database. Each menu has a Bond look a like silhouette, shooting girls, casino chips & cards and gun barrels incorporating photos & music from the movie.
A regular feature tucked away in 007 Mission Control with movie snips is a section called Exotic Locations narrated by Maud Octopussy Adams about the filming locations & their history. Also comes with an eight page booklet with info & photos.
For this disc movie audio commentary comes from Peter Hunt & crew and the usual documentaries including Lazenby's introduction to the Press narrated by Producer Michael G Wilson. Strange that they also choose this movie ( due to his lack of gagdets ) to do a ten minute compilation tribute to Desmond Llewelyn called Inside Q's Lab with the actor talking about his role and Moore explaining his on-set pranks. A shame nothing on the musical side as this movie owes a lot to Barry & Armstrong. Another restoration success so a must for any 007 collection.