On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Peter Hunt

Cast: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Gabriele Ferzetti, Ilse Steppat, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn

Film matched beverage: Swiss Alps cocktail

Synopsis:   Blofeld is nowhere to be found, and Bond is to be removed from the search to start on more productive avenues.   The case gets new life though when criminal family man Draco offers Bond some information to help his search.   The price for this information is that Bond must marry his daughter Tracey… a price that in the end he is more than willing to accept.

I still maintain that this is one of my favorite Bond films.   This review will also be unique, however, in that my commentary will not be restricted to the film and the Blu-Ray transfer, but will also compare the Blu-Ray to seeing the film on the big screen a few short weeks ago.   It will also be unique as this film is very unique for a Bond film, being the only entry to feature George Lazenby as Bond.   I will start with the latter point first.

Lazenby faced a very tough job, being the first ever person to play Bond that was not Connery.   Connery had made the role his own over five films, and was always going to be a tough act to follow.   We are also talking about an era where changing a lead actor in a franchise was at the very least irregular if not down-right unheard of (barring classic horror film characters at least).   So he had all that to contend with, and does a very strong job of carrying this film.   He did not slavishly copy Connery’s portrayal, and put some of his own personality into the role.   If anything, I could much more believe that this Bond would propose marriage to a girl and actually mean it.

Everything external to Lazenby’s performance is more classic Bond, aside from a few plot threads that are clearly divergent.   The genuine love story is the part that clearly diverges, and has never been successfully repeated in a Bond film up until Casino Royale.   Aside from this though the action is definitely there, all with the beautiful backdrop of the Swiss Alps.   There is also plenty of eye-candy in the form of Blofeld’s angels.

I will say that, beyond many Bond films, there is some great characterisation of the major players in this film.   Savalas as Blofeld is a dominating presence, and as I have indicated earlier, perhaps my own preferred performance of the character.   Rigg is also a very strong female presence, and one that could believably win Bond’s heart.   Her character is actually layered, a little bit damaged, but also strong and willful.   She is also given more back story than many Bond girls previously or since.

The clarity of the Blu-Ray was beautiful, and perhaps at times even clearer than what I got to observe on the big screen.   That said, nothing can truly replace the big screen experience of a true cinema, especially one as beautiful as the Orpheum.   Viewing the film in both ways has it advantages, though home cinema audiences have no reason to complain about this HD offering.   If your home cinema setting can genuinely replicate that of a cinema like the Orpheum, you will really get the best of both worlds with this Blu-Ray disc.

Like the trailer indicates, this is a different Bond, and that would have been hard for late ’60s audiences to appreciate.   In the modern age though, OHMSS is a superior film deserving of attention.   It shares more life blood with Casino Royale than any other Bond I can think of.

5 stars out of 5

 

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service on IMDB

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf_I84W-_cw]

 

Swiss Alps Recipe

2 parts Hpnotiq liqueur

1 part White Creme de Cacao

Shaken over ice and served in a martini glass

 

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