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On Her Majestys Secret Service 1969

OHMSS_-_UK_cinema_poster

OHMSS Film Poster

Following the departure of Sean Connery from the role of James Bond during the filming of You Only Live Twice. Producers Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman select unknown actor and former male model George Lazenby who holds the distinction for being the old Bond actor to not be born in the UK but rather Australia. Long time Bond editor Peter Hunt makes his directorial debut and would mark his only direction of a Bond film. In the 6 Bond adventure 007 once again battles Ernst Stavro Blofeld who this time plans to sterilize the worlds food supply if his title as Count De Bleuchamp and international amnesty are met. This would mark the only apperance as Bond for Lazenby who left the role following the films release.

The Plot: The film begins with Bond driving his car in Portugal. As we had with Connery in Dr No, We get a series of close up shots of Lazenby building up his eventual reveal. Bond arrives at a beach and saves a women from a suicide attempt. Following Bonds rescue of the women he is attacked by a gang of men who he disposes of with ease. The women drives off in her car and we get a breaking of the 4th wall as Lazenby says “This Never Happened To The Other Fellow” which is a sutle hit to Connery and his run as Bond.

Dianna Rigg as Tracy DiVinco

Dianna Rigg as Tracy DiVinco

Bond checks into a hotel and that night heads for the casino. Will at the casino Bond meets the women again. Here we learn that the women is Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo or simply Tracy played by Dianna Rigg who unlike most Bond girls of the era had found prior fame to joining Bond from her role in The Avengers with future Bond Alumni Patrick McNee. Bond pays off her gambling losses and the two head up to Bonds room and spend the night together. Bond awakes the next morning to find Tracy has left his room and checked out of the hotel.

As Bond prepares to leave the hotel he is taken hostage by the group of men he encountered on the beach. Bond is taken to meet the Marc-Ange Draco who heads the European crime syndicate Unione Corse. Draco reveals that he is the father of Tracy and fills Bond in on her past. Bond desires information on Blofeld which Draco holds. Bond and Draco come to the arrangment that if Bond marry Tracy, Draco will give Bond the information he requires.

Bond returns to Mi6 which results in a bad altercation with M. M takes Bond off of the Blofeld case due to failiure to produce results in 2 years (Gap between You Only Live Twice and OHMSS). Bond has Monneypenny write out his resignation to the Secret Sevice. Here we get to see that Bond indeed has an office at Mi6 and he goes through props from past missions to futher explain we are watching the same character despite the changing in actor. M agrees to Bond resignaton which turns out to be 2 weeks leave. Bond attends Draco’s birthday party where he recives his informaton about Blofeld due to Tracy knwoing about the prior agrangment. Bond and Tracy then begin their romance.

With the information given to him by Draco, Bond heads to Switzerland and breaks into a lawyers office who holds paper work on Blofeld. Bond uses a new safe cracking/phtocopying device to crack the safe and copy the documents which teach us that Blofeld is working in conjuction with Sir Hillary Bray a geneologist at the London College of Arms as Blofeld claims to hold the title Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp. Bond returns to London and meets with M at Barrack House and reveals to M the new information on Blofeld and his plan to meet with him. Bond in agreement with Bray will impersonate Bray in order to gain access to Blofeld.

Bond and the Angels Of Death

Bond and the Angels Of Death

Bond heads back to Switzerland this time in disguise as Bray. Bond meets with Irma Brunt who takes Bond to Blofelds Piz Gloria which acts as an allergy-research institute. Bond upon arrival meets the “Angels Of Death” who are patients at the institute all of whom are women and all take a liking to Mr Bond. Bond meets with one of the patients at night whom while courting falls into a sleep induced trance with Blofeld feeding them audio instructions for what to do when they return home. Blofeld plans to have the women cause bacterial warfare in the different regions of the world.

Bond and Blofeld meet. Upon their meeting Bond still posing as Bray attempts to get Blofeld to leave Switzerland so the British Secret Service

Bond and Blofeld meet

Bond and Blofeld meet

can arrest him. After leaving the meeting Bond is captured by Brunt. Bond and Blofeld met again and Blofeld says he realized it was Bond when Bond began to talk about Blofeld leaving Swizterland. Bond makes his escape by skiing with Blofeld and his men in chase. Bond arrives in a small town and runs into Tracy. A car chase then ensues with it ending up in a car race with Bond and Tracy escaping and find solace in a barn. Here Bond propsses to Tracy.

The next morning Blofeld attempts to kill Bond by causing an avalanche and in the process captures Tracy. Back in London M informs Bond of Blofelds plan to hold the world ransom and to kill off the agriculture by using the Angels of death. Blofeld wishes to have amnesty for his past crimes and to be recognized as Count. M informs Bond that the ransom will be paid and that Bond is to not do any sort of rescue mission to go after Tracy. Bond enlists Draco and his men to attack Piz Gloria. Tracy is rescued as Bond goes after Blofeld who escapes in a bobsled. During the chase Blofeld injures his neck from having it snap against a tree branch.

Bond and Tracy at their wedding

Bond and Tracy at their wedding

Bond and Tracy marry in Portugal. M, Monneypenny and Q all attend. Bond and Tracy drive off in Bonds Aston Martian. While stopping to remove flowers from the car Blofeld and Brunt drive past and kill Tracy. Bond cradles his wife as a police officer drives past as Bond closes the movie by saying “We Have All The Time In The World”

Thoughts: A lot has been said about OHMSS over the years. Many criticize the film because of the casting of Lazenby as Bond. Its hard to place Lazenby in a rank for Bond because of his one performance unlike other actors. Personally OHMSS is a very strong movie and depending on what you like in a Bond film your either going to think its one of the best of one of the worst. An upside to Lazenby as Bond is his physicality when it comes to action scenes. Unlike the other Bonds, Lazenby carries himself well in the physical stuff which if he continued with the role would of been his trademark. I think it Connery had stuck around to do this movie a lot of people would think differently to it. I think a lot of people tend to not like this movie because of Lazenby as Bond and that’s fine because everyone is entitled to an opinion on stuff. Another of the films strong points is the ski scenes. Future Bond films will feature Ski scenes and I think OHMSS does them the best and in a way are sort of underrated because the film is not praised to the level of other Bond films.

The Lazenby Stuff: A lot has been said about Lazenby being cast as Bond, His Performance and Departure following the film. Lazenby from my understanding had a very arrogant nature to him during the filming and that became an issue throughout the filming process. Prior to the release of the film in 1969 Lazenby announced he would not be returning to the series citing issues with the producers. “They made me feel like I was mindless. They disregarded everything I suggested simply because I hadn’t been in the film business like them for about a thousand years”. Lazenby also criticed the character being a brute while the rest of the world was embracing Peace and Love during the late 60s and early 70s. Lastly Lazenby was to be contracted to play Bond for 7 movies. Going by what happens in the cannon of the films this would make the Lazenby run go from OHMSS to For Your Eyes Only which would be a 12 year stint as Bond which is the same as Roger Moore from 73 to 85. Lazenby’s agent told him the spy genere was passe and that martial art films were the next big thing.

Closing: Thus ends what might be one of the more interesting Bond projects ever made just due to Lazenby and his antics during the filming and his comments following Bond. Overall OHMSS is a great movie and provided something new to the series which it lacked in the later Connery era.

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