On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Review: The One With George Lazenby Where Bond Gets Married
Movie title: On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Movie description: James Bond woos a mob boss' daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Ernst Stavro Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps involving beautiful women from around the world.
Genre: Action, Thriller
While not being the best or most popular entry in the series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of the most faithful adaptations of source material and a solid Bond movie that tries a little more realistic and a different approach than his immediate predecessors, focusing more on telling an actual story instead on gadgets and action set pieces but unfortunately, a final result is a mixed bag.
Director: Peter R. Hunt (Gulliver’s Travels)
Cast: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sixth movie in the James Bond franchise produced by Eon Productions, is a first one without Sean Connery as agent 007. Connery, who was already reluctant to appear in the previous James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice, decided to retire from the role of 007 so search for new Bond began. Producers Broccoli and Saltzman were considering John Richardson, Anthony Rogers, Hans De Vries, and Robert Campbell, before settling for unknown Australian model and actor George Lazenby as Connery’s successor. This will be his only appearance as agent 007. It is also the only James Bond film directed by Peter R. Hunt, who worked as a second unit director and film editor on previous entries in the franchise.
Based on Ian Fleming’s 1963 novel of the same name, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service follows Bond who goes undercover and faces Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas ) who wants to sterilize the world’s food supply. Along the way Bond meets a beautiful girl (Diana Rigg) but in this 007 movie, he falls in love and gets married although for a short time as his wife is killed by Blofeld at the end of the movie.
Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman together with director Hunt decided to approach this one differently and give the audience a more realistic movie that would be closer to the source novel. The final result is one of the most faithful adaptations of source material and although it wasn’t as successful on box office as its predecessors, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was still a solid hit and one of the highest-grossing movies of the year.
George Lazenby was offered a contract for seven movies but his agent Ronan O’Rahilly convinced him to decline the offer and star in one movie only. Which actually wasn’t a bad thing for Bond fans as Lazenby isn’t a particularly good actor. While Lazenby wasn’t bad in his only turn as 007, he is no Sean Connery. But at least he was better and more convincing in the role than grandma Roger Moore.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service leaves jetpacks, spacecrafts, and volcano lairs and instead goes for a little more realistic and a different approach. It focuses more on telling an actual story instead on gadgets and action set pieces but unfortunately, a final result is a mixed bag. While On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is actually a solid and well-shot Bond movie, Lazenby wasn’t that good in the role like Sean Connery, a love story takes too much of running time and is not particularly interesting, Tracy, although hailed as one of the most interesting Bond girls, is, in my opinion, annoying spoiled brat (at least in the first half of the movie) and action sequences and stunts are well-made but not the best in the series. This was the second appearance of Blofeld as the main antagonist. Played by Telly Savalas (Kojak, Kelly’s Heroes), it is second-best version of Blofeld after Donald Pleasence’s portrayal in You Only Live Twice and miles better than Blofeld in Spectre or Diamonds Are Forever.
While not being the most popular entry in the series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a solid action film and better Bond movie than it’s immediate predecessors (Thunderball, You Only Live Twice) and successors (Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, Man with a Golden Gun). And for the end of this review, a little bit of trivia for you – director Christopher Nolan (TDK, Memento, Dunkirk) said that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is his favorite Bond movie which influenced him when he was making Inception (2010).
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