The moment I’ve been waiting for – finally getting to see the one (and only!) George Lazenby Bond movie. Often cited as Bond fans’ favorite movie of the Eon franchise, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is such a radical departure from Sean Connery’s 007 that it’s almost hard to evaluate the movie on its own merits, without constantly comparing it to the previous five (i.e. Connery) Bond movies. While I don’t think OHMSS is going down as my #1 favorite Bond movie, I totally get why it ranks so high for many Bond fans. It fit my requirement for a good movie: something that entertains me the entire film running time. That said, I really missed Q in this movie (he appears briefly, but without with an arsenal of gadgets). I love crotchety Desmond “pleated pants” Llewellyn so much, and hope he’ll return for longer appearances shortly.
Also, regarding the continuity issue I brought up in the last post – at the very beginning of OHMSS, Lazenby faces the camera and said “this never happened to the other fellow.” Hmmm… this would seem to support the idea that ‘007’ is a codename, wouldn’t it?
Plot in twenty words or less: Bond romps around the Alps impersonating a genealogist while Bleuchamp (i.e. Blofeld) brainwashes babes bent on bioterrorism.
How it’s aged: Aside from the obligatory feminist commentary noted below, it doesn’t feel horribly dated or super cheesy. I think this was the first Bond movie since Goldfinger where there wasn’t a Cold War nemesis behind the evil-doing. We’re definitely getting premonitions of the 70’s here in terms of dress, particularly for the ladies. Also, Lazenby’s suits were, for the most part, very snappy. Not sure how I feel about the kilt, but hey, whatever – Bond is Scottish so it’s all good. That scene in which he let the kilt fall to the ground was probably the one scene that encapsulated so quickly how much Lazenby’s Bond was a departure from Connery. Also, was Lazenby pretending to be gay a couple of times when some of the Death Angels were trying to seduce him? He made a couple of references along the lines of “I don’t usually like girls.” Another radical departure from Connery’s 007.
Hopefully some readers with better memories than me will chime in here, but this seems to me to be the first movie in which we see Bond going his own way – he attempts to resign, and when it turns out Moneypenny doesn’t actually tender his resignation (or M refuses it and gives him a leave, that wasn’t clear), he goes semi-rogue by, as Boyfriend put it, teaming up with a mobster in order to save the world from a terrorist. By this time it’s clear that Bond is willing to get dirty on behalf of her majesty’s secret service.
Something that was just weird and/or WTF y’all: Surely the “re-education” tape for Ruby could have been a little less silly… “I’ve taught you to love chickens….” Really? REALLY?!
Obligatory feminist commentary: Well, the double-slapping of Contessa (aka Teresa aka Tracy) was pretty awful – especially because it came from both Bond and her dad. Damn. And her dad was old school and I do not mean in a cool funky Rufus Thomas kind of way, but in a “What my daughters needs is a man to dominate her and make love to her!!!!” way. Uh, gross. I’m finding that Bond movies are like one step forward, two steps back when it comes to, uh, “the male gaze.”
Completely hypothetical cultural reference points: Did the skiing chase scenes remind anyone else of the epic Beatles’ movie Help!…? Help! came out a few years before OHMSS, so it’s a possible inspiration. I really hope so, because Help! ranks highly among my favorite dumb movies of all time. Boyfriend also reports there’s an epic ski-chase scene in Better Off Dead, which I have not seen.
Superficial Thing that did not Amuse Me: Why the eff would you think that BLOWING UP a place with biological weapons in it could be a good idea? Does not compute.
Superficial Thing that highly Amused Me: Oh man, so many to choose from! There were a lot of archives-ish references in this movie, so I’ll stick to that. First, WTF was with the idea that genealogist = Sherlock Holmes outfit? Second, can I get a “hell yeah” for an actual reference to visiting the archives to verify something? Of course Blofeld declined (I guess evil villains are an untapped user group), but still, I got excited.
possibly dubious poignant thing I learned from Wikipedia: The track “We Have All The Time in the World,” sung by New Orleans’ own Louis Armstrong, was the last song Satchmo ever recorded.
Administrative information concerning this viewing:
Drinks consumed: Abita Lemon Wheat
Food eaten: Caprese salad
Viewed on: June 2, 2013
Viewing Partner: Boyfriend and Cat