Movie Review: ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969) 6th James Bond Film

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On Her Majesty's Secret Service, MOVIE POSTERON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, 1969
James Bond Movie Review

Directed by Peter R. Hunt
Starring: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas, Lois Maxwell, Gabriele Ferzetti, Ilse Steppat
Review by Jesse Ryder Hughes

SYNOPSIS:

Bond goes on the trail to find Blofeld, and is eventually lead to Switzerland. He falls in love, tries to quit being a secret agent, gets into a few ski chases, which all leads to the most tragic ending in any Bond film.

REVIEW:

Non-actor Lazenby filled in for Sean Connery in the roll of James Bond and even though Lazenby couldn’t deliver the dialogue that great (they even dubbed his voice for part of the movie), his fight scenes were really unique and the film itself is solid.

Director Peter Hunt went immediately back to Fleming’s novel and kept the film true to Fleming’s vision. After You Only Live Twice getting a bit out of hand, but extremely popular at the time, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service dared to go back to the roots of the genre, which is commendable. The film is action packed and exciting as well as extremely emotional and dramatic. This is the last film for awhile that feels serious before Bond films started becoming really campy and it is one of my favorites. It stands out on its own. It feels as if it doesn’t even belong beside the other films, because it feels so different.

Savalas stands out as the best Blofeld in the series. Also Played by Donald Pleasence and Charles Gray. Savalas’ Blofeld is quick, intelligent, proactive and always has the upper hand on Bond. Blofeld’s confidence is so apparent through his habits, like the way he holds his cigarettes, with a sense of righteousness. His master plan to brainwash innocent young girls into bringing back biological weaponry back to there countries is great, under his control, authority and trust he just needs to give the word and the girls will release the diseases. Savalas’ Blofeld is in my top five villains in the series mainly because savalas’ portrayal of a confident, subdued megalomaniac seems awfully realistic.

The other great part about this film is the love story that spawns between Bond and Diana Rigg’s character Tracey. Tracey’s depression feeds into Bond’s need to save her from the beginning of the film to the tragic finale, which leaves Bond falling into a pit of sadness and self denial repeating the line “It’s all right. It’s quite all right, really. She’s having a rest.

We’ll be going on soon. There’s no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world.”

On her Majesty’s Secret Service’s own tragedy comes with the next film Diamonds are Forever, which doesn’t take into account that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was even made. It didn’t do as well in the box office as the Connery films and audiences were known to boo the ending of the film. It was a Bond film that was ahead of its time and suffered because of it. The story is good and not too over the top and for Lazenby’s first and only outing as Bond he does prove there could be a lot of potential. Hunt’s film work and action scenes stand alone in the series, with gritty fights and interesting camera techniques that seemed innovative for the time. Unfortunately as Tracey says in the film, “People who want to stay alive play it safe.” That is exactly what they do with the next Bond films by keeping in the tradition of what the audience wants. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service may have not been the most popular Bond at the time, but as time goes on it becomes better and better, gaining it the respect from fans it didn’t fully get in 1969.

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