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CBn Reviews 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'


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#31 cameraguy

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 10:44 PM

I'll give OHMSS a solid 9 out of ten!
great plot, the direction and editing are still holding up to todays standards (which is quite incredible considering the possibilities today's directors and editors have...) and beautiful camerawork - all my admiration as a camera operator goes to DP Michael Reed, his oeprator Alec Mills (I think he operated the Panavision camera on this film but please correct me if I'm wrong here) and the action sequences cameramen Johnny Jordan and Willy Bogner. The film just has this great and very unique look to it. -Amazing!
Plus, the great casting: aside from the regulars (Lee, Llewellyn and Maxwell each giving a slightly different interpretation of their roles) there's Gabrielle Ferzetti and especially Diana Rigg. She may be not as gorgeous as some of the Bond girls that came before her or after her, but her wit and Diana's outstanding performance make her one of the best leading ladies of the series! The way she looks at Bond and interacts with Bond absolutely sells the idea that he would give up his job for her. (I would have done that anyway!)
Lazenby does a reasonable job as Bond but everytime I watch OHMSS I just can't help thinking what it would have been, could have been as either Connery's final performance or Moore's first outing as 007! (I think the Tracy-Bond tradgedy could have given Roger's performance as Bond a similar ground to that we may (hopefully) now see in Craig's 007 in Bond 22 with his past with Vesper...)
So IMO the fact that Lazenby is playing Bond is one of the weaknesses of this film but the main disappointment, I think, is Telly Savalas. His Blofeld just isn't the kind of menace I've come to expect after the previous films. (neither was Pleasance before him or Gray after him IMO) The Blofeld character just never lived up to what I would expect after seeing FRWL and TB. He should have been the ultimate villain but I don't think he ever lived up to that after TB.
Nevertheless, OHMSS is one of the great films of the series. It set a high standard that very few Bond films from then on have been able to live up to! And there's always going to be Diana Rigg as the one and only Mrs Bond and Louis Armstrong's song!
We have all the time in the World.

#32 Major Tallon

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 12:59 AM

OHMSS is my favorite Fleming novel, one I'm particularly devoted to, so it was important to me that the film be faithful to it. I'm happy to say that the movie comes through. That doesn't mean I like everything about it, but there's nothing I really dislike, and I thought I'd list some of the things I love and, well, love less, knowing that a number of my choices will be controversial.

Things I love:

1) The plot. It's not a scene-by-scene translation of the novel, but it retains about 80 percent of Fleming's book. And it's a great story. Top marks!

2) George Lazenby. He looks right and moves well; very physically adept. He's totally credible in the fight scenes and, with a little help from George Baker's voice, makes a believable Scottish baronet. His performance in Tracy's death scene was just perfect.

3) Piz Gloria. This is Blofeld's hideaway the way it must be: majestically dominating an Alpine valley, superficially luxurious but concealing an atmosphere of pure menace.

4) The sense of isolation. Related to the above, Bond, nominally a guest at Piz Gloria, is effectively a prisoner, alone without weapons or gadgets in a setting where the smallest slip may give him away. The scene where he searches his room as Blofeld's helicopter flies past conveys beautifully Bond's comparative powerlessness.

5) The fights. Brutal. The editing, speeding up the action by clipping frames from the fight scenes, and the high-volume sound effects are criticized in some quarters, but I think they're very effective.

6) The helicopter assault. Actually improves on Fleming's version. And the photography of the helicopters against the rising sun is beautiful.

7) The music. The American critic Judith Crist remarked that Barry's score deserves co-star billing, and I won't quarrel. From the exhilarating main theme, to Louis Armstrong's unexpectedly effective love ballad, to the placement of the Bond theme, it's Barry's best work. I particularly like the way the music underlying Blofeld's attempted seduction of Tracy builds as the helicopters approach.

8) "This never happened to the other fella." So, it broke the fourth wall. It hardly disrupted the flow of the movie and represented a knowing little acknowledgment that they'd recast the role that had become virtually synonymous with its actor. Far more acceptable than some of the abysmal puns that have passed for humor in the years since.

Things I love less:

1) Diana Rigg. Don't get me wrong. I was seriously smitten with her Emma Peel, but she wasn't vulnerable enough to be the girl Fleming wrote. A bit of Mrs. Peel even crept into her characterization when Tracy took on Grunther in the Alpine Room. While, I hate to bring up hair color after all we've been through in the last two years, I really think that Tracy should have been a blonde. I'd have loved to see a young Julie Christie in this part.

2) The ski chase. I may get flamed for this, but I was let down by the ski chase. Not that action on snow can't be gripping; even without the jump off the mountain, I'd have preferred the sequence in the PTS in TSWLM. Here, I wanted a different focus to the ski chase, with more suspense and a heightened sense of danger. In the novel, Bond's escape isn't discovered immediately, and the tension builds as Bond struggles his way down an unfamiliar slope at night, while sweating out how long he's got before his escape is discovered. This might have been difficult to convey on film, and I might have enjoyed the sequence more if I weren't so fond of the book. I've got two more quibbles here. First, there's a second ski chase in the film, this one including Tracy, and I think this second chase diminishes the central role of Bond's original escape. I concede that having Tracy be held prisoner on Piz Gloria for the final battle adds an extra for the assault, and that having her in the chase is a convenient way to get her there. My second quibble has to do with Blofeld's men. Not once did I sense that Bond had anything to fear from this lot, who were apparently recruited from the School For Inept Henchmen, where marksmanship is not in the curriculum.

3) The kilt. Yes, it's been criticized a lot, and I'm probably with the majority here. Sure, the kilt helped emphasize the Scottishness of the character, but, without knowing for sure, I'll bet that Scottish Heralds in the College of Arms rarely go about kitted out that way.

4) The stock car race. They apparently wanted a different kind of car chase, but this one, though doubtless consuming a lot of time, effort, and money, really doesn't add anything to the story. If they wanted a car chase, a nighttime chase over treacherous Alpine lanes, along cliff edges and across icy bridges, would have worked better.

5) "He branched off." OK, so a criminal mastermind with a plot to blackmail the entire world with the threat of biological warfare has been knocked out of a bobsled by a low-hanging branch, and neither Bond nor anybody else that we know about cares enough to go back and check for him. Sure, maybe they would have done this and just didn't feel a need to say so, but it's one of those gaps in storytelling that left me shaking my head.

On balance, this movie has got a cracking story, a strong central character, and the benefit of some great filmmaking. It's not perfect, but it's a great adventure story, a first-rate James Bond thriller, and simply a wonderful entertainment. 9/10

#33 PrinceKamalKhan

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 01:07 AM

9 out of 10. Just rewatched it recently and was impressed by how well made it was. I even liked Lazenby(I'm considering putting him ahead of Brosnan on my Bond actor ranking list). Diana Rigg is far more convincing than any of the "female equal" types of late (Pam, Wai Lin, Jinx) . What keeps it from getting a 10? It kind of drags a little in the first half starting with the long expositional conversation between Draco and Bond in Draco's office. There are some good scenes in the first hour(mainly at the casino and at the office where "Miss Moneypenny saves the day") but once OHMSS gets to Switzerland and "Sir Hilary Bray" meets Blofeld's "patients", the film takes off and never lets up until it's unforgettable end. If only Dalton had been Bond in it.

#34 Miss Miranda Frost

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 09:23 PM

OHMSS gets a 10 in my book. It is so good, it is hard to watch it again.

#35 DamnCoffee

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 09:24 PM

Along with Casino Royale - a 10 from me. :cooltongue: My second favorite.

#36 ChronoBreak

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:47 AM

OHMSS gets an easy 10 from me - And it's my 4th favorite Bond film.

This is a rare movie that does almost everything beyond right. The casting, the story, the action, the music, the atmosphere, the photography, the editing... I could go on about OHMSS's positive qualities, but I'll single out three in particular:

1) George Lazenby. Though he lacks in experience, he brings an energetic upstart quality to Bond - And he seems much less self-conscious about the role than Connery in any of his post-GF films. Some have often pondered over what could have been had Lazenby not done the film, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

2) Diana Rigg. Smart, beautiful, elegant, and complex. She's the perfect Bond girl, and her natural screen presence balances well with Lazenby's less refined swagger.

3) Peter Hunt. The man knows Bond, that's for sure. The film is stylish, consistently well-shot and treats the character's universe with respect.

#37 DavidSomerset

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 07:11 AM

Fantastic movie except for Wooden George. He wasn't just wooden, he was solid 100% Prime Sequoia wood. If only this movie had Sean or even Roger...

Brozza's 2 cents ->"George seems to be an unhappy camper about Bond. He gets pissy and spits the dummy out. Tim was fantastic. He really had the balls to go out there and play it on the nose - Ian Fleming undiluted. But where were the laughs? Sean was brilliant, he played it dead on the money. And Roger really made it his own and went for the laughs. I think those two were the best."

#38 Agent Carter

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:24 PM

Fantastic movie except for Wooden George. He wasn't just wooden, he was solid 100% Prime Sequoia wood. If only this movie had Sean or even Roger...

Brozza's 2 cents ->"George seems to be an unhappy camper about Bond. He gets pissy and spits the dummy out. Tim was fantastic. He really had the balls to go out there and play it on the nose - Ian Fleming undiluted. But where were the laughs? Sean was brilliant, he played it dead on the money. And Roger really made it his own and went for the laughs. I think those two were the best."


Ugh. I disagree.

I'm tired of the Lazenby can't act. Now, was he as good as an actor as Connery or Craig or Dalton, obviously no. But he was believable as Bond. He didn't look like he was acting to me. Especially in the fight scenes. He engrossed himself in the Bond character, instead of mimicking what he thought it should be.

Give me 10 minutes of Lazneby's wooden dialouge over all of Moore's childish penis jokes any day.

Brosnan also said DAD was the best as well, so..

#39 ChronoBreak

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:56 PM

Brosnan's comments are probably rooted in that spat between Lazenby and himself that went on a while ago. That said, I disagree with his sentiments on Lazenby and Moore. And the "where were the laughs" Dalton comment.

#40 PrinceKamalKhan

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 12:30 AM

OHMSS gets a 10 in my book. It is so good, it is hard to watch it again.


:cooltongue: I'm confused. If you think it's so good wouldn't it be easy to watch again?

#41 Bond fan since March 2000

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 04:32 AM

Ok, I reviewed all 21 Bond films on DVD & I started with my least favorite & am working my way to #1. So enjoy!

#19 On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969

What I hear lots of Bond fans say is that had On Her Majesty's Secret Service starred Sean Connery, it would have been the best Bond ever. I'll say that had any of the Bond besides George Lazenby starred in it, it would have been a better movie. I find On Her Majesty's Secret Service to be good, but far overrated. This is due to a poor lead actor & a really long running time.

James Bond (newcomer George Lazenby) saves a suicidal woman named Tracy (The Avengers' Diana Rigg) from drowning & finds out her father, Marc Ange Draco (Gabrielle Ferzetti) is the leader of the second largest crime syndicate in Europe. Draco offers Bond to help catch Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas) if he will marry Tracy. At first, Bond refuses but eventually falls in love with her anyway.

One of the main problems with OHMSS is George Lazenby. His work before this includes commercials & he makes a poor Bond. This is a bad Sean Connery impersonation rather than trying to create his own Bond like Moore, Dalton, Brosnan & Craig have done. There are too many times when they try to tell the audience it's the same James Bond as before. Maurice Binder's titles include scenes from previous Bond films & Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) notes that it is still the same James. There is one good reference line that Lazenby nails perfectly however:"This never happened to the other fella".

The other big problem is the film being 140 minutes. While Casino Royale was 4 minutes longer, there was never a boring moment. OHMSS is filled with them & it's mostly in the middle of the film. After the first half-hour, things slow down a bit with lots & lots of dialogue including a lot of the scenes at Piz Gloria are very slow. But things get back into gear at the 90-minute mark with almost non-stop action til the end of the movie.

Director Peter Hunt, who was an editor on previous Bonds knows how to direct action. The fight scenes are brutal & well choreographed & there are lots of action scenes with snow. The skiing scenes are outstandingly well-done by Willy Bogner, along with a car chase through a stock car race & a scene on bobsleds.

And although OHMSS has a weak leading man, the supporting cast is way above average. Diana Rigg is marvelous as Tracy & is one of the few Bond girls who can really act. She's tortured, beautiful & you can believe someone like Tracy would make James Bond fall in love. Telly Savalas makes for a great Blofeld & is the best of the three actors who have played Blofeld. Pretty much everyone else in the supporting cast is good or better. Also worth mentioning is the work of John Barry who creates an instrumental theme for the film & creates on of the best scores on any Bond film.

OHMSS has grown on a lot of Bond fans since its release, but I'm not one of them. A lot of people say the final scene brings tears to the eyes, but it isn't as touching as people say it is (probably because of Lazenby's bland performance). This was one of the Bond films that brought Bond back down to earth after a more fantasy based one & some prefer the realistic serious ones while others prefer humorous out of this world adventures (a la the midst of the Moore era). I don't mind either, it just depends on how well it's done. This is one of the former & it's one of my least favorites not because it is serious, but a bad Bond & a long running time. Although I don't have as much appreciation for this one as others, I'll still watch this every once in a while.

#42 Shaun Forever

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 01:12 AM

Bond's escape isn't discovered immediately, and the tension builds as Bond struggles his way down an unfamiliar slope at night, while sweating out how long he's got before his escape is discovered.



Just reading the quote then, brilliantly put, I could imagine it as I was reading.

#43 col_007

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 11:33 PM

just watching it again and am trying to write how i feel this film is sheer gold its rocks so much even after my 300 rd viewing ;D

#44 agentjamesbond007

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 12:25 AM

I gave ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE a 9, because it was good although I still think that Goldfinger is the best bond movie I have seen.

#45 McThing

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 09:45 AM

I gave it an 8. Its a great movie but could never fully compete with FRWL in my books. I quite liked Rigg and Savalas performances as Tracey and Blofeld.

#46 Pete

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 12:01 PM

It deserves an 8 in my book, as it better than Connery's last two and most of Moores.

I've never been one to think that Lazenby was all that bad, but I don't think as an actor Connery was all that good either. I put Lazenby's poor parts down to some bad scripting. I think they tried to overdo the humour that worked for Connery. This film should have been played straight throughout, and had the one liners cut. Even reading the book I thought that Fleming hadn't quite got the ending correct. I would have though that Bond would have been more angry than upset(as he was in YOLT). By following the book nearly to the letter, it didn't help in the transfer to the screen. It ended as no Bond movie had before and the follow up DAF didn't carry on where it left off. To me this is the reason that OHMSS is a stand alone movie. If they could edit out the "other fella" comment and take out the awful one liners, it would be a far better movie.

Along with Moonraker this is one Bond film that needs a remake or at least a major re-edit.

#47 Licence_007

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 09:06 PM

I gave it an 8. It's within my top 5, it would probably be a 10 if it had the benefit of a stronger lead actor.

#48 Cruiserweight

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:30 PM

I gave it a 9.It's somewhere in my top 10 around the 5-7 spot.

#49 Qu

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 06:42 AM

Diana Rigg & Telly Savalas was perfect in their role played, the music score, plot, etc.

Lazenby was not very good like Sean Connery was but for his first role it was just good only!

Imagined Telly Savalas played much the vilain, LOL it had been amazing!he was one of my two favorite vilain ever.
Diana Rigg was really feminine & strong, just perfect! Best bond music ever.

the best ever James Bond movies was OHMSS & Casino Royale 2007 and You Only Live Twice!

I wrote a spy story in french and they never think of one of my 2 gadget :D many peoples pretend my idea will be the best ever and captivate peoples a lot! because they can use it for much than 15 minutes for each in this movies plot! i will finish my story,registered and send for Bond 23!
Too Bad my Character for my vilain was Philippe Noiret! he died last two years!
Just the voice of this greatest french actor was enough for freeze the audience and scare Bond, LOL

Daniel Craig he is a very very great actor, but he is not good looking like Sean Connery and natural body defini still like Sean Connery.
Play very good the way he did was not possible for Pierce Brosnan or Dalton! in my book !
Roger Moore was great in the Saint adventure,why not a series ?

#50 DamnCoffee

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 01:14 PM

Welcome to CBn Quebec :D

I gave it a 10. My Favorite Bond movie... so far :D. Everything in this movie is just perfect, including Lazenby, who is extremly confident in the lead role, considering it was his first acting job. I salute the guy for giving a truly Fantastic performance as James Bond. I also love the Score, every track is a pleasure to listen to.

I just wish Lazenby did Diamonds Are Forever. :P

#51 sharpshooter

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:55 AM

Sometimes when I watch OHMSS I think it is almost too good to be a Bond film. It has sweeping camera work, great locations to film, outstanding score, and human story alongside hard hitting violence. A 10 for me, it is in my top 5.

#52 Harry Fawkes

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 08:35 PM

I love OHMSS and think Lazenby was great as Bond. Pity he only made one.

#53 Aris007

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:41 PM

A 10 for the best of the best! The atmosphere in this film surpasses FRWL if you ask me. And this soundtrack! God it's amazing! Well , for Lazenby.... he's nice, but please don't say the line with a bright smile!

#54 BoogieBond

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:55 PM

A very strong 8 1/2. The actions scenes are brilliant, and it is a brilliant film. If Laz had a few more films under his belt it would have been a 9/10. Perhaps if his first film had been DAF and this was his 2nd, It would have been a 10.

Edited by BoogieBond, 06 June 2008 - 05:00 PM.


#55 sthgilyadgnivileht

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 05:23 PM

I vote 10. A most competent bond film, full of magnificent achievements that bypassed cinema goers and critical acclaim, simply because Sean Connery wasn't in it. It also suffered because of fragmented video and DVD releases, only now corrected by the UE. One thing for sure, this is a big screen movie that needs to be viewed theatrically in its panavision format. Then it really delivers!

#56 ChrissBond007

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 02:41 PM

I vote a 10. It's my favorite Bondmovie off all time. The soundtrack, the locations, the actionscenes, the story and the cast are all perfect. Lazenby is not the best 007, but I think he was quite good in this film, shame that he did only one. But I think all the Bond's where perfect and so was Lazenby. The ending is simply beautiful and the ski scenes are spectacular. The most brilliant Bondmovie ever. :tup:

Edited by ChrissBond007, 08 July 2008 - 02:42 PM.


#57 Agent Ostlund

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 08:59 PM

I vote a 10, my favorite Bond film. This is one of the Bond Films I could watch everyday and not get tired of it for one bit. The acting, plot line, action and everything in between are simply superb.

#58 DamnCoffee

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 09:02 PM

10 10 10 10 10 10 10

The Best James Bond film ever. 'nuff said. :tup:

#59 Johnboy007

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:27 AM

A solid 9/10. There are bits of editing during this movie that bother me (mostly during the second part of the ski chase), the reuse of the original James Bond theme recording, and little wooden acting by Lazenby. However, the main titles are dynamite; part of an unbelievable outing overall by John Barry. Telly Savalas, Diana Rigg, and Ilse Steppat are all top notch, and M/Q/Moneypenny appear in appropriate doses.

My biggest complaint about the film is that Diamonds Are Forever is how Eon decided to follow it.

#60 manfromjapan

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 09:00 AM

10/10 for me. Until CR, the best ever James Bond film.

What don't I love about the film lol. Lazenby does a remarkable job in my opinion. Sure, he's no Connery. But then who is? And by this point, I doubt the film would have been allowed such fidelity to the novel if Connery had returned. The producers and the studio couldn't have resisted the temptation to try and outdo YOLT. And anyway, like Craig's casting in CR, a new actor and approach was required for OHMSS. This Bond seems to be much more romantic, youthful, anti-auhoritarian and easily bored than Connery. One would would have found it awkward to accept a suddenly different approach to the role from Connery, just like it would have been if Brosnan had been cast in CR.

The film as said earlier is faithful to the wonderful novel. The humour is restrained (I love the 'he had guts!' line!), the action hard-hitting, relentless and inventively filmed and edited. Barry's score supplies the film with it's adrenalised energy, it's romantic heart, it's playfulness and it's eventual sadness. The photography is crisp, modern and panoramic. Switzerland has never looked so gorgeous.

The cast is wonderful, especially Rigg and Savalas, certainly the most physical Blofeld (I doubt Blofeld would have joined in the chase but there you go). My friends think Savalas's way of holding a cigarette is hilarious.

But crucially, the film is pure Fleming. Like the book, the plot is allowed to unfold naturally, the characters breathe and the character of Bond allowed to deepen.

Not just one of the very best Bond films, but one of the very best adventure movies of modern cinema and certainly one of the most under-rated films ever made.

Edited by manfromjapan, 12 July 2008 - 09:01 AM.





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