1. CBn Reviews 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'

    By Devin Zydel on 2005-06-07

    Over the last several months, members of the CBn Forum have been reviewing all the James Bond films in the “Countdown Threads“. If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register. Now here are some select reviews, varying in opinions, of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ -by 00-Fan008

    'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' litho by Jeff Marshall

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ litho by Jeff Marshall

    This is a great film. It’s a shame Lazenby couldn’t do another one; his performance as Bond was very good. I don’t know if you could say his performance was rival to that of Connery’s, but I guess you could say he is still “up there”.

    Telly Savalas, in my own opinion at least, was probably the best Blofeld of them all. There was something about him the other ones lacked; he seemed more sure of himself and more cunning, whereas the other ones were more in the manner of Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers films.

    The end sequence between James Bond and Blofeld on the bobsleds was a very good idea. Like most of us who have seen movies, we all know a high-speed chase is effective.

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ -by BondIsMoore

    This is one Bond movie that doesn’t look or feel like any other Bond film. It has a sense of seriousness to it. Almost like this is a bond movie for adults. We see more intense action scenes and very serious issues facing Bond. The story makes Bond look more human unlike the gadget wielding, aston martin driving bond that we’re used to. George Lazenby was a younger and more comedic Bond then connery which made us feel even more sorry for bond in the end. The story does a great job of setting up a relationship with bond and Tracey in the first half and then sends Bond on his usual mission in the second.

    By the third half, Bond is escaping Blofeld and the reintroduction of Tracey helped tighten the story and make it very exciting. The last half is thrilling with the assault on Blofeld’s headquarters as well as the chase with Blofeld himself. The ending is a happy, surprising, and sad way to end a Bond movie but is mostly shocking then anything. This film deserves credit for pushing the boundries and making something different then the average bond.

    George Lazenby is great as Bond. His charasmatic acting help make his Bond very likeable. I wish connery didn’t accept to do Diamonds Are Forever. Maybe they would of got Lazenby back. Telly Savalas played a more serious Blofeld that was very beleivable and Diana Rigg was the perfect match for Lazenby.

    John Barry creates a score that is perfect for the film. This score ranks as my second favourite.

    This is my fifth favourite because the quality of the story outweighs the gadgets and all the flashy stuff from previous Bonds. This story had heart and could of easily been made into another typical bond but Peter Hunt did a great job of making a film more like the books then the Hollywood Bond.

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ -by Qwerty

    A grand extraordinaire of a James Bond film. It’s difficult at times to find a better Bond film than this one. Known sometimes to me as “The Christmas James Bond film”, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service never ceases to amaze and entertain.

    Geroge Lazenby, while not Connery, gives a solid portrayal of James Bond 007. He’s a man of action, and this film very well supports that, giving him much to do in it. I feel, while I like the four other Bond actors better at times, for this single film, Lazenby showed off some very good points and he gives a better performance in it to just be labeled “that other guy that just did one.”

    Diana Rigg; a true angel of a Bond girl. In my opinion, what can be said about her performance as Tracy is mostly all good points. She’s tough and resourceful, but not to a point where she’s trying to be better than Bond, and she doesn’t always remind the audience that she can do as much as he can, she just plays the role, and she plays it well. Her scenes of lashing against her father’s words and her eventual fall for Bond are acted out quite well. As is, which I say is perhaps the classiest moment in the film series, her skating onto the scene to help Bond escape from Irma Bunt and SPECTRE. Her death at the end of the film is a strong one, strong enough that the James Bond theme is played at the very end to remind people that this is a Bond film, no matter what these large differences are that have yet to occur in the series, (such as the Bond girl being killed).

    Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt are very solid Bond villains. They both deliver well, with Bunt’s casual barking of orders at dinner to be quite the way she defines her respect. I have come to like Telly Savalas performance more and more over time. His calm manor, almost competitive in that he has moments where it seems he has taken control over Bond’s actions are good touches and add to the film.

    John Barry is a master and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is without a doubt one of the places to look for evidence of that. Shows a main title piece doesn’t need lyrics or a performer to be a damned good “killer tune”. The whole score, from the romantic melodies to the fast-paced action cues is on top of the game and is always enjoyable to listen to.

    Peter Hunt deserves much credit for taking what many fans call Ian Fleming’s best James Bond novel and doing something great with it – simply turning it into a film. He had the right idea in mind to faithfully adapt many parts of the story, as it worked so well.

    It’s a classic Bond film that only seems to get better over time.

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ -by Scottlee

    Churned out entirely without gimmick, and what your left with is a true classic. The film just doesn’t seem to give a toss that an new, unknown actor is playing the lead (There’s a brief tip of the hat to Connery in the pre-titles and that’s it). Neither does the film care that at 140 minutes it’s reducing its chances of maximising its profit margin. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service quite simply knows it’s fab, end of story.

    The score is wonderful, excelling in both the fast action sequences and the slow mushy moments where Bond romances Tracey. This however is easy to remember should you be reading this as a person who has seen the film several times. What you might not recall are the delicately plotted background pieces when Bond first reaches Switzerland, or the risky but ingenious placing of the Bond theme on the credits at the end. So what if the film doesn’t have a happy ending? Does that mean 007 should hide behind a mopey Serra-esque number as well as Tracey braids? Of course it shouldn’t! Play the Bond theme already. Show audiences that the owners of the characters are proud to have Bond associated with…wait for it….”being human”.

    The baddies aren’t the best. Irma bunt is evil enough, but never much of a physical threat. And Telly Savalas’ Blofeld only scores 2nd best in the list of best interpretations of this character. He does though seem well suited as the Blofeld for THIS film, and he rides a mean bobsleigh at the end. On the whole however, Bond’s best tussles with villains in this film are with the un-named ones (shed of bells, cliff edge, beach, etc)

    The ski sequences are magnificant, full of atmosphere and suspense, a statement you certainly can’t apply to most of Moore and Brosnan’s dallying with the old white stuff (For Your Eyes Only exempted). Tracey is a magnificant Bond girl, and some of the M16 staff get their best scenes in the entire series. I love the human side to Bond being allowed to shine through, and I love the fact that gadgets are given a rest. I wouldn’t like it if all the Bond films were like this, but as a one off film this is truly superb.

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ -by Tarl Cabot

    So what if Sean Connery isn’t in it? This love story required a younger, less jaded Bond with a more open heart. The story is fascinating as it doesn’t develop with the usual briefing. Bond’s personal life and profesional duties overlap while on Holiday in Portugal.Teresa is a first class Bond girl; intelligent and resourceful. Blofeld is deliciously evil as performed by Telly Savales, another so called casting error I happen to enjoy as is.

    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a fine 007 film. It has enchanting locales, a superb score,an unconventional ending and servicable leading man in George Lazenby. I was born the day it was released in the USA so I have to be a fan!

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ -by tdalton

    It seems to be a theme in the Bond series that, when 007 embarks on a mission that is heavily space-based, his next film is very realistic and grittier, and often one of the better entries into the series. This phenomenon started with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service after Connery’s Bond stopped nemesis Blofeld from starting WWIII by capturing rockets in outerspace in You Only Live Twice.

    The biggest story of the film is, of course, that there is a new Bond on duty. Connery left the role after You Only Live Twice. George Lazenby stepped into the role for this one film. Lazenby was fine in the role and was very effective as Bond in a hyper-emotional Bond film. Had Connery stayed around for one more film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service certainly would have been hands down the best Bond film and would have also been widely considered a cinematic masterpiece, but Lazenby holds his own and showed a great deal of promise as 007. Unfortunately, he did not stick around to portray Bond again in Diamonds Are Forever.

    In this film, Bond once again faces of against Blofeld, but this time the plan is more realistic. Germ warfare is Blofeld’s game, and he hides it in an allergy clinic in the Alps. Blofeld’s scheme this time is obviously more realisitc than it was in You Only Live Twice, even though the idea of germ warfare was a long way off.

    In probably some of the more inspired casting choices in Bond history, the producers assembled a very strong supporting cast to help out Lazenby and keep the audiences mind off the fact that Connery was no longer in the picture. Diana Rigg was a star in the U.S. because of her role as Emma Peele in The Avengers, and was the perfect leading lady for 007. She is quite possibly the best of the Bond girls. Telly Savalas is a serviceable Blofeld, although it would have been better to get a European to portray the part. Gabrielle Ferzetti was brilliant as Marc Ange Draco, the mob boss and father of Tracy.

    Some people complain about the lack of action in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but I believe that to be one of its strong points. It is a “talky” Bond, but the tension builds between the characters, especially Blofeld and Bond, and when there is action, such as the car chase and the ski sequences, they are handled very realistically and are very well put together. The action is here because it pushes the story forward, rather than having the story plugged in around action sequences that were pre-arranged by the writers and producers as has happened in some of the Bond films that followed.

    ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ -by TortillaFactory

    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. How do I hate it? Let me count the ways. Or, you know, not.

    Bond’s romance with Tracy is central to the plot…and it got completely shafted here. In the book, it was clear why Bond fell for Tracy. She was vibrant, she was charming, she was different from everyone else. She had a, if you will excuse my urplyness, “beautiful soul”. Diana Rigg was attractive enough, but it was unclear what separated her from the other girls Bond regularly bedded. She was just…tepid.

    And she was only in about 1/3 of the movie. Not cool. We’re supposed to believe Bond loves her, yet he neither speaks nor thinks of her when she’s not there. And he summarily sleeps with at least two other women. Yeah, okay. I’ll buy that! Not.

    Lazenby is not a bad actor, per se, in the sense that Hayden Christensen is a bad actor. He played a credible character. It just wasn’t Bond. I read him described somewhere as as “whimpering jellymuffin”, which sounds about right. I like my Bond all snivelling and angsty as much as the next girl, but Lazenby took it a step too far. He was just too damn smug and cheerful about everything. No brooding. No nothing, really. He was just some nice bloke you’d hang out with.

    And finally….the kilt. Oh the horror. I mean, he looked good in it and everything, but it still hurts my mind.