On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

on her majestys secret service poster 1969 movie james bond 007
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

One of the best Bond stories

Weaker Lazenby hurts story, too long

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Studio:  Danjaq

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  December 18, 1969

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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I’m Bond…one-time Bond!

James Bond (George Lazenby) saves a mysterious woman named Countess Tracy di Vincenzo (Diana Rigg) from suicide only to learn that she might have clues to finding his enemy Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas) in exchange for marriage.  Going undercover at Blofeld’s mountaintop base, Bond learns that Blofeld is training women for unknown reasons.  Bond, with the help of Tracy, finds himself trying to stop Blofeld and his plans with his Angels of Death…but finds himself actually falling in love.

Directed by Peter R. Hunt, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the sixth film in long running James Bond franchise.  It is the first and only film starring George Lazenby who took over for Sean Connery after You Only Live Twice in 1967.  The movie adapts Ian Fleming’s 1963 novel of the same name and the movie returned to a traditional music theme for the opening credit but did contain the popular love song “We Have All the Time in the World” performed by Louis Armstrong.

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Hey ladies, there’s plenty of Lazenby to go around!

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a bit of an oddity among James Bond films.  It has a different tone and flow from previous films and with a different star, it has become a highly debated entry in the James Bond franchise.

The story in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of Bond’s better tales.  It has action, romance, and a decently crafted story (though the whole “Angels of Death” female assassins plot is a bit underdeveloped and rather forgotten by the end of the film).  The film however is quite long since it comes in at almost two and a half hours…some of which could have easily been cut down.  The ending is rather abrupt, but I actually like it that way.

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Blofeld: “Bond, you look different”. Bond: “So do you”

With a better plot, it is shame that George Lazenby isn’t a very good Bond.  I don’t know that it is L fault, but when Connery wanted to leave, he was picked as the fill in (he even makes a joke about it at the beginning of the film “This never happened to the other fella”).  He is often “too scared” as Bond and doesn’t carry the sense of coolness that Connery had.  Despite Connery being better, I don’t know if he could have pulled off the romantic aspects of this plot with Diana Riggs which needed to be more subtle than the usually aggressive Connery.

Lazenby does have good back-up.  Series regulars Bernarrd Lee (M), Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny), and Desmond Llewelyn (Q) show-up for their normal appearance, but Bond is granted with a great villain in Blofleld played by Telly Savalas who replaced Donald Pleasence in You Only Live Twice (due to being a more active Blofeld).  Diana Riggs was selected to be the Bond girl this film for her role in The Avengers as Emma Peel, and I keep waiting for her to be more proactive like Peel…it is hard to see her as a damsel in distress.

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This will be forever James!!!

Visually, this Bond has some great sets and the movie has good locations.  It is one of the better looking films and much more low tech than some of the previous (and later) entries…Q doesn’t really make much for Bond.  Bond has often seen skiing in films, and I have to say this is one of the better ski chases.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a good Bond film, but it could have been so much better with some editing and a stronger Bond.  I could actually see this Bond being “reimagined” as part of the new series of films.  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was followed by Connery’s return in Diamond Are Forever in 1971.

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Preceded By:

You Only Live Twice (1967)

Followed By:

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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