Saturday, January 13, 2007

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

I recently watched the sixth James Bond film. It was the thankless orphan “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

Regrettably, it was George Lazenby’s first, best and last Bond film.

I was stunned.

I’d never watched it before because I was told that it was that sad orphan and that Lazenby wasn’t very good. I would argue that Lazenby is every bit as good as Daniel Craig, making them tied for my second favorite Bond. He brought a realistic anonymity to the role that it needed. He brought depth to it.

He was the perfect follow-up to Connery. And I would argue that the James Bond franchise wouldn’t have needed this “reboot” of Casino Royale if Lazenby would have remained James Bond. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” maintained a gritty reality and warmth that the Connery Bond films had since left behind to a degree. It grounded them back into some sense of reality.

And, to be honest, the ending of the film is both haunting and heart breaking. Even by the end of Casino Royale I wasn’t nearing tears, but the end of this picture truly made me sad.

The raw emotion and vulnerability when Lazenby says, “It’s all right. She’s just resting. We have all the time in the world,” is enough to melt hearts of even the toughest Bond fans.

I watched it and then re-watched it and it made me wish that Roger Moore hadn’t been James Bond. Don’t get me wrong, I like Roger Moore, but lets face it, his Bond movies were fucking cartoons. Remember how he picks up Blofeld on his wheelchair from the helicopter and drops him down an industrial smoke stack in “For Your Eyes Only”? It was balls.

I’d forgotten why the Dr. Evil character in Austin Powers was so funny, because I’d only remembered Donald Pleasance and Telly Savalas playing him and they were bloody brilliant.

Anyhow, what I’m saying is this: if you like James Bond movies, go back and give “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” another viewing. It’s now one of the few Bond movies I want to own. (To date, I only own Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and Goldeneye.)

1 comment:

breakdown said...

Hi Bryan,
I am suprised to read this within a film maker blog. In the UK it is widely accepted that this was a good film. Lazenby only missed out on making further films because he asked too much money for his second, a decision he was to regret. Of course when Sean came back for Diamonds Are Forever, it was if Sean had never been away and George was soon forgot. There is reference in many of the future films to this this one, when the qusetion is asked, "have you ever been in love" "have you ever been married". of course this was the film where it ocurred and you are right in the similarities to Daniel. I also think george did it better than Daniel. Roger was right for the time and without Live and Let Die, I probably would not start following Bond in the way I have.
I enjoyed the latest film, but did not think it was Bond. I would disagree with anyone who thinks the books were good enough in themselves to create such a long standing film series. It needed the girls, the gadgets and the funny side, even if it was mostly unbelievable, for this franchise to be such a success.
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