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On Her Majesty's Secret Service

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

December. 18,1969
| Adventure Action Thriller

James Bond tracks his archnemesis, Ernst Blofeld, to a mountaintop retreat in the Swiss alps where he is training an army of beautiful, lethal women. Along the way, Bond falls for Italian contessa Tracy Draco, and marries her in order to get closer to Blofeld.


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Brucey D

Bond (Lazenby) goes after Blofeld (again), foils his evil plot for world domination and in the process falls in love with Tracy (Rigg).This is one of my favourite Bond films certainly, possibly my favourite Bond film. Opinion is divided over the merits of Lazenby but I think he makes a good fist of it. Too bad he couldn't stand the limelight; he arguably went through the full gamut of emotions concerning 'being Bond' in one film that other actors (like Connery and Moore went through in several films.The film isn't overly reliant on daft gadgets and the action sequences are -although not perfect- quite believable on first viewing and well-paced.Telly Savalas makes a pretty good bad guy, but his accent is at odds with other Blofeld representations. Savalas actually had fairly generous ear lobes; his 'surgically removed ear lobes' are almost certainly just folded back. I don't think Savalas is shown in close rear view unless wearing a hat, else this would be obvious.One thing that is pretty obvious if you have ever been to the alps is that they are not arranged so that you can leg it on skis from a chalet near a road one minute and be descending a short while later from the top of a mountain at high altitude. Nor is it likely that a few seconds after leaving a place like Piz Gloria, a.k.a. the Schilthorn (on foot) you will find yourself at the top of a bobsleigh run. But such are the liberties taken when making a film of this sort.Whilst it is possible to go through the film in slow motion with a fine-toothed comb and find various dubbing and continuity errors, it stands up very well when you just watch it in the way intended. The editing is on the whole very well done and generates a fine sense of pace which is appropriate for each scene.The ending....ah... I won't spoil it but there isn't another Bond film like it.I give it 9/10.


"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is an odd "Bond" movie to assess, namely because it's the first film without Sean Connery, but also because some other actors were replaced, including Telly Savalas supplanting Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, while other key roles (Q, M, Moneypenny) remained the same. This quasi-reinvention warrants a level of comparison to the previous five "Bond" films, but can also be assessed as its own "one- off" edition.Australian George Lazenby is a handsome, charismatic charmer, and it's clear to see why he won Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman's admiration and reportedly a 7-film deal. If he would've gotten a chance to grow into James Bond, he would have earned a lot more fans and would not generally have been ranked as the least of the six Bonds. He's a definitely a younger, pluckier interpretation of the character as opposed to Connery's mature, gentlemanly wiles. Still, he's easy to root for — the "Bond" films are a formula and he fits nicely into his end of the equation.What's nice about "OHMSS" is how it dials back from the silliness and larger-than-life nature of "You Only Live Twice," which is probably the result of it being a direct interpretation of an Ian Fleming novel. The bulk of the action stays at Blofeld's Switzerland hideaway, where Bond is getting close to his foe to find out the truth behind his "allergy research, so there's more isolation that world-traipsing, while the ski chases give the movie that big "Bond" energy without resulting to spaceships and nuclear war. The stakes are Bond's survival — and his love for Tracy (Diana Rigg).Seeing Bond in love, even though his romance with Tracy bookends the film and there's a little sexual mischief in the middle, definitely adds a bit more depth to James and a lot more emotion to points of the film. "OHMSS" isn't dramatic or deeply touching, but there's a real human element we haven't necessarily seen at play and won't see at play much until the Daniel Craig era.At 142 minutes, "OHMSS" hold the title of the longest of all the early "Bond" entries, and it's 30 minutes too long to be sure. Parts of the film drag — the first act feels especially pointless — and most of the payoff comes in the final 45 minutes. Other than a few sneak attacks on Bond in his hotel room(s) there is not a lot of intermediary action to hold our attention. The entertainment is supposed to come from the suspense of Bond's deception while in Blofeld's clutches.Director Peter Hunt turned out to be a one-off as well and maybe that was for the best. His style calls a lot more attention to itself than Terence Young or Guy Hamilton's with a little more brute action and a tone of rapid-fire editing in the action sequences. It gets a bit dizzying and he turns to camera effects way more than was status quo for these films. So in some ways it's a more visceral, visually interesting take, and in some ways he oversteps. Regardless, he gets things going when they need to get going, keeping "OHMSS" from becoming a total slog. It's just a lot of peaks and valleys."On Her Majesty's Secret Service" has a lot of the elements you want in a "Bond" film, providing a safe playground for Lazenby to fill Bond's shoes. If the film doesn't end up as a one-off blip and the Lazenby Bond storyline is continued, the conversation around "OHMSS" changes. Instead, it's a solid if not overly long "Bond" entry of little consequence.~Steven CThanks for reading! Visit Movie Muse Reviews for more

Daniel Lim

George Lazenby's first and final movie as Bond is the finest ever made. True, he may not have had Connery's man charisma, yet he was still very talented. The ending of the movie surprised me as it was unexpected. Telly Savalas is very good as Blofeld and I consider him to be the best actor to play the role. Diana Rigg acts very well too. I wish there were more Bond girls like her. Overall, a good movie to watch if you haven't seen it.


Most modern critic reviews say that this Bond film was under-appreciated when first released and that it has held up better over the years. While I certainly don't dislike On Her Majesty's Secret Service, I must say that I don't think it's as good as those critics and Bond fans make it out to be. Everyone says it was an attempt to make Bond more emotionally-sensitive and serious than previous films, but it comes off to me as more of a half-hearted attempt. It's more like a prototype for later Bond films that would try this like Casino Royale.To get it off my chest, I will say that George Lazenby, while he does put in a very good effort, is no Sean Connery or Daniel Craig. My first problem is that (not to sound racist) he looks too American for a British Secret Service agent. Also, a lot of his performance seems to be mimicking Connery's, trying to replicate a suave personality, but lacking the ruthlessness that Connery was able to pull off. Although to be fair, in the scene where Lazenby's Bond reacts to his wife Tracy's (Diana Riggs) death, he pulls it off very well; he also can fight good, it seems.Here, the plot is that Bond is offered a considerable sum of money from a European crime lord if he marries his daughter, Tracy. While Tracy is reluctant at first, she and Bond get to know each other, and, after preventing an evil scheme by famous Bond baddie Blofeld (Telly Savalas), get married after it seems that Bond is ready to give up being a ladies man secret agent with a license to kill, until Tracy is murdered that is. The idea that Bond would want to get married and give up being a secret agent who beds any woman he pleases is a very good idea, but unfortunately, for a considerable amount of time after getting to know one another, the Bond/Tracy relationship is tossed to the side in favor of Bond tracking down Blofeld, and it seems that Bond declares his love for Tracy too early. Others have pointed this out as a criticism and I agree with those people. Really, after the scene with Bond and Tracy at the bull-fighting ring, all we get is a montage of them being happy together before Bond has to find Blofeld.Blofeld is not a very good villain here. While he does try to kill Bond himself at points, unlike previous entries in the series, he makes some very stupid decisions, such as leaving Bond in a room where he can find a way to escape after revealing his secret plan and falling for the ploy where Tracy's father and Bond, via radio communication from a helicopter, say that they are carrying blood for the Red Cross. I don't expect a smart Bond villain to fall for such a thing. Blofeld in You Only Live Twice, while having an underwhelming and rushed first meeting with Bond, was able to see through the scheme involving his fake death.The action scenes are shot very well most of the time, although a couple of them are shot more in the manner of the "shaky cam" of some of today's action films, and it can get very confusing. Another gripe I have is that while the director, Peter Hunt, said repeatedly that he wanted his Bond film to be different, he must not have been confident in this objective because in the first several scenes, mainly, there are quite a few references to the previous films with Connery that don't fit at all. The opening credits sequence features footage from the previous films, Lazenby's Bond, after seeing Tracy drive away from him during their first meeting, says "This never happened to the other fellow (referencing Connery's Bond)," and there is even a pointless scene where Bond tries to resign so we can get a look at objects from three of the previous films, which I doubt he would have been able to keep as souvenirs. It's like the filmmakers were too afraid of people wondering what happened to Connery and decided to make references that acknowledged that his Bond and Lazenby's Bond are the same character.Despite the negative criticism I've given, I do acknowledge what this film has tried to do with Bond. However, it cannot be completely excused of its flaws that keep it from working completely. A storyline about an emotionally-sensitive Bond stripped down to his core was done much better in Casino Royale nearly forty years later. In my mind, if you're going to try to make Bond more of a serious character in his films, go all the way, or don't go for it at all.