On Her Majesty`s Secret Service

The Cast: George Lazenby (James Bond), Diana Rigg (Teresa DiVicenzo), Gabriele Ferzeti (Draco), Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat), Telly Savalas (Ernst Stavros Blofeld)

The Supporting Cast: Bernard Lee (“M”), Desmond Llewelyn (“Q”), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Sir Hillary Bray (George Baker)

Credits: Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; Directed by Peter Hunt; Screenplay by Richard Maibaum; Music by John Barry; Theme Song “We Have All The Time In The World” performed by Louis Armstrong; Titles by Maurice Binder; Lyrics by Hal David; Edited by John Glen; Running time 2 hours and 20 minutes

Mission: Bond must thwart Blofeld`s plan of world domination via deadly viruses. In the meantime, he has to convince head strong Tracy de Vincenzo to become Mrs. James Bond.

Locations covered:Porrtugal; England; Bern, Switzerland

Villain`s Idiosyncrasy:Love of his white cat with diamond necklace.

Dates Released:U.S. and U.K: December 18th, 1969

Box Office: $64.6 million worldwide ($296,023,484.01 worldwide in 1998 dollars)

Best Lines:Bond to Q on Bond`s wedding day: `I`ve got the gadgets this time Q, and I know exactly how to use them.`

Review by Michael Kersey

George Lazenby`s one and only shot at 007. A minor footnote in the history of Bond, Lazenby had the misfortune of making his debut in one of the most emotionally involving Bond films ever. This film deals with the courtship, marriage and loss of Bond`s wife Tracy and distances itself away from some of the excesses of Thunderball and You Only Live Twice, by backloading the film with the action and instead devoting the first half to plot and character development.

The critical success of this film is owed directly to the interest of the hardcore Bond fans. Casual fans of the series rejected the film out of hand, and if it weren`t for Bond fans, the film might have been completely overlooked and considered as one of the most unmemorable Bond films. That would`ve been too bad, because On Her Majesty`s Secret Service does have many fine points.

The movie jumps right into the story from the first frame. Bond, in Portugal, has his curiosity piqued by a beautiful woman. He follows her car to a secluded beach and spies on her as she gets out and heads into the water. When it becomes clear she intends to do herself harm, Bond steps in and saves her. The matter is complicated when several burly henchmen try to grab the woman and knock Bond out. Bond takes care of them, but in the mean time the beautiful stranger has escaped back to her car and taken off. So much for giving thanks.

Later he finds the woman at the local casino in a game of chemin de fer. A potentially embarassing situation unfolds, as the woman doesn`t have the money to cover her losses. Bond pretends to be her husband and pays her debt, thus helping her avoid humiliation. He finds out her name is Tracy de Vicenzo; that much she will say. Why she is so self destructive she refuses to answer. Instead, she waves her room key in front of Bond and explains she pays her debts in full. Bond and Tracy make love, but he awakes the next morning to find her gone, a single red rose the only reminder of their night before.

Bond is just about to leave the hotel when he`s intercepted by several brute henchmen. Bond realizes at this point it is better to find out who they are and what they want rather than to fight. They take him to Marc Ange Draco, Godfather of the Union Corse, one of the biggest Mafia organizations in the world. Draco is convinced Bond is the right man for his “Tracy”, his daughter who has become quite wayward since the death of her mother. She needs a man to “dominate her” Draco says. And he`s willing to pay Bond up front to marry Teresa. Bond refuses the offer but in exchange for courting her, he would accept any help he could get in tracking down Blofeld, Marc`s main rival in the underworld.

Tracy eventually gets wind of the arrangement and turns a cold shoulder to 007, but Bond becomes more persistent than ever, eventually winning her heart and affection.

Bond comes into some information that Blofeld has hired a lawyer to help him stake a claim to the title of Count de Bleauchamp, a claim he expects the baronet Sir Hillary Bray, of the London College of Arms, to fully back up. Bond persuades Bray to let him pose as Bray in his upcoming face to face meeting with “Bleauchamp” and Bray agrees. Bond affects a small disguise and change of accent and heads to Bern for his meeting with “Bleauchamp.” Bleauchamp is actually Blofeld, and it`s not long before he realizes Bray is not Bray, but instead 007. However, he`s not quick enough to this fact until after Bond has had ample time to realize what Blofeld`s next scheme for world domination is. Bond escapes the high mountain top fortress of Blofeld to get help and while there in the little Swiss village, he runs into Tracy.

Tracy realizes Bond is in danger and needs help, and the two escape Irma Bunt and her henchmen in Tracy`s car. They eventually arrive in a deserted barn during a fierce snowstorm and bundle up together in the hayloft, where Bond proposes marriage to Tracy. She accepts.

The next day Tracy and Bond escape the barn on skiis, with Blofeld personally hot on their tail. He creates an avalanche that envelops Tracy and Bond. Tracy is taken alive as a hostage while Bond can do nothing but wait and plan his return assault on Blofeld`s retreat.

As Bond, Lazenby is not bad; quite good actually for a beginner, whose previous jobs included male modeling and used car sales. His weakness was the one liners. Many of them come across and clunky and heavy, particulary such lines as: “He branched off” and “He had guts.” The lines have a childish ring to them, as if they were thought of by an 8 year old. Lazenby didn`t write the scenes, but he couldn`t save them either. What he was very effective at was his romantic scenes with Rigg. Rigg sparkles as a tough, independent, spirited daddy`s girl and the sparks fly between Rigg and Lazenby on camera, even if they weren`t off-camera.

The direction could be a bit tighter. Some of the action sequences are spliced together too quickly, in particular Lazenby`s early fight sequences, and employ sound effects that are borderline cheesy. The ski and car chase are the highlights of the film.

The world didn`t realize what it had with Lazenby. Lazenby didn`t realize what he had with Bond, and would later regret his decision to do only one Bond film. His career never acheived the heights of any of the other Bond actors, and this is strictly his fault, but the one shot he took at Bond was as good if not better than almost any other Bond film attempted.

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