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Cinemalphabet: O is for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

October 16, 2010


Wikipedia had this lulz-inducing passage:

This Bond film is the second in what is considered the “Blofeld Trilogy”, coming between You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. This trilogy is of interest not only for the three different Blofeld actors (Donald Pleasence in You Only Live Twice, Telly Savalas in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Charles Gray in Diamonds Are Forever) but for its two Bond actors (Sean Connery, then George Lazenby, and back to Connery).

Personally, Telly “Kojack” Savalas is the only Blofield for me, but like the Bond franchise itself, the best anything is always up for rigorous debate. What is not up for debate is how pissed off folks were that an Aussie male model was tasked with taking over the reigns from Connery. Hoo boy, they were mad at Uncle George!

My IFMiB cohort s.e. had this to say:

I think that a lot of the backlash came primarily from the fact that he wasn’t Sean Connery, and had he stayed in the role, he would have grown into it.

I absolutely agree. 95% of Uncle George’s problems – as it relates to Bond – is that he was NOT Connery. That’s a point worth repeating. Back in the olden days, actors didn’t have the kind of agency they do now and it was shocking for an actor to flee a thriving and lucrative franchise because he just didn’t feel like doing it anymore. So I believe a lot of resentment directed towards Lazenby was really meant for Connery who said to audiences, “Smell you later!”. Connery revisited the role in a non-canonical way twenty-five years later – complete with unconvincing hairpiece – in the dreadful Never Say Never Again. Bet fans would have gladly welcomed Uncle George than an ageing, phoned in Connery as Bond.

OHMSS mirrors (the good) Casino Royale with its exploration of Bond falling in love with a dishy woman – played with aplomb by Miss Diana Rigg – and all the tragic consequences/reversals of fortune it brings. It also has some fairly decent special effects, engaging action sequences and limited amounts of stinky acting. Sure, Telly Savalas is campy as all get out, but if you want things done earnestly, you don’t hire Mr. Who Loves You, Baby. Rigg is also quite good. She definitely helps make the audience ignore the minimal flaws in her Bond co-star, who does just fine. He’s not Connery. He’s kind of a boy scout, so he’s definitely not Moore. He’s somewhere between a humorless Brosnan and a crispy Dalton, but without the acting chops of either. So the acting’s on par with Moore’s in Octopussy and the last half hour of A View to a Kill. Not cheeky, but that level of craft application. At least in Lazenby’s case its due to lack of experience rather than exhaustion at playing Bond.

OHMSS is notable for having one of the most beautiful songs of the Bond franchise. The glorious, sweeping “We Have All the Time in the World” by Louis Armstrong is just hypnotic. I once wrote:

Despite not being “hipster trash” I appreciate a great many things about On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – namely this gorgeous song by Armstrong. When Armstrong says, “Nothing more. Nothing less, only love…” you actually believe him.

(source)

Lyrics:

We have all, the time in the world
Time ENOUGH for life
To UNFOLD
All the prescious things
Love has in store

We have all the love in the world
If that’s all we have
You will find
We need nothing more

Every step of the way
Will find us
With the cares of the world
Far behind us

We have all the time in the world
Just for love
Nothing more
Nothing less
Only love

Every step of the way
Will find us
With the cares of the world
Far behind us
Yes

We have all the time in the world
Just for love
Nothing more
Nothing less
Only love

Only love

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel permalink
    October 17, 2010 2:38 pm

    I love that you reviewed this movie! I think Lazenby’s acting is not that great, but the movie itself is so good! I loved Diana Rigg.

    I’m a fan of the Bond movies and have seen almost all of them, and it’s too bad this one gets such a bad rap.

  2. October 18, 2010 12:13 pm

    Yes yes yes for Diana Rigg. She was fresh from her masterful work as the Avengers’ Emma Peel and seemed poised for greatness. I wonder sometimes where her career might have gone had OHMSS been better received.

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