James Bond Reviews: #6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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      What we have here is the most important film in the entire 007 canon. The Bond films are known to be episodic in nature; no real plot threads carry over from film to film. Except one. Hardcore fans know this, and we die a little inside to be reminded of it. With the upcoming release of Spectre, this is the one movie that is essential viewing for anyone who’s late to the wedding party.
     James Bond (George Lazenby) has been trying for over a year to track down Blofeld (Telly Savalas) and M (Bernard Lee) wants him off the mission. Bond attempts to resign, but is instead given a holiday. Bond meets mob boss Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti) who wants Bond to woo his very troubled daughter Tracy (Diana Rigg). While the two start and relationship, Bond tracks down Blofeld to the Swiss Alps to discover what his allergy research is all about.
     That’s a lot of plot for a Bond movie. Jesus, what happened to the good old days of, “Bond go kill that guy”. That might be the reason that audiences didn’t like this movie. Or Lazenby. It’s probably Lazenby. The guy had a tough job going in being the one who replaces Sean Connery. Anybody would. The guy is good, he tries something a little different; trying to play Bond with a bit more humanity than audiences are used to. The true shame is that Lazenby only made this one film, so it’s difficult to gauge how he would have grown into the role.
     What sets On Her Majesty’s Secret Service apart from the other installments is that, at its core, it’s a love story. Yeah, you read that right, this James Bond film is a fucking love story. And a sweet one at that. Lazenby and Rigg have a great chemistry throughout the film. Diana Rigg is just so great and believable as a woman that Bond could actually fall in love with, and not just try to bang. There’s a strength to her, that at that point in the franchise, was sorely lacking.
     Discovering this movie as a child (thanks to TBS) was like peering into a side of the franchise that I never knew it was capable of. This movie is shockingly emotional, and it fucking earns it. The damn shame of this movie’s reputation is that it’s remembered for being Lazenby’s only performance as 007, instead of being the gripping, funny, powerful film that it actually is.

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