Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Post of the Week Created with Sketch. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: This Never Happened to the Other Fellow

 

This post will eventually contain a key plot spoiler, some distance down the page from here, so if you want to see this 1969 film with virgin eyes, stop reading. But do come back after you’ve seen it. The second “spoiler” is no spoiler at all, no surprise to anyone: Sean Connery is not James Bond in it, and the Bond of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, George Lazenby, is most famous for never having played the role again. That set of facts and how they came about is the main subject of this post, although we will also cover the merits and flaws of the film itself, which some Bond snobs consider one of the best, if not the best, of the entire series. But I can’t tell you why yet, not here at the top of the post, because it will involve the spoiler. You have been warned.

By the time Thunderball (1965) wrapped, Sean Connery was tired of being Bond. Actually, that’s English-style polite understatement that the blunt, Scottish-born Connery would have impatiently penciled out in favor of “thoroughly sick of it”. He felt his character was becoming overshadowed by ingenious gadgets, Ken Adam’s enormous sets, one-liner quips and a growing fantasy element. Connery started the series in 1962 as a relatively unknown actor, quickly became a leading international star, and made an astonishing amount of money. Being a practical Scot, adding to that pile was the only reason he reluctantly stayed aboard for You Only Live Twice (1967). Then he was gone, he swore, for good. So EON Productions, producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli, conducted an ostentatiously well publicized search for the next Bond. Each new actor in the role of James Bond is a multi, multi-million-dollar box office gamble, and from that standpoint this very first replacement would be by far the most ill-fated.

Established movie stars such as Richard Burton were considered, but Saltzman and Broccoli wanted to repeat what they’d done with Sean Connery, create their own star, who would presumably cost less and be easier to control. Australian actor George Lazenby, who’d so far mostly done commercials for British television, seemed to fill the bill. Less slender, more muscular than Connery, he radiated confidence. Even his TV commercials worked in his favor, as they were mostly for luxury products that showed how at home he looked with beautiful women, expensive tailoring, exotic cars, and champagne. True, he had a case of “loving-cup” ears, but that hadn’t stopped Clark Gable, among others. In screen tests, he handled himself well in fight scenes. He was hired.

British film writer (and lifelong conservative) Alexander Walker was one of the few who’d treat Lazenby’s career arc with some sympathy. Walker points out one critical difference between the way men became stars in Britain and classic-era Hollywood. At that time, most UK actors went to acting school, often RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and learned their profession on stage. By contrast, most American stars didn’t; they were truck drivers (James Stewart), worker in a tire factory (Clark Gable), cowhands (Gary Cooper), bodyguards (George Raft), WWI sailor (Humphrey Bogart) or what have you, and got hired primarily for their looks. Sometimes that minimal preparation for the sound stage was a handicap, but frequently it gave our guys a rough, untutored masculine edge. Sean Connery, though he briefly trod the Shakespearean boards, came up the American style. He’d been a boxer in the Royal Navy, and despite his ability to project refinement, he never lost the brusque suggestion of real, not just on-screen toughness, even in extremes a touch of cruelty. That’s a fair part of what made him so good as Bond, a quality that present-day Daniel Craig has, and as it turned out, George Lazenby lacked. But that wasn’t evident when production began on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

To accompany the new Bond, the writer and producers tried out a back-to-basics style; far fewer flashy gadgets and tricks, less over-the-top sets, and returning to sticking (mostly) with the original Ian Fleming story, all things they hadn’t done since From Russia With Love (not so coincidentally, another film much beloved by Bond purists). OHMSS would be notable for spectacular winter photography and skiing stunts, all of course real and dangerous in that pre-CGI age. Downhill Racer, another skiing picture, this one with Robert Redford right before Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made him a superstar, filmed in the same location during that season, and the crew of Downhill Racer would enviously tell stories to pals at Paramount Pictures about how elaborate the special camera platforms, cradles and mounts were on the higher budget Bond picture. This time, the flashy gadgets were behind the camera.

There were other differences. Telly Savalas was every bit as bald as Donald Pleasance, the original Ernst Stavro Blofeld (the best of the bunch, IMHO), but he comes across less like Pleasance’s evil global mastermind and more in the manner of a conventional mob boss, except for one thing: while the main weakness of other Bond villains was an unfortunate desire to take over the world, the Blofeld of OHMSS has a most surprising weakness—social status insecurity. It leads him to try to establish an aristocratic family tree, giving British Secret Service a chance to plant Bond in Blofeld’s inner circle as Sir Hilary Bray, expert in heraldry, arbiter of ancestry. James Bond is a secret agent, but not generally an actual spy, as he is here, working within the enemy camp under a concealed identity.

When housed in a spectacular mountainside hideaway with a bevy of naïve beautiful young women, Bond has to pretend to be a stereotype sniffy, diffident English gentleman, asexual if not outright hinted to be homosexual (a point made in the novel.) Of course, this being James Bond, he strategically beds one and then another of the women and begins to unravel Blofeld’s plot: using the women to unwittingly spread germ warfare. The “Sir Hilary Bray” cover story falls apart, and Bond makes his last-minute escape in one of the best action sequences of the first decade of the series.

That’s the outline of the main plot, but the subplot is what makes OHMSS special to fans—the character of The Girl. (Don’t faint at the term, Ricochet stalwarts—it’s 1969, remember.) She’s Tracy Draco, played by Diana Rigg, the tempestuous, troubled daughter of a mafia superboss. In the pre-credits scene, Bond—who we first see only in glimpses—rescues her from a seaside attack, with a longer fight scene than usual, but she drives away without a word of thanks. “This never happened to the other fellow”, he grumbles. By coincidence, she’s staying at the same posh hotel, and Bond begins to pursue her. At least as gorgeous as any of her (many) predecessors, she doesn’t tumble into bed, and it becomes clear that Rigg’s Tracy Draco is something new for the series, the closest thing to James Bond’s equal we’ve ever seen. Her scary dad actually encourages Bond to pursue his spirited daughter, and with the mob’s army at his disposal Draco becomes a key factor in the fight against Blofeld.

Diana Rigg was an excellent choice, not only because of her talent and looks, but because unlike Lazenby, she was already a known quantity to worldwide TV audiences, well liked as Mrs. Peel in The Avengers. (Honor Blackman, Goldfinger’s Pussy Galore, was her predecessor in the role, but the early years of that UK series never made it overseas.) We can’t credit women’s lib for Rigg’s strong role; it’s pretty much as Fleming wrote it in 1963. Blofeld captures her, giving Bond the motivation to ignore official Britain’s reluctance to violate Swiss borders, and do a rescue raid on the mountain stronghold with the assistance of Draco’s–the mafia’s–best killers.

They escape. Bond realizes that this is the woman he’s always wanted, after what’s been, after all, a pretty thorough search. They get married. On the drive to the honeymoon, Blofeld and his gunwoman ambush them and kill her, with one shot through the windshield. As the film ends, he’s holding her in his arms, silently crying. It’s largely this stunning ending, straight out of the book, that has earned the film cult status. There’d be no Bond movie finale with this emotional power until Skyfall, 43 years later.

Lazenby fans, and he acquired a few, claim that Sean Connery could never have pulled this off. I don’t know about that. Connery’s a fine actor. It should be conceded, though, that Lazenby, the smiling Bond, managed to make the saddest ending in the series believable.

But the bottom line can’t be denied. Call it the downbeat ending, call it lack of Connery, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service earned less than half of what You Only Live Twice did, alarming United Artists with what seemed to be a franchise-killing loss. Panic ensued. But they didn’t have to get rid of Lazenby; incredibly, he’d already quit, relieving UA of paying off his contract options for sequel films. Unlike Sean Connery, who in his early films was (sensibly) grateful for the chance to become rich and famous, George Lazenby was inexplicably spoiled, arrogant on the set, and difficult to work with. He apparently thought he could do better. He thought wrong. Like Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, who quit Mission: Impossible, like Chevy Chase, who’d quit Saturday Night Live just as the party was getting started, Lazenby walked away for “greater opportunities” that proved imaginary.

That’s the OHMSS story, but for United Artists it couldn’t end there. UA studio chief David Picker managed to get Sean Connery back for one more film. He did it the old-fashioned way, by offering a deal that was unprecedented at the time, lucrative beyond even the greediest king’s ransom, including $2 million up front (roughly $20 million today), 10% of the actual, un-steal-able gross, and the right to produce two independent films of Connery’s choice, a come-on to his artistic vanity that sealed the bargain.

So he made Diamonds Are Forever (1971), the weakest of Connery’s Bonds, which gave the box office a shot of adrenaline. When it was over, Connery walked away again, as he said he would, with a public vow of “Never again” that would provide the rueful title of his final Bond film. Fans who associate Roger Moore with the sillier, more lightweight Seventies Bonds (or blame him for them) should give Diamonds a critical eye; Connery cheerfully phones it in, with all the sets, gadgets, and jokes he previously disdained.

This time EON Productions didn’t go for an unknown actor, but for Roger Moore. Like Diana Rigg, he was already known worldwide for a British TV show, in his case The Saint, where he played a vaguely Bondish leading man. No, Moore wasn’t Connery, but at least he wasn’t Lazenby. Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli had learned their lesson, and didn’t clutter Moore’s entrance with OHMSS’s too-elaborate attempts to link the new Bond to the earlier films. He just stepped into the part, Live and Let Die was a big success, and that was that.

Much later, in the pre-credit scenes of For Your Eyes Only (1981), the film would begin with Moore in a cemetery, solemnly placing flowers at a tombstone: Teresa Bond, 1943-1969, Beloved Wife of James Bond. We Have All the Time in the World. It was a rare acknowledgment of a unique moment.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 131 comments.

  1. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    There seems to be little doubt that if Connery had starred in the film it would be in the conversation (with From Russia with Love and Goldfinger) as the best Bond film.

    • #1
    • November 25, 2019, at 2:00 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. Jon1979 Lincoln

    “Diamonds” is probably best remembered for Lana Wood’s (very) self-explanatory Plenty O’Toole character and for the swimming pool gag. Definitely the template for the later 1970s Bond movies with Moore, though not as campy as the final ones he’d make in the early 1980s.

    Also, while Lazenby got his TV start in commercials, Connery’s TV debut for American audiences came in that most natural of venues, playing a scene with Jack Benny on his show in early 1957 (in this case a bit part with Sean offering up possibly the world’s only Scots-Italian accent, while talking to Jack in the lobby of a hotel):

    • #2
    • November 25, 2019, at 3:14 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  3. KentForrester Coolidge

    Like many Bond enthusiasts, I could never get Connery out of my head. He was Bond. No one else could be. Connery, as Trump might say, was perfect. He was a perfect Bond.

     

    • #3
    • November 25, 2019, at 3:24 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  4. Percival Thatcher

    Diamonds Are Forever was my very first movie that I saw in the theater by myself. Mom and Dad had Christmas shopping that they wanted to do without me along, so they dropped me off at the box office and came back to pick me up when it was over. This then was my baseline Bond and that probably made the Roger Moore version easier to bear, at least initially.

    And you mentioned Lana Wood without mentioning Jill St. John, who played a redhead (usually) named Tiffany. How can you possibly miss a redhead named Tiffany?

    • #4
    • November 25, 2019, at 3:44 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    I was a young teen reader of the novels. After decades of non-Fleming Bonds, I was very pleasantly surprised by the opening scene of the first Daniel Craig Bond movie. That was the brutal, efficient killer of Fleming’s novels. Craig is the first Bond to match the novels, period. Sean Connery is still fun to watch, but does not carry the same air.

    This post is part of the November theme, “Service.” The month is filled up, so I will post December’s theme Sunday afternoon.

    • #5
    • November 25, 2019, at 3:48 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  6. Larry3435 Member

    Gary McVey: Rigg’s Tracy Draco is something new for the series, the closest thing to James Bond’s equal we’ve ever seen.

    That’s a very good piece, Gary. OHMSS is so often overlooked. But I do have one gripe about the thought quoted above. There is a long-standing stereotype of Bond Girls as being empty-headed and generally useless, except as sexual playthings for Bond. That may be true of Jill St. John’s Tiffany Case or Britt Eckland’s Goodnight, both of whom seem to have been characters created solely for how they looked in a bikini. But many of the Bond Girls have been strong and accomplished women.

    Now, the actual closest thing to Bond’s equal we’ve ever seen is Barbara Bach’s Agent XXX. She was the Russian version of Bond – beautiful, brilliant and deadly. Also close to being Bond’s equal as spies were a capable CIA agent (Carey Lowell’s Pam Bouvier), and a super-capable CIA agent (Halle Berry’s Jinx Johnson). We’ve also seen a rocket scientist (Lois Chiles’s Holly Goodhead), a nuclear scientist (Denise Richard’s Dr. Christmas Jones), and a very successful businesswoman and international smuggler (Maud Adams’s Octopussy), among others. 

    Even during the Connery era, Bond Girls saved Bond’s life, as in Thunderball where Domino kills Largo just as Largo is about to kill Bond. (Domino: “I’m glad I killed him.” Bond: “You’re glad?”) Pussy Galore also pulled Bond’s fat out of the fire in Goldfinger.

    So, taken as a group the Bond Girls are mostly strong and accomplished women, and make perfectly acceptable role models for girls. The criticism that Bond films treat women as nothing more than bikini-clad bimbos is, in my opinion, largely unwarranted. In fact, I always found it to be unrealistic that, out of all these women, Bond fell for the deeply damaged (even suicidal) Tracy.

    • #6
    • November 25, 2019, at 4:06 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  7. Blondie Thatcher

    Great review, Gary. This is my husband’s favorite Bond movie. I think it’s because of Diana Rigg, but he denies it. It is hard to say if Connery could have pulled of the more emotional Bond in this film, but I think Lazenby does it better. I have seen this movie hundreds of times and still tear up at the end. Goldfinger is my favorite. 

    • #7
    • November 25, 2019, at 4:45 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Percival Thatcher

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    … Jill St. John’s Tiffany Case or Britt Eckland’s Goodnight, both of whom seem to have been characters created solely for how they looked in a bikini.

    You say that like it is a bad thing.

    • #8
    • November 25, 2019, at 5:43 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  9. Bishop Wash Member

    Gary McVey: This time EON Productions didn’t go for an unknown actor, but for Roger Moore. Like Diana Rigg, he was already known worldwide for a British TV show, in his case The Saint, where he played a vaguely Bondish leading man.

    Interesting that they would copy that later and pick Pierce Brosnan from Remington Steele

    • #9
    • November 25, 2019, at 5:54 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. ctlaw Coolidge

    Gary McVey: There were other differences. Telly Savalas was every bit as bald as Donald Pleasance

    A bizarre discontinuity in that Bloefeld does not recognize Bond.

    Gary McVey: Much later, in the pre-credit scenes of For Your Eyes Only (1981), the film would begin with Moore in a cemetery, solemnly placing flowers at a tombstone: Teresa Bond, 1943-1969, Beloved Wife of James Bond. We Have All the Time in the World. It was a rare acknowledgment of a unique moment.

    I took Bond’s rage in the opening scenes of Diamonds are Forever as implicit acknowledgement:

    • #10
    • November 25, 2019, at 5:55 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  11. Boss Mongo Member

    Outstanding overview. Thanks, Gary.

    Ian Fleming has stated that Bond was a composite character of three or four men that Fleming had known over the years.

    One of those men was David Smiley. On the subject of service, he should definitely get a seat at the table.

    • #11
    • November 25, 2019, at 6:09 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. Percival Thatcher

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Outstanding overview. Thanks, Gary.

    Ian Fleming has stated that Bond was a composite character of three or four men that Fleming had known over the years.

    One of those men was David Smiley. On the subject of service, he should definitely get a seat at the table.

    Fleming was asked once if he had a face in mind for Bond when he wrote the novels. He said yes.

    Hoagy Carmichael.

    • #12
    • November 25, 2019, at 6:23 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  13. Spin Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    I was a young teen reader of the novels. After decades of non-Fleming Bonds, I was very pleasantly surprised by the opening scene of the first Daniel Craig Bond movie. That was the brutal, efficient killer of Fleming’s novels. Craig is the first Bond to match the novels, period. Sean Connery is still fun to watch, but does not carry the same air.

    My first Bond fill was For Your Eyes Only. I was 12 and didn’t know much about much. I eventually learned that Roger Moore wasn’t the first Bond, that there had been others, of which the most important was the guy from Highlander.

    But the real breakthrough came when I found an old beat up copy of Casino Royale at my mother-in-law’s house. I had never read a Bond book prior to that, so I sat down and read it, and discovered that the Bond of the movies wasn’t at all who the Bond of the films was! So it was a great delight when, years later, “they” would produce the movie again, this time keeping Bond more like the Bond from that original book.

    Since I am not a Bond-film purist who longs for the great Sean Connery, I can easily accept Daniel Craig as the best Bond actor of all. It doesn’t hurt that I was a fan of Craig well before he became Bond.

    • #13
    • November 25, 2019, at 6:28 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  14. Spin Coolidge

    Blondie (View Comment):
    I think it’s because of Diana Rigg, but he denies it.

    There’s a good husband.

    • #14
    • November 25, 2019, at 6:28 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. Steve C. Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    “Diamonds” is probably best remembered for Lana Wood’s (very) self-explanatory Plenty O’Toole character and for the swimming pool gag. Definitely the template for the later 1970s Bond movies with Moore, though not as campy as the final ones he’d make in the early 1980s.

    Also, while Lazenby got his TV start in commercials, Connery’s TV debut for American audiences came in that most natural of venues, playing a scene with Jack Benny on his show in early 1957 (in this case a bit part with Sean offering up possibly the world’s only Scots-Italian accent, while talking to Jack in the lobby of a hotel):

    My first Bond movie was Thunderball.

    A year or so later I was sitting in a theater for the rerelease of The Longest Day. I think I embarrassed my dad when I blurted out, in a loud voice, “THAT’S James Bond!”

    • #15
    • November 25, 2019, at 6:33 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  16. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    I liked the film because Bond found true love.

    • #16
    • November 25, 2019, at 6:49 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Judge Mental Member

    I have never understood why they went with George Lazenby at all. My understanding is that they originally cast Connery because Roger Moore, their first choice, wasn’t available. Why not go directly to him?

    • #17
    • November 25, 2019, at 7:03 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Stad Thatcher

    The last three novels in the Bond series are On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, and The Man With the Golden Gun. Together, they make a trilogy of sorts and are worth reading in order.

     

    *** Spoiler Alert! ***

     

     

     

    The movie OHMSS is just like you say, close to the book plot. However, the movie versions of YOLT and TMWTGG deviate from the novels and break up the trilogy. After Blofeld and Irma Bunt (his wife) murder Tracy at the end of OHMSS, what’s a great secret agent to do?

    Get revenge! While in Japan on a mission, Bond stumbles upon Blofeld and Bunt, and ultimately kills them (no kidnapping of spacecraft here). During the process however, he develops amnesia and settles down with Kissy Suzuki. This segues nicely into TMWTGG.

    After living a while in a blissful marriage to Kissy, Bond suspects something isn’t right. To make a long story short, he asks the Russians to help him remember, because he knows Russia played a big part of his life. They brainwash Bond to kill M, and he almost does (Remember, Bond has been missing and his sudden reappearance causes M some concern). Bond seemingly recovers after the failed assassination attempt, but M is hesitant to reinstate Bond. Instead, he sends him on a suicidal mission to kill Scaramanga, a hired killer who uses a simple, gold-plated 45 automatic pistol (no Tattoo, no gadget gun). Bond is successful, but we never find out what happens next as Fleming died before the novel was published.

    Great post! Makes me want to read all the novels again – in chronological order like the first time. It was a long time ago, and I may have gotten some of the facts wrong.

    • #18
    • November 25, 2019, at 7:06 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. ctlaw Coolidge

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    I have never understood why they went with George Lazenby at all. My understanding is that they originally cast Connery because Roger Moore, their first choice, wasn’t available. Why not go directly to him?

    Likely he was still under contract to do The Saint.

    • #19
    • November 25, 2019, at 7:07 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. Aaron Miller Member

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    I liked the film because Bond found true love.

    Vodka? Or the Walther PPK?

    • #20
    • November 25, 2019, at 7:09 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  21. rgbact Member

    Oh brother. The only thing more confounding to me than people that like Trump…..are people that think OHMSS is a top 5 Bond film. You admit, it did terribly at the box office. I’ve theorized that women like it, because of Lazenby and him getting married. A real feminized action flick, ahead of its time.

    Anyway, 2nd worst Bond film for me. Weak cast, weak locations, boring plot. I’m glad they totally changed direction with DAF, which is a very underrated Bond film (and not just for Lana Wood and Jill St John’s cleavage versus Diana Rigg in snowsuits).

     

    • #21
    • November 25, 2019, at 7:18 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Stad Thatcher

    rgbact (View Comment):

    Oh brother. The only thing more confounding to me than people that like Trump…..are people that think OHMSS is a top 5 Bond film. You admit, it did terribly at the box office. I’ve theorized that women like it, because of Lazenby and him getting married. A real feminized action flick, ahead of its time.

    Anyway, 2nd worst Bond film for me. Weak cast, weak locations, boring plot. I’m glad they totally changed direction with DAF, which is a very underrated Bond film (and not just for Lana Wood and Jill St John’s cleavage versus Diana Rigg in snowsuits).

     

    I’d put OHMSS in the top 10, possibly top 5. However, while I enjoyed DAF, it has to be one of the worst. Bond escaping across the desert in that stupid moon buggy reminds me of Dukakis’ “Snoopy in the Tank” photo, even though the movie predates it.

    • #22
    • November 25, 2019, at 7:51 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Gary McVey: Rigg’s Tracy Draco is something new for the series, the closest thing to James Bond’s equal we’ve ever seen.

    That’s a very good piece, Gary. OHMSS is so often overlooked. But I do have one gripe about the thought quoted above. There is a long-standing stereotype of Bond Girls as being empty-headed and generally useless, except as sexual playthings for Bond. That may be true of Jill St. John’s Tiffany Case or Britt Eckland’s Goodnight, both of whom seem to have been characters created solely for how they looked in a bikini. But many of the Bond Girls have been strong and accomplished women.

    Now, the actual closest thing to Bond’s equal we’ve ever seen is Barbara Bach’s Agent XXX. She was the Russian version of Bond – beautiful, brilliant and deadly. Also close to being Bond’s equal as spies were a capable CIA agent (Carey Lowell’s Pam Bouvier), and a super-capable CIA agent (Halle Berry’s Jinx Johnson). We’ve also seen a rocket scientist (Lois Chiles’s Holly Goodhead), a nuclear scientist (Denise Richard’s Dr. Christmas Jones), and a very successful businesswoman and international smuggler (Maud Adams’s Octopussy), among others.

    Even during the Connery era, Bond Girls saved Bond’s life, as in Thunderball where Domino kills Largo just as Largo is about to kill Bond. (Domino: “I’m glad I killed him.” Bond: “You’re glad?”) Pussy Galore also pulled Bond’s fat out of the fire in Goldfinger.

    So, taken as a group the Bond Girls are mostly strong and accomplished women, and make perfectly acceptable role models for girls. The criticism that Bond films treat women as nothing more than bikini-clad bimbos is, in my opinion, largely unwarranted. In fact, I always found it to be unrealistic that, out of all these women, Bond fell for the deeply damaged (even suicidal) Tracy.

    Interesting take, and eye-opening as well. One could claim that these women were the pre-fish-without-a-bicycle feminist ideal (except for the ending-up-dead part). 

    • #23
    • November 25, 2019, at 8:23 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. Doug Watt Member

    Sean Connery was definitely someone who could defend himself off the set. He had some rough edges that never went away due to tough circumstances as he was growing up.

    In the 1950’s while in Edinburgh, Connery was targeted by the Valdor gang, one of the most violent in the city. He was first approached by them in a billiard hall where he prevented them from stealing his leather jacket. He managed to leave the billiard hall and was followed by six gang members to a 15-foot-high balcony at the Palais dance hall. Connery attacked all six of them. The fight ended when he grabbed one gang member by the throat, and another by the arm and slammed their heads together knocking them out. The Valdor gang left him alone after that.

    Connery was filming Another Time, Another Place with American actress Lana Turner in Britain. During filming, Lana Turner’s gangster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, a member of Micky Cohen’s LA organized crime crew believed Ms. Turner was having an affair with Sean Connery. He made telephone threats to Turner from LA. Connery and Turner had been photographed attending West End shows and London restaurants together. Stompanato arrived in Britain to deliver his threats in person. He went to the film set and pointed a gun at Connery. Connery disarmed him and hit Stompanato with a right hook that put Stompanoto down on the floor for the ten count. Two Scotland Yard detectives told Stompanato that his British tour was over and escorted him to the airport, and put him on a flight back to the States.

    • #24
    • November 25, 2019, at 8:23 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  25. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Percival (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Outstanding overview. Thanks, Gary.

    Ian Fleming has stated that Bond was a composite character of three or four men that Fleming had known over the years.

    One of those men was David Smiley. On the subject of service, he should definitely get a seat at the table.

    Fleming was asked once if he had a face in mind for Bond when he wrote the novels. He said yes.

    Hoagy Carmichael.

    “See Bond the way he was meant to be seen in stunning CGI-5!” 

    • #25
    • November 25, 2019, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. Arahant Member

    Barry Nelson was the only Bond that mattered.

    • #26
    • November 25, 2019, at 8:31 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. Aaron Miller Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    He managed to leave the billiard hall and was followed by six gang members to a 15-foot-high balcony at the Palais dance hall. Connery attacked all six of them. The fight ended when he grabbed one gang member by the throat, and another by the arm and slammed their heads together knocking them out. The Valdor gang left him alone after that.

    I knew a guy like that once. He recalled a time when three thugs started beating on him. He chose one of them to focus his violence on and eventually endangered the guy enough that the other two became more concerned with getting their friend away from him. 

    I haven’t had to fight since elementary school. But back then I was ganged up on more than once. In one case, I was circled by several kids. But when I threw off the one who jumped on me and clocked him, nobody else wanted to be the first. Funny enough, fighters really do take turns sometimes.

    • #27
    • November 25, 2019, at 9:18 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  28. rgbact Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    rgbact (View Comment):

    Oh brother. The only thing more confounding to me than people that like Trump…..are people that think OHMSS is a top 5 Bond film. You admit, it did terribly at the box office. I’ve theorized that women like it, because of Lazenby and him getting married. A real feminized action flick, ahead of its time.

    I’d put OHMSS in the top 10, possibly top 5.

    aren’t you the guy who likes watching chick flicks? Makes sense.

    The moon buggy scene was fun and memorable…..which is more than I can say for any 5 minutes of OHMSS

    • #28
    • November 25, 2019, at 9:21 AM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Post author

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    “Diamonds” is probably best remembered for Lana Wood’s (very) self-explanatory Plenty O’Toole character and for the swimming pool gag. Definitely the template for the later 1970s Bond movies with Moore, though not as campy as the final ones he’d make in the early 1980s.

    Also, while Lazenby got his TV start in commercials, Connery’s TV debut for American audiences came in that most natural of venues, playing a scene with Jack Benny on his show in early 1957 (in this case a bit part with Sean offering up possibly the world’s only Scots-Italian accent, while talking to Jack in the lobby of a hotel):

    Ages ago, I saw that Benny episode and was surprised to see Connery show up. Recently I saw an East Side Kids film and thought the one girl in it looked familiar. It was Ava Gardner! You never know what’ll happen later in an actor’s career. 

    Yep, I agree; Moore gets something of a bad rap for the sillier, dopier plot element that would seep into the series, but it started before Moore (who had some more-than-decent films in the series too). 

    • #29
    • November 25, 2019, at 9:43 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  30. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Post author

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Gary McVey: This time EON Productions didn’t go for an unknown actor, but for Roger Moore. Like Diana Rigg, he was already known worldwide for a British TV show, in his case The Saint, where he played a vaguely Bondish leading man.

    Interesting that they would copy that later and pick Pierce Brosnan from Remington Steele.

    There are publicity photos of Cubby Broccoli and Brosnan at his contract signing in 1986. But it’s a false dawn; unexpectedly, Steele got renewed, screwing up the production schedule and forcing EON to find another Bond, Timothy Dalton. (I think Dalton’s pretty good, BTW). Brosnan wouldn’t get to be Bond for another nine years.

    • #30
    • November 25, 2019, at 9:46 AM PST
    • 5 likes