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.

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Percival (View Comment):

    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?

    It’s ironic that Tiffany Case was one of the most bimbo-esque of the Bond Girls, as Jill St. John (born Jill Oppenheim) had a high IQ. After Bond surreptitiously swaps his ID with a man he’s killed, DAF had a dubious bit where she’s gasping that “You’ve killed James Bond!”, as if he’s famous. A world famous spy is something of a contradiction in terms. 

    • #31
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    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.

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

    November’s “Service” series is inspiring. America still has its heroes. I was just trying to provide a little diversion in a holiday week. Thanks for keeping Group Writing going, C.A.B., and BTW, thanks for keeping Quote of the Day going, Vectorman!

    • #32
  3. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    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?

    It’s ironic that Tiffany Case was one of the most bimbo-esque of the Bond Girls, as Jill St. John (born Jill Oppenheim) had a high IQ. After Bond surreptitiously swaps his ID with a man he’s killed, DAF had a dubious bit where she’s gasping that “You’ve killed James Bond!”, as if he’s famous. A world famous spy is something of a contradiction in terms.

    You see that kind of thing again and again.  In 24, every would be terrorist on the planet had not only heard of, but was terrified of Jack Bauer.

    And even in something like Roadhouse, every bar bouncer in the country knows all the stories of the legendary Dalton and Wade Garret.

    • #33
  4. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    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.

    Yes…they’d considered him even before they hired Connery. But they did like the idea of creating their own star. When Moore died, I was glad to see him get some respect. Until Live and Let Die opened, no one was sure the series could continue successfully without Connery. Roger Moore’s Bond was lighter, but it was probably the right way to go; after all, the Sixties were over. As Alex Walker put it in the London Evening Standard, Moore’s romantic, comic style took the edge off the sexism that was a series hallmark. 

    • #34
  5. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    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.

    Yes…they’d considered him even before they hired Connery. But they did like the idea of creating their own star. When Moore died, I was glad to see him get some respect. Until Live and Let Die opened, no one was sure the series could continue successfully without Connery. Roger Moore’s Bond was lighter, but it was probably the right way to go; after all, the Sixties were over. As Alex Walker put it in the London Evening Standard, Moore’s romantic, comic style took the edge off the sexism that was a series hallmark.

    Connery was trying to score.  Moore was just floating the idea.

    • #35
  6. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    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).

    OHMSS is not my favorite (Goldfinger is), but I was interested in the story behind the film. One thing about DAF; EON was in no position to tell Connery to shed a few pounds, and the visual difference between him in 1967 (YOLT) and 1971 is striking. One small but telling difference: eyebrows. Take a look at any picture of Sixties Connery. They shaved his eyebrows, helping give him that cold, ironic, slightly supercilious expression. By contrast, by ’71 his unshaved, bushier eyebrows make him look like, well, a 40 year old Scotsman.

    • #36
  7. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    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.

    A fascinating chapter I never knew, Doug. 

    • #37
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    rgbact (View Comment):

    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

    Don’t mess with Stad, a Navy guy who can handle nukes!

    When I was a movie projectionist, I knew a hapless case who’d royally screwed up a show in Brooklyn. Around 1972, there were very few multiple theaters, even twin theaters, and this was the first in NYC, a unique setup that could send either film to either screen. But the reels were still changed over with a foot pedal for the picture, and a toggle switch for the sound. This distinguished brother of the projection craft stepped outside the booth onto a fire escape to get stoned and the door locked behind him. Trapped outside, he managed to climb back in backwards through a window, but inadvertently stepped on the changeover pedal in the process. 

    Instantly-bang!–the audience watching the big dramatic scene in Deliverance was startled to see James Bond driving a Moon buggy across the desert. And the Diamonds Are Forever audience was treated to Ned Beatty being bent over. Every alert buzzer in the booth went off at once and the operator hit the pedal to change back over. 

    He never admitted what happened, and the union couldn’t prove anything, so he kept the job. 

    • #38
  9. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    @garymcvey, how is it you know so much about this topic?  

    • #39
  10. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Spin (View Comment):

    @garymcvey, how is it you know so much about this topic?

    Why, back in my day, a film festival director had to know every aspect of the craft. 

    • #40
  11. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    @garymcvey, how is it you know so much about this topic?

    Why, back in my day, a film festival director had to know every aspect of the craft.

    So that’s why you know so much.  But how do you know so much?  Did you read a book (or multiple books) on the history of the bond films or ?  

    • #41
  12. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    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).

    I was going to post the actual video link to the scene, but YouTube apparently took down the account of the person who had posted the episode (and Jack’s production company and MCA-Revue didn’t splurge to bring Connery across the pond to do this episode knowing he’d be a future movie superstar — Jack filmed four episodes in Europe in the summer of 1956. The scene with Connery was shot at Shepperton Studios, though Sean was supposed to be an Italian cab driver in Rome here).

    • #42
  13. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Great post, Gary. I’ve loved these movies ever since the first one I ever saw, which was From Russia With Love. When I was 12 and we were at my grandma’s in Texas for Thanksgiving, I was bored so I started making a big doodle of James Bond things, and one of the elements was a fancy lettering of “PUSSY GALORE.”  I had no idea that word meant anything other than a cat.

    I stuck it inside my math book and went to play with my cousins. My dad took my math book to show to my uncle because they were decrying “The New Math” that we were the guinea pigs for. We were all playing in the other room when my dad suddenly loomed in the doorway with smoke coming out of his nostrils and ordered me out. He thrust my doodle in my face and demanded to know what on earth I had been thinking, and “This fell out of your math book right in front of Uncle Ed! I have never been more ashamed in my LIFE, young lady!”

    I was like “Huh?” He just slammed the book down and stormed out of the room. I never realized why he was so mad until years later. It’s hard to believe now, as I look back on it, but kids back then, well girls anyway, just did not hear bad language very often, and we didn’t know what things meant.

    • #43
  14. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Spin (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    @garymcvey, how is it you know so much about this topic?

    Why, back in my day, a film festival director had to know every aspect of the craft.

    So that’s why you know so much. But how do you know so much? Did you read a book (or multiple books) on the history of the bond films or ?

    There’s a fine book called The Battle for Bond, which doesn’t have much to do with the specifics of OHMSS but is a good introduction to the lawsuits and backstage struggles to make the films. Alexander Walker refers to the Bond series many times in his writing, especially in his books National Heroes and Hollywood, England. In the Eighties Britain’s National Film Theater had a new director, a left wing woman who initially refused to go through with a long-planned Bond retrospective. The kickback was too strong for her, and the series went ahead. Walker was one of the Bond defenders and his acerbic point was, this is the most financially successful product of the UK film industry’s history, and you are an idiot if you are too sensitive to honor it. 

    SpyWhoThrills.com is a blog by a Utahn, Peter Nordgren, that’s a good general history of the series, film by film

    • #44
  15. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    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?

    It’s ironic that Tiffany Case was one of the most bimbo-esque of the Bond Girls, as Jill St. John (born Jill Oppenheim) had a high IQ. After Bond surreptitiously swaps his ID with a man he’s killed, DAF had a dubious bit where she’s gasping that “You’ve killed James Bond!”, as if he’s famous. A world famous spy is something of a contradiction in terms.

    Stunningly handsome isn’t a plus either. 

    • #45
  16. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Great post, Gary. I’ve loved these movies ever since the first one I ever saw, which was From Russia With Love. When I was 12 and we were at my grandma’s in Texas for Thanksgiving, I was bored so I started making a big doodle of James Bond things, and one of the elements was a fancy lettering of “PUSSY GALORE.” I had no idea that word meant anything other than a cat.

    I stuck it inside my math book and went to play with my cousins. My dad took my math book to show to my uncle because they were decrying “The New Math” that we were the guinea pigs for. We were all playing in the other room when my dad suddenly loomed in the doorway with smoke coming out of his nostrils and ordered me out. He thrust my doodle in my face and demanded to know what on earth I had been thinking, and “This fell out of your math book right in front of Uncle Ed! I have never been more ashamed in my LIFE, young lady!”

    I was like “Huh?” He just slammed the book down and stormed out of the room. I never realized why he was so mad until years later. It’s hard to believe now, as I look back on it, but kids back then, well girls anyway, just did not hear bad language very often, and we didn’t know what things meant.

    It’s true that when we were kids, dirty words, and sort-of-dirty words were less prevalent and seldom explained out loud.

    Thanks for the comment, RightAngles; since so much of this film series has to do with beautiful women, it’s great to hear the Beautiful Woman Point of View!

    • #46
  17. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    The title of this post is one of the things that hampers OHMSS, if you ask me – Lazenby not only references his predecessor for no good reason, he looks at the camera, and all of a sudden it feels like a cigarette commercial.

    The score, on the other hand, is one of Barry’s best, and the theme is just gorgeous. 

    • #47
  18. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    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).

     

    Well he does look very tidy in that white shirt. And it is really refreshing that he marries  Diana Rigg who’s  a bond girl  I’d actually like to look like.  But it’s not the only reason I like it. I love the soundtrack  and the fight scenes are choppy and fun to watch.  And it’s got Kojak!  What’s not to like?

    • #48
  19. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Jill St. John (born Jill Oppenheim) had a high IQ

    Smart enough to avoid being drowned in a boating accident…

    • #49
  20. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    When Moore died, I was glad to see him get some respect. Until Live and Let Die opened, no one was sure the series could continue successfully without Connery. Roger Moore’s Bond was lighter, but it was probably the right way to go; after all, the Sixties were over. As Alex Walker put it in the London Evening Standard, Moore’s romantic, comic style took the edge off the sexism that was a series hallmark. 

    Moore is my favorite Bond.  The first film I saw in a theater was Goldeneye but my introduction to the series was through VHS, and the films I loved best as a teen were MoonrakerA View to a Kill, and The Living Daylights.  I appreciate Connery but he could never be the definitive Bond for me because by that time several others had played the role, so the idea there were multiple Bonds was as intrinsic to the series as weighing the pros and cons of various Doctors in Dr. Who.

    • #50
  21. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    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. 

    My grandfather was a guy like that. My dad told me of one story (among many) where someone had pulled a gun on them at a HS dance. Upon hearing this my grandfather got up, went to the kitchen, pulled out the meat cleaver, stuck it in his belt, and said let’s go find this guy. I never thought to find out what happened – that was enough to have me thankful that I lived in relative paradise compared to the jungle that was the old neighborhood in inner city Chicago. We had moved to the southwest side by that time where there was grass and trees and modest bungalows and where you couldn’t literally get into the sewer under the street because of the legacy of coal room doors located in front of every building just below street level. 

    Not to mention the time he was stabbed an inch from the heart in a barroom fight (because they didn’t like my grandfather singing which he loved to do) but not before he sent all four of them to the hospital with openings on their bodies that they weren’t born with.

    I admire the grit and toughness (and the warm humanity despite it all). I’ve been in real fights, but I’m blessed that I don’t have to live that way as a matter of course.  

    • #51
  22. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Jill St. John (born Jill Oppenheim) had a high IQ

    Smart enough to avoid being drowned in a boating accident…

    Like Lana’s sister, Jill also was a child actress, and was a semi-regular on Season 2 of “The Burns & Allen Show” as one of the daughters of Gracie’s friend Mamie Kelly (this is Jill, packing a gun to prepare for her future career as both a Bond girl, and The Riddler’s female companion in the pilot episode of “Batman”)

    • #52
  23. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    rgbact (View Comment):
    aren’t you the guy who likes watching chick flicks? Makes sense.

    LOL!  Only some chick flicks, not all.

    • #53
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Roger Moore’s Bond was lighter, but it was probably the right way to go; after all, the Sixties were over. As Alex Walker put it in the London Evening Standard, Moore’s romantic, comic style took the edge off the sexism that was a series hallmark.

    I think this was the problem with Moore.  He was too funny compared to Connery’s dry, sardonic Bond.  Bond was also ruthless fighting his enemies (DAF an exception).  With a couple of exceptions, Moore was almost humerous in fights.

    Sexism wasn’t an issue with Connery.  He was a worldly man with a playboy lifestyle.

    Update:  His Bond was a worldly man with a playboy lifestyle.

    • #54
  25. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    One small but telling difference: eyebrows. Take a look at any picture of Sixties Connery. They shaved his eyebrows, helping give him that cold, ironic, slightly supercilious expression. By contrast, by ’71 his unshaved, bushier eyebrows make him look like, well, a 40 year old Scotsman.

    Those eyebrows gave a solid performance in Darby O’Gill and the Little People too.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTwmjOySDjA

     

     

    • #55
  26. rgbact Inactive
    rgbact
    @romanblichar

    Marjorie Reynolds (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.

    Well he does look very tidy in that white shirt. And it is really refreshing that he marries Diana Rigg who’s a bond girl I’d actually like to look like. But it’s not the only reason I like it. I love the soundtrack and the fight scenes are choppy and fun to watch. And it’s got Kojak! What’s not to like?

    Thanks. This is exactly what I expect from an honest positive OHMSS review. Tidy Lazenby in his white shirt and Kojak instead of Blofeld. And average and abrasive Diana Rigg dominating James Bond, like all those hot young Italian and Russian girls never could. I’ll give you the soundtrack, at least, maybe.

    • #56
  27. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    This fell out of your math book right in front of Uncle Ed!

    Uncle Ed doesn’t like Pussy (Galore)?  

    (I might be skirting the CofC here…but you brought it up, not me.

    • #57
  28. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    rgbact (View Comment):

    Marjorie Reynolds (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.

    Well he does look very tidy in that white shirt. And it is really refreshing that he marries Diana Rigg who’s a bond girl I’d actually like to look like. But it’s not the only reason I like it. I love the soundtrack and the fight scenes are choppy and fun to watch. And it’s got Kojak! What’s not to like?

    Thanks. This is exactly what I expect from an honest positive OHMSS review. Tidy Lazenby in his white shirt and Kojak instead of Blofeld. And average and abrasive Diana Rigg dominating James Bond, like all those hot young Italian and Russian girls never could. I’ll give you the soundtrack, at least, maybe.

    I “Like” having you aboard on the thread, rgbact, but you are risking the fire of 100 hells here. Diana Rigg “average”? Sacrilege! Abrasive? Well, it takes him two hours to get her into bed, so there’s more than usual resistance. 

    • #58
  29. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    One small but telling difference: eyebrows. Take a look at any picture of Sixties Connery. They shaved his eyebrows, helping give him that cold, ironic, slightly supercilious expression. By contrast, by ’71 his unshaved, bushier eyebrows make him look like, well, a 40 year old Scotsman.

    Those eyebrows gave a solid performance in Darby O’Gill and the Little People too.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTwmjOySDjA

    My family all went to see Darby O’ Gill, which was rare, since we were too poor or cheap or both to go to many movies together. Little Jewish kids went to see “Fiddler”. Little Italian kids had “The Untouchables” (those lucky kids!). All we had was Darby. 

    My grandmother, so far as we know, saw two movies in her life: “Mrs. Miniver” during the war, and “King of Kings” in 1961. 

    • #59
  30. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Roger Moore’s Bond was lighter, but it was probably the right way to go; after all, the Sixties were over. As Alex Walker put it in the London Evening Standard, Moore’s romantic, comic style took the edge off the sexism that was a series hallmark.

    I think this was the problem with Moore. He was too funny compared to Connery’s dry, sardonic Bond. Bond was also ruthless fignting his enemies (DAF an exception). With a couple of exceptions, Moore was almost humerous in fights.

    Sexism wasn’t an issue with Connery. He was a wordly man with a playboy lifestyle.

    The measure of sexism, or indeed of sexiness, is: What will women put up with? By the Seventies, they still liked the sexiness but would have taken umbrage at Bond dismissing a woman by slapping her bottom and curtly explaining that it was time for “Man talk”. That scene in Goldfinger cracks up audiences to this day, but it’s now mostly a shock laugh, like “Wow! It really was a man’s world, wasn’t it?”

    Moore’s style was different. Unbeknownst to her, an exotic dancer has some sort of coded message in the jeweled charm she carries in her navel. While the bar/club is blacked out someone steals it. “I’ve lost my charm!”, she wails. Moore gallantly replies, “Not from where I’m standing”. 

    • #60
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