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. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    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.

    No, didn’t look at the camera.  He was looking off in the distance:

    • #61
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    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 Moonraker, A 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.

    I liked Moore too. I could give you reason after reason why I think Goldfinger is the best Bond film, but really, a lot of it subjectively comes down to when you were first old enough to see the films. 

    • #62
  3. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    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.

    It is a fine score, and “We Have All the Time in the World” is a haunting song once you’ve seen the film. This might have been the first time in this series that the Top 40 tune released from the film is not the music under the titles. 

    There’s also a scene of Lazenby clearing out his desk, where he examines some of the prop gadgets and seems to “reminisce” over adventures that he, of course, wasn’t around for. They didn’t do that in Live or Let Die

    • #63
  4. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Now if Bond could only sit down and rip off something as wonderful as “Stardust.”

     

    • #64
  5. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    I have often said that Timothy Dalton’s revenge flick Bond movie (License to Kill) would have been the perfect sequel to OHMSS.  Two of my favorite Bond movies, actually.  I wish they could have made License to Kill exactly as they did, but with Bond avenging the death of his wife.

    • #65
  6. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Stad (View Comment):
    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.

    Moore looked more at ease in a tux, and was more convincing as a connoisseur who knew just the right vintage of French wine to pair with any meal.  I always liked that aspect of the Bond character, he’s not just another tough-guy action hero, all brawn and no brains, he’s cultured and sophisticated, he’s civilized.

    • #66
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    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.

     

    I was angry she left The Avengers for the movie . . .

    • #67
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    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.

    Didn’t he remove it with his teeth?  Been a while since I saw the flick . . .

    • #68
  9. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    I have often said that Timothy Dalton’s revenge flick Bond movie (License to Kill) would have been the perfect sequel to OHMSS. Two of my favorite Bond movies, actually. I wish they could have made License to Kill exactly as they did, but with Bond avenging the death of his wife.

    Dalton is good. He’s the overlooked Bond, as he lasted only two films but didn’t flame out as spectacularly (career-wise) as Lazenby. Also there was a long gap before Goldeneye (1989 to 1995), the longest pause thus far. License to Kill is one of the handful of films where they make a veiled reference to Bond’s marriage, less explicit than the graveyard scene in For Your Eyes Only

    • #69
  10. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Hammer, The (View Comment):
    I wish they could have made License to Kill exactly as they did, but with Bond avenging the death of his wife.

    Technically he already avenged her death in the pre-credit sequence of For Your Eyes Only.

    • #70
  11. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    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.

    Didn’t he remove it with his teeth? Been a while since I saw the flick . . .

    I’m pretty sure you’re right, but I didn’t write it that way because I don’t remember which film it is, so I  couldn’t confirm it.

    • #71
  12. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    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.

     

    I was angry she left The Avengers for the movie . . .

    The Avengers was a good show to cross over from, because for all its fantasy, borderline SF elements, it was “espionage-ish” without being a spy show. Fairly unique. 

    • #72
  13. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (View Comment):
    I wish they could have made License to Kill exactly as they did, but with Bond avenging the death of his wife.

    Technically he already avenged her death in the pre-credit sequence of For Your Eyes Only.

    Although that scene of dropping Blofeld down an industrial chimney is pretty jokey and lame, not carrying the heft it should considering the backstory. 

    Trivia note: Blofeld and his white cat, silly as it sounds, became a murky element in the lawsuits over the rights to Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. There was a division of rights over the Blofeld character. EON as well as their frenemy, Kevin McClory, fought over the white cat, which apparently wasn’t in Fleming’s book. 

    As Blofeld says in Diamonds Are Forever, “Right idea. Wrong pussy”. 

    • #73
  14. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    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.

    Didn’t he remove it with his teeth? Been a while since I saw the flick . . .

    I’m pretty sure you’re right, but I didn’t write it that way because I don’t remember which film it is, so I couldn’t confirm it.

    Wasn’t it one of Scaramanga’s golden bullets?

    • #74
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Now if Bond could only sit down and rip off something as wonderful as “Stardust.”

     

    Or “Heart and Soul.” Or “Georgia On My Mind.” When the Beatles swept away the Tin Pan Alley songsters, Hoagy was only pulling in over a quarter of a million a year in royalties. That’s in 1960s dollars.

    • #75
  16. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Although that scene of dropping Blofeld down an industrial chimney is pretty jokey and lame, not carrying the heft it should considering the backstory. 

    Trivia note: Blofeld and his white cat, silly as it sounds, became a murky element in the lawsuits over the rights to Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. There was a division of rights over the Blofeld character. EON as well as their frenemy, Kevin McClory, fought over the white cat, which apparently wasn’t in Fleming’s book. 

    I assumed that was the whole point of the scene, an in-joke and kiss-off to Kevin McClory: we don’t need Blofeld, you can have him, we’ll unceremoniously kill him off and move one without him.

    • #76
  17. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    The Battle for Bond had a bunch of surprises, and the main one was, Fleming was in the wrong. We often hear about frivolous lawsuits over imaginary copyright infringement, but this one had real merit.

    Thunderball was developed to be the first Bond picture with producer McClory and writer Jack Whittingham, long before Saltzman and Broccoli came along (of course, that didn’t happen; Dr. No was done first), and a lot of the big-time Bond elements we’d know in the films were created by them, not Ian Fleming. He novel-ized the script, putting his name on the book without giving any credit to anyone else (let alone a share of the royalties). How he thought he’d get away with it is a puzzle; Fleming was apparently convinced of his own innate superiority, intellectual and every other way. That arrogance was an incredibly costly mistake, and the courts nailed him but good. It forced EON to let McClory produce Thunderball, the most financially successful Bond picture for decades to come, provided he agreed not to remake it for at least ten years. In the end, it took him 17 years. 

    • #77
  18. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    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?

    . And average and abrasive Diana Rigg dominating James Bond, like all those hot young Italian and Russian girls never could. 

    Ah go away with your ‘dominating’, the character evolved and fell in love. 

    • #78
  19. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    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.

    Moore looked more at ease in a tux, and was more convincing as a connoisseur who knew just the right vintage of French wine to pair with any meal. I always liked that aspect of the Bond character, he’s not just another tough-guy action hero, all brawn and no brains, he’s cultured and sophisticated, he’s civilized.

    If he was actually civilized he would have ordered his martinis stirred, not shaken, and would have called his Vodka.  Or better yet, just drink Scotch.

    • #79
  20. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Larry3435 (View Comment):
    If he was actually civilized he would have ordered his martinis stirred, not shaken, and would have called his Vodka.

    Touché, a civilized martini is stirred and made with gin.

    • #80
  21. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Percival (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Now if Bond could only sit down and rip off something as wonderful as “Stardust.”

     

    Or “Heart and Soul.” Or “Georgia On My Mind.” When the Beatles swept away the Tin Pan Alley songsters, Hoagy was only pulling in over a quarter of a million a year in royalties. That’s in 1960s dollars.

    And we all know what Bond thinks of the Beatles:

     

    • #81
  22. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    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.

    Moore looked more at ease in a tux, and was more convincing as a connoisseur who knew just the right vintage of French wine to pair with any meal. I always liked that aspect of the Bond character, he’s not just another tough-guy action hero, all brawn and no brains, he’s cultured and sophisticated, he’s civilized.

    If he was actually civilized he would have ordered his martinis stirred, not shaken, and would have called his Vodka. Or better yet, just drink Scotch.

    It’s little noticed now, but when Roger Moore came aboard, at first they subtly ditched some of those elements. Moore’s Bond smoked cigars and drank Scotch, but after The Man With the Golden Gun didn’t quite repeat the success of Live and Let Die, the producers began backtracking a bit. 

    • #82
  23. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    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 Moonraker, A 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.

    I liked Moore too. I could give you reason after reason why I think Goldfinger is the best Bond film, but really, a lot of it subjectively comes down to when you were first old enough to see the films.

    I liked Moonraker too, for Jaws. I never cared who was playing James Bond, he’s probably not the most relatable character to small girls in general.  Of all the films I probably like Goldeneye the most which came out when I was  17. I like those opening credits with the communist icons crumbling, the tank chase through the Russian city and Sean Bean wasn’t too hard on the eyes either.

    The only Daniel Craig one I’ve seen is the one that came after Casino Royale. I lost interest in them around about then. 

    • #83
  24. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    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 Moonraker, A 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.

    I liked Moore too. I could give you reason after reason why I think Goldfinger is the best Bond film, but really, a lot of it subjectively comes down to when you were first old enough to see the films.

    I liked Moonraker too, for Jaws. I never cared who was playing James Bond, he’s probably not the most relatable character to small girls in general. Of all the films I probably like Goldeneye the most which came out when I was 17. I like those opening credits with the communist icons crumbling, the tank chase through the Russian city and Sean Bean wasn’t too hard on the eyes either.

    The only Daniel Craig one I’ve seen is the one that came after Casino Royale. I lost interest in them around about then.

    Quantum of Solace. Yeah, that was a stinker, and I think even Craig tacitly acknowledges that. Moonraker was one of the many films that got hastily put into production in response to the overwhelming success of Star Wars. At the time it was written, it was supposed to coincide with the launching of America’s first space shuttles, but North American Rockwell’s production line was slower than United Artists’ was. It wasn’t bad at all. Re Goldeneye, I think Pierce Brosnan is underrated. He was the Bond who saved the series in the Nineties, just as Roger Moore saved it in the Seventies. 

    • #84
  25. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    It’s little noticed now, but when Roger Moore came aboard, at first they subtly ditched some of those elements. Moore’s Bond smoked cigars and drank Scotch, but after The Man With the Golden Gun didn’t quite repeat the success of Live and Let Die, the producers began backtracking a bit. 

    In the books he orders different drinks depending on where he’s traveling, the idea was that he’s a man of the world who always knows the best local products.  On one American trip he actually ordered a Miller High Life — which is apparently what passed for a premium lager in the 60’s.

    • #85
  26. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    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 Moonraker, A 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.

    I liked Moore too. I could give you reason after reason why I think Goldfinger is the best Bond film, but really, a lot of it subjectively comes down to when you were first old enough to see the films.

    I liked Moonraker too, for Jaws. I never cared who was playing James Bond, he’s probably not the most relatable character to small girls in general. Of all the films I probably like Goldeneye the most which came out when I was 17. I like those opening credits with the communist icons crumbling, the tank chase through the Russian city and Sean Bean wasn’t too hard on the eyes either.

    The only Daniel Craig one I’ve seen is the one that came after Casino Royale. I lost interest in them around about then.

    Quantum of Solace. Yeah, that was a stinker, and I think even Craig tacitly acknowledges that. Moonraker was one of the many films that got hastily put into production in response to the overwhelming success of Star Wars. At the time it was written, it was supposed to coincide with the launching of America’s first space shuttles, but North American Rockwell’s production line was slower than United Artists’ was. It wasn’t bad at all. Re Goldeneye, I think Pierce Brosnan is underrated. He was the Bond who saved the series in the Nineties, just as Roger Moore saved it in the Seventies.

    My takeaways from Moonraker:

    * Drax’s scheme was dopey.

    * How ironic is it that the great Shirley Bassey recorded both the best (Goldfinger) and the worst (Moonraker) themes in the franchise.

    * Drax does come up with the best bad guy line: You appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season.

    • #86
  27. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):
    Of all the films I probably like Goldeneye the most which came out when I was 17. I like those opening credits with the communist icons crumbling, the tank chase through the Russian city and Sean Bean wasn’t too hard on the eyes either.

    I loved the tank chase, it’s my 2nd-favorite Bond chase scene after the one where he’s handcuffed to a motorcycle with Michelle Yeoh.

    I spent many happy hours playing Goldeneye on N64 with my college roommates, good times!

    • #87
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Gah! I should have included that John Barry wrote both of the themes, and seven more Bond themes as well.

    Oh well. Even Hank Aaron hit foul balls on occasion.

    • #88
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    David Niven was the second best bond.

    • #89
  30. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Arahant (View Comment):

    David Niven was the second best bond.

    If we are including that Casino Royale, I’m changing my pick for best theme.

    • #90
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