On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
James Bond: Romantic.

Now, I was aware and fully prepared for actors to shift around now for the role of James Bond. However, I also knew that Sean Connery’s official final James Bond role was in the next film, Diamonds are Forever, so when I popped in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you can say I was shocked to find George Lazenby in the role. So I looked it up, and sure enough, Mr. Lazenby was a short-lived Bond with only one 007 film under his belt before Connery returned one last time. So now you really gotta ask yourself…how did he do? I was fully expecting him to be horrible, but interestingly enough, he wasn’t half bad.

So, this is the Bond film that you’re probably going to remember best as the “romance” of the series. I resent saying that, but I have to agree with that assessment, even though there is more to it than that. Basically, James Bond is contacted by this guy and is told to fall in love with his daughter, Tracy. James turns down the guy’s money but his eyes flicker with delight when the man tells him he will give James the location to Blofeld if he reconsidered. Needless to say, the two fall in love and start preparing for a marriage. The plans are put on hold for a little while when Bond finds Blofeld’s secret hide-away where he’s brainwashing the Angels of Death, which are a team of sexy women which Bond decides to eat through like a salad bar. They are basically Blofeld’s secret weapon to create infertility against a few races and a few species for some kind of end goal to rule the world.

Lazenby himself wasn’t a bad addition to the role of James Bond. Sure, the change took a minute or two to get used to, but the man did a fine job with what he was given. The rest of the movie was just more or less a romance, not an action film. Even then, James is such a jerk. He gets engaged to this girl, and goes to his enemy’s hide-out and sleeps with…how many more girls? Without even a gleam of guilt? I don’t know, but if you’re going to even try for romance, you can’t ignore the feeling you’re supposed to put out there. Without that, it’ll still feel like it was supposed to be a romance. So in the end, you might be conflicted on the film.

If you just ignore the romance part of the film, you might actually…really enjoy this film. It really does have James Bond written all over it. There’s a lot of action, a lot of violence, yes some sleeping around, and some crazy awesome chases that continually raise the bar. The only thing it doesn’t really have is gadgets, and somehow, it pulls it off without the gadgets…which is in my opinion – high praise for Laenby’s acting. When watching these sequences, this was the second time in the series where I was actually glued to what was happening (first being Goldfinger). Had the entire film been like this, I would have given it a decent score, but too much of the film just had that weird…romance sidestory that didn’t make a lot of sense…and any positive feelings you could have had about it were definitely squandered by the end of the film.

There are both good and bad things to say about this film. It looks the worst from the outside. People looking at the poster would clearly see a different actor and, in my opinion, a really stupid un-James Bond-like title. That’s a good reason as to why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or in this instance, a movie by its poster. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was a lot better than I imagined. Lazenby pulled his weight and actually made me forget who Connery was while watching, which is more than I could have ever hoped for.

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