I’ve seen On Her Majesty’s Secret Service exactly once. Most of us think of this 1969 film as the George Lazenby one-off that made the most of its Swiss alps location shoot. I remember being moderately satisfied if less than floored. Meh, decent, not bad, passable.
But I didn’t think Lazenby was the right guy to succeed Sean Connery. Because there was something about his vaguely Asian eyes and extremely high cheekbones that said…well, Nanook of the North or something in that realm. Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig had the right kind of Britishness, but not Lazenby. He seemed good-natured as far as it went, but he looked like Cochise.
Vinciguerra has half-convinced me to give On Her Majesty’s Secret Service another whirl. Maybe.
“What sets OHMSS apart,” the article claims, “is its faithfulness to the original Ian Fleming novel, virtual absence of Q Branch gizmos and, above all, its emotional depth. Bond falls in honest-to-goodness love and marries, only to see his bride, Teresa Draco (Diana Rigg), murdered by the supervillainous organization SPECTRE.
“Not widely appreciated at first, OHMSS has won increasing respect over five decades. Devotees hail its deft, action-packed direction (by Peter Hunt), smart script (by Richard Maibaum), music both dynamic and romantic (by John Barry) and mastermind criminal scheme (brainwashed young women unwittingly conducting germ warfare).
“’Shot to shot, this movie is beautiful in a way none of the other Bond films are,” Steven Soderbergh wrote in November 2013. Moreover, it is ‘the only Bond film with a female character that isn’t a cartoon.'”
“Depending on your school of thought, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is nearly a great film but for Lazenby, or is a great film despite Lazenby. Nobody argues it is a great film because of Lazenby. I won’t start now. But I do consider On Her Majesty’s Secret Service a great film — one that features a perfectly credible performance by George Lazenby in the lead role.” — Den of Geek‘s Max Williams, posted on 12.18.19.