Thursday, April 9, 2009

Guilty Pleasure: On Her Majesty's Secret Service



I confess I am one of those few who actually likes this odd duck of a James Bond film. Lazenby's Bond is, I will be the first to admit, not the equal of Sean Connery's. But somehow, whenever I see this movie, I am able to mentally edit out Lazenby and insert Connery in most places. He's not awful, just not as dreadful as he's been made out to be.

Diana Rigg is fantastic, as could be expected. Telly Savalas was a good enough Blofeld (although my personal favorite is still Charles Gray, from Diamonds Are Forever), and his insidious plot was a worthy entry. I am a sucker for ski-borne shootouts in my Bond films (my favorite pre-sequence is that from "The Spy Who Loved Me"), and this one certainly doesn't disappoint. Plus we get a bonus shootout in the luge!

I will say that I hate hate hate the breaking of the third wall at the very beginning, where Lazenby thrashes a bunch of thugs, turns to the camera, and says "this never happened to the other fellow". Ugh. Completely unnecessary. And the scenes where Bond is impersonating Sir Hillary with the brilliant disguise of a kilt, a pair of glasses, and a squeaky voice. What is he, Superman? Ugh again. But, those bits aside, it's really a nice little Bond film.

I should also mention the fact that this Bond is more than just a love-em-and-leave-em guy. He marries the Contessa. The strains of Louis Armstrong's "All the Time in the World" is especially poignant. It is, in fact, one of the only redeeming qualities of the Roger Moore-era Bond Film "For Your Eyes Only" that at the very beginning he is seen leaving flowers on his wife's grave, and the inscription is "We had all the time in the world." A nice bit of continuity that you don't often see in this series.

Not the best, but definitely not in the basement, as it is often placed. Better than most of the later Moore films, to be sure.