On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) Directed by Peter Hunt
Diana Rigg as Contessa Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo and George Lazenby as James Bond

Tracy: Why do you persist in rescuing me, Mr. Bond?
Bond: It’s becoming a habit, isn’t it, Contessa Teresa?
Tracy: Teresa was a saint. I’m known as Tracy.
Bond: Well, Tracy, next time play it safe and stand on five.
Tracy: People who want to stay alive play it safe.
Bond: Please stay alive… at least for tonight.

14 Responses to “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – JB50”

  1. Ah I don’t know, I never really cared all that much for Lazenby, and though like just about every other Bond film this does have it’s moments, it isn’t one I’d count among my favorites. But heck, the fans are there!

  2. Best. Bond. Of All Time.

    I’d go to the mat for this one any day! I agree that Lazenby is not ideal and he comes across a little amateurishly at times, but I think he’s unfairly maligned and could easily have improved in subsequent pictures if given a chance.

    Even with a less than ideal Bond, this one has the best overall story (the villain’s plot is a little silly, but no more than any of the others, but the Tracy subplot is pretty great) and it’s the only film until Casino Royal to really have any kind of character development or an emotional arc. Plus, Telly Savalas is great (love how he holds his cigarette!), the Barry score is wonderful and there are multiple ski chases! Also, Diana Rigg is terrific.

  3. Barry and Rigg shine here without a doubt!

  4. Well, as long as we agree on that :)

  5. Absolutely. And I’ll admit the film is extremely entertaining as well. My problem is admittedly that I haven’t seen it in a long time.

  6. You should give it another look. I rewatched it recently in preparation for the last week of MQotDs and while I’ve always favored it, it is now my top favorite just ahead of From Russia With Love.

    Lazenby remains a small liability, but on balance I think he makes up in athleticism what he lacks in refinement.

  7. Seeing an actual print of this at a Library of Congress branch screening tomorrow. Yay Bond!

  8. I assume the print of Thunderball you saw a week or so ago looked terrific?

  9. I need to give this one another whirl. It’s been a while.

  10. Lazenby is too big a hill to climb for a lot of people so we can still be friends if you hate it.

    But tell me that the mountain lair in Inception wasn’t inspired by the Piz Gloria in OHMSS. Go ahead, I dare you.

  11. I watched this one last night. I have a hard time believing Nolan didn’t take the snow fortress assault directly from this, as he’s a big Bond fan. I forgot about the one-ski downhill chase…amazing! The John Barry score for this is one of the best of the series. And the banquet scene has to be one of the most overtly sexual sequences in the whole series, and the whole time Bond is just rattling off boring nonsense. It’s curious that they juxtapose his womanizing at the fortress with his love affair with Tracy and yet there’s really no comment or discussion of it between them (or did I miss a line of dialogue?).

    Rigg is excellent. I love the cutaway shots of her driving in the ice race and the scene where she takes on two goons. For a 60’s era Bond girl, she really gets to be quite badass and she owns it. Of course, they still reinforce the gender distinctions too, like when her father stone cold knocks her out or tells Bond she just needs a man to “dominate” her. AMAZING.

  12. Nolan totally had to have this in mind for Inception. Have you seen the fake Bond trailer that’s supposed to be a Nolan Bond? It’s kind of crummy actually, but I do think Nolan would be an interesting choice for a top shelf, old-fashioned kind of Bond as long as he kept it relatively simple and didn’t try to out fancy his material.

    I thought it was funny too that he’s just kind of blithely banging away at the bevy of women at Piz Gloria while Tracy doesn’t even seem to exist anymore. That all takes place after the Hallmark moments with Tracy and Bond walking around in parks making googly eyes at each other to Louis Armstrong too! It’s pretty much that way in the book though also. She goes off to some clinic in Switzerland to get her head screwed back on and he goes to work… which of course includes banging women. I suppose you could make the argument he was doing it all for queen and country but… bah!

  13. It would be easy to get carried with criticizing the gender issues in the Bond films, especially the early ones, but I won’t even go there. I think the most interesting thing about Lazenby’s Bond is how human he seems. During the foot chase in the skiing village at night, he momentarily expresses actual fear (in as much as Bond ever shows fear), which is refreshing. And even when he dispatches a villain, it’s in mundane ways. He gets off a couple good one liners, but this is not the perfectly poised and collected Bond that came to dominate the most popular films.

  14. Yeah. No. You can’t criticize Bond for being a lady’s man since that’s the character, but in this case, it’s a bit softer, more emotional Bond. Still, it’s 1969 so…

    In a lot of ways, as criticized as he is, I think Lazenby was almost just right for this incarnation of the character. Connery was a lot colder and matter-of-fact. It actually hurts at the end of OHMSS when you know who gets you know what in the you know here and I’m not sure if Connery could’ve quite pulled it off so well.

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