James Bond Is Back.

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Spectre opens in the U.S. today, and the whole world seems to be a little James Bond crazy. This seems like a good time to name-drop my favorite 007 movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

I highly recommend this one and urge you to check out a terrific blog post on it from Jeff Flugel. Click on the title card and away you go.

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One of these days, I’m gonna get around to writing about it myself. But Jeff’s coverage of it has me a little intimidated.

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10 Comments

Filed under 1969, George Lazenby, James Bond

10 responses to “James Bond Is Back.

  1. Richard Oravitz

    Totally disliked this movie when I saw it at the theater. Lazenby was no Sean Connery and Diana Rigg was no Emma Peel. And the Bond series only got worse with Roger Moore from that moment on…at least that was my teenage opinion, the somewhat geeky opinion of an action spy fanatic that was biased against the film going in from the start.
    Got around to re-watching this film through the soundtrack which I bought (on cd) at a local flea market for a buck. After listening to the soundtrack I decided that any movie with such a great score deserves a (finally) second viewing and so I bought the dvd through Amazon, watched it and witnessed a totally different viewing experience.
    So now my favorite Bond Movies are FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, GOLDFINGER, DR. NO and THUNDERBALL, in that order.
    One Bond type movie that I really liked and everyone else hates is THE SECOND BEST SECRET AGENT IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. I thought it captured the style, wit and feel of the 60s Bond craze and was a pretty good spoof of it as well. Would love to see this get a nice dvd release sometime soon, me and maybe 3 others.

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    • It’s interesting how people respond to this film. Thanks for sharing your experience with it.

      Nowadays, we’re used to a different Bond every so often, so Lazenby isn’t as jarring as he was in 1969.

      A few years ago, a local theater ran all the Bonds in 35mm, and OHMSS was really impressive.

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  2. john k

    I’ve never got round to watching the Craig Bonds.
    For me,at least they have changed the character so much
    for the p.c.era I feel there is no point calling him James Bond
    any more.
    When Connery was Bond England was “Top Of The World Ma!”
    David Bailey,Twiggy,The Shrimp,Mary Quant were making waves,
    the music world was transformed by The Beatles,The Who,The Kinks
    The Stones….and to add to that we won the World Cup!
    Now all we have to offer are the likes on One Direction and Little Mix!
    It’s a country who’s culture is governed by the likes of
    Ant & Dec.and Simon Cowell.
    Furthermore a huge section of this country have lost the
    “Work Ethic”…so much so that we have to go with our begging bowl
    tail between our legs, to the Chinese.
    “Great” Britain…it certainly ain’t no more.
    We had great comedians in The Sixties, Hancock,Frankie Howard,
    Benny Hill,Eric Sykes,Steptoe & Son,Alf Garnett and so on.
    Now all we get are scruffy oiks who approach comedy by how many
    times they can use the F Word in one sentence.
    It’s really saying something when the two funniest men in Britain now
    are American…..Reginald D Hunter and Rich Hall.

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  3. john k

    Actually,I thought Pierce Brosnan was a great Bond…..
    I kinda gave up after that.

    I watched an interesting documentary last week regarding the
    evolution of,the politics behind the Bond series.
    Lots of stuff about Connery’s conflicts with and dislike for Saltzman
    in particular; and to some extent Broccoli.
    There was lots of stuff about the wrangles between EON Productions
    and Kevin McClory.(THUNDERBALL,NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN)
    McClory was a most interesting character and I thought I’d look up
    the sole film that he directed THE BOY AND THE BRIDGE (1959)
    This is a much sought after film with some great location work
    around Tower Bridge and Borough Market.
    What amazed me looking at the cast list on imbb is that none other
    than the great Royal Dano played an evangelist!
    I’ve never seen THE BOY AND THE BRIDGE and really want to now,
    if for nothing else to see Royal Dano in a Brit Flick
    FWOTF hint to Toby……Royal Dano’s birthday November 16th. :).

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  4. john k

    There has been a much quoted story about John Payne trying
    to interest studios in making MOONRAKER in the Fifties.
    He got no takers as they considered the source material too sexy,
    too violent.

    I would have loved to have seen Payne as Bond circa 1956
    directed by Phil Karlson and running 95 minutes max.
    For an idea of how Payne would have fared as Bond check out
    the forthcoming Kino Lorber Blu Ray of Andre De Toth’s HIDDEN
    FEAR….he even slaps his sister around in this one!

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  5. Jerry Entract

    Can’t really find anything in your rant to disagree with at all, John. So maybe that’s two grumpy old men who got out of bed on the wrong side this morning!!
    I have been to see every Bond film when they were first released since “DR. NO” in 1962. Some aren’t so great, of course, but as an overall body of films they ‘butter my bread’ just fine!!
    Despite having no acting chops whatever beforehand I actually thought Lazenby did a pretty good job (on screen) and “O.H.M.S.S.” is one of my favourite Bonds of all.
    I think the Daniel Craig films have been very good in the main though I agree that they have lost some of the essence of what Bond was maybe. Mind you, having read the books, they were violent and sexy but not that jokey really so maybe Craig is not so far off……?

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  6. Nick Beal

    It wouldn’t be fair to say that I haven’t enjoyed the Daniel Craig Bonds. They have great production values, massive budgets and often impressive casts
    but Craig himself I find underwhelming. Here is an actor who has been tagged as a Bond who actually can act (as opposed to say Roger Moore who
    did little more than raise an eyebrow ironically) but I actually find Craig’s performances distinctly one-dimensional. He was initially tagged in some quarters as being ‘the ugly Bond’ and with his little piggy eyes that’s about right. He definitely cuts it in terms of sheer machismo but he lacks the essential Bondian ingredients of style and above all panache.
    Then there is the question which John Knight touched upon above, which essentially is “what is the Britain that Bond is actually fighting to protect?”
    and in that context there is a fascinating if undeveloped sub-plot in the new SPECTRE. The picture is essentially about the iniquities of the surveillance culture with the double-O programme to be shut down and MI5 and MI6 to be combined for budgetary reasons. All very topical. Part of this projected
    brave new world involves the pooling of data between the intelligence services of several governments in a new international community of spies.
    In the climactic discussions to ratify this new fraternity and in an obvious reference to the inner workings of the European Union, Ralph Fiennes excellent ‘M’ is heard to exclaim words along the lines of “But they’re unelected” …. “Where’s the democracy?”. Of course, we find that Spectre is
    behind the whole thing, the new head of HMSS is a Spectre double agent
    and the plot dissolves, like a Mickey Spillane novel into the usual welter of
    explosions and CGI thud and blunder and It’s a great shame that the motif of a free and independent Britain with Bond as it’s symbolic defender was not taken to its logical conclusion. The part of Christopher Waltz’s anaemic Blofeld (housed in the drabbest super-villain HQ I can remember having seen in pictures) should ideally have been given to an Angela Merkel look-alike, stroking the iconic white cat as she dreams of world domination.
    SPECTRE is a dour entertainment but is definitely worth seeing if only to explore its contradictions. However it entirely lacks the exhilerating and life-affirming moments that characterise the best Bonds (think Pierce Brosnan skiing off of the side of a mountain and opening a parachute emblazoned with the Union Jack), the women are fairly unmemorable (Honor
    Blackman played a sexy older ‘Bond girl’ before Monica Bellucci was probably even born) and Craig really ain’t James Bond.

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    • All I set out to do with this post was share Jeff’s great post on OHMSS, which I’d recently re-read.

      It’s gone on to become a commentary on James Bond, the UK, world politics and contemporary filmmaking. I love it, and I thank you all for it.

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  7. Well, I’d like to add a big thumbs up for Jeff’s article. I really enjoyed it when I read back when he first posted it and my opinion hasn’t altered a bit since then.

    On Craig’s Bond, I remain somewhat undecided. I haven’t seen Spectre yet but will do so on the weekend. I liked Casino Royale well enough and positively hated Quantum of Solace, and I still feel the latter is an absolute stinker of a movie and an all-time low for Bond. Skyfall drew me back in though and I felt there was some movement back towards what I see as the essentials of a Bond movie.
    Personally, i don’t care about the faithfulness or lack of it to the Fleming books, either in terms of plotting or the portrayal of the lead – the movies exist in a world of their own for me.
    Craig has the physicality of the character down to a tee but I agree his dourness and what I see as a certain lack of sophistication are something of a barrier for me. I feel Brosnan had a great deal of potential that was never fully realized and too often let down by poor scripting.

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  8. Wow, sincere thanks, Toby, for plugging my old OHMSS post…much appreciated! (And thanks to Colin for his kind words as well). I’ve been gratified to see some other film fans such as yourselves that think highly of that film as well. It is a special Bond picture, for sure.

    Really interesting reading up thread about Bond films in general. Myself, I’m a big fan of Daniel Craig as 007 but have found his Bond films hit-or miss. I thought CASINO ROYALE was one of the series’ best, but was really let down by QUANTUM OF SOLACE. SKYFALL was better but I still feel it was vastly overrated, far too focused on Bond’s mommy issues with Judi Dench’s M. From what I glean re: SPECTRE, it’s a bit of a return to the old-style Bond formula, which sounds just up my street. Doesn’t come out here in Japan till next month, but will be first in line to see it when it finally does show up in the cineplex.

    Thanks again Toby, and please don’t let my enthusiastic ramblings on the subject deter you from covering OHMSS yourself.

    Like

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