Take a Drink: whenever you see a little Lady Tyrell in Diana Rigg’s delivery
Or even a little Margaery
Take a Drink: for body tosses
Take a Drink: for subterfuge
Take Two Drinks: if said subterfuge involves a kilt
Take a Drink: for self-aware quips
Do a Shot: for a Very Bond Christmas
Do a Shot: “He had lots of guts”
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Sometime in 1966, the relationship between Bond star Sean Connery and Bond producers Albert Broccoli and Howard Saltzman went south, kicking in a love/hate cycle that would encompass some of the more unique Bond and Bond-adjacent films. 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service put a new actor in Bond’s tux- Aussie model George Lazenby.
Keeping that Zoolander casting rolling
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service finds Bond following a trail gone cold in the hunt for SPECTRE. An encounter with a willful, beautiful heiress (Diana Rigg) puts him back on the right path, heading towards an Alpine showdown with old foe Blofeld (Telly Savalas).
You will hear many a high profile director like Steven Soderbergh profiles their love for this Bond flick over all others, and its influence is clear in films as varied as Sam Mendes’s Skyfall and Christopher Nolan’s Inception. The resource for this is clear- the directing abilities of editor turned rookie helmsman Peter R. Hunt compared to his predecessors are night and day.
My God! A competently framed shot!
Hunt’s editing background is apparent in his groundbreaking, fast-cutting action sequences that look like and clearly influenced modern-day action films, and Reed’s clearly having fun experimenting with new angles and vantage points to capture the thrilling Alpine setpieces. Richard Maibaum’s cracked, often humorous dialogue and John Barry’s soaring score, with bonus Louie Armstrong (this really is a snapshot of the late 60s), brings it all together.
Here, Telly Savalas replaced Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, for my money turning in the best iteration. His effete, cultured, deep-voiced almost predatory menace reminded me of Javier Bardem’s in Skyfall, who clearly took some notes.
Bond’s usually on the other side of the rapiness.
Diana Rigg is another significant feather in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘s cap, finally proving a match, if not an overmatch, for Bond. She commands the screen whenever she’s around, leading up to a truly ballsy ending that the franchise would immediately march back in Diamonds are Forever.
Lazenby has solid dramatic chops and even a bit of Cary Grant-ish charm, but honestly, I just don’t like his face.
Looks like one of those robogigolos from A.I.
The plot also takes its time getting moving, and suffers a bit in the middle when Rigg’s not around.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service may well feature the Best Bond Girl, the Best Blofeld, the Best Action (to that point), and the Best Direction (until now). Nobody will make the case that it has the Best Bond, but does that disqualify it for the title of the Best Bond film? Not in my book.