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Film | Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

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George Lazenby as Bond in "Her Majesty's Secret Service"

Australian actor George Lazenby does his service for the Commonwealth as James Bond in Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This Bond lives up to expectations — it’s action-packed, entertaining and glamorous stuff.


Bond is taken off his assignment to hunt down villain Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas). Not that this stops him, of course. It just so happens that the woman he just rescued, the Countess Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg), is the daughter of Draco, head of a major crime syndicate. Draco is keen to get revenge on Blofeld and gives Bond a lead.

The lead takes him to the Swiss Alps, where Blofeld is running an institute to cure allergies. It’s all a front. What he’s actually developing is a biochemical to turn every living organism on the planet barren. Why? To take control of the world. What else.

Blofeld’s not the only one with a front. Bond enters the remote mountain-top lair posing as a reserved, woman-shy genealogist there to investigate Blofeld’s claims to nobility. There he meets the “Angels of Death” — 12 beautiful women (including Joanna Lumley) who are allergy patients at the institute (tho Blofeld has grander plans for them). Can Bond keep up the subterfuge surrounded by such temptation? Or will his Achilles heel do him in … again?

Her Majesty’s Secret Service has everything you’d expect from a Bond movie. Glam set designs. Avalanches. Luge chases. Scenic escapades. And what would double-0-7 be without a generous serving of double entendres.

Bond fans won’t be disappointed on those counts.

While I like Daniel Craig’s Bond, Sean Connery and Roger Moore remain definitively Bond for me. And Lazenby is very of their ilk – the womanising sweet talker who dusts off his tux after a scuffle atop some vertigo-inducing location.

There’s just something missing. Lazenby’s delivery seemed a bit flat, especially the smart one-liners. Often they were said out of shot, which didn’t help. Also the Australian accent doesn’t quite match the smugness of Connery.

Now, this Bond flick isn’t just unique in the franchise because of the Aussie. It’s also the only one in which Bond seriously gets married. So much for Vespa (Casino Royale) being the first time (tho she is Bond’s first love in the true sequence of the original novels). It’s a touching scene.

Her Majesty’s Secret Service lives up to expectations — it’s action-packed, entertaining and glamorous stuff.

Trivia

Lazenby declined to sign up for further Bond movies. The producers chased after Sean Connery to fill the spot for the next one. Connery agreed for a sum of 1.2 million pounds. Money was no object so he was signed up for Diamonds Are Forever (in which Blofeld is finally put to rest). Connery used the fee to establish the Scottish International Education Trust where Scottish artists could apply for funding without having to leave their country to pursue their careers.

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Written by Darren Smith

1 February 2009 at 12:46 am

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