Bond evolution – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (#6)

Yes, it’s a New Bond! Australian model George Lazenby takes over from Sean Connery in his one and only outing as Bond. At the end of his first big scene, he turns to the camera and says, “This never happened to the other fella.”

(*spoiler alert*) The one big thing in this film that never happened to the other fella is that this is also the one where Bond falls in love and gets married. Yes, love and marriage! But the path of true love never runs smooth especially for the world’s most promiscuous secret agent as we’ll find out later.

The opening credits don’t feature the standard dancing women. Instead it’s a retro compilation of scenes from previous films, and there’s no theme tune with soaring vocals and a minor key.

The main woman in the film is Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo (“Tracey”) played by Diana Rigg. (*Spoiler alert*) After he rescues her twice, she turns up in his hotel room, where they argue, he slaps her, but she sleeps with him anyway. “She needs a man to dominate her,” her father says to Bond, encouraging him to fall in love with his daughter. Later in the film her father also punches her. This woman has had a rotten family life leading to her making poor choices in men. But she falls in love with Bond, and there’s a soft-focus montage of Bond and Tracey walking around together doing lovey-dovey things to the sound of Louis Armstrong “We have all the time in the world”.

However – business calls and Bond has some proper spy work to be doing in Switzerland. Compared to the small and simple safe cracking device he had in the last film, in this film he has a huge suitcase-sized device to crack a safe, but it does come with a built-in scanner, so he can take home copies of the documents he finds in the safe. And then he goes undercover to track down Blofeld in his Swiss mountaintop clinic.

Watch out for the scene with the women in Blofeld’s clinic – there’s a young Joanna Lumley amongst the cohort.

(*Spoiler alert*) However much Bond is in love with Tracey, he does put himself about a bit in Blofeld’s clinic, sleeping with two women in one night – and using the same lines on both of them.

Watch out for the nod to a future film when it’s revealed that the Bond family motto is The World is Not Enough.

And watch out for the lamps in the Swiss clinic. There are some fine examples of groovy late 60s lamps there.

How exotic is exotic? The locations for the film were France, Switzerland and Portugal (pretending to be Italy, I think). I guess the ski resorts of Switzerland are pretty exotic. (Switzerland is expensive enough, let alone the skiing?!)

(*Spoiler alert*) The villain here is Blofeld again, and his plot is to hold the world to ransom by releasing a series of toxins that will render certain crops and animals infertile, therefore disrupting the world food chain and causing mass famine. What does he want in return? He wants amnesty for his previous crimes, and he wants to be recognised as the Count de Bleauchamp. Really, Blofeld? All this for a petty title and a quiet life?

(*Spoiler alert*) The film ends with a wedding – Bond and Tracey driving away into their new life together, joking about those six children they are going to have. But – that final scene! I’ll say no more.

And for that reason, there is no film epilogue.

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