Thursday, 30 June 2011

Not ground. Ice!

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Chosen by Blogalongabond who has lots to say on the film. Check it out.

Bond's Intro: For the first but not last time we introduce a new actor portraying Bond (and a throwaway gag which enables non-sensical fanboy 'Dread Pirate Roberts' arguments for why Bond keeps changing). We focus on small details, a smart car, a cigarette case, stylish clothes, reinforcing it's the same Bond (only different) you've loved for five movies. There's an introduction for Tracy 'Teresa was a saint' Di Vicenzo alongside Bond marking a difference though perhaps subtly in her role in the film straight from the start.
The fight is short, sharp and fun (that flying kick in the sea kills me every time), then we get the silly joke (This never happened to the other fella) and we go into...
Theme Song and Credits: The best theme of all the Bond films. Majestic, awe inspiring and instantly hummable.  The credits play over scenes from the past 5 films again re-inforcing business as usual but I tend to think it shows a lack of confidence by the film in the audience to accept a new Bond.
Nipples remain as perky as Thunderball.
The Ladies: With both Diana Rigg and Joanna Lumley here we have now had 3 of the Avengers (granted one before her appearance in that show - and it will be a good few years before we see 'Steed' appear) in Bond films and with Rigg we have the first fully rounded, totally compelling female lead. 
Achingly beautiful (of course) but also well written, brilliantly performed and despite the plot's (and her father's) insistence that she needs Bond to 'fix' her, utterly capable (she rescues Bond more than he rescues her).
Angela Scoular is fun, if not a bit irritating, but the film drops a beat or two in the lengthy middle section as it misses Rigg's charm and confidence.

The Baddies: Savalas makes for an odd but mostly effective Blofeld and it's nice to see a consistency from the last film that he is still a complete idiot (once again his plot must be necessitated by the mortgage on his lair).
There's no real menacing henchmen here, though Ilse Steppat is frightening enough as Irma Bunt.

License to Kill: I'm going from my memory here but Bond may not actually kill someone for quite a while but when he does it is, in the parlance of the times, badass. Silently crushing a goon's throat with a ski he ends up kicking him off a mountain (the sickening crunch as he hits some rocks and bounces off still makes me wince).
Once more he doesn't kill the main bad guy and with no harpoon wielding angel of vengeance around he really pays the price for it. 
Bond hates foreigners: Nothing terrible here that I can recall.

Bond hates women: He starts a little condescendingly towards Tracy and may at first be simply using her to get to Blofeld but the film actually spends time (not much and kind of a cheesy montage to the awesome We Have All the Time in the World) on letting them get to know each other and the two have a pleasing chemistry.

Bond's crazy knowledge: He learns, and lectures all about heraldry for his undercover role.

Bond's a big fat snob: I'm sure there's a line about caviar when he stops to take a bite after trashing the room in a fight.

00's killed: None but we have the only death that really matters in the series of course. "She's having a rest. We'll be going on soon. There's no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world. " Sniff. I'm alright, just tired. And cutting some onions.

Mini overview: A touch long and misses Rigg in it's middle but an absolutely terrific Bond movie. Best action sequences (the aerial photography on the ski sequences are so good), best score, best female lead. The plot is a little silly but I love that it's not really about the scheme itself but Blofeld's snobbery and Lazenby made for an ok Bond (not so good at the gags and a little uncomfortable at points but a strong interesting presence generally) this is the Bond film I have seen more times than any other in my adult life.

1 comment:

  1. I really need to see this again - I think I've seen OHMSS least. I fear I may have let my initial prejudice about Lazenby get in the way.