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On Her Majestys Secret Service

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: On Her Majestys Secret Service

Starring: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg
Director: Peter Hunt
Rated: PG
RunTime: 142 Minutes
Release Date: December 1969
Genres: 007, Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Telly Savalas, Ilse Steppat, Gabriel Ferzetti, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Bessie Love

Review by Andrew Hicks
2 stars out of 4

In between YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER was this odd little James Bond film.. I shouldn't call it a little film; it's 140-minute running time is the longest of the Bond series. It's also the only one to star George Lazenby (Never heard of him? Neither have I.) as 007. Being sandwiched between two Sean Connery movies makes this one look that much more amateurish in comparison.

The epic running time is absolutely unnecessary, as the real story doesn't begin for an hour and a half, by which time most other movies would be almost over. That first 90 minutes gives us a lot of expository information with little action, save the traditional opening teaser, and that's not even up to par with the other movies in the series.

Bond is still after Blofeld (who first popped in YOLT and again in DAF and is now played by Telly "Kojak" Savales) here, but tired enough of chasing him to take a two-week leave of absence from the service. That's when he meets Tracy (Diana Rigg, a.k.a. Emma Peel of "The Avengers"), the first woman he truly falls in love with. (I guess 700 really is his lucky number.) And certainly his plans for marriage don't have anything to do with the fact that Tracy's father, a crime boss, offered valuable information about Blofeld's whereabouts if Bond would marry his daughter.

So Bond rushes off to Blofeld's mountain hideout, populated by a bevy of beauties who think he's curing them of their allergies, when he's really grooming them to destroy Western civilization as we know it. (Talk about your unconventional therapy techniques!) Bond meets his three-woman quota there before Blofeld discovers that he's not really a genealogist on research. The usual death traps and chases ensue, including a ski run chase that would be redone and improved upon in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME.

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE has a little merit. The story is decent, albeit way too overblown and long-winded, but adding the romance aspect to the Bond series was a good idea, even if they did have to add the obligatory young-couple-in-love song montage. And there is a truly touching moment at the end of the movie. But on the whole, this movie is to be viewed only by the Bond fan who absolutely has to see every movie in the series. Otherwise, just skip right over it and you won't miss a thing.

OHMSS has far less action than the others and George Lazenby doesn't quite cut the mustard as James Bond. (He does cut the cheese a few times, to the disgust of the other characters.) Rolling Stone called Lazenby "a one-shot joke" and I have to agree. The Rolling Stones called him "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and I have to say I have no idea what that means.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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