On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Bond is after Blofeld, and as he gets closer it becomes apparent that this time it’s personal…

There’s a lot to love about On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but it is by no means perfect. The story is hazy at first and takes a while to really get going. It is hard to tell whether the script struggles trying to introduce a new Bond, or Bond suffers from a slow introduction by the scriptwriters, but once it gets going the action is paced well and makes for a good fun action flick.

George Lazenby is definitely a different Bond to Connery’s, but that’s not completely a bad thing. He plays to his strengths, and doesn’t try to copy Connery. While he is criticised for not being as good as Connery (which after 5 outings, would be near impossible first up anyway!) it is really for the best as it opened the way for others to put their own interpretations on Bond later in the series. There are a few points that feel forced, where Lazenby’s rushed delivery of what should be witty one-liners could just as easily have been forgotten, but he really seems to have found his feet by the end of the film and overall the character development he displays makes up for most of it.

George Lazenby.
Lazenby is much criticised in this role, but there is also a lot to like about him – his confidence and model smile show Bond’s playboy side, but his wit is sadly mistimed and lacking in believability. His character development over the film however is a big positive.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas).
Missing many of the physical markers we came to know and love, but when dealing with a new Bond, one can’t hold a new actor’s interpretation against him. His delivery is believable but lacks the personality of his predecessor.

Bond Girl:
Theresa Di Vincenzo (Diana Rigg).
A Contessa with daddy issues who eventually falls for Bond’s charm. Diana Rigg shows what a great actress she is, and like Lazenby her character develops so well over the film.

Bernard Lee.
Bernard Lee is, as always, a solid M, and shows he is not completely stoic.

Desmond Llewelyn.
Little in the way of Q-branch here, but Llewelyn continues a good run of an individual character, displaying just enough to keep him relevant.

Lois Maxwell.
Moneypenny shows more emotional depth here than ever before, and the film is the better for it.

Draco Di Vincenzo (Gabriele Ferzetti).
A fairly objectionable man, but with considerable resources he’s willing to put behind Bond and his adventures.

A couple of mediocre gadgets used, and one that is brushed off by M. Not much to see here.

1969 Aston Martin DBS
Good to see that Bond moves with the times, and keeps his desirable wheels well up to date.
1969 Mercury Cougar
Belonging to Tracy, a nice car that comes through for Bond in a pinch a couple of times.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a good addition to the Bond series that probably receives more bad press than it deserves due to Lazenby’s interpretation of Bond. With the benefit of hindsight and various different Bond interpretations over the years, this one holds up better to the test of time than others have, and shouldn’t be written off so readily.



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