Actor: George Lazenby
US Release Date: 18 Dec 1969
US gross, $ [adjusted]:22,774,493 [99,888,127]
Worldwide gross, $ [adjusted]: 64,600,000 [283,333,334]
World Premier - 18th December 1969, Odeon Leicester Square, London
Locations: London, Portugal, Geneva and Berne, Switzerland, Swiss Alps.
Source for above info: The " mother " of all James Bond books - James Bond: The Legacy.
As Sean Connery said no to another go at Bond, EON searched
all over and found out George Lazenby. Thus United Artists
released On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969, replacing
Sean Connery with George Lazenby in the role of James Bond.
At 29 years of age, Lazenby had the physical presence and
athletic agility of Bond. But it is evident right from the
teaser that he doesn't have the level of acting experience the
role demanded. Tracy de Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) walks
purposefully into the sea. Bond is seen bit by bit; first his
chin, then eyes and finally fists as he launches into a fight.
The battle over Tracy runs off leaving Bond clutching her
Bond: This never happened to the other fellow!!
(Maybe because Sean was not as wooden as you.) Here the viewer is mystified as if he has run into a love story with T.V. actors. But suddenly, we're into song-less titles, a mass of Union Jacks and silhouetted Brittanias. And to remind the horde of confused viewers that this the same rear-end kicking, damsel charming, world savior James Bond, images from the earlier movies flow through the hourglass. Reaction: Worst teaser ever.
Bond searching for Ernst Stavro Blofeld (not Donald Pleasence as
You Only Live Twice
but Telly Savalas) ends up taking the help of crime boss Draco
(Gabriele Ferzetti). And he meets Tracy who is Draco's daughter
again. And for the first time in his life he falls in love!
Draco: May I introduce my daughter, Teresa.
Tracy: Mr. Bond and I have already met.
Bond: But each time is a renewed pleasure. Madame always makes one feel so welcome!
Later Bond leaves for the mountains of Switzerland, where Bond goes undercover as Sir Hillary in Blofeld's hi-tech headquarters. Here Blofeld is treating a group of women for various allergies under the alias of "Dr. Bleauchamp". Bond is right at home with the seductive damsels and gets back to his lady charming ways. Here he encounters the rather friendly Ruby Barlett who draws an infinity sign on Bond's inner thigh with lipstick. The Blofeld's in-house hag Irma Bunt inquires after his health.
Irma: Sir Hillary, is anything the matter.
Bond: I feel a slight stiffness coming on.
The most surprising thing is that throughout this entire charade, Blofeld does not recognize Bond who had destroyed his world domination plans in You Only Live Twice . Maybe even Blofeld felt that this wooden actor couldn’t be James Bond.
Later Blofeld discovers that Sir Hillary is really James Bond.
Blofeld: It takes more than a few props to turn 007 into a herald...
Bond: It takes more than cutting off your earlobes, Blofeld, to turn you into a Count. Next Blofeld gives the mandatory "How I am going to control the world" speech where he reveals that he is going to release germ warfare weaponry that will endanger every living thing on earth. And then we are treated to the best part of the movie when Bond escapes with the help of Tracy and even survives a horde of artillery-laden ski pursuits and a spectacular avalanche. And as a just reward for all these travails, Bond gets to get closer to Tracy.
Bond: Tracy, an agent shouldn't be concerned with anything but himself.
Tracy: I understand. We will just have to go on the way we are.
Bond: No, I have to find something else to do.
Tracy: Are you sure, James?
Bond: I love you. I know I'll never find another girl like you. Will you marry me?
Tracy: You mean it?
Bond: I mean it!!
After a roll in the hay (literally), Bond calls in a favor from his future father-in-law and leads an assault team in three Bell 204 HUEY helicopters to Blofeld's hide-away. After the mandatory, "Blow up the HQ" scene we have Bond chasing Blofeld on a snowmobile, but Blofeld gets away. And finally Bond ties the knot and before Bond and Tracy are leaving the wedding, Q comes to talk to Bond:
Q: If there's anything you ever need...
Bond: Thank you Q, but this time I've got the gadgets and I know how to use them!
Cut to a short ride in a Aston-Martin DBS V8, and suddenly Irma Bundt and Blofeld ride by showering the car with bullets. Sadly, Irma Bundt guns down the new Mrs. Bond. Bond is left alone again.
Lazenby met with a thumbs down reception from audiences and critics who felt he didn't measure up to Sean Connery's 007. And the script of the film didn't help matters too. After the roller coaster rides in the Sean movies, the audience felt that the deviation from the expected Bond formula didn't work. Lazenby didn't help matters too by getting on the wrong books of the producers as well, when he insisted on sporting long hair and a beard to On Her Majesty's Secret Service's American premiere. International headlines featured tales of a "running feud" between Lazenby and Diana Rigg, stories both stars deny to this day. But ultimately, it all came down to the box office where On Her Majesty's Secret Service earned less than half of the previous Bond movie, You Only Live Twice . Personaly, this is the only Bond film I could not bear to see the second time. And I have seen all of them, from Dr.No to Tomorrow never dies atleast five times. Tells a lot about my adulation potential for Lazenby. The Bond franchise was in deep trouble and hence for Diamonds Are Forever , Connery was pleaded back into the role once more. The fate of James Bond was in the Scot's hands.
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