Bond

Countdown to Spectre: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

This is the next installment in my look back to the James Bond 007 series in anticipation for the new installment, Spectre coming out on November 6th. If you are interested in any of my earlier installments, click here.

Agent 007, James Bond (George Lazenby) and the adventurous Countess Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) join forces with her father Draco Vicenzo (Gabriele Ferzetti) to battle an evil organization known as SPECTRE within the treacherous Swiss Alps. Within their mountain lair, SPECTRE’s evil leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas) is launching his most catastrophic plan yet: a plot involving the use of germ warfare against the world’s food supply which has the potential to kill millions.

So Sean Connery is not in this one (pause for disappointment). Connery chose to retire before the filming of You Only Live Twice and was not on speaking terms with the series’ producer Albert Broccoli. There was more to it but that is beyond the scope of this. Seeing that they needed someone new, they chose an Australian actor named George Lazenby. I’m not sure if it’s because I am so used to seeing Connery but something just seemed wrong with Lazenby. Sure he had the accent but something just looked off with him. There were a lot of things in this film that just seemed off to me. This film does not have an original opening theme unlike the previous few and chose to have a slightly different version of the original bond theme. It just felt weird to me. The plot felt long and drawn out to me. The first half of the film consisted of setting up the relationship between Bond and Tracy where said relationship led him into the second half of the film. I found myself to be quite bored during this sequence and I thought it could have still advanced the plot if certain elements were left out. I also found myself confused watching this because I didn’t know what was going on until almost two thirds of the way in, This doesn’t help the film’s case is when it’s the longest film of the Bond series so far clocking in at almost two and a half hours. Without giving too much of the plot away, when I finally learned what was going on, I couldn’t make the connection to what Blofeld’s plan was. This brings me to Blofeld himself. Just like seeing Lazenby as Bond, seeing Telly Savalas as Blofeld was just a lot different than what I was expecting. The way his version looked was different than what I knew of Blofelds past and future. The only he had in common, in my opinion, was the bald head. I’m not sure if it’s because of the book in which the film is based but it seems like his character was written differently than the other Blofelds I know of. I believe that is the most I can say without giving anything away, This film did not have as much action as I would have liked and what I did see was contained within three scenes  involving skiing, a car chase, and a base attack. I thought two of those gone on for longer than necessary. This might just be nitpicking but the plot did have some holes and they may have contributed to the end which I found to be a little silly as well. Overall, the film tried to go in a different direction due to unforeseen circumstances but in this case, it just did not work as they would have hoped.

Score: 6/10

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Next: Diamonds are Forever!

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