Tuesday, 28 June 2011

BlogALongABond #6 - On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Relevance of opening sequence: It holds off from initially revealing Bond's face until he a) stops Diana Rigg from commiting suicide by drowning in the sea (as the plot goes), or b) stops her from going for a midnight swim fully clothed (as it looked to me). The brief introductory sequence allows for Lazenby to drive a fast car, show he can handle himself in a fistfight, but fails to get the girl. It ends with a nice, nearly fourth wall breaking comment, "This never happened to the other fellow".

Bond Song: For the opening credits we get an instrumental track that would become one of Bond's (and Barry's) most iconic tunes, and would repeat during various action set pieces throughout the film. A welcome bonus is Louis Armstrong singing We Have All The Time In The World (oh how ironic), but somehow it seemed to slip my mind that the song was written for the film and not already a hit beforehand.

Time elapsed before we hear "Bond... James Bond": 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

Attractiveness of Bond Girls: While Bond does sleep around with a few women at the test clinic, as Bond is prone to do as he can't resist, his main love interest is Diana Rigg as Tracy Di Vicenzo. She is arguably the best ever Bond girl, precisely for the reason that she doesn't behave like a Bond girl. She is a match for him physically and mentally (she sees through her father's scheme immediately), and most importantly, she doesn't give into his advances easily. However I must bring up an exchange between her father and Bond concerning Tracy. Having thanked Bond for saving her life, Draco offers Bond $1 million to marry her. "She needs a man to dominate her. To make love to her enough to make her love him. A man like you." My reading of this was - I'll give you a $1 million to give my daughter a damn good f*cking! Glad to see the Bond films hadn't lost their mysoginistic ways when Connery left!

Best Innuendo: While at dinner with a table of young women, one of them writes her room number on his leg under the table (he's wearing a kilt) which startles Bond. "everything alright?" asks Bunt, "Just a slight stiffness coming on... in the shoulder" replies Bond.

Best One Liner used when despatching an evil henchman: A pretty poor selection to choose from in this movie with the jokes being very tenuous but the best of a bad bunch. Bond throws a goon through some trestled fencing in a hotel room and quips "Gatecrasher". See what I mean!

Best Gadget: Since Bond is not on assignment, he gets no assistance from Q branch, therefore no cool gadgets to speak of.

Evilness of Villain: It's the return of Blofeld (or is it?) and Terry Savalas plays the bald baddie which gives him a more physical presence than Donald Pleasance but I preferred his take on the character. Also there is a huge continuity problem created by this film. The filmmakers stuck closely to the book of OHMSS which was the first meeting of Bond and Blofeld which kind of explains why Blofeld doesn't recognise Bond despite a poor Superman-esque disguise of a hat and glasses. However it doesn't explain away the events of You Only Live Twice, which left me with some major questions till I discovered this fact in the Imdb trivia page.

Feasibility of Evil Scheme: Having tried to engineer a nuclear war in the previous film, Blofeld decides to try a different tactic to hold the world to ransom, by using biological warfare to prevent the world's crops from being able to grow. His secret is to use normal brainwashed woman as pawns to release the toxin. There is no denying the versatility of Blofeld and SPECTRE, every scheme is different, but this one seems destined for failure. There are just to many variables to consider.

Does Bond end the film in a boat in a romantic clinch? Well this is new. Bond does end the film in a vehicle with a woman, but here he is clutching the dead, lifeless body of his new wife!

General thoughts: Where do I start? With the Carry On-esque section where Bond is pretending to be Sir Hilary Bray who sleeps his way around the various women at Blofeld's clinic, to one girl "I'll be in your room at 7.00", to another "I'll see you at 8.00", before sneaking into one room to find the brutish Irma Bunt instead? Or perhaps the point in the film where we have a getting to know you montage? That's right, a montage in a Bond film... and it's not even a training one. These moments seem out of place in a Bond film but I can understand the need to try new things with the disappearance of Connery. One major plus point of OHMSS was it introduced us to Bond's love and adeptness at winter sports with some cracking chase scenes on the ski slopes.

James Bond, and Sean Connery, return in July in Diamonds Are Forever.

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