George Lazenby briefly steps into 007’s shoes and the result is one of the best films in the series. Supported by Diana Rigg, Bond gambles all in a grudge match against Telly Savalas’ deeply loopy Blofeld.
Though George Lazenby was unfairly cast as one of cinema’s great also-rans, his brief tenure as Bond actually expanded the range of the character and the scope of the films. A rougher, readier but more rounded 007, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service also boasts an extremely taut biological warfare plot that remains among the series’ most sophisticated.
Introducing himself with an arch “This never happened to the other fellow”, the first section is given over to Bond’s romance with poor little rich girl Tracy (Rigg). Thereafter he infiltrates theAlpine hideaway of frequent adversary Blofeld (here played by Savalas; he’s also been played by Anthony Dawson, Donald Pleasance, Charles Gray and even Max Von Sydow). Bond uncovers a plan for world domination that involves a dozen beautiful women and some deadly skin cream.
Though hesitant to start with, Lazenby quickly gets into his stride. There’s unusual emphasis on the romantic sub-plot (Bond asks Tracy to marry him) but it’s carefully woven into the action and actually gives rise to a rather moving conclusion. Lazenby always claimed that his decision not to carry on in the role was the result of poor advice, but as an action man he’s certainly believable, and it’s a tribute to his performance that his Bond is almost a proper character.
Formerly a model and martial arts instructor, before playing Bond, George Lazenby’s only acting experience was in commercials in his native Australia.
There’s something formal about the point of a pistol. – James Bond (George Lazenby)
George Lazenby as James Bond
Diana Rigg as Tracy Di Vicenzo
Telly Savalas as Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Gabriele Ferzetti as Marc Ange Draco
Ilse Steppat as Irma Bunt
Angela Scoular as Ruby Bartlett
Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny
George Baker as Sir Hilary Bray
Bernard Lee as M
Desmond Llewelyn as Q
Catherine Schell as Nancy
Bernard Horsfall as Campbell
Virginia North as Olympe
Geoffrey Cheshire as Toussaint
Julie Ege as The Scandinavian Girl
Mona Chong as The Chinese Girl
Joanna Lumley as The English Girl
Jenny Hanley as The Irish Girl
Sally Sheridan as The American Girl (as Dani Sheridan)
Zaheera as The Indian Girl (as Zara)
Anouska Hempel as The Australian Girl (as Anoushka Hempel)
Ingrid Back as The German Girl (as Ingrit Back)
Helena Ronee as The Israeli Girl
Irvin Allen as Che Che
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Producers: Albert R Broccoli , Harry Saltzman
Writers: Richard Maibaum , Simon Raven
Photographers: Michael Reed , Egil Woxholt , Roy Ford , John Jordan , Willy Bogner
Composer: John Barry
UK, US | 142 minutes | 1969