James Bond in Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Part IV

 

Bond’s initial meeting with a representative of Blofeld’s group is Irma Bunt, who in her appearance and demeanor, seems slightly reminiscent of Blofeld’s former follower, Rosa Klebb-except a bit more uptight and slightly less sadistic.

 

Piz Gloria is an interesting Bond location. It’s not quite as elaborate as the volcano base from the last film, but it’s still pretty interesting in that Bond is pretty much isolated up here, with no easy means of escape or contact with the outside world, as we soon learn. A similar location-the Solden Ice Restaurant (also dressed as a sort of clinic) would appear in the later SPECTRE film, probably intended as a nod.

 

It’s kind of funny how Bond sort of plays counter to his personality here-stating that he’s not a good traveler, doesn’t know any other languages, has never been in a helicopter before, and best of all,  that guns make him nervous! Although he does slip in a few jibes-first as Bunt’s name, which means the baggy parts of a sail, and also that Blofeld has “characteristic ambition”–for a humanitarian, of course. Bond does the usual bug checking of his somewhat overly secure room….and then goes into the alpine room, where we meet Blofeld’s eventual angels of death-with the intro set to sexy sax music.

 

 

Like with Octopussy, Living Daylights, For Your Eyes Only and other films with many background women in at least one scene, this got a publicity shot used in some of the film’s posters.

 

(Strange that Ruby, the principal girl, is left out of the shot here). BTW the lady in the foreground here? That’s Joanna Lumley, who would later star in the sitcom “Absolutely Faboulous” as Patsy.

Bond sits down in the alpine room’s table and gives them a lecture about genealogy, which the girls sort of half-listen to as they either stare longingly at Bond or have dinner (BTW there’s a lot of suggestive shots of them eating, such as Ruby gnawing on a chicken leg seductively). More of Peter Hunt’s sort of unusual style for this film of quick cuts.

 

 

Speaking of Ruby, she’s the one who seems to take the most interest in Bond, in all ways. Although the girls and men are forbidden from visiting each other at night-for reasons soon apparent-Ruby uses her lipstick to write her room number on Bond’s leg, which prompts a funny visual reaction from Lazenby, which Bunt notices, and Bond responds with one of the series’s major corny double-entendres: “Just a slight stiffness coming on….in the shoulder”.

 

Next, we come to Bond’s first visit with “Count Bleauchamp” in his labs. Now, there’s a bit of a continuity error here-the two should know each other by face already, but although they probably know here that either is not who they say-and they’re sizing each other up- they still act like they don’t know each other, even though Blofeld clearly has the upper hand here.  There’s sort of a reason for this-in the novel order, YOLT comes after OHMSS-and-other differences aside-the two haven’t met face to face yet novel-wise. Although the films are obviously in a different continuity, Hunt wanted to be as true to the novel as possible despite the continuity error here. It can be argued that Blofeld has had surgery to change his face-although he’s still obviously bald, the scar is gone, and Savalas’s voice and body language is completely different from Pleasence’s-and also his successor, Charles Gray. It’s been said that pretty much every Blofeld is fairly unique, even more than Bond.

 

Blofeld’s lab? He says he’s working on “cures”. Sure….he also says he’ll give “Sir hilary” the stuff he needs, but he’s absolutely not leaving to prove his credentials at Ausburg.

After this somewhat frustrating meeting, Bond returns and sneaks to Ruby’s room, using an improvised gadget to disable the electronic locks on the doors. He flirts with her a bit of course and then does the usual Bond thing. Technically he’s sort of cheating on Tracy here, I should add…but this does provide him with some vital intelligent-that Blofeld’s therapy has cured her allergies to chicken.Then a bizarre light show occurs, with Blofeld’s voice booming over the speakers-obviously, a form of hypnotism.

 

Bond returns to his room and briefly slips back into his Lazenby voice “Hilly, you old devil!”-but then finds another lady in his room, who used the same technique to escape her room. She’s played by Catherine Schell, an actress also known for…

 

Return of the Pink Panther….

UFO…

…..and Countess Scarlioni, the cunning but somewhat naive wife of Scaroth in City of Death.

Bond mutters the same lines he gave to Ruby, although he slightly remarks “You’ll need to be”….perhaps because he’s kind of cheating on Tracy yet again, or he’s a bit spent after his rendezvous with Ruby just moments before.

The next scene has Bond once again sort of going back into his more clumsy “Sir Hilary Bray” persona, which is even more Christopher Reeve Clark Kentesque as he stumbles when he attempts to do curling.

 

However, a distraction comes in the way of Campbell, who has attempted to scale the mountain after being denied by Blofeld’s henchmen, with Blofeld warning him about trespassing, and that he’ll be “sent down” with his stuff. Bond meanwhile stays in the sunlight’s glare, out of sight, but he’s clearly troubled by Campbell’s showing up and attempts to try to escape-but simply by asking permission to take the car down. However, that obviously doesn’t work…and Bond’s still stuck so he just returns to setting things up with the rest of the ladies….which will be part of his downfall here.

He goes to see Ruby again, but surprise! It’s actually Irma Bunt! Also, the other henchman-Grunther-knocks Bond on the back of the head, which, as I’ve said in my last review, sure seems to be the best way to at least subdue 007…

 

 

 

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