Bond In Review: On her Majesty’s secret service finale

M sits defeated, saying they really have no choice but to pay Blofeld’s ransom-amnesty and a recognition of his bogus title. Of course, Bond is adamant to take out Piz Gloria by force, and also rescue his fiancee, arguing that the secret service owes her a debt (although M kind of sees through this as something too personal). So Bond decides on another option: A favor from his future father in law-an “aerial operation” to “install equipment”. Meaning helicopters and a well-armed strike force.

 

Meanwhile, Blofeld is trying to push his own moves on Tracy, which she uses as an opportunity to distract the supervillain. Like how she kind of plays him here, sort of acting disinterested but Blofeld doesn’t entirely get it, while obviously aware that her fiancee and father are on their way over the radio, prompting a bit of a smile on her part. All the while, the OHMSS theme tune slightly builds.

 

Although Bond and Draco have their own, unfortunate distraction-the Swiss Air Force, who don’t really like that unauthorized aircraft are going around. Draco bluffs, arguing that the helicopters are part of the Red Cross, although they’re initially not convinced-until he states there are members of the world’s press onboard.

Tracy continues her own distraction, qouting English poet James Elroy Flecker to flatter Blofeld, when suddenly of course the helicopter arrives just then, to the tune of the original arrangement of the Bond theme, as used in Dr.No. It’s particularly well-timed here (somewhat better than it’s use in You Only Live Twice), and Bond gets to do a cool slide with machine gun in hand, while Draco’s men-many of whom we saw earlier in the film such as CheChe and Toussaint, storm the place.

 

On-Her-Majestys-Secret-Service-James-Bond-George-Lazenby-ice-slide

For what it’s worth, Tracy does her own part too, and it’s kind of fitting that the Bond theme plays over her own fight scene as well, as she takes on Gunther, Blofeld’s other henchmen, first with a broken bottle, and then some more lethal judo and a piece of tacky wall-art which impales the henchman.

 

Bond then finds her and hands her over to her father, and we get a funny reprise of the “Sir Hilary” voice and manner as Bond disarms a guy, repeating “guns make me nervous”.

Draco and his men rig the place to blow, while Bond continues his pursuit of Blofeld. Of course Tracy is not letting her future husband go, but Draco knocks her out, arguing “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. Bond makes it down to the lab, gets some photos of the Angels just in case with a tiny camera, which actually is one of the few real Bond gadgets.

Bond would use a similar device in “Moonraker” of course, but one disguise as a cigarette lighter and of course much more personalized. Given how much stock Bond puts in the secrecy of his number’s identity, especially in “Goldfinger” “Thunderball” and this film, looks like later on he’s somewhat less discreet.

Bond then chases Blofeld on bobsleds as the villain attempts to make his getaway. There’s a somewhat goofy scene of tension as Blofeld drops the grenade he intended to hurl at Bond in his own sled, causing him to flail about for a minute before he finally manages to hurl it at Bond, destroying his bobsled.

Bond quickly manages to catch up with him and the two get into a brutal fight, all within the fast-moving luge. Although Blofeld does eventually get the upper hand, he unfortunately also gets the upper head as well…as his neck gets caught in a tree, presumably finishing off the villain once and for all.

Of all the things not to double check….

Finally, the wedding happens. It’s a nice scene here, with the two of course kissing, cutting the cake, and some great character moments.

M and Draco have a little chat about the “bullion job” M allegedly thwarted in ’64, possibly a Goldfinger reference, although in the context of the film it doesn’t make sense, since Goldfinger pretty much killed all his mob co-conspirators (MI6 didn’t do it) and Draco certainly didn’t get anyway with any haul-the gold was never quite ‘stolen’ in the first place!

Bond gets his own moment with Q, where the two admit they’ve had differences in the past but Bond now has his own “gadgets” (Tracy?)

 

But the best moment of all goes to Moneypenny, where we get a reprise of the hat gag-but with Moneypenny breaking down.

 

..although it’s somewhat ruined by her tasteless flirt in the next film of Bond bringing her a diamond ring back from Holland. Even Bond’s expression seems to say not cool in that, but I’ll dwelve more on that in the next installment.

We get a slight biblical reference with Draco telling her daughter to obey Bond in all things, and of course he offers Bond his dowry of a million pounds, but Bond turns it down with another qoute, from Proverbs: “Her price is far above rubies”.

The two drive off, we get a nice bit of the happy couple on the road, including some kids mocking their car as an ad for flowers. Tracy then makes a sort of ironic remark when Bond says he hasn’t gotten her a wedding present….

Anyway, you have given me a wedding present.The best I could have.

A future.

Right in the feels.

Tragedy however is on it’s way. As Bond briefly stops the car and observes the coast (sort of echoing the opening scene a bit), Irma Bunt and Blofeld-now in a neck brace (Injuries that he would recover from in the next film, but which would reappear in For Your Eyes Only) decide to pay a visit via drive-by shooting….and although they miss Bond, there bullets find their mark…. with Tracy.

 

 

As Bond cradles her body in his arms, a policeman stops by, and Bond distraughtly tells him:

 

It´s all right.It´s quite all right, really.

She´s having a rest.We´II be going on soon.

There´s no hurry, you see?

We have all the time in the world….

Focusing on the bullet hole in the car, the film ends with a solemn note of “We have all the time in the world” although the Bond theme then swells in the credits, sort of slightly ruining the moment just a tad.

Despite OHMSS’s somewhat low success and Lazenby leaving, the effects of this film going forward do leave their mark on the series continuity going forward, and although they’re set in a different continuity, even the Craig films have acknowledged OHMSS. The SPECTRE poster in particular somewhat references this final shot (and perhaps Madeline Swann might meet a similar fate to Tracey in the next film). Although the pattern is also an obvious reference to Spectre’s octopus symbol as well.

The events of this film might explain Bond tracking down Blofeld very quickly-and aggressively-in the pre-title sequence of Diamonds Are Forever….

 

The “Sensitive” topic of Bond’s marriage would be brought up in “The Spy Who Loved Me”….

….Tracy’s tombstone and Bond’s revenge on Blofeld appear in For Your Eyes Only, as does the “We have all the time in the World”….

….and it also explains in part why he’s so hell-bent on tracking Sanchez down in License to Kill after he maims Felix Leiter and murders his wife Della on their wedding night. The marriage is referenced in that film as well; Bond refuses Della’s offer of a garter to help him  would good luck on a future wedding, with Felix explaining “He was married once, but it was a long time ago” (Felix isn’t present of course at Bond’s nuptials, but obviously he eventually was told).

And finally, we see Bond despondent when Elektra asks him if he’s ever lost a loved one (although this could also apply to Bond’s parents, or others).

 

…and Craig of course pretty much starts his tenure with the death of Vesper Lynd, although with the added sting of her betraying him and then commiting suicide (This continues to haunt Craig’s Bond going forward for the most part).

Overall, OHMSS is a unique, very well-directed and well done Bond movie, and Lazenby-despite not being a trained actor-does very well as a more vulnerable James Bond. There’s some late 60’s oddballness, Lazenby’s dubbed for a good chunk of the middle of the movie as “Sir Hilary Bray” and perhaps the action scenes are shot a bit too quite, but John Barry’s score more than makes up for it IMO.

 

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