Ewan Gleadow

Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – 50th Anniversary

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Why George Lazenby didn’t stick around for another Bond movie was always a great mystery to me.

Then I watched On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a baffling attempt at revitalising the series after the departure of its leading man, Sean Connery.  The film is one of the many Bond films that range from mediocre to strange levels of bad.  

Unfortunately, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service spends much of its time in the lower portion of the aforementioned category, with some of the blandest and most unoriginal storytelling to ever come from the Bond franchise. Lacking the suave sophistication that Connery brought, the campy tongue-in-cheek outlook that Moore exported, or the dark and modern Craig era, Lazenby’s one outing as Agent 007 is banal and downright poor quality. 

By far the main clincher of the Bond genre is the action: however, instead of memorable stunts or intense shootouts, we have laughably poor situations that are more the fault of the time period of filming than anything else. It doesn’t help that Lazenby is an unconvincing Bond, and the direction of Peter R. Hunt is almost at the level of a disaster piece. The opening shots alone hail the hallmarks of clumsy and poor direction.  

Sticking with the tropes of the late 1960s, it feels like a stock action movie rather than a Bond spectacle. Some bland plot points crop up here and there, with little to no effect on the whole outcome of the movie. It was always going to be a difficult transition from Connery to everyone else and to see it go so totally terribly is embarrassing more than anything else. It’s such an awkwardly forgettable movie that it’s a real struggle to write about it. 

Lazenby impressed me more in the short lived, yet brilliantly hilarious Legit.  His output as Bond is trivial at best, adding nothing of real note or merit to the genre. Unless you can count Telly Savalas as anything of merit, it’s best to avoid On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

The only positive here is that I can’t consider Timothy Dalton to be the worst Bond anymore.