Praise of George Lazenby
a speeded punch-up on a beach at dawn, a dark-haired man beats up
several goons in brutal fashion. The man is James Bond number 2; but
actor is destined to only play him once. He will be remembered as the
wooden Bond. One of the big mistakes of the series. Watching the
pre-title sequence of On
Her Majesty's Secret Service
one thing is clear. Lazenby was the most physical Bond of them all. I
wouldn't take any of the others in a fight with the 1969 model.
first non-Connery Bond was never going to be easy for Eon .Do they go
for a big-star? Do they go for someone completely different this time?
After considering John Richardson, Ian Olgilvy and a very,very young
Timothy Dalton they went for a (physically at least) Connery clone. The
dark-haired model Bond was back although the man playing him was best
known for chocolate adverts on television.
The most faithful, human, and
best James Bond film ever made, On
Her Majesty's Secret Servicenever
quite got the credit it deserved ,then or now. At the time people
just couldn't get their heads around a James Bond film without Sean
Connery and now it is still a familiar refrain to hear Bond fans sigh:
If only Sean Connery had made On Her Majesty's Secret service.
Personally I'm glad Lazenby made the last Bond film of the sixties. If
that sounds like a strange statement, let me try to explain.
1967 Connery was completely bored of James Bond. Bored of the
character. Bored of the time the films took to make.Bored of doing
interviews. Bored of being followed into the toilet by Japanese
journalists. Bored of not being able to do other, much more varied
work. Connery had had it.
You Only Live Twice featured
Connery's (up until then) weakest performance.Thunderball was his
high-water mark and he clearly didn't have the interest to maintain
that level. By 1969 Connery's biggest battle was with his waistline.
physical edge that Lazenby brought to OHMSS was above and beyond
anything Connery could have done by then and somehow the idea of Bond
being vulnerable and marrying Diana Rigg doesn't ring true to Connery's
Bond. Lazenby's younger and more human Bond was simply more believable
in this story. If you can get past his slightly wooden delivery at
times there is much to enjoy from James Bond number 2.
people who ignore this film and Lazenby. It is the best in the series.
Never before or again would a James Bond film have such an acute sense
of style right down to the costumes. Bond relies on his own wits and
physic in this film. Q, who only appears at the end, does not supply a
host of gadgets to save 007's life. That alone was radical after the
jet-pack and ejector-seat era of Connery There are countless moments
that mark OHMSS as a special entry in the series. The helicopter going
up to Piz Gloria. The original ski-chase. Bond actually doing some
detective work and reflecting on past adventures because, as it should
be, this is supposed to be the same character as before. Tracey being
dragged away in the snow as Bond looks out of the window in M's
office. And Diana Rigg who can probably never be equalled as the female
fight scenes are the best in the series too. This is one James Bond who
really can fight his way out of trouble. In the course of this film
Lazenby is tough, petulant, arrogant, vulnerable, and an expense
account snob. He is James Bond. Always in the middle of the action,
Lazenby looks the part and shrewdly surrounded by good actors and
tight-editing makes for, in my opinion, an exciting younger Bond. It is
a great pity that he couldn't be enticed back for Diamonds Are Forever.
They may have done the Blofeld trilogy in the wrong order and ruined
the chance of a truly faithful YOLT, but a follow-up revenge story
featuring Lazenby and Telly Savalas again would surely have been more
interesting than what Bond fans finally recieved in 1971.
back at great expense, a heavy Sean Connery - temples flecked with grey
hair - ambled his way through Diamonds
Are Forever in a most jovial fashion, thoughts of
the golf-course, you imagine, never far away. A campy adventure with a
truly bizarre script, DAF
set the tone for the Roger Moore era. Strange
as it seems, Connery actually served as a bridge between Lazenby's
darker Bond and Roger Moore's lighter take on the character. The
box-office tills rang out at Connery's return but, to this
rather than lament Sean's absence from OHMSS, some fans
lamenting Lazenby's absence from DAF.
The most under-rated Bond of
them all deserved at least one more film.