Tuesday, February 28, 2017

On Her Majesty's Secret Service| Diamonds Are Forever

Name: On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Year: 1969
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Cast: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas
Genres: Action, Adventure, Spy Thriller
Language:  English, German, French
Country: UK
Time: 142

George Lazenby steps into the role of James Bond and is sent on his first mission. For help with Draco, he must become very close friends with his daughter, Tracy, and heads off to hunt down Ernst Stavro Blofeld one more time. This takes him to Switzerland, where he must pose as Sir Hilary Bray to find out the secret plan of Blofeld. The facility is covered with Blofeld's guards as well as his hench-woman, Irma Bunt.

My Thoughts: 
      I must confess this is the best and the worst Bond movie of the 70s.
      First of all, the plot is quite logical. There is a step by step development in Bond’s investigation and I would not say it is too absurd, as most of the Bond movies are. Secondly, I like the introduction of bigger amount of action scenes: the skiing chase is awesome and the car race as well, and despite of the lack of technology and computer tricks those action scenes look organic and well balanced. Another strong side of this movie is the romantic part. Definitely it is not that romantic, but I liked this couple: a spoiled only child of a mob boss, with a huge weakness for extreme sports and provoking behavior and Bond, a man with no strings attached, ready for any adventure and risk. I believe this is the only long lasting relationship Bond ever had throughout all movies, apart from the Casino Royal film. So this movie is a kind of mixture of Bond romantic adventures and action story without many plot holes.
        The weakest part for me was the Bond himself. Play by George Lazenby this was not the Bond I am used to. I cannot find any fault with the actor: he has a perfect body, nice face featured, good articulation and voice, but this is not enough! He just did not work out for me and I had that weird impression of something going wrong in the movie. Another absolutely irritating scene for me was the Bond's behavior in the hotel in Switzerland. I mean, you are on a mission, you are engaged, and you are actually attractive enough to have sex any time you wish, why then put everything at a risk just for a couple of nights with some attractive ladies? This is what happening to the Bond every time, so why not to pull yourself together for 3 or 4 days to complete the mission? Do not get it. So I find this behavior in the hotel one of the biggest minuses of the story - it is just absurd and pointless.
     Altogether, I was not impressed by the movie and was longing for Sean Connery to come back, but luckily I saw Diamonds Are Forever a week later and realized that On Her Majesty's Secret Service was not bad at all, which drives me to appreciate the film more.


Name: Diamonds Are Forever 
Year: 1971
Director: Guy Hamilton
Cast:  Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray
Genres: Action, Adventure, Spy Thriller
Language: English, German
Country: UK, USA
Time: 120 

      James Bond's mission is to find out who has been smuggling diamonds, which are not re-appearing. He adopts another identity in the form of Peter Franks. He joins up with Tiffany Case, and acts as if he is smuggling the diamonds, but everyone is hungry for these diamonds.

My thoughts:
         Here it comes: this is the worst Bond movie I have seen so far. And if the first movies were stylish and sometimes funny due to technological underdevelopment, this book adaptation caused only irritation.
         First of all, they completely butchered the book plot, which, I must say, is not bad at all. Yes book's plot does not fit in the Bond-save-the-world and spy-that-hunts-only-big-fish concepts, but it is quite a good spy fiction novel without political conspiracy involved. In the book we just follow how Bond fights the diamond smuggler mob and that is enough. It was obviously not enough for a movie.
       Everything starts with the clumsy introduction of a gay killer couple Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd in the beginning, leading to even more clumsy scenes of smuggling the diamonds by Bond and posing himself as a smuggler. The cherry on the top was, however, the revealing of the rich business tycoon identity, who is actually Bond's sworn enemy Blofelds, and his plans for global nuclear supremacy. That was really pathetic. Blofeld's plot is to create a laser satellite using the diamonds, which by now has already been sent into orbit. With the satellite, Blofeld destroys nuclear weapons in China, the Soviet Union and the United States, and thus holds the world as a hostage. Not a bad idea, but poorly executed. So the filmmakers actually tried to put in one movie the full book and 2 additional sub topics: Bond-Blofeld confrontation and nuclear conspiracy. Together with spectacular fights, casino actions, car chases, love scenes the movie is so packed, that it looks ridiculous and not entertaining anymore. As a proof I take one of the last scenes where Bond tries to eliminate Blofeld on an oil platform by changing the cassette containing the satellite control codes. That fails and the problem is solved by destroying the platform with all the bad guys on it. Why not to do it in the first place, if that was the end plan altogether?
         Frankly, I was disappointed and even Sean Connery could not do much to improve the impression; he was like a puppet jumping from scene to scene without much logic and character development.


  1. I think I've only seen parts of On Her Majesty's Secret service, I seem to remember a car chase but very few details. George LAzenby just doesn't seem like he's have the charisma though to play a Bond. Diamonds Are Forever I have seen, and a lot of that movie makes me wince. I like the early Connery's generally, but this one... not so much. I still laugh when I think of the lunar rover scene.

    1. @Greg, I hope that Roger Moore will bring some sense back))