IT'S THE ONE WHERE
James Bond looks different! George Lazenby takes over the iconic role from Sean Connery, and makes it his own.
Bond has been chasing Blofeld for two years, with no luck, but a new clue sends him to a secluded ski resort in Switzerland, where Blofeld is hiding, while preparing his next plan to take over the world. Bond flirts with Moneypenny, the secretary, but doesn't nail every broad with a pulse! Instead, he falls in love with feisty countess Tracy Di Vicenzo, played by Diana Rigg, and he quits Her Majesty's Secret Service (well, not really). He also wears a dress, and insists on being called "Hilly".
THE SECRET PLOT TO RULE THE WORLD AWARD GOES TO...
...Blofeld, who wants to pioneer the use of advanced chemical weapons, by having some hypnotized hot chicks spread nasty diseases, and then blackmail the superpowers for the cure, or something. There's also a curious, nasty henchwoman, called Irma Bunt. She's a beast that one.
Director Peter Hunt has put together an excellent Bond movie, against all odds. It's not an easy task he's got, after all. First of all he's got a new Bond - which is "bad" enough. And second, Bond does something in this film he's never done before: He becomes human.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service is a slick and inventive spy movie. It's got quite a few solid action set-pieces: A ski chase, a car chase that ends up on a stock car racetrack, and a bobsled chase! Bond's hand-to-hand fighting scenes reaches a new level, and the film closes with an impressive helicopter attack on Blofeld's stronghold.
What really sets this film apart, though, is the strange emotional core of the story. Bond almost stumbles over the woman Tracey. He saves her, with no ulterior motives. He even woos her, also without ulterior motives. He meets with her father, they discuss their future and settling down! Bond falls in love, he becomes vulnerable, and because of this the stakes are higher than ever before.
You can argue that Lazenby is nowhere near as good as Connery, he does seem a bit aloof at times, but he has an advantage because he gets to do the things Connery never did. Oddly enough, the solid love story setup is parked on the sidelines, while Bond goes on a mission.
35 minutes into the film Bond gets a lead on Blofeld's whereabouts and he travels to the aforementioned ski resort, under the guise of being a genealogy researcher. He immediately puts on a dress (okay, it's a traditional Scottish kilt), and proceeds to seduced the other visitors. They are all hot, young girls, who are being trained to carry out Blofeld's chemical terror plan!
Sidebar: Does anybody wonder why Bond and Blofeld don't even recognise each other when they meet in this film, despite meeting face to face in the last film? Now, I know both characters have been recast, but still...
Anyway, all the scenes at the resort are just plain weird. They seem totally disconnected from the rest of the film, almost goofy. Like somebody taped over the middle part of the film with an especially strange Twilight Zone episode! This sequence ends as abruptly as it began, with the return of Tracey and the serious plot. I must admit I found the whole thing quite entertaining, but it's still weird!
The film redeems itself with some cool action sequences in the final act, and on top of that we get that absolutely brutal ending, but the filmmakers really owe us an On Her Majesty's Secret Service II. Alas, Lazenby would be gone by the next film, and the events of this film are never mentioned.
This will be sacrilegious to some, but I definitely prefer Lazenby and this film over Connery and his lackluster efforts.