Australian model George Lazenby took up the mantle of the world's most suave secret agent when Sean Connery retired as James Bond--prematurely, it turned out. Connery returned in Diamonds Are Forever
before leaving the role to Roger Moore, and Lazenby's subsequent career fizzled, yet this one-hit wonder is responsible for one of the best Bond films. In On Her Majesty's Secret Service
, 007 leaves the Service to privately pursue his SPECTRE nemesis Blofeld (played this time by Telly Savalas), whose latest master plan threatens the world's crops with agricultural sterilisation. Bond teams up with smooth international crime-lord Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti) and falls in love with--and marries--his elegant daughter, Tracy (Diana Rigg). Bond monogamous? Not at first; after all he has Blofeld's harem to seduce. Lazenby hasn't the intensity of Connery but he has fun with his quips and even lampoons the Bond image in a playful pre-credits sequence. Rigg, fresh from playing sexy Emma Peel in The Avengers
, matches 007 in every way. Former editor Peter Hunt makes a strong directorial debut, deftly handling the elaborate action sequences with a kinetic finesse and a dash of humour. Though not a hit on its original release, On Her Majesty's Secret Service
has become a fan favourite and the closest the series has come to capturing the spirit of Ian Fleming's books. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com -- On the DVD:
Affable and intelligent director Peter Hunt explains his ambition to take the series back to the original spirit of Fleming's books with this instalment. Out of all the Bond DVDs, his commentary track--interspliced with comments from other cast and crew members--is one of the most entertaining and informative as he chuckles over some of his more felicitous touches. Although sadly Diana Rigg is absent from the "making of" featurette, an older and wiser George Lazenby reveals how he acquired one of Connery's suits and went to the same barber in order to make himself look credible for the part. Hunt and others are disarmingly frank about how Lazenby's arrogance on set won him few friends. The late lamented Desmond Llewelyn, who played the boffin "Q", presents an amusing guide to the greatest gadgets of the series and explains how he can barely work a can opener in real life. The rest of the technical features are all present and correct and up to this series' usual high standards. --Leslie Felperin
James Bond (this time played by George Lazenby) hands in his licence to kill after being banned from hunting down his arch-nemesis Blofeld (Telly Savalas). Continuing his investigations alone, he follows a lead to Portugal, meets and falls in love with Tracey Draco (Diana Rigg), and is told by her crimelord father that Blofeld is now in Switzerland. Pretty soon its snow, kilts, girls, secret bases and ski chases, as Bond chases down his enemy and attempts to foil a plan to unleash a deadly chemical weapon.