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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

on 16 March 2017
This is a wonderful book by Charles Helfenstein about the much maligned James Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". No stone has been left unturned in his quest to present all the possible information available on this movie. It is doubtful any other book could match the detail and presentation quality of this incredible work.

It is divided into eleven sections, starting with an examination of Ian Fleming's novel of the same name as the film. Widely regarded as Fleming's best book, Helfenstein reveals where Fleming obtained inspiration for the plot, characters and place origins for his story.

Next, the scripts and false starts to the movie's production are described, including changing a horse race on ice to the now famous car race on ice. And a full table of changes throughout the planning phase reveals some more rather wacky ideas, including that Gert Frobe should return to play Goldfinger's brother, Blofeld should be played by Max von Sydow, and a revealing interview with legendary screenwriter Richard Maibaum on how plans and ideas continually changed.

The casting section describes how Sean Connery quit after "You Only Live Twice", and the frantic search for a new Bond unearthed the unknown non-actor Goerge Lazenby. He apparently walked into the producer's office and said "I believe you're looking for James Bond". His model looks, confidence/arrogance and his ability to energetically fight got him the job - and the fact he was on a very low salary. To balance the fact that the Bond actor was an acting novice, experienced actors like Telly Savalas, Diana Rigg and Gabriele Ferzetti were chosen for key roles.

During the production and press conferences, Diana Rigg said about Lazenby "I'll sum him up in three words: He is gorgeous!". Helfenstein describes that everyone involved thought Lazenby was a great choice, which seems surprising now as he is not viewed by many in that light.

Helfenstein fully describes the filming locations, including the dramatic and breathtaking mountains at Piz Gloria in Switzerland, the London locations where a major scene involving a chase through the capital city was eventually deleted, and the colourful and emotional wedding scenes which were filmed in Portugal. Many black and white and colour photos are used throughout - the book is overflowing with great images!

The post production involved a battle to reduce the length of the film to a manageable level, and a frantic search for a theme tune ended with the iconic "We Have All The Time In The World" by the legendary Louis Armstrong, which has proved to be a timeless classic.

Helfenstein also provides lots of information on the marketing of the movie, product adverts for toy cars and other items, movie posters from around the world, how the premieres unfolded and the rather mixed newspaper reviews. And, he describes the legacy of the movie, and what happened next - Sean Connery ultimately came back for "Diamonds Are Forever".

To finish, Helfenstein has four interesting interviews with George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas and director Peter Hunt.

Overall, Helfenstein has produced a masterpiece of a book. One possible criticism is that for the price it maybe should be a hardcover book. But for the James Bond aficionado, this book is everything you could ever dream of.
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on 10 October 2015
A fantastic book. The difference between this and every other generic 'Bond film' book is the same as between a work of primary historical research and a primary school history booklet. You could safely give this to someone who was not a Bond fan simply because it is such a detailed and interesting chronicle of film making. Helfenstein obviously takes the view that if he is going to do something it must not only be the best, but the best by a vast margin. He has succeeded here.
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on 3 February 2014
As a huge James Bond fan I have always held the belief that O.H.M.S.S. is the best film in the series directed by the Great Peter Hunt who gave Bond fans a very close adaptation of my favourite Fleming novel. Charles Helfenstein has written a superb book about the making of O.H.M.S.S. It is excellently written with great photographs and hugely entertaining for all Bond fans. If you are into O.H.M.S.S. buy this book.
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on 7 November 2015
I wasn't really expecting to be too excited by this book but upon delivery a quick browse and I was blown away. As an unofficial book I didn't think the photographic content would be up to much - how wrong could I be? This has to be one of the best, if not THE best Bond books out there. If I had to state one negative thing it would be that there is so much photographic content that being printed on glossy paper would have taken this book to a stratospheric level - being printed on matt paper leaves it just a few percent away from perfection. If you enjoy OHMSS you really MUST buy this book.
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on 20 January 2015
This has to be the best Bond book ever that covers the making of the 1969 James Bond film OHMSS that i have ever got given to me for a christmas present.plus never before pictures that i have never seen in any other Bond films books that i own.every thing that you wanted to know about the film is in it and more.
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on 27 September 2013
Between this and The Living Daylights, Helfenstein has created a wonderful series of books. The details he has brought out totally changed my perspective on this film - and it is one of my favourites films already. Really hope he does more.
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on 8 March 2013
If you are looking for the best making of ever then 'The making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service' must be your first choice.
With very nice and never before seen photographs and interviews you will not miss. A must as a Bond fan like you. Believe me, you will want to buy his second work, the new one...which is 'The making of The Living Daylights'.
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on 23 August 2013
Despite the opposition to George Lazenby, OHMSS, is one of the best Bond films if not the very best. The story is adapted as the purest translation of a Fleming novel. All elements of the film are classic. The book provides the most complete background information on any of the films. It may be expensive to obtain but this edition is a must for all hardcore James Bond fans.
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on 14 November 2015
oooooooooooh yesssssss! Great stuff, glad I shelled out for this!
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on 13 July 2015
Quick efficient service ,very pleased thankyou
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