Attempting to track down SPECTRE leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld,
James Bond encounters the intriguing Tracy Di Vicenzo. Can
it be that 007 has found true love?...
remembers this movie as "the one with George Lazenby". The
fact that the actor only played Bond once is usually taken
as an indication that he wasn't very good. Setting aside such
prejudice, however, Lazenby proves that he can handle the
action (including some pretty visceral fight sequences) and
the acting equally well. He brings sufficient depth and range
to the character to pull off that crucial final moment of
grief - can anyone imagine Sean Connery playing that scene?
However, the trailers included on the DVD, which describe
Lazenby as "the different Bond from the same stable", hint
at a lack of confidence on the part of the distributors back
in 1969, who evidently feared that the movie-going public
might not accept any other actor but Connery. Perhaps this
very lack of confidence influenced the audience, creating
a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. In any event, the punters
were indeed not ready to countenance a new Bond, and Lazenby
was sacrificed to the swingometer that is public opinion.
Nevertheless, he did allow Roger Moore a better chance of
acceptance by setting a precedent.
much attention has been devoted over the years to the relative
merits of Lazenby, that few have commented on the disappointment
that is Telly Savalas's Blofeld. Savalas conveys neither the
sinister menace of Donald Pleasence (in You Only Live Twice)
or the sophistication of Charles Gray (in Diamonds Are
Forever). It is left to Ilse Steppat, as the creepy Irma
Bunt, to provide most of the villainy.
other areas, however, this movie delivers in spades. Just
as Thunderball gave us the first underwater Bond action,
OHMSS is the pioneer of Bond ski stunts. Ski expert
Willy Bogner, acting as both choreographer and cameraman,
sets the standards that would be followed in films such as
The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and
The World is Not Enough. The secrets behind the stunning
aerial photography of OHMSS's alpine action are revealed
in a contemporary documentary, Above It All, which
is also included on the disc.
the spectacular set pieces is one of the stronger Bond movie
plots. This was the last film to closely resemble the Fleming
novel on which it was based, and is also one of least fantastical,
with few gadgets in evidence. Subsequent movies would continue
the process started in You Only Live Twice, of retaining
just a few character names and situations from the Fleming
novel in question.
pinnacle attained here is one of John Barry's finest musical
scores, which includes the memorable instrumental main theme.
There is a good reason why the Propellerheads' remix of this
tune was chosen as the single from David Arnold's Shaken
and Stirred album - and that's because the original is
aural entertainment can be found in four vintage "open-ended"
radio interviews. We get to hear from George Lazenby, his
leading lady Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas and director Peter
Hunt, though most of what they have to say is, understandably,
for the purposes of promoting the movie!
service from MGM.