Saturday, April 23, 2016

007 Movie Rewatch – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

(This is a revised version of a Persona Paper post.)


Bond is driving along the coast when he sees a woman walking into the ocean, apparently trying to drown herself. He saves her and is attacked by a couple of guys. He fights them off, and the woman gets in her car and drives off.

Bond shows up at a hotel and sees her car, and learns it belongs to Tracy. He runs into her at the casino and pays her tab. They spend the night together, but she is gone the next morning. Bond is picked up by some goons, and meets Draco, a mob head and Tracy’s father. Draco tells Bond of Tracy’s unhappy life and offers Bond a million pounds to marry her, but Bond agrees to only date her for information Draco has on Blofeld.

During all of this, MI6 has been looking for Bond. He goes back to London where M wants him off the Blofeld case. Bond writes a letter of resignation, but Moneypenny changes it to a request for vacation, which M agrees to.

So Bond has a whirlwind romance with Tracy, and Draco lets Bond know about a lawyer Blofeld is in contact with. Bond breaks into the lawyer’s office and finds out Blofeld is talking to an English genealogist trying to claim the title of “Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp.”

Bond poses as the genealogist and visits Blofeld at this research station in the Alps. The station studies allergies and Blofeld has cured several women of their various food allergies. Bond starts visiting the women’s bedrooms, and discovers that Blofeld is talking to them in their sleep. His plan is to send these women out with these plagues that would destroy the world’s food sources. But he’ll stop if the world pardons him and gives him his title.

Blofeld recognizes Bond (they met in the last movie, although they were played by different actors) and Bond has to ski down the mountain chased by goons. He runs into Tracy, who came looking for him, and they escape. There’s a blizzard, and the two hide in a barn where Bond proposes. More goons show up the next morning, and Blofeld sets off an avalanche. They capture Tracy and think Bond is dead and buried.

Bond makes it back to England, but M tells him that Blofeld’s ransom will be paid because the situation is too dicey. Fortunately, Draco has his own goons and they fly in to take out Blofeld and rescue Tracy. Blofeld tries to seduce Tracy, and she plays along to distract him a bit.

The women with the plagues have already left, but Bond manages to photograph their locations and Blofeld’s communication equipment is destroyed. The station is blown up, Tracy flies off with her father, and Bond goes after Blofeld. There’s a bobsled chase where Blofeld gets hung up in a tree.

Bond and Tracy get married, but as they drive off Blofeld – in a neck brace – drives by and a goon shoots at them. Bond is unharmed, but Tracy is killed.


When I originally started this James Bond movie rewatch, my thinking was that if I reviewed a Bond movie a week, I would be reviewing Skyfall when Spectre came out. But that didn’t happen, in part because of this movie. I rewatched it, had issues with it (which I’ll get to) but then stuff came up and I never got around to writing up my thoughts. Weeks, then months passed and I realized that I had forgotten some of the story. I didn’t feel like rewatching it again so soon, and so things just sort of ended. When I tried to get back in the reviews again, I ended up re-rewatching this movie, but I just had it on in the background as I typed up my thoughts.

So what issues did I have with this? In You Only Live Twice, Blofeld has thousands of technicians in a hidden volcano base and is working on starting a war between the US and Russia. In this movie he has a couple goons in a little house in the Alps and he wants to unleash some plague, but he’ll stop if they give him a pardon and his title. How the mighty have fallen, I guess. But it does seem a rather bland plot.

A bigger problem I have, is that at the end all Bond has to do is walk a few hundred yards up the bobsled trail to put a bullet in Blofeld to make sure he’s dead. But he apparently doesn’t do even that. If he had, Blofeld would be dead and Tracy alive. Speaking of which, the movie ends with Bond holding his dead wife, and then goes into the upbeat Bond theme music. It’s a bit of a jolt.

Overall, I found the movie rather … bland. I don’t have anything against George Lazenby, this was his only Bond movie, and I think he could have been an interesting Bond. Perhaps with a better script.

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