We Have All The Time In The World: OHMSS Turning 50

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by cooleddie74, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    December 19th marks 50 years to the day since the George Lazenby 007 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service had its world premiere to controversy and decidedly mixed reactions from both James Bond fans and critics. Lambasted at the time for not having Sean Connery as Bond and stirring tabloid salaciousness due to Lazenby's perceived falling out with co-star Diana Rigg and problems with the production crew, OHMSS left a sour taste in the mouths of many who never accepted George Lazenby as the new James Bond and disliked both his performance as well as Bond's marriage at the movie's climax which quickly ended in tragedy for both 007 and his new bride.

    In the half-century since the movie premiered it has risen steadily in the eyes of the fans and of moviegoers in general who have come to accept Lazenby for who he was and enjoy the plot and co-starring performances, a plot that was closer to its original Ian Fleming novel than any other in the 007 film series. The John Barry soundtrack enhanced by Louis Armstrong's blissfully beautiful "We Have All The Time In The World" are now widely beloved by Bond fans and director Peter Hunt's clever use of color pallette, editing and timing resulted in a film that - while not remotely perfect - is clearly not the redheaded stepchild of the Bond series and certainly not a bad film. It holds up more than well compared to its immediate predecessors in the franchise that starred Connery and is a vastly superior movie to the campy, disjointed mess that followed it and that saw Connery return to the EON Bond series one last time in a story that not only takes James Bond into the sillier, less reverent decade of the 1970s but pales in practically every regard compared to its predecessor.

    As the 50th Anniversary nears in a matter of weeks I'd like to start a thread to talk about the film and what we both like and don't like about it. Was George Lazenby adequate or even good in the role? Can you overlook his Bond and still enjoy the plot, or does his inexperience with acting show too often for the viewer to remain focused on the film's narrative? Was Bond's marriage to Teresa di Vicenzo(Tracy) a good idea and one that should have been expanded upon had both Lazenby and Peter Hunt returned for Diamonds Are Forever? Now that we're about to welcome No Time To Die to the franchise in 2020 how does OHMSS fit into the franchise and how should we remember it?

    Whatever one thinks of it - either as a great if not the greatest 007 film or a mediocre movie that tried to be something bigger than it could pull off - it definitely leaves an impression and has made its mark on the James Bond franchise. A mostly good one from what I've seen.



     
  2. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles I Dissent Premium Member

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    I think Lazenby's performance was good, and I think if he'd stuck with his contract, we would have seen him improve as time went on. For the kind of story Hunt was trying to tell, you needed a much more raw, vulnerable performance than they would have gotten from Connery, who was bored off his ass in You Only Live Twice and was doing Diamonds Are Forever for the big paycheck. Two scenes in particular — when Bond is down in the village trying to stay one step ahead of Blofeld's men and he truly looks hunted and scared, and the final scene when he reacts to Tracy's death — I don't see Connery carrying off well. This is Bond as a man, not a superman.
    The truth is, we wouldn't have seen it expanded upon; if Lazenby hadn't announced his decision to move on after OHMSS, the film would have ended with them driving off together after their wedding, and Diamonds would have opened with Tracy being gunned down by Blofeld and Irma Bunt. I'm curious if the formula could work without (multiple) interchangeable Bond girls each movie, but that ship has long since sailed.
     
  3. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Admiral Admiral

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    I really like this movie. Every time I see it, I spot some new detail in it or remember something I’d forgotten. I can live with the fourth-wall-breaking “this never happened to the other fellow”, even if it’s contradicted by 007 later reflecting on other missions.
    The soundtrack is great. Rigg is the best Bond girl. I much prefer Savalas’ understated menacing Blofeld to Pleasance’s hammy take, now forever associated with Dr Evil, not to mention silly Charles Gray.

    The snow scenes are wonderful and the chalet sequence was lovingly homaged by Chris Nolan in Inception.

    And finally to George himself. I really like his 007. As @cardinal biggles says, this take on Bond wouldn’t have worked with Connery and I think a lot of the flak Lazenby got was because he was playing James Bond rather than playing Sean Connery. He brings romance, vulnerability and humanity to his Bond. Physically, as well as being a very handsome man, he was easily the most imposing 007 until Craig and he handles the action sequences brilliantly (I don’t know if the stories about him being in the Aussie special forces are true but it wouldn’t surprise me). And he absolutely, utterly nails the final tragic scene and the final line.

    I really do wish he had returned to the part. I would totally take a series of Lazenby movies over Connery’s flabby return in DAF & the silly Moore era. I really think he’d have continued to improve in the role (Connery and Moore arguably each did their best in or about their respective third films) and had George remained in the role until the mid-80s, he’d still only have been mid-40s, looking way more credible than poor Roger did by then. He was actually closer in age to Dalton than Moore (Moore born in 1927, Lazenby 1939, Dalton 1946). A DAF with an embittered Lazenby-Bond hunting Savalas as blofeld would’ve been much better than what we got.

    I’m glad that in addition to critical and fan reappraisal, this film has been acknowledged, even if only indirectly, in For Your Eyes Only, Licence to Kill and in the poster for Spectre (the bulletholes). Happy half century!
     
  4. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Lazenby was underrated and the movie was a hell of a lot better than people give it credit for.

    It was probably Casino Royale before the series would reach that kind of level again.

    Kind of shows the importance of sticking to the plot of the book...
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
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  5. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure this is no surprise to those who've seen me post about Bond in other forums but this is my favorite 007 film. It gets almost everything right and even the flaws of the movie can be overlooked by stronger, more experienced actors helping make up for Lazenby's lack of acting chops and Hunt's magnificent cinematography choices as director. Little scenes here and there demonstrate how big a change in direction OHMSS was compared to the five previous films and the ones immediately following it.

    1. The lighting during the film, which varies but is never disappointing and always enhances the actors.
    2. The colors chosen are easy on the eyes and never a harsh distraction. Earth tones and pastels dominate and even the brighter, gaudier colors like, say, purple are used well and easy on the eye.
    3. Interesting choices such as shooting Blofeld on the shuffleboard deck of Piz Gloria with the sun directly behind Telly Savalas and beaming into the camera, partly obscuring Savalas as he delivers his lines. It's as if Hunt wanted to give you that shot from the point of view of the British agent captured and later executed while helping Bond.
    4. Bond photographing Blofeld's map designating the target areas for each of his Angels of Death. There are clearly no images of each girl on the map but Hunt quickly flashes a photo of a girl from the Christmas party over top of every click of Bond's camera, telling us that he was photographing her assigned target.
    5. Bond giving that playful and loving wave to a crying Moneypenny after his wedding, reassuring her that he hasn't forgotten and still cares about her right before he tosses the famous 1960s Bond hat into her hands and getting into his car to join Tracy. I love that moment so much. It's such a warm and sensitive moment that totally fits in with Lazenby's Bond as we see him in this film.
    6. Tracy's death scene. Few words. No bawling or emotional breakdowns by Bond as he cradles his wife's lifeless body. Just Lazenby's excellent performance as he draws her to his face and lets out a muffled cry, with the final shot of the movie being the bullet hole in the windshield of his Aston Martin.

    For all the other Bond films I love, this is the one that gets the most right and does it with a style few after would match much less top. This was serious Bond before Dalton and Craig and - if I may be so bold - done better in most respects.
     
  6. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Licence to Kill comes close to OHMSS as a serious Bond story with a revenge angle but even it with all its strong points and Dalton's brutal performance in that film doesn't match OHMSS. Fun Fact: the producers of Licence to Kill did state at one point either during the movie's production or afterwards that Dalton's motivations for hunting down and getting revenge on Franz Sanchez and his drug organization for the near-fatal wounding of Felix Leiter and the murder of his new wife were because Bond had memories of his own pain and trauma at his own wife's murder.
     
  7. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Admiral Admiral

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    I wasn’t aware that the producers had said this but I’ve often seen fans and commentators link Bond’s vendetta in this film to Tracy’s murder.
     
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  8. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, apparently it was used as a motivation during the film but not spoken onscreen, although Felix does mention Bond's previous marriage when Della Leiter asks if she said something wrong when offering to toss her wedding garter to Bond.

    "Did I say something wrong?"
    "He was married once...but it was a long time ago."
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
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  9. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that’s what I was alluding to a few posts back when I mentioned OHMSS being acknowledged in that film.
     
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  10. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  11. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Admiral Admiral

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    This, from Return of the Man From UNCLE, is as close as we ever got to George returning to the role of James Bond (ironically it came out in 1983, the same year as Connery and Moore faced off in cinemas with Never Say Never Again taking on Octopussy):
     
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  12. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Damn. He looked good in 1983. He could have pulled off being Bond in the early-to-mid 1980s.

    And almost did in the late '80s! :)

     
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  13. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, like I said, it’s absolutely easy to imagine him carrying on from DAF until View to a Kill.
     
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  14. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Admiral Admiral

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  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As Bond films go, this one is excellent. Bond approached being a three-dimensional character more than in any other. It's my favorite film of the franchise, but it's also a tearjerker.

    Just a random detail that I think deserves getting a shout-out. Q's statement in the beginning about their equipment being obsolete and needing miniaturization is nicely illustrated later on by the need to have the "portable" photocopier/safe-cracker device lifted up to the lawyer's office by construction equipment.
     
  16. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    It's easily the best of the bunch. Easily.

    It's the one time EON decided to make a "film" and not just settle for a "movie." Well, that's not entirely true. Deakins tried again with Skyfall, but no one else bothered to care.

    That is to say. One thing Bond always does well is with cinematography. The franchise has had some truly great DPs. And yet MSS and SF are definitely the two standouts. The difference is, with MSS, hey built a truly inspired narrative full of textural nuance and genuine dramatic pathos around it - to which I believe it exceeds its literary counterpart. But Skyfall someone just barfed up some hackneyed excessively convoluted nonsense to go with the pretty pictures.

    And I agree that the film would have never worked with Conery - if only evidenced by how out of place the heavy misogyny felt even before the metoo era.

    L2K is painfully underrated. Both Dalton films are, really. They are what everyone seems to think the Craig films are. Daylights is probably my personal favorite after Goldeneye (which is more nostalgia than anything).
     
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  17. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And that photocopier/safecracker gets flak from some fans because Bond used a safecracker in You Only Live Twice and it was pocket-sized. They seem to forget or not pay attention to the fact that the safecracker in OHMSS is also an early Xerox machine and needed to be large enough to fit in a small trunk.

    Also, can we get some love for the John Barry score during the safecracking scene? It is probably the all-time most exciting safecracking scene in cinema. The rising intensity of Barry's composition keeps you on edge until Bond copies what he needs from the safe and gets out of the office just in time for the lawyer's return.

     
  18. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And there's also this. I so wish they could find a way to reconstruct and restore the footage.

     
  19. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    Heck, the main theme itself is vastly underrated. It ranks near the top of franchise compositions in my book.
     
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Its use as the basis for some of the music in A View to a Kill is one of the things I like best about that latter film.
     
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