Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by cooleddie74, Nov 24, 2019.
Then you'll enjoy this.
OHMSS is the first of what would be periodic "reset" films — the series builds and builds until they get to a film that's really over-the-top (and maybe even silly), and the next one dials it back. Blofeld's plot in OHMSS to eradicate livestock and crops with his Virus Omega is actually plausible compared to the outer space nonsense of You Only Live Twice. The ridiculous Moonraker was followed by For Your Eyes Only, which trades Space Marines and shuttles with frickin' laser beams for a fairly serious and well-plotted Cold War thriller. And Casino Royale was as much a pushback against the ridiculous gadgetry and settings of Die Another Day as it was a reaction to more grounded, gritty spy movies of the early 2000s like The Bourne Identity. (On the flip-side, GoldenEye can be seen as a reverse reaction — restoring the tried-and-true Goldfinger formula with '90s updates, after the negative reaction to Licence to Kill.)
OHMSS isn't my favorite (that's FRWL), but it's the best.
OHMSS is also the first Bond novel I read; Ian Fleming is actually a damn good writer and a solid prose stylist. "It was one of those Septembers when it seemed that the summer would never end."
The film was well cast, the direction is solid, and the script is incredibly faithful (for a Bond movie) to the novel. Diana Rigg was inspired casting, and I find Tracy's relationship with Bond completely credible.
I know that if Lazenby had continued, then OHMSS would not have been complete -- it would have ended with the wedding, not the tragic aftermath, leaving that for DAF. That would have been a mistake, imho, as it would have left the story incomplete. And in my dreams, I can sometimes see a DAF with Lazenby; were it up to me, I'd have chucked the book entirely and done a straight-up revenge film, with Bond and Marc-Ange Draco hunting down Blofeld and SPECTRE. Raymond Benson deals with Draco's role in the aftermath of OHMSS in his James Bond novels of twenty years ago, but I'd have liked to see something like that on screen.
Finally, "We Have All the Time in the World" is a top five Bond song.
Lazenby is my least favorite of the actors, but that doesn't prevent the film from making my Top 5 Bond list. For a first time actor with zero experience, he's actually good for the most part, but I don't get much charisma out of him as a leading actor. There's the argument that Connery wouldn't have worked in the role, but I believe had he done this in 1969 and was reinvigorated by the different direction with more emphasis on character study and away from the more gimmicky YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, I think it would have worked wonderfully in the sense that this was the culmination. After all he had gone through in five adventures, it would have felt like a revelation to see his Bond opening up to Tracy, and doubly tragic once the ending came up. Part of what makes Lazenby a strange choice for THIS particular story is that in the novel Bond has become extremely weary over the years and this is part of why he's considering resignation. In fact unlike in the film, he actually doesn't want to pursue Blofeld, feeling it's a lost cause. I think Connery probably would have reflected that weariness of the novel. As it is, Lazenby has a lot of youthful swagger in him which is why the film pretty much eliminated the element of Bond feeling he's had enough of the dangerous life.
In a sense, I think Lazenby would have been more suitable in a more action heavy Bond installment like LIVE AND LET DIE rather than straight into this more personal story. Would he have grown into a better Bond over time? I haven't seen him in much at all, but from what I read he noticeably improved if anyone was paying attention. Someone brought up his appearance in HAWAII FIVE-O where he was relishing in his guest role.
More onto the film, it makes me wish Peter Hunt and Michael Reed had continued working on more Bond films. This is easily one of the best shot films in the series with a lot of great use of color and atypical framing that made it feel newer, almost reflecting the sensibilities of new Hollywood. Diana Rigg's Tracy is probably my favorite leading Bond actress of all time. She does an amazing job of selling the idea that Bond would fall for her. So when that ending does happen it feels like a gut punch. This also has to be John Barry's best score for the 60s installments, and that says something because all his work in that decade is top tier.
Wanna point out, OHMSS is not the only Bond film to have an anniversary milestone. MOONRAKER is celebrating its 40th, LICENCE TO KILL its 30th, and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH for its 20th. Haven't had a Bond film capping off the decade since then, and we almost got that with NO TIME TO DIE had it not been delayed due to Danny Boyle departing. Just to make it fun, I'll rank all the anniversary flicks from best to worst:
1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
3. Licence to Kill
4. Getting root canal
5. Your rent check happened to be picked up by a mail truck that blew up
6. The World is Not Enough
Moonraker is a terrible, terrible film. But I just can't not like it. I adore everything about it - pigeon double-takes and all.
MOONRAKER walks that fine line of feeling utterly silly yet very grand in its scale. It’s like if David Lean directed a British pantomime. Contrast that with DIE ANOTHER DAY, which tried going in that direction but just feels vulgar and crass.
Lads, Moonraker is shite. Stop pretending otherwise.
If we're ranking the 'x9 Bonds, I'd have to go with:
2. Licence to Kill
3 and 4 are pretty much interchangeable; Moonraker boasts a great John Barry score, excellent VFX, a sublime performance by Michael Lonsdale, and has sentimental value because it's Bernard Lee's last film, but it's also one of the most ri-goddamn-diculous Bond movies ever (but hey, at least he doesn't have to fight a midget). TWINE gets solid work from Brosnan, Dench, Sophie Marceau, and Robbie Coltrane, and a touching goodbye scene for Desmond Llewelyn, but it also has Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist.
I can't argue with that, among those four.
2. Licence to Kill
4. The World Is Not Enough
Not even Sophie Marceau and Renard can make me want to watch the last one over another rewatch of Moonraker.
It was brought up that LTK was giving a nod to OHMSS by informing Bond’s personal motive. But the film with the most overt nods to that 1969 film is TWINE, which makes it extra disappointing given that it was positioned to be Brosnan’s OHMSS, as that film was hitting its 30th anniversary milestone. The nod isn’t just in the title, it’s in a lot of other places throughout the film. The writers pitched the film as “Bond meets another Tracy, but in a twist she turns out to be Blofeld”. Elektra King is a seemingly hurt and vulnerable woman like Tracy was at the beginning of OHMSS, as Fleming once put it “a bird with a wing down”. One of the first things Elektra King asks Bond is if he ever lost a loved one, and he immediately dodges that question. Shortly after that they go off to ski on snowy mountains, recalling when Bond romantically skied with Tracy. Then Bond is immediately attacked by gunmen and the ski sequence ends with Bond and Elektra getting caught in avalanche.
And that’s just all the bigger nods. To be fair I actually really dig the whole concept. Making a spiritual sequel to OHMSS on its 30th anniversary? I really give EON credit for showing that as divisive as that film was in 1969 they’re still very proud of it. I just wish the film they delivered had the same conviction.
I like Sophie Marceau, but she’s no Diana Rigg, and the chemistry between her and Brosnan isn’t really cracking. What’s worse is that the development feels disjointed. For awhile he’s avoiding her advances but then later they’re abruptly in bed together being all tender. It feels like there should have been a vital scene between that showed the moment he finally let his guard down.
Then there’s Christmas Jones. I can’t be too harsh on Denise Richards for several reasons: 1. She was forced onto the film by MGM because they wanted a Hollywood starlet, just like how they cast Terri Hatcher in a role that should have gone to Monica Bellucci in TOMORROW NEVER DIES. 2. No actress, not even Diana Rigg, could have saved the role of Christmas Jones, because the character only serves two purposes in the final film: to give exposition on nuclear stuff and the most damning of all just be there for Bond to sleep with at the very end.
And that’s the real problem with the film. OHMSS was a very daring installment, the first to end with Bond not getting the girl at the end. Had TWINE stayed true to that spirit, it should have ended with Bond alone still feeling haunted after letting his guard down. If Christmas had to be there, maybe they’re sharing a drink, but that’s all it is. If better written she could have been there to provide emotional comfort at the end. Instead it literally ends with a gag straight out of a Roger Moore film which feels wrong for the kind of story TWINE should have told. It would be like if OHMSS ended with a sexy patrol stopping by, Bond smiles at her, pushes Tracy out of the car and brings the patrol woman in to say “I suppose not everyone has all the time in the world for marriage”. Maybe hyperbole, but thats how gross TWINE feels at the end. A film that pulls its punches for the sake for formula, the antithesis of OHMSS.
Excuse the rambling, but TWINE really gets on my nerves as a Bond fan. Moonraker may be ridiculous, but at least it knows what kind of film it is and takes pride in it, whereas TWINE feels like a movie that’s too timid to take chances.
While we're at it, I suspect that Jones' name Christmas itself might be an allusion to OHMSS, given that OHMSS is set around Christmas time.
Bond spent a lot of time tracking down Blofeld and locating him at Piz Gloria. He first meets Marc-Ange Draco in September of 1969 and finally destroys Blofeld's bacteriological laboratories in December. Some fans nitpick this as a timing error and continuity issue that takes some of them out of the film (how can it be Christmas at Piz Gloria if it was September right before 007 begins seeing Tracy and learns Blofeld's whereabouts?) but I can clearly see Bond romancing Tracy for a couple of months before finally locating Blofeld's hideout and adopting the guise of Sir Hilary Bray.
The Louis montage shows the passing of the seasons. How are people confused by that?
Apparently some of them are. The passage of time? THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN.
Haven’t heard that complaint before. There’s never been a fixed rule on how much time passes from the beginning to the end for Bond films. FRWL had to have been a month or so because of the meticulous planning. Funnily, Red Grant’s training session wouldn’t have been at the beginning of the film as originally laid out, as it would have been a scene we got after he was selected as Bond’s assassin which is why there’s a man wearing a Bond mask. Filmmakers realized the beginning didn’t have much of an opening hook, so the training was placed as the first scene setting off the now established pre-title. You can sense that the very first shot doesn’t feel like something intended for the beginning, as if it was supposed to be cutting away from an earlier scene.
My favourite Bond film, and as someone else has suggested, not only a wonderful Bond film, but just a wonderful film. Lazenby is perfect, vulnerable and affectionate in a way Connery can rarely be. The thought of that final scene with Connery cradling Tracy's head in his lap makes be wince.
Best film best Bond girl, best title track and a hugely underrated Bond. I'm (slowly) going through the films in order so if anyone would like to read my more in-depth thoughts on OHMSS please take a look here
Ah, Mr @Starkers, I’ve been expecting you(r contribution to this thread).
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