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On Her Majesty's Secret Service

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On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) is the sixth spy film in the James Bond series, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. Following the decision of Sean Conneryto retire from the role after You Only Live TwiceEon Productions selected an unknown actor and model, George Lazenby, to play the part of James Bond. During the making of the film, Lazenby decided that he would play the role of Bond only once.

In the film, Bond faces Blofeld (Telly Savalas), who is planning to sterilise the world's food supply through a group of brainwashed "angels of death" (which included early appearances byJoanna Lumley and Catherina von Schell) unless his demands for an international amnesty, his title of the Count De Bleuchamp to be recognised and to be allowed to retire into private life are all met. Along the way, Bond meets, falls in love with, and eventually marries Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg).

This is the only Bond film to be directed by Peter R. Hunt, who had served as a film editor and second unit director on previous films in the series. Hunt, along with producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, decided to produce a more realistic film that would follow the novel closely. It was shot in Switzerland, England and Portugal from October 1968 to May 1969. Although its cinema release was not as lucrative as its predecessor You Only Live TwiceOn Her Majesty's Secret Service was still one of the top performing films of the year. Critical reviews upon release were mixed, but the film's reputation has improved over time, even though reviews of Lazenby's performance continue to vary.


PlotEdit

In Portugal, James Bond – agent 007 and sometimes referred to as simply '007' – saves a woman on the beach from committing suicide by drowning, and later meets her again in a casino. The woman, Contessa Teresa "Tracy" di Vicenzo, invites Bond to her hotel room to thank him. The next morning, Bond is kidnapped by several men while leaving the hotel, who take him to meet Marc-Ange Draco, the head of the European crime syndicate Unione Corse. Draco reveals that Tracy is his only daughter and tells Bond of her troubled past, offering Bond a personal dowry of one million pounds if he will marry her. Bond refuses, but agrees to continue romancing Tracy under the agreement that Draco reveals the whereabouts of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE.

Bond returns to London and after a brief argument with M at the MI6 headquarters, Bond heads for Draco's birthday party in Portugal. There, Bond and Tracy begin a whirlwind romance, and Draco directs the agent to a law firm in Bern, Switzerland. At Bern, Bond investigates the office of Swiss lawyer Gumbold, and finds out Blofeld is corresponding with the London College of Arms' genealogist Sir Hilary Bray, attempting to claim the title 'Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp'.

Posing as Bray, Bond goes to meet Blofeld, who has established a clinical allergy-research institute atop Piz Gloria in the Swiss Alps. There Bond meets ten young women, the "Angels of Death", who are patients at the institute's clinic, apparently cured of their allergies. At night Bond goes to the room of one patient, Ruby, for a romantic encounter. At midnight Bond sees that Ruby, apparently along with each of the other ladies, goes into a sleep-induced trance while Blofeld gives them audio instructions for when they are discharged and return home. In fact, the women are being brainwashed to distribute bacteriological warfare agents throughout various parts of the world.

Bond tries to trick Blofeld into leaving Switzerland, so the British Secret Service can arrest him without violating Swiss sovereignty; Blofeld refuses, and Bond is eventually caught by the henchwoman Irma Bunt. Blofeld reveals he identified Bond after his attempt to lure Blofeld out of Switzerland, and tells his henchmen to take the agent away. Bond eventually makes his escape by skiing down Piz Gloria while Blofeld and many of his men give chase. Arriving at the village of Lauterbrunnen, Bond finds Tracy and they escape Bunt and her men after a car chase. A blizzard forces them to a remote barn, where Bond professes his love to Tracy and proposes marriage to her, which she accepts. The next morning, Blofeld attempts to kill Bond by causing an avalanche and captures Tracy.

Back in London at M's office, Bond is informed that Blofeld intends to hold the world to ransom with the threat of destroying its agriculture using his brainwashed women, demanding amnesty for all past crimes and that he be recognised as the current Count de Bleuchamp. M tells 007 that the ransom will be paid and forbids him to mount a rescue mission. Bond then enlists Draco and his forces to attack Blofeld's headquarters, while also rescuing Tracy from Blofeld's captivity. The facility is destroyed, and Blofeld escapes the destruction alone in a bobsled, with Bond pursuing him. The chase ends when Blofeld becomes snared in a tree branch and injures his neck.

Bond and Tracy marry in Portugal, then drive away in Bond's Aston Martin. When Bond pulls over to the roadside to remove flowers from the car, Blofeld (wearing a neck brace) and Bunt commit a drive-by shooting of the couple's car that kills Tracy. A police officer pulls over to inspect the bullet-riddled car, prompting a tear-filled Bond to mutter that there is no need to hurry to call for help by saying, "We have all the time in the world", as he cradles Tracy's lifeless body.


CastEdit

  • George Lazenby as James Bond – MI6 agent, codename 007.
  • Diana Rigg as Countess Tracy di Vicenzo – A vulnerable countess and Marc-Ange Draco's daughter, who captures Bond's heart. Like Honor Blackman in Goldfinger before her, Rigg had come to the notice of Eon Productionsthrough her work on The Avengers, where she played Emma Peel from 1965–68.
  • Telly Savalas as Ernst Stavro Blofeld aka Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp – Bond's arch nemesis, leader of SPECTRE and in hiding. Savalas had appeared in The Dirty Dozen in 1967, leading to Broccoli suggesting him to director Peter Hunt, for the role, in place of Donald Pleasence, who had appeared in You Only Live Twice. Both Broccoli and Hunt felt Pleasence was unsuited to the more physical side of the Blofeld role in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Gabriele Ferzetti as Marc-Ange Draco – Head of the Union Corse, a major crime syndicate and Tracy's father (uncredited voice by David de Keyser). A year before he appeared as Draco, Ferzetti played the railroad baron Morton inSergio Leone's celebrated Once Upon a Time in the West.
  • Ilse Steppat as Irma Bunt – Blofeld's henchwoman who assists in the attempts to eliminate Bond, and although they fail to finish him off Bunt eventually manages to kill Tracy. Said to be the most successful piece of casting in the film, the Bunt character did not appear in the film You Only Live Twice, although she did appear in the novelOn Her Majesty's Secret Service was Steppat's last role: she died on 22 December 1969, four days after the film premiered.
  • Bernard Lee as M – Head of the British Secret Service. This was the sixth of eleven Eon-produced Bond films in which Lee played the role of Admiral Sir Miles Messervy, from Dr. No in 1962 to Moonraker in 1979.
  • Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny – M's secretary. Maxwell played Moneypenny in fourteen Eon-produced Bond films from Dr. No in 1962 to A View to a Kill in 1985; On Her Majesty's Secret Service was her sixth appearance.
  • George Baker as Sir Hilary Bray – Professor in the London College of Arms, whom Bond impersonates in Piz Gloria. Baker also provided the voice of Bray whilst Bond was imitating him.[7]
  • Yuri Borienko as Grunther – Blofeld's brutish chief of security at Piz Gloria. In his role as a stuntman, Borienko was one of the people to assist in the auditioning of Lazenby: Lazenby accidentally broke his nose, which assisted in him getting the part of Bond.[8]
  • Bernard Horsfall as Shaun Campbell – 007's colleague who tries to aid Bond in Switzerland as part of Operation Bedlam. Campbell has been called the film's "Official Sacrificial Lamb".
  • Desmond Llewelyn as Q – This was the fifth of seventeen Eon-produced Bond films in which Llewelyn played the role of Q, starting with From Russia with Love in 1963 until The World Is Not Enough in 1999.
  • Virginia North as Olympe – Draco's female assistant. Nikki van der Zyl provided the uncredited voice for Olympe,[1] making On Her Majesty's Secret Service her sixth Bond film in succession.

[edit]Blofeld's Angels of DeathEdit

The Angels of Death are twelve beautiful women from all over the world being brainwashed by Blofeld under the guise of allergy or phobia treatment in order to spread the Virus Omega. A number appeared in the representative styles of dress of their particular nation. Their mission is to help Blofeld contaminate and ultimately sterilise the world's food supply.

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