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This never happened to the other fellow
November 4, 2013 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Steven Soderbergh shares his thoughts on his favourite James Bond film, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE.

Cult Britannia on the film. 11 reasons to love OHMSS. A travel guide to the film. Blofeld's hideout. OHMSS trivia. The Suits of OHMSS. TV Tropes, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
posted by crossoverman (71 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
/erects mountain lair at snowy peak of thread.
posted by Artw at 7:56 PM on November 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


The least-seen, least-enjoyable Bond movie is Soderbergh's "favourite". Christ, what a hipster.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:05 PM on November 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's always been one of my favorite Bond films. In it, Bond isn't reliant on gadgets, the soundtrack is great, and Savalas is quite menacing as Blofeld.

What do dinners at Piz Gloria go for, and how much to upgrade to the package that includes a helicopter assault?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:06 PM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you have to ask, you don't have a "00" agent's expense account arrangement.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:19 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Peter Hunt was an unbelievably talented film editor and his first chance at the director's chair was such a success from a cinematic point-of-view but audiences missed Connery too much. What if they successfully made On Her Majesty's Secret Service followed by You Only Lived Twice? If only.
posted by samuelcramer at 8:34 PM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit: "
What do dinners at Piz Gloria go for, and how much to upgrade to the package that includes a helicopter assault?
"

$25 for a burger, so about what you'd expect from a "destination" restaurant.
PDF of menu No mention of the helicopter assault dessert.
posted by calamari kid at 8:41 PM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Christ, what a hipster.

Yeah, fuck that guy and his opinions.
posted by incessant at 8:48 PM on November 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's a great movie, but way too long, and Savalas was an extremely weak villain. It's made all the more romantic by playing the game of how good Lazenby would have been had he continued (answer: second best, after Sean).

But yeah -- solid story, the best of all characterizations, and by gum, does Lazenby every swagger well.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:54 PM on November 4, 2013


The least-seen, least-enjoyable Bond movie is Soderbergh's "favourite".

I'm not sure how you define least-seen and enjoyable is clearly subjective, but for me it's more enjoyable than half of the Moore films and most of the Brosnans.

It's also probably the closest adaptation of a Fleming novel; not that I always want close in my adaptations, but since most of the Bond films after Thunderball are basically nothing like the books, I'm really glad OHMSS is close to the original because I love the book.

What if they successfully made On Her Majesty's Secret Service followed by You Only Lived Twice? If only.

Ugh. This would have been incredible.
posted by crossoverman at 8:56 PM on November 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


but for me it's more enjoyable than half of the Moore films

fight me irl
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:02 PM on November 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's the only Bond movie with a decent ending.
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 PM on November 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


The ending is fucking incredible, and Lazenby pulls of a performance the other guy never could have sold. All the time in the world...
posted by Artw at 9:08 PM on November 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I (re)watched the Bond films in order a few years ago. OHMSS is one of the better one. Acknowledging this makes you less a hipster than someone who knows the movies. I liked the early Moore outings--the 80s ones were disasters IMO--but they could have been fantastic with Lazenby.
posted by immlass at 9:15 PM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lazenby is my favorite Bond because he comes closest to capturing Fleming's Bond. Craig comes a close second but is a bit TOO angsty for the character. As much fun as the Connery movies were, you're basically watching Connery Sean Connery around all over the place. The Moore films are secret parodies of the entire franchise, becoming more ridiculous with each outing.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:21 PM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Lazenby brought a seriousness to the character without sacrificing the lightness, but it is a different kind, less glib. Craig is almost camp about how serious and angsty he is, which ...actually kinda works. Moore just ..looks weird.
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 PM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


The least-seen, least-enjoyable Bond movie is Soderbergh's "favourite". Christ, what a hipster.

If you or I say that OHMSS is our favorite Bond film, then yes, we can be dismissed as just another goddamn hipster. But not Steven Soderbergh.

Know why?

Because he's Steven fucking Soderbergh, and we're not. Making a bunch of really great movies goes a long way towards having a lot of credibility in liking movies.
posted by zardoz at 9:27 PM on November 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


Problem: "Whilst cracking open a safe in a Swiss lawyer's office, Bond reads a copy of "Playboy". James Bond should never be depicted as being in need of pornography. It's just sad.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:43 PM on November 4, 2013


Only for the articles, man, only for the articles!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:51 PM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


He likes to keep abreast of things.
posted by Artw at 9:55 PM on November 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Moore films are secret parodies of the entire franchise, becoming more ridiculous with each outing.

Well, let's face it, not TOO secret.
posted by Artw at 9:57 PM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


He was looking for Pussy Galore.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:57 PM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Problem: "Whilst cracking open a safe in a Swiss lawyer's office, Bond reads a copy of "Playboy". James Bond should never be depicted as being in need of pornography. It's just sad.

He just reads it for the articles!
posted by pipian at 10:00 PM on November 4, 2013


TBH things were probably a bit too knowing and self-referential by Thunderball or You Only Live Twice.
posted by Artw at 10:01 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


i was a huge bond fan as a kid, but the film franchise is so boring now that i can't even stand it. nothing in any of the films makes the tiniest bit of sense anymore. my pet theory is that the brand is so strong that all they need is a passable movie every four or five tries. people forget all the bad ones, and broccoli et al are off to the races.

i've said it before and i'll say it again: the only way to revive the franchise is to start from scratch and remake all the novels as period pieces ala mad men. use the actual stories from the books, in the original order, because the character arc of bond and the 60s was pretty damn cool. i bet you could even get a stable of great directors to work for scale. (now that i think of it, maybe this is a job for HBO).
posted by bruceo at 10:08 PM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


i've said it before and i'll say it again: the only way to revive the franchise...

The franchise is alive and fucking well. Skyfall got the best reviews probably of any Bond film ever and it made $1.1 BILLION dollars at the worldwide box office - the eighth highest-grossing film of all time.

And most people think Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery, even though he's really the best since Lazenby. (Though I have a soft spot for Dalton.)

is to start from scratch and remake all the novels as period pieces ala mad men. use the actual stories from the books, in the original order, because the character arc of bond and the 60s was pretty damn cool.

All the above said, I would TOTALLY watch this TV show. Because if I had all the power in the world to make a TV show, I would totally write this one.
posted by crossoverman at 10:24 PM on November 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


The most successful action/adventure movie franchises accounting for inflation.
posted by Artw at 10:26 PM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Skyfall is probobly the best Bond film we've had in a while, if you discount some the 3rd act laziness. It had an interesting conversation with the different Bond movies of the past ans the various aesthetics, sort of touching on each version while still keeping the campiness in view but in check. I think it was informed b the success of the superhero genre actually...
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 PM on November 4, 2013


The films of Soderbergh's that I've seen have been so consistently underwhelming that I think I'll just take this one as an anti-recommendation.
posted by Anything at 10:37 PM on November 4, 2013


Contagion is the most beautiful love story ever filmed
between a virus
and your upper respiratory system
posted by The Whelk at 10:40 PM on November 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


And Side Effects is a pretty good re-telling of Vertigo.
posted by The Whelk at 10:40 PM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Liberace is watching you while he sleeps.
posted by Artw at 11:02 PM on November 4, 2013


I saw OHMSS like 25 years ago, and I still remember that last shot vividly.

Also, Full Frontal is the best American film of the aughts.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:06 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, certainly before the Craig reboot the conventional wisdom among Bond fans -- and I've had vodka martinis with Raymond Benson -- was that OHMSS was by far the best Bond, with one glaring exception, Lazenby's capable but rather wooden performance. In fact, the argument is that they knew with him in the role they had to up the ante on everything else. Diana Rigg is the quintessential Bond girl (which seems a needlessly reductive thing to say about the love of his life). Savalas is one of the most swaggering of the villains (who were too often borderline camp, with all the implied homophobia). The Piz Gloria location is iconic. It has the most extended chase sequence in all the 007 films (and many more besides), a sort of three-act chase, in which Bond gets to show (very appropriate) real fear. The score is certainly one of the best the series ever managed (and there are some nice ones). Lazenby is no actor for the ages, and certainly no one-off like Connery (who singlehandedly lifted the character and concept from some primitive, pulpy and rather compulsive novels trust me, it's sort of a compliment to an epic Hollywood scale), but he manages to make Bond credible at the right moments and human at the other right moments, simultaneously re-establishing the role's heroics while shedding the near-superman approach that the series had already begun to flirt with -- he relies on his wits, on his girls, and his MacGyver ingenuity (like his socks). Yet you never doubt his ability to make it through the situation -- usually its simply a matter of him being challenged by new information or aspects of the situation.

I can certainly imagine what the film might have been like had Connery not quit, and all the other elements remained as they were, but I also feel certain that had he not quit, they wouldn't have brought their AAA game -- and Diamonds Are Forever, for all its ridiculous fun, proves that assertion.

OK, now I'm going to see what Soderbergh says. Coincidentally, tonight I watched The Good German -- an interesting project that is not just set during WWII but filmed in a simulation of the technology and technique of the era, everything from set decoration to lighting to camera movement, although no forties film allowed the word 'fuck'.... It also manages to directly reference films including The Third Man and Chinatown without threatening (mostly) to fall into pastiche. And I've never seen Tobey Maguire used to better effect. But I think you need to be familiar with the cinematic and narrative language of the era to fully appreciate it.
posted by dhartung at 11:14 PM on November 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I liked Solaris oh wait no I didn't.
posted by turbid dahlia at 11:18 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope this doesn't come across as snark, because I totally mean it: I love absolutely everything about the OHMSS film...except for the film itself. Sorta like how you can sometimes enjoy and even be moved by a trailer more than you would be for the film itself, the idea and potential of what they were trying to do with OHMSS is really resonant with me...I just don't particularly feel the need to see it again.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:37 PM on November 4, 2013


Honestly, this just fills me with glee. I've been a movie buff since I was about 11, and worked as a film critic for a while, and I have always been resoundingly sneered at for saying that OHMSS was the only Bond film I liked (not to mention thought was any good). Well, until Craig's Bond.

The first Bond film I ever watched was actually the first movie I ever walked out on, my young teenage self all pissed off at the sexism and racism, and demanding my money back (Moore's first outing). Then I saw some of the Connery ones on TV and I just... My response was always "fuck that guy." I hated the casual wink-wink misogyny, the stupidity of plots, what was supposed to be his unflappable charm and how he had no stakes in anything because he was so impermeable, how nothing had any consequences.

And then I saw On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and wow, there were stakes. There were consequences. He fell in love and it was painful for him. That scene where he's trapped and has nowhere to go, and Mrs. Peel comes along and rescues him...I was so pleased.

I kept trying to give the franchise a chance, hoping that the next one would be like OHMSS. I really honestly thought maybe Die Another Day could be -- at the beginning, it seems like there are consequences, Bond is held in a North Korean prison and tortured, abandoned. And then of course they just turned it into another casually misogynistic and racist piece of crap, which was doubly disappointing being directed by Lee Tamahori.

So I'm glad to hear that others like the movie too. I guess if that makes us a bunch of fucking hipsters, whatever. Soderbergh is company I'm happy to keep.
posted by emcat8 at 11:46 PM on November 4, 2013


Best soundtrack, best story of the "old" Bond movies, best settings and scenery, closest thing that could be defined as actual character development ever, great stunts. What's not to like about OHMSS? It's always been in my top three.
posted by longbaugh at 12:08 AM on November 5, 2013


On the subject of Moore films, the best one is the one without magic gadget bollocks and coincidentally the one where he visits his dead wife's grave - For Your Eyes Only.
posted by longbaugh at 12:13 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Skyfall is probobly the best Bond film we've had in a while, if you discount some the 3rd act laziness.

Skyfall is the best Bond film since... Casino Royale in 2005. (And I'm one of the few people who loved Quantum of Solace.) But Casino Royale was probably the best since the two Daltons and before that... OHMSS.

On the subject of Moore films, the best one is the one without magic gadget bollocks and coincidentally the one where he visits his dead wife's grave - For Your Eyes Only.

The franchise has a habit of dialing it back after going over-the-top. For Your Eyes Only came after Moonraker. (OHMSS came after You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die after Diamonds Are Forever, Living Daylights after View to a Kill, Casino Royale after Die Another Day.)

The only thing about For Your Eyes Only I don't like is that Moore is looking a bit too old for the part - and they still made two more movies after that!
posted by crossoverman at 1:34 AM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fun Fact - Lewis Collins (of The Professionals) was actually considered as a replacement for Moore in FYEO - the producers clearly agreed with you. I think Collins would have been a pretty decent pick as well. A proto-Dalton as it were.
posted by longbaugh at 2:21 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also - and my final comment for now - Bond is a killer and a complete and utter bastard. Any film where Bond does bastard things is a good thing. All Bond movies should feature a bit where the audience go "Ooooh, now that's a bit raw" - kicking Locque's car off the edge of the mountain side is therefore excellent, Roger Moore's whining about it notwithstanding.
posted by longbaugh at 2:28 AM on November 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Leslie Halliwell's film guide described the Bond movies as "spy spoofs" right from the start. Modern viewers often assume that they were meant to be serious but appear camp to our sophisticated modern tastes, but that's not how they were seen by contemporaries.

The Bond movies started off as lighthearted spoofs, got steadily sillier during the Connery/Lazenby/Roger Moore eras, had attempts to make them more realistic during the Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig eras, and I suspect will inevitably return to silliness.

OHMSS is I think underrated: it has some of the best effects scenes and action scenes. But George Lazenby really couldn't act. He was apparently a decent athlete and might have been more impressive if they'd let him do some stunt work, but they stuck to the traditional model of having a stuntman and editing in some closeups of Lazenby grimacing.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:08 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


OHMSS is my favorite Bond film, but I confess part of that is because I have a crush on Diana Rigg that goes back to imprinting on her as Emma Peele when I was a kid.

Also, bobsled chase.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:25 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked Solaris oh wait no I didn't.

I can make it through it therefore it is the better version.

(the book is best of all)
posted by Artw at 4:49 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm a big fan of OHMSS. I love the lack of gadgetry and Bond simply being Bond. Yes, I guess Lazenby was a bit stiff as an actor, but Connery was getting a bit thick around the waist to play the part as written (he's pretty sad, really, in the next film Diamonds are Forever. Like watching your middle-aged uncle trying to play hoops with the neighborhood kids.)

But, I think Lazenby would have been just fine in a couple more Bond films. He probably would have been more used to the role by then. He might have even been able to save us from the horror of the Moore years.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:03 AM on November 5, 2013


Another OHMSS fan here. Really like the post title; one of my favorite lines from the movie.
posted by TedW at 5:19 AM on November 5, 2013


OHMSS has always been one of my favorites. Lazenby's weakest moments in the movie are the moments where they're trying too hard to make him be Connery.

The opening and closing scenes are simply haunting; I can close my eyes and see them clearly right now.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:31 AM on November 5, 2013


Except for Oceans 12, I've liked all of the Soderbergh movies that I've seen and Contagion is one of my favorite Sci-Fi Horror movies of the last decade or so. I was afraid to touch anything for days after seeing that movie.

I don't think that I've seen OHMSS since it was first on broadcast TV back in the early seventies, I'll have to look it up again.
posted by octothorpe at 5:34 AM on November 5, 2013


Even though Sean Connery is a very likable presence on the screen, I often find him too cool to be compelling. My favorite Bond film of his is actually Never Say Never Again, because Bond is older and weaker, and the bad guys really get under his skin a few times. I think that Irvin Kershner is also rather underappreciated for some of his contributions to action cinema--there are some killer chase scenes and fight scenes. Whatever he did with that film, I think it brought out the most compelling performance from Connery.

I couldn't agree more with Soderbergh about Lazenby's gravitas; that's what always made me love Dalton the most as Bond, he was always deeply serious. Whereas for most of his Bond career, I felt like Connery's performance inferred that he was in on a joke that isn't necessarily obvious to modern audiences who remember the Moore era. (Although, to be fair, it probably also helps that Lazenby didn't do enough films to end up being disguised as a Japanese man, literally dressed like a clown, or any of the other indignities that the other actors suffered.)

As far as Soderbergh goes... it wasn't that far into his directing career that he had made sex, lies and videotape, King of the Hill, and fucking Kafka. The flippancy with which some people in this thread are expressing disdain for him is more than a little surprising to me. He could have spent the ensuing decades making endless movies about talking skateboarding puppies or something and I would still respect the guy.
posted by heatvision at 6:17 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Worth mentioning that Soderbergh is also ace cinematographer Peter Andrews, so when he's praising how OHMSS was shot, he knows whereof he speaks.
posted by whuppy at 6:17 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's Lazenby as "J. B." in a cameo appearance -- extending a sporting professional courtesy assist to Napoleon Solo -- in Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1983 TV movie). Note the Aston Martin full of gimmicky gadgets (and the other cars full [apparently] of open containers of nitro gylcerine).
 
posted by Herodios at 6:59 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


whuppy: "Worth mentioning that Soderbergh is also ace cinematographer Peter Andrews, so when he's praising how OHMSS was shot, he knows whereof he speaks."

He also edits most of his movies under the name Mary Ann Bernard.
posted by octothorpe at 7:16 AM on November 5, 2013


Oh yeah, and since this thread is full of Bond fans, I feel it's my duty to recommend the unbelievable Operation Kid Brother/Operation Double 007 to anyone who also likes Mystery Science Theater and hasn't seen it.
posted by heatvision at 7:20 AM on November 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm a huge Bond fan, and OHMSS is one of my favorite movies, period (not just Bond ones).

I managed to make it to Piz Gloria while traveling through Switzerland in college about 15 years ago...It was shortly before closing and I didn't have much money to spend, so I ended up just having an ice cream sundae. But what a view.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:41 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not a purist. I love them all. Moore's campiness was a bit over the top but I did enjoy watching him as he seems to have had so much fun making them. Connery was my favorite. I do think Dalton was one of the best and would have like to see him make more. Brosnan was just ok, thought he would be better. And Craig, while stunningly handsome and fit, is a bit too serious for my taste. But Diane Rigg? Hands down, best Bond leading lady EVER.
posted by Kokopuff at 7:52 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hm, I think this is the only one I have never seen. I guess I should correct that.

On preview, yes, I definitely enjoyed the ridiculous campiness of the Moore years and will probably always rank them amongst my favourites. (Mainly because I saw them at around 9-10 years old on network tv with all the racy bits edited out, so I thought they were like the Adam West Batman series.)
posted by elizardbits at 7:56 AM on November 5, 2013


Also, OHMSS contains my favorite moment of emotion in the series. Not at the very very end, but it happens a bit before that, at the wedding. Bond and Moneypenny share a glance as he's about to get into his floral "Just Married" car...She's crying and trying to smile at him...He waves, and throws her his hat. She catches it and just totally beams back at him.

Obviously Lazenby and Lois Maxwell had only shared about three minutes onscreen together earlier in this movie so it would have meant more had it been Connery, but Maxwell's performance in this quick scene is fantastic, and translates the weight of her side of their relationship very well. I always get a little dust in my eye.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:56 AM on November 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh yeah, and since this thread is full of Bond fans, I feel it's my duty to recommend the unbelievable Operation Kid Brother/Operation Double 007 to anyone who also likes Mystery Science Theater and hasn't seen it.

Heatvision, you forgot Master Ninja II, starring George Lazenby as "Not Bond."

But "unbelievable" is exactly the right word for Operation Double 007.
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 8:24 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


heatvision: Yeah, Kirshner is generally a wildly unappreciated director, largely because he's a terrific journeyman rather than an auteur. The guy made the only Star Wars movie worth watching, that counts for a lot.

I like both movies of Solaris, though each does different things well; it's sort of like the Hendrix and Dylan versions of "All Along The Watchtower". And I'll take either of them over the book. The movies are about loss, fantasy, and the crippling grip of nostalgia; the book is just about psychoplasm.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:20 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


But Diane Rigg? Hands down, best Bond leading lady EVER.

Whatever the category.
posted by bongo_x at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


it's sort of like the Hendrix and Dylan versions of "All Along The Watchtower". And I'll take either of them over the book.

Without a doubt, the book version of "All Along The Watchtower" is a pretty tough slog, what with all the tedious back-story details about oenophilic businessmen and hipster ploughmen, not to mention the excessive unrelieved confusion, the characters' insincere and tendentious pronouncements about life and value and fate and time . . . It's all talk talk talk and nothing really happens until the two riders appear in the last chapter.

Diane Rigg? Hands down, best Bond leading lady Regan EVER.
 
posted by Herodios at 9:51 AM on November 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm sure that was John Thaw.
posted by Grangousier at 11:27 AM on November 5, 2013


Brush up your Shakepeare,
Start doing it now . . .
 
posted by Herodios at 11:43 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has anyone linked the Propellerheads cover of the theme song?
posted by Sebmojo at 2:31 PM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Leslie Halliwell's film guide described the Bond movies as "spy spoofs" right from the start. Modern viewers often assume that they were meant to be serious but appear camp to our sophisticated modern tastes, but that's not how they were seen by contemporaries.

I dunno. I don't think Doctor No and From Russia With Love can be considered spy spoofs at all. I mean, they're not super serious - though FRWL is one of the most violent Bond films, but there isn't any nudging and winking in those films - which kind of begins in Goldfinger and ramps up from there.
posted by crossoverman at 2:32 PM on November 5, 2013


Oh, and:

Skyfall is the best Bond film since... Casino Royale in 2005. (And I'm one of the few people who loved Quantum of Solace.) But Casino Royale was probably the best since the two Daltons and before that... OHMSS.

Bond films are actually nearly all really bad (ssh)
posted by Sebmojo at 2:33 PM on November 5, 2013


Bond films are actually nearly all really bad (ssh)

Hahaha. Thanks for playing. There's the door.
posted by crossoverman at 2:35 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lewis Collins (of The Professionals) was actually considered as a replacement for Moore in FYEO - the producers clearly agreed with you.

Well, no, then they would have cast him. One thing that becomes clear as you pay attention to the history of the series is that EON/Broccoli are some pretty cold bastards to deal with on a business level, and have constantly played games around casting to keep the actors from getting too big for their britches. Jack Lord, the best Felix? Nope, he'll want to make the movies "Bond & Leiter", so replace him, consistency be damned. Connery thinking he's necessary to the success? Get a male model with a big grin. One of the few times they were outfoxed, it wasn't the actor, it was NBC yanking back its contract rights to Brosnan. But Brosnan himself, after making the series lots of money, found out he'd been replaced by watching television. Many of the rumors about people "considered" seem largely to have been promulgated by EON themselves. I was actually surprised they agreed to a multi-picture deal with Sam Mendes, who seemed to out-play their cagey act this time around, declaring he didn't want to make another action movie before agreeing to do two more in a row. Smart guy. Of course, the really smart move here is to never get into contract negotiations with the Broccoli family at all....

The only thing about For Your Eyes Only I don't like is that Moore is looking a bit too old for the part - and they still made two more movies after that!

Yeah, and that one has two of the most difficult physical feats he's ever shown pulling off -- climbing the Meteora, and running up those stone stairs to beat a zig-zagging car. And most people don't even know this, but Moore is actually almost three years older than Connery, so he was the older actor from the very beginning, not a reset to a younger player.

I don't think Doctor No and From Russia With Love can be considered spy spoofs at all.

Well, no, none of the EON films are really spoofs in the formal sense. They take themselves, within the context of the narrative, completely seriously, just never too seriously (and largely invented the one-liner scene closer that became a staple for also-serious Schwarzenegger, Willis, and Stallone, whose movies are themselves often way out in the realm of fantasy with plenty of comic moments but not spoofing the genre). I think the missing word here may be tongue-in-cheek. They were adventures rather than strictly thrillers in the Hitchcockian sense. It's actually pretty telling that Bond the character often adopts an everyman persona as a disarming technique before pulling out his superior hand-to-hand combat skills or a Chekhovian gadget.
posted by dhartung at 6:49 PM on November 5, 2013


I actually re-watched FYEO the other night just to reaffirm my recollections. It is simply staggering the number of connections between it and OHMSS. Watch them one after the other and it's clear they were using it as a template for "grounded in reality Bond". Still a great watch although. The countess on the beach, the ski & bobsled sequences (it shared a stunt director iirc).

I can't get over the idea that the line "I'll buy you a delicatessen...in stainless steel!" has got to be a dig against Harry Saltzman somehow. Since that entire opening sequence was one big "fuck you Harry and fuck Blofeld/SPECTRE". I'd really love to know the story behind that.
posted by longbaugh at 2:59 AM on November 7, 2013


Sorry, GIANT Bond nerd.

I've always been a OHMSS fan. It's the only one that shows Bond as remotely human (at least until we get to the 2005 Casino Royale), and that gave it depth despite whatever shortcomings Lazenby had as an actor.

Moore's films started kind of bad and got worse, but it's always astonished me that nobody seemed to care how old Bond was getting at the same time. From 1962 until 1987, Bond basically aged in real time, which became absurd. Moore was 58 for A View to a Kill (a film not even Chris Walken could save).

If you consider the literary Bond, you end up thinking about a guy in his late 30s to middle 40s. (He carried Commander rank, which is basically American O-5.) Not coincidentally, this was more or less Connery's age in his 6 films; he was 32 for Dr No and 41 for Diamonds. Moore starts out, though, at 46.

Dalton and Brosnan were closer to the ideal, but both started north of 40. Craig is a little younger (40 in CR), but seems moreso because of the athleticism they've added to the role (and which they couldn't even begin to do with Moore, or (probably) with the Bonds before Craig). Craig's on contract for two more films, incidentally, though I get the idea he'll be the sort that can sell at late-40s Bond better than his predecessors.

Anyway, it almost goes without saying that Casino was the best entry in years and years, and a big reason for that is that it's the first one that's at all faithful to a Fleming novel since the Connery years. Another reason, though, is probably the director: Martin Campbell doesn't exactly have a great distinguished career (Green Lantern, anyone?), but he also happened to helm the only good Brosnan-era film, Goldeneye.
posted by uberchet at 10:01 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lazenby may have been working as a model, but he had also been an unarmed combat instructor in the Australian Army. So he had the physicality for the part, especially the tough-guy bits.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:04 AM on November 7, 2013


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