Bond: “The Other Fellow”

by Alan Rapp on November 11, 2008

in Essays , Theme Week

When Sean Connery retired, the first time, from the role of James Bond after You Only Live Twice, a new face for the franchise was needed.  The role, like Connery before him, went to an unknown.

George Lazenby was offered a seven picture deal with the Bond franchise, and if he had accepted who knows where Bond would have ended up today.  Instead he took his agent’s advice to refuse the deal and his time as Bond was short-lived spanning only one film, On His Majesty’s Secret Service.

Fans reaction to Lazenby’s Bond were mixed, finding him physically able to perform the role but emotionally distant and lacking the charm of Connery.  The choice was purposeful to paint Lazenby’s Bond as different from Connery and to cast him more in the image of Fleming’s novels.  Although he only performed in a single film, he was, if only for a short time, Bond.  James Bond.

Some find Lazenby’s Bond to be the best of the bunch, but I’m not among that number.  In fact of all the films in the Bond franchise the only one I’ve never been able to get though is On His Majesty’s Secret Service.  Although the film stays closer to the novel than many of the films, and includes a pivotal moment for the character, the end result comes off as long, boring, and more than a little silly.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Bond falls for a mysterious and self-destructive young woman, the Contessa Terese di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg), the daughter of Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti), the head of the second largest crime syndicate in the world.  Draco offers Bond a trade – for romancing her daughter he will give him the location of Ernst Stravo Blofield (Telly Savalas).  Bond agrees and together with the help of Tracy he tracks Blofeld to a psychiatric clinic for beautiful and disturbed young women who are being brainwashed as future weapons for S.P.E.C.T.R.E.  Bond and Tracy defeat Blofeld and celebrate by getting married, but their bliss is short-lived as Tracy is killed in a drive-by shooting by S.P.E.C.T.R.E.  Lazenby is far from charming, and despite his early joke about “the other fellow” (meaning Connery) shows precious little humor.

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