On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Director: Peter R Hunt
James Bond: George Lazenby
Notable villain(s): Ernst Blofeld
Notable Bond girl(s): Tracy di Vicenzo
Sean Connery was always going to be a difficult act to follow but, to be completely honest, I don’t think that Lazenby did a bad job.
He suited this version of Bond, the version where Bond gets married and has to don a disguise in order to infiltrate Blofeld’s Swiss hideout. I’m not really sure that Connery would have suited going undercover as the London College of Arms’ genealogist, Sir Hilary Bray…
The reason that I have given On Her Majesty’s Secret Service only two stars is down to its plot. At 2hrs 20 it is a long film, and in the second third I really felt myself switching off. I never really understood Blofeld’s desire to claim the title ‘Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp’ either. If I was him I would have concentrated on my attempts to destroy the world’s agriculture instead – NB You Only Live Twice (1967) mixed up the chronological order as the book was, in fact, the sequel to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Visually, it does looks brilliant: there is plenty of eye candy in the form of Blofeld’s brainwashed Angels of Death and the Swiss Alps are very picturesque. The ski chase adds life but, for me, it was too little too late. I would have preferred to have seen more of Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) as well.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Director: Guy Hamilton
James Bond: Sean Connery
Notable villain(s): Ernst Blofeld, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd
Notable Bond girl(s): Tiffany Case
Connery returns for his sixth and final outing as Eon’s Bond in Diamonds Are Forever – he would return in 1983’s Never Say Never Again but, as it isn’t one of the official films, I won’t be watching it. Blofeld is, once again, the main villain and this time he has his eye on some diamonds.
For me, Diamonds Are Forever is a return to form for the series, though it is far from my favourite. It is certainly very entertaining and there are some very memorable characters, including the very odd assassins Mr Wint and Mr Kidd. Their methods are very creative, especially when they sealed Bond in a coffin and sent him into a crematorium furnace…
The lead Bond girl, Tiffany Case, in very attractive with a bubbly personality though a little too dumb for my liking, especially when compared to Tracy di Vicenzo from the previous film.
Blofeld, however, is excellent. His latest scheme – building a giant laser satellite using the diamonds – is inspired. It involves a string of smugglers and the kidnap of a multi-billionire entrepreneur, Willard Whyte.
Current order of preference: Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Dr. No, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.