By the time You Only Live Twice wrapped up filming, Sean Connery was done. Making the films was proving to be grueling and the intense spotlight of being James Bond was getting too bright. He wanted out and the producers couldn’t convince him otherwise. A lot of people felt that the series was done. For them Sean Connery was James Bone – period. But the producers felt they had a viable franchise and formula. Bond could be played by another actor, and they were going to prove to everyone that James Bond would Return.
James Bond (George Lazenby) is still pursuing his nemesis Blofeld (Telly Savalas). But the trail has gone cold and Bond is spending his time gambling on the French Rivera. It is there he meets Tracy (Diana Rigg) the daughter of a powerful and wealthy “businessman” named Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti). Draco may be the head of a crime syndicate. Tracy and Bond connect in a way neither expects. When Draco learns of this, he makes a deal with Bond. If Bond can get Tracy to fall in love with him and calm her reckless and wild ways, then Draco will provide Bond with information where Blofeld is hidden.
Bond’s desire to capture Blofeld is stronger than his drive to enjoy a bachelor’s lifestyle, so he agrees. He quickly finds himself caring about Tracy and really falling for her. So it is actually with some regret that he obtains a lead from Draco. But Bond figures this will be his toughest one yet, because Blofeld is hatching a deadly scheme that will destroy the world’s food supply. If Bond can stop him, then this is the last mission he will serve On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But fate is going to deal him quite a different hand.
- Takes the best plot from the Fleming novels and brings it to life
- One of the best scores of the entire James Bond franchise
- Brings the thrills and danger back to the franchise
- The romance heavy first half may be too slow for some viewers
- James Bond in love this isn’t James Bond!
- Tries too hard to be familiar and new at the same time
This movie has its flaws, but George Lazenby isn’t one of them. He is the main reason I see people write this one off. However it’s got a great story that actually evolves James Bond as a person. It puts him in some real danger (with the awesome stunt work to show it off). Rigg and Savalas are excellent in their roles. The whole package is top-notch material, and is easily one of the best 007 adventures of the 1960s.
Scores (out of 5)
In Depth Review
|Bond. James Bond. - 1969|
|An honest to goodness avalanche.|
Portugal gives us some additional location footage, mostly for the scene around Draco’s home and during the Riviera sequences. Draco’s birthday scene is most impressive with a full-fledged bullfight captured on screen. But the location is used again for the wedding at the finale of the film, and the mountain top road leading away from it.
|Bond meets the Angels of Death.|
Like nearly all the James Bond films of the 60s and 70s, there is some rear projection work in this movie that is less than convincing. It can be distracting and I’ll admit that does affect the final face off of the film a bit. The final sequence occurs on a bobsled run with Bond and Blofeld attempting to kill each other at high speed. The stunt work is jaw dropping, but the rear projection inserts look silly. It’s a shame too, because it robs this final battle of the punch it should have.
|Who knew? James Bond invented the slip and slide.|
|Piz Gloria is one of the most spectacular locations|
in the franchise.
|The soft glow of John Barry's score adds to|
the romance of the movie.
|Lazenby was a gamble.|
|The outfit that inspired Austin Powers!|
|007 spends some quality time with his favorite|
|Diana Rigg doubts the veracity of your claim.|
|He's given up the sucker for a cigarette and a|
|007 undercover as an upperclass twit.|
|This film contains some of the best ski stunts|
in the franchise.
|Tracy doubts the veracity of Blofeld's claim.|
|Tracy drives like a mad woman!|
|Bond faces his perfect match.|
|Bond did return, but poor Lazenby didn't.|