Fun fact: Penguin have threatened to have the books of this Ladybird parody pulped! (I’m fairly sure i’ve also recently seen giant Ladybird-pastiche paintings by… someone who is not Miriam Elia (or the artist who did the ‘ladybord book of policing’ a while back) but haven’t found the search terms necessary to confirm)
hadn’t posted anything from this for a while. steve totally jumped without a parachute in order to get away from natasha.
Also, like, way to take a bit of dialogue that in the film is there to show how Natasha is so supremely cool and together that she can have a casual conversation about dating in the middle of a high-intensity hostage rescue mission without it affecting her ability to do the job, and twist it so that instead the scene is about how Steve’s focused on the job but she can’t stop yakking on about something inconsequential.
In which Steven Soderbergh has spot-on thoughts on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service:
For me there’s no question that cinematically ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is the best Bond film and the only one worth watching repeatedly for reasons other than pure entertainment (certainly it’s the only Bond film I look at and think: I’m stealing that shit). Shot to shot, this movie is beautiful in a way none of the other Bond films are—the anamorphic compositions are relentlessly arresting—and the editing patterns of the action sequences are totally bananas; it’s like Peter Hunt (who cut the first five Bond films) took all the ideas of the French new wave and blended them with Eisenstein in a Cuisinart to create a grammar that still tops today’s how fast can you cut aesthetic, because the difference here is that each of the shots—no matter how short—are real shots, not just additional coverage from the hosing-it-down school of action, so there is a unification of the aesthetic of the first unit and the second unit that doesn’t exist in any other Bond film.
and (emphasis mine)
So what’s wrong with it? George Lazenby, but not for the reasons you might think. I actually like him—a lot—and think he could have made a terrific Bond had he continued (allegedly he decided before the shoot was over he would only play the part once). What seems obvious to me, though, is no one was helping him during the shoot or the edit (they won’t even let him finish a fucking sentence onscreen). It feels like everyone was so focused on what he wasn’t (Sean Connery) that they didn’t take the time to figure out what he was (a cool-looking dude with genuine presence and great physicality). For instance, they should have known that a lot of the one-liners that would have worked with Connery don’t work with Lazenby. This isn’t because he’s bad, it’s because his entire affect is different, less glib. This, to me, is a lack of sensitivity and understanding on the part of the filmmakers and not a shortcoming of the lead actor, because Lazenby has one thing you can’t fake, which is a certain kind of gravitas. Despite this, there is no attempt to bring it out or amplify it, which is a huge missed opportunity. Also, Lazenby has a vulnerability that Connery never had—there are scenes in which he looks legitimately terrified and others in which he convinces us that he is in love with Tracy (particularly in the final scene), which brings us to another reason OHMSS is so distinctive—it’s the only Bond film with a female character that isn’t a cartoon, and the only film in which Bond is so completely frustrated with his bosses he wants and tries to quit. In fact, everything about the film suggests a reboot before the idea of rebooting was even in the air, much less fashionable (especially the ending, which you could never get away with today).