Library Cult Films, our series of programs devoted to bringing various
classic movies from Hollywood, Europe and the rest of the world that have
continued to entertain audiences and influence new film makers, returns Thursday
night, August 14th at 6:00 PM. We'll be showing the 1969 James Bond 007 film
"On Her Majesty's Secret Service", starring George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, and
This was the sixth official 007 installment in the popular series, and the first one where an actor was recast in the Bond role. (Read my review here.) Series star Sean Connery had left the series after 1967's "You Only Live Twice", and the producers chose unknown George Lazenby as his replacement.
Encouraged by director Peter Hunt (who had worked as an editor and assistant director on the previous Bonds), the producers also opted to take a more serious "back to basics" approach after the gadget-filled, comic bookish take in the previous film and instead faithfully adapted (with a few changes) Ian Fleming's original novel. Characterization, as well as the usual eye -popping location shooting, fights, stunts, and chases, was emphasized. Bond is not the superman seen in earlier films, he's not quite confident despite his many skills, and he gets to show his human side when he realizes he's in love with Diana Rigg's Tracy.
This being a Bond film, of course, you still have an over-the-top villain (Telly Savalas as archfoe Blofeld), whose own personal motivation in blackmailing the world with biological warfare is explained (well, sort of; he just wants respect). Lazenby, despite being under enormous off-screen pressure, delivers a solid performance. Rigg, Savalas and a fine supporting cast are also terrific. Hunt's assured direction, Richard Maibaum's faithful-to-the-source screenplay (with some great lines of dialogue), and composer John Barry's exciting music (with Louis Armstrong on one number) add to the film's quality.
Honestly, this is one of the BEST 007 outings ever produced. The stunts and ski chases (the film was shot in the Swiss Alps, plus Spain and England) are still outstanding, even after 45 years! And that final, unforgettable scene!
I usually begin each screening with a brief discussion of the film's production and its influence over the decades. Both film buffs and ingénues are welcome. Hope you can join us! And check out our future upcoming films by clicking here.
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