Saturday, June 4, 2011

Q. What do you do when your Agent tells you to walk away from the other 6 Bond films in your contract?

A. You shoot him with your Walther PPK.

George Lazenby didn't.  Instead, he walked away from his 7 picture deal after filming On Her Majesty's Secret Service, at the advice of his agent who thought that "secret service" flicks would go nowhere in the 1970s.  And so George went from working with Diana Rigg (Best. Bond. Girl. EVAH.) and Telly Savalas to doing Bruce Lee movies after Bruce Lee died and Emmanuelle.

If this isn't the most spectacular FAIL in acting history, I'm not sure what is.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service has developed a cult following.  First of all, you have Diana Rigg (did I mention that she was the Best. Bond. Girl. EVAH?).  Second, you had a Bond that was quite out of the normal Bond mainstream - less suave and sure of himself, and actually more like Ian Flemming's Bond in the books.  Quite frankly, the only other Bond who did that was another short-lived Bond actor, Timothy Dalton.  There was a darkness and vulnerability that was only seen before in Lazenby's.

Interestingly, Dalton had turned down the part when Connery and the Bond franchise parted ways.  Dalton was only 21, and felt that he needed to mature to do the role justice.  He was right.  Two decades later, he got his second chance.

Lazenby never did, but he walked away from a signed contract.  Interestingly, he and Roger Moore seem to be email buddies, but that's likely cold comfort.  That spectacularly bad decision has haunted Lazenby his whole life.  Follow-on decisions have been equally bad, like marrying a woman 25 years his junior (tennis star Pam Shriver) and having kids when he was in his sixties.  Dude, in that situation, she has a license to kill ...

But this is an interesting film.  Bond aficionados already know this.  And did I mention that Diana Rigg was the Best. Bond. Girl. EVAH?


Murphy's Law said...

Diana Rigg was smokin'.
Lazenby, not so much. I never thought I'd say it, but that Brosnan guy that I always made fun of turned out to be a great Bond.
Craig...he's ruined the franchise.

But another bad decision was that leftist zipperhead Alec Baldwin walking away from the Tom Clancy franchise after The Hunt For Red October. Harrison Ford took over and rode the rest of them right to the bank.

Six said...

I have to admit I've never finished this movie. I've seen parts of it but never the whole thing. I guess next time I'll have to sit and watch it all the way through.
Connery and Pussy Galore all the way.

kahr40 said...

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is easily my favorite Bond film. You get Diana Rigg [Best Bond Girl EVAH], Telly Savalas [one of the best Bond villains ever, and George Lazenby. He is the one Bond who actually knew how to fight and you believe he'd be able to use the license to kill. All that and Louie Armstrong.

greg said...

I've never seen Lazenby, or Daniel Craig...I'm interested to watch them, because I LOVED the first Ian Fleming Bond books I read...and especially liked the cold blooded, mission oriented assassin that Bond was originally portrayed as.

SiGraybeard said...

Telling Lazenby that Secret Agent movies won't go anywhere is like that agent telling the Rutles that guitar music was over.

As they say somewhere in those videos (to the agent) how does it feel to be such an a**hole?"

Midwest Chick said...

I think that Lazenby got a bad 'starter' script. People didn't want a vulnerable Bond after Connery. It would have been interesting to see him in Live and Let Die.

And I thought Daniel Craig did pretty well in the re-configured Casino Royale (but then I liked the way that they updated it but kept the feel of the book). Didn't see his second one.

Guffaw in AZ said...

You and I totally agree!
While I liked early Connery, OHMSS is a good film, and a better book.
And, Diana Rigg is the best Bond girl, EVAH!
And Laz would have worked, if the 70s films weren't so schlocky!
They should refilm all of them, in order, as period pieces!
Can you imagine Bond in 1952 Harlem? And Leiter driving a Studelac?
What age is Ms. Riggs daughter? A suitable replacement for Tracy?

Anonymous said...

Diana Rigg was also Emma Peel in the Avengers a 1960's UK spy TV series and worth the watch.

Shy Wolf said...

I don't recall seeing Lazenby's portrayal, yet I think I've seen all the Bond flix, meaning that I didn't find him memorable. Diana Rigg... a non-starter for me. The only Bond girls I can recall, with Pussy Galore the most mem'rable, and that Lois Lane wench and the other one... wut's her name? some kind of theoretically hot black babe who starred with Travolta one time.
Egads- just proving here that I really have no idea who the hell those people are in Hollywierd so their influence on me is minimal, at best.
However, I will say that I do like the Daniel Craig fellow as Bond. Ruggedly handsome, dashing but wicked, not at all 'couth' as - BTW, I really miss the old M and Q- who the hell is that wench playing M now, who thinks Bond is an incorrigable rascal?
Anyway, he's the best since Connery, who, BTW, was just great in Never Say Never Again. Really thought that was the best EVAH of Bond flix. But maybe that's just because I'm getting on in years as well and related better.

AnarchAngel said...

As a serious bond fan (books and movies), I was actually very disappointed with OHMSS.

As a story, it was one of the most faithful to the spirit of the book, if not always the details.

And of course Diana Rigg is... Diana Rigg (and then there's Joanna Lumley).

Also, Lazenby "looked" more like Flemings original conception of Bond than Connery.

The problem is Lazenbys performance. It's missing the spark that Connery has. It's supposed to be cold, instead it's just... stony. I wouldn't say wooden, but lacking in animation.

He had good moments, especially at the end... but it's just not there.

Oh and Donald Pleasence, MUCH better than Telly Savalas

As a novel, OHMSS and its aftermath made Bond the truly great literary character he is. The film is... almost forgettable. It leaves a rather gaping hole in the development of the Bond character.

Weer'd Beard said...

Well said, Dalton doesn't get nearly enough love as bond. Granted I thought "License to Kill" sucked ass (tho the theme song was AWESOME!) "Living Daylights" is one of my top favorites.

Daniel Craig I think really nailed Flemming's Bond as a cold-blooded killer with a lot of vulnerability, rather than what Hollywood developed which was a Bond with lots of gadgets and swave one-liners.

Of course it was hard to love Dalton's Bond too much because he's such a tiny guy that he just doesn't carry off the brutish side that 007 had, something that Connery and Lazenby really looked the part of.

Also Dalton was one of the last of the Bonds that always had a pack of smokes on him, something I wish hadn't been gobbled up in Casino Royal thanks to modern audiences tastes and PC world's dislike of smokers.

Still James Bond sucked down the smokes one-after-another in Casino Royal, and while 1953 is loads different that 2006, in today's view few things show mortality and a possible flirtation with death than a spy with a gun, a martini, and a lit cigarette.