Which was the best George Lazenby Bond film?

I’ve encountered plenty of it, including on this Board in years gone by. Maybe opinion is changing, but this film used to be consistently rated among the worst of the Bond films.

See, this is not my recollection at all. I know it’s anecdotal, but I remember it being well reviewed as long ago as the early 90s. (I had one of those massive books with summaries and reviews of pretty much all the major movies, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was 4.5 out of 5 stars, IIRC.)

The movie was excellent in many ways (and I’ll add to the chorus of admiration for Diana Rigg, who I always liked in The Avengers. I think the reason the movie is criticized is that it has such an awful ending; not in the sense that it was truly awful (it actually is a great ending for a series entry), but in the sense that it wasn’t what you expect at the end of a Bond movie. You simply cannot SEE Sean Connery doing that ending in your mind, no matter how hard you try.

Definitely. OHMSS was the last Bond film before they became decidedly silly. I thought Telly Savalas was a better Blofeld than Donald Pleasance, because Savalas had more charisma and athletecism. His Blofeld was more believable as a wealthy businessman attempting world dominance, similar to Dr. No as a businessman cum villain and the SPECTRE of Thunderball sitting around the board room making business reports.
Diana Rigg was great as Tracy, too.
After this one, *Diamonds Are Forever *looked like a drug-fueled romp, comparable to the original Casino Royale.

'60s-era Sean Connery, no – but I can picture a bald-and-bearded Sean Connery doing it.

I liked it. There was a minimum of silly gadgetry. The villain’s weapon (though not the delivery system) was actually plausible in the real world. It was more faithful to Fleming’s novel than most Bond movies.

I liked his cameo in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E., too. :wink:

The producers must have been kicking themselves when Connery showed up for* Diamonds are Forever.*

This happened in several other Bond movies. Maud Adams in * The Man With the Golden Gun * and * Octopussy * and Joe Don Baker in * The Living Daylights * compared to his character in * Goldeneye * and * Tomorrow Never Dies *. Robert Brown was Admiral Hargreaves in * The Spy Who Loved Me * and was M in the next five Bond movies.

I think one of the reasons OHMSS got a bad rap was that for years it was kind of hard to find. I don’t recall it ever popping up on ABC back when they used to regularly air the Bond films (though I have seen it cable marathons in recent years), and none of the video stores in my area had it back in the 80s and 90s, though they had pretty much all the other Bond movies.

So people may have heard that Lazenby was bad in it, knew that he only did the one movie, and because they never got the chance to see it, just sort of wrote it off.

Interestingly, it is now one of the few Bond films Netflix has on “Watch Instantly”. :slight_smile:

Somehow, I had it in the back of my mind that Lazenby got greedy in the expectation that being anointed a Bond meant he had the franchise producers by the short ones and demanded too much for subsequent outings. Broccoli’s response was to cut him loose and bad mouth his performance, and people figured if Cubby is running it down, Lazenby must have been terrible.

But as observed above, history is apparently being kinder than the buzz at the time. Does anyone know if there is any substance to this, or if it just propaganda from the Lazenby camp?

Lazenby’s best film was undoubtedly That’s Armageddon (A Samuel L. Bronkowitz production).

It stuck pretty close to the book. The situation, though plausible, might have been a bit over the top at the time, but nowadays it is definitely a possibility.

I thought this would be a good place to put it

A really well edited
James Bond 007: Movie Deathmatch

Spoiler: Lazenby loses.

That’s interesting, Damfino, thanks. I missed a good number of the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan Bond flicks and wasn’t aware of that.

I’d read the same thing, that notion courteous of his agent, and that’s was my jist in post 7.

From what I’ve read, Lazenby never got around to signing a binding contract for future films and was advised against doing so by his agent, who thought the Bond franchise had run its course. Once it became clear that George was gone, EON managed to lure Connery back for one more movie (Diamonds Are Forever) by paying him a huge fee, which he promptly donated to a Scottish educational fund.

IIRC, Roger Moore had been considered earlier for the role, but was busy at the time filming “The Persuaders.” After his contract with ITC expired, he was signed to do Live and Let Die.

I quite liked Lazenby as Bond, and thought the movie was exceptionally well done. I remember watching OHMSS on ABC several times, the first being the winter of '76–'77. It was also on the Sunday night before Labor Day 1983—which, for those who remember, was when the Russians shot down KAL flight 007 (an eerie coincidence, I’ve always thought).

For me, Donald Pleasance will always be Blofeld, regardless of how much plastic surgery he had. Telly Savalas was far too American in the role for my tastes.

Here is an interesting account of events from a terrific book One on One 101 True Encounters by humorist Craig Brown.

Well worth a read as are most of the 1001 word pieces in it.

In the IMDB “trivia” section for this film, it says that there are explanations (for Lazenby’s playing Bond only one time) in the DVD Commentary: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064757/trivia

  1. Cockiness (he rubbed Albert Broccoli wrong).

  2. Harsh movie critics comparing Lazenby unfavorably to Connery, leading the studio to assume he had negatively impacted the film’s earnings.

  3. Lazenby felt that the Bond franchise too “unsophisticated” and out of touch with the 70’s. He is said to have mentioned to his agent that he wasn’t sure he wanted to play Bond again, and word of this got back to the producers.

Correction: It was the winter of '75–'76, probably in January.

Recommend this book for all your Bond references: