The opening titles, once again designed by Maurice Binder feature scenes from the previous films projected into the silhouetted women of the credit sequence. By recalling Bonds previous adventures it invokes a familiar feel to the film making the statement that the Bond might have changed but it is still business as usual. Composer John Barrys score for OHMSS is without a doubt one of his best and the opening title music features a really strong theme that is recalled throughout the film particularly in the action scenes. Unusually the theme music is an instrumental piece of music recalling Connerys debut in Dr. No however the use of Louis Armstrongs We Have All The Time In The World as a the films love theme is also extremely effective and used throughout Barrys score. The Movie After rescuing Tracy di Vicenzo, daughter of Marc-Ange Draco head of a crime syndicate, British secret service agent James Bond reaches an agreement with Draco to take care of Tracy in return for information on the whereabouts of the head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. As Bond romances Tracy he discovers Blofeld has established a clinical research institute in the mountaintop Piz Gloria in the Swiss Alps. Posing as genealogist Sir Hillary Bray, Bond visits the institute and uncovers Blofelds plot to brainwash the Angels of Death, twelve women from different countries in a bid to distribute bacterial warfare agents around the globe. For the first hour, this film is unlike any other Bond film bringing a whole new dimension to the character. It is quite unexpected that Bond would ever appear in a romantic montage featuring horse riding and shopping to the strains of Louis Armstrongs We Have All The Time In The World, however it all somehow works. While not quite reinventing the character we do see a number of aspects of his personal life that have until now remained secret. There is a nice scene in Bonds office as he goes through some of his personal belongings including gadgets from previous films highlighted by a few brief bars of the score from each film and the whole idea that Bond could fall in love and settle down was hinted at in the first two films with his relationship with Sylvia Trench. While the first half of the film is mostly devoted to the love story it does still find time for some espionage along the way. A great scene which sees Bond slip into a Swiss law office to obtain information from a locked safe is an exercise in pure tension expertly edited to wring every ounce of drama from the situation. Taking place during the middle of the day Bond has to rely on a huge safe cracking gadget that has to be delivered by crane to the office. The clock is literally ticking as the machine slowly deciphers the code for the safe with the constant threat of discovery as people come and go from the offices however instead fretting Bond chooses to coolly read a copy of Playboy as he waits for the safe to open. The second half of the film cannot be accused of lacking in the action stakes, it is pretty much all action from the moment Bond escapes Piz Gloria on skis as the film becomes one long pursuit. The skiing sequences in the film are brilliantly shot by expert skier and action cameraman Willy Bogner Jr. The former Olympic skier was able to ski to such a high standard that he could ski backwards down the mountains while holding a bulky film camera capturing the action up close and conveying a real sense of speed. The scenes were further enhanced by aerial photographer Johnny Jordan, who had shot the Little Nellie scenes in You Only Live Twice. Filming the action while suspended in a parachute harness below a helicopter, Jordan was able to shoot smooth sweeping footage of the mountains providing superb wide shots of the action.
James Bond: This never happened to the other fella.
OHMSS also features a particularly memorable car chase sequence where Tracy and Bond in a red Mercury Cougar are pursued by Blofelds henchmen in a Mercedes Benz. Beginning in the narrow, snow covered streets of a small Swiss town, as the chase escalates they become involved in a frantically paced stock car race on ice which sees both cars being assaulted from all sides not just by each other but by the other cars in the race. The whole scene is really well shot placing the camera right in the heart of the action and much of the driving was done by the actors themselves. Making his debut Bond film, second unit director John Glen more than proves his ability to construct standout set pieces and it is no surprise he would go on to become a major contributor to the series as it developed going on to direct a number of future Bond films. The climax of the film features an assault on Piz Gloria, with agents dropping onto the building from helicopters for a large scale gun battle with the film clearly providing inspiration for the climactic segment of Christopher Nolans Inception. The battle leads into another spectacular skiing sequence culminating in a thrilling chase scene between Bond and Blofeld travelling at high speed in a couple of bobsleds. This set piece features some of the best stunt work of the series so far and is a fitting close to the films action. The final fifteen minutes of the film are what set OHMSS apart from all other Bond films. After defeating Blofeld, Bond and Tracy return to Portugal to marry in a lavish ceremony attended by M, Q and Miss Moneypenny. As the newlyweds leave the wedding party to begin their honeymoon Bond stops the car on a coastal road to remove the flowers from the roof. At that same moment a familiar black Mercedes Benz pulls alongside to reveal Blofeld as the driver and Irma Bunt in the rear seat with a machine gun. As she peppers Bonds car with bullets the car speeds off into the distance. When Bond returns to the car interior it is revealed that Tracy has been killed. The power of this scene is down to a combination of Hunts directorial style and Lazenbys handling of the role. Hunt made Lazenby repeatedly rehearse the scene from 8 oclock in the morning to 5 oclock in the afternoon when the scene was eventually shot with Lazenby drained and exhausted. It is a rare thing to see Bond broken but Lazenby makes the scene all the more convincing in probably his strongest scene of the whole movie. The veneer of cool is stripped away and we see Bond as a mortal man with an ordinary heart and soul. Originally the scene was supposed to be split into two with the film ending at the close of the wedding as Bond and Tracy drive away then the next film would begin withTracys death as the opening pre-credit scene. It is an extremely brave ending to the film and I imagine closing the film on such a downer must have left audiences speechless at the time of release.
(One of Blofelds men chasing Bond skis into a snow blower turning the snow red.)
James Bond: He had a lot of guts.
OHMSS is a Bond film like no other. It greatly develops the story of the worlds most famous spy and shows sides of the character that had never been seen before or since. While Lazenby makes for a decent Bond, he never quite matches Connery at his peak and one can only wonder how much greater the film would have been had Connery not become disillusioned with the role. The Bond Villain Initially it had been expected that Donald Pleasance would return as Blofeld after he escaped the destruction of his volcano lair at the end of You Only Live Twice but for OHMSS, Blofeld was to be a much more physical role than before so the decision was made to recast. Broccolis first choice for the part was the famously bald actor Telly Savalas who had made a lasting impression as the detestable Archer Maggott in The Dirty Dozen. Savalas brings a much needed gravitas to the role that was sadly lacking in Pleasances portrayal. He is a much more suitable opponent for Bond matching him not just in size but in intellect as well. Savalas seems to be relishing the bad guy role giving the impression he poses a much larger threat than before even if his world domination plan is on a smaller scale to one posed in You Only Live Twice. Blofelds main henchman in OHMSS is clearly influenced by From Russia With Loves knife footed Rosa Klebb. Irma Bunt, played by German actress Ilse Steppat, follows the standard set by the more well known henchmen in the series. While Tracys death is often attributed to Blofeld it is in fact Bunt who fires the fatal bullet. The role proved to be Steppats first and last English speaking part, she sadly died four days after the premiere of the film. The Bond Girl Following the successful casting of Honor Blackman in Goldfinger, the producers once again looked to the popular cult TV series The Avengers for their leading lady. Diana Rigg, who had played Emma Peel opposite Patrick McNee from 1965 to 1968, was chosen for the role after initial plans to hire Brigitte Bardot fell through when she signed to play opposite Sean Connery in Shalako. During filming, a number of press reported that the relationship between Rigg and Lazenby was far removed from their onscreen pairing going so far as to suggest that Rigg would eat garlic before having to kiss Lazenby. Whether these reports were true is unclear but the relationship in the film shows no signs of any obvious animosity towards each other. The idea that this is the woman Bond would want to spend the rest of his life with is perfectly believable and as a result makes the conclusion all the more shattering.
(Tracy has just been shot and killed)
James Bond: Its all right. Its quite all right, really. Shes having a rest. Well be going soon. Theres no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world.
During Bonds stay ay Piz Gloria he is briefly involved with one of Blofelds Angels of Death, Ruby Bartlett played by Angela Scoular. Scoular had previously appeared in the unofficial spoof Bond film Casino Royale in 1967 opposite David Niven. In OHMSS, despite her role being a purely expositional part her bubbly personality shines through giving the character a fun edge outshining the other Angels including a pre-fame Joanna Lumley in an early role. James Bond Will Return.. OHMSS was the first film since Goldfinger not to take over $100 million at the worldwide box-office however over $87 million from a budget of $7 million was still a pretty respectable haul. The producers were suitably impressed with Lazenbys performance that he was offered a seven picture deal which he initially accepted but even before the film was released he went on record saying that he Bonds days were numbered in an age when films such as Easy Rider and The Graduate were beginning to emerge. Despite having been paid an advance for the next film Diamonds Are Forever, Lazenby made the decision that he would not be returning to the role leaving the producers once again looking for a replacement but was the sparkle beginning to fade and were the public unwilling to accept anyone but Connery in the lead role?.. To catch up on previous installments of the James Bond Retrospective click below: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice
(On Bonds wedding day)
Q: Look, James, I know that we havent always seen well, anyway, dont forget, if theres anything you ever need
James Bond: Thank you, Q, but this time Ive got the gadgets and I know how to use them.