007 One by One: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Bullz-Eye continues its look back at every James Bond film, 007 One by One, as part of our James Bond Fan Hub that we’ve created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film.

You’ve seen “Skyfall,” now how about taking a look at the other best James Bond movie you’ve never seen?

Ask a hardcore Bond aficionado what his favorite 007 entry is, and there’s a very good chance the answer will be “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

We don’t necessarily want to make bold claims as to what the best Bond movie is, as it differs from person to person, but “Majesty’s” should be Top Five material for any die-hard fan of the franchise. The film is littered with all kinds of “firsts” and “onlys” — both in front of and behind the camera — but the most obvious is of course its lead, George Lazenby, and it’s with Lazenby that, for better or worse, most talk of the film begins (but should by no means end).

In the year 2013, we take for granted the changing of the lead actor within the Bond series, as we’ve now had a half a dozen different 007s, but back in the late sixties there was only one James Bond, and his name was Sean Connery. During the production of “You Only Live Twice,” Connery decided to exit the franchise that made him a household name (though as we now know today, he’d return to the character not once, but twice), however, quite understandably, the producers of the series weren’t finished telling their stories, and the public seemed far from tired of 007’s adventures.

So there was really only one option and that was to recast. The search was extensive, but in the end Bond producers decided on a complete unknown – Lazenby – a model with virtually zero acting experience. Regardless, Albert Broccoli was certain he could transform the man into his new James Bond.

The debate has raged for over 40 years as to whether or not the recasting was successful, with many schools of thought on the matter. Having viewed “Majesty’s” numerous times, we feel confident in saying that it’s a shame Lazenby didn’t give it at least one more go in the part (the decision to not return was, amazingly, his own), because as it stands, he cannot help but be somewhat swallowed up by the richness of his surroundings. One thing is for certain: Lazenby in no way ruins it, or keeps “Majesty’s” from being the best film it can be. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is a fine, fine movie, and one that deserves to stand on its own, away from the greater picture of the whole franchise, and Lazenby – as any lead would be – is at least partly responsible for its artistic success.

The Plot: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” relies heavily on Ian Fleming’s original text, the last Bond film to really do so until 2006’s “Casino Royale.” The story is two in one: the first is about Bond’s hunting for and eventual finding of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and the second is about Bond falling in love and getting married (yes, you read that right) to an initially suicidal young woman named Tracy. Her father, Draco, runs a crime syndicate, and has info about Blofeld’s whereabouts, which James requires. Turns out Blofeld is posing as a high-profile allergist in Switzerland. Bond tracks him there, and infiltrates his organization by posing as a genealogist. Once the jig is up, all hell breaks loose, and Bond finds himself on the run, and only one person can help him…

The Girls: Blofeld’s mountaintop Swiss hideaway, Piz Gloria, stockpiles quite the cache of babe-alicious flesh – including a very young Joanna Lumley (“Absolutely Fabulous”) as well as the lovely Catherine Schell (“The Return of the Pink Panther”). Odd then that James zeroes in on the homeliest looking one of the bunch, Ruby Bartlett (Angela Scoular). But then again, this is also that unique Bond flick wherein James falls in love, and perhaps going for runt of the litter was the only way for him to rationalize cheating on his beloved Tracy.

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Girls with Guns: James Bond Edition

The beautiful women from the James Bond films have intrigued us in many ways over the years, but seeing them join in on the action wielding all sorts of guns definitely added to the sex appeal. Above you’ll see a slideshow of some of the sexy Bond girls holding their firearms, starting the the sexy Tanya Roberts from “A View to a Kill” sporting her big hair from the 80s. Next we have an action shot of Olga Kurylenko from “Quantum of Solace” and then the elegant Daniela Bianchi pointing a gun at Bond in “From Russia with Love.” Michelle Yeoh handles some serious firepower in “Tomorrow Never Dies,” and then another action shot with Naomie Harris from “Skyfall.” The slideshow finishes up with three lovely Bond girls posing with their guns – Carey Lowell in “Licence to Kill,” Catrina Skepper in “The Living Daylights” and finally badass Grace Jones in “A View to a Kill.”


Barbara Bach points a gun at Bond in “The Spy Who Loved Me.”


Plenty of girls with guns in “Octopussy”

  

Bond Girls in Bikinis

There are plenty of reasons to watch the James Bond films, but the Bond girls definitely keep many fans coming back. There have been many of iconic moments over the years involving these beautiful women, and many of them naturally involve bikinis.

In putting together the slideshow above, choosing the first image presented a tough call. We decided to go with the incomparable Halle Berry who looks absolutely flawless in this orange bikini from “Die Another Day.” She barely edged out the stunning Ursula Andress who started it all as Honey Ryder in the first Bond film, “Dr. No.” Andress set the standard for all future Bond babes with her memorable scene as she emerged from the sea.

The third photo has Claudine Auger in another beach scene from “Thunderball,” and then we have a promo shot from “The Man with the Golden Gun” with Maud Adams and Britt Ekland hanging out with Roger Moore.

In pic #5 we have the lovely Izabella Scorupco from “GoldenEye” striking a pose, and then Caterina Murino riding a horse from “Casino Royale.” Jill St. John lounges around in her bikini in “Diamonds are Forever” and we finish up with Shirley Eaton from “Goldfinger” before she meets her demise from a coat of gold paint.

As a bonus, here’s Roger Moore in a promo shot from “For Your Eyes Only.” It’s good to be Bond!

  

Bond Girls: Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova

Italian model Daniela Bianchi stars as Tatiana Romanova in the second James Bond film, “From Russia with Love.” Romanova is a loyal Soviet operative who thinks she’s working for the Soviets in an operation designed to pass false information to MI6. It’s her job to meet James Bond and play the role of a love struck defector. Bob Westal points out that her Italian accent was dubbed out of the film and replaced by the voice of English actress Barbara Jefford. The stunning Bianchi was Miss Rome and a Miss Universe semi-finalist but definitely pulls off the look of a Russian blonde beauty.

  

Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in ‘Dr. No’

There have been many iconic moments in the James Bond films over the years, but Ursula Andress emerging from the ocean onto the beach in the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” may be one of the most memorable. In her portrayal of Honey Ryder, Andress set the standard for the beautiful Bond girls, and the producers smartly made sure to live up to that standard time and again.

We have a clip of the scene below, along with a slideshow with Ursula showing off her bikini body. Check back as we’ll be featuring all of the Bond movies along with many of the best Bond babes from all the films.

  

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