On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

Rating: ****
Director: Peter Hunt
Cast: George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas

A radical departure from the previous James Bond films, this one has a far more serious and dramatic tone. Unfortunately, it suffers from George Lazenby's brazen portrayal of Agent 007 and a lot of wacky 1960's hippy sensibilities. Now don't get me wrong, George Lazenby is a fine actor and does a great job in the film, it's just a far cry from the James Bond that we have come to know and love. (and it's questionable whether Sean Connery was even capable of the emotional depth required for this film) The evil Blofeld (Telly Savalas) is at it again, but SPECTRE is gone and he's on his own. This time he plans to take over the world by tainting the world's food supply with a mind controlling drug. Blofeld is by far the most inconsistent character in the series, and in this film he's a tough and rugged doctor with semi-humanitarian interests. It's up to Bond to infiltrate his fortress in the Swiss Alps and foil his operation, but along the way he gets involved with a sexy and spunky girl named Tracy (cute spitfire Diana Rigg) whom he decides to finally settle down with. But Blofeld won't let him off that easy, and has her murdered on the day of their wedding, resulting in a severely downbeat ending. The revolutionary action scenes in the movie are superb and feature some of the most exciting and dangerous ski footage ever captured on film. If you can disregard the continuity of the series and accept the film on its own terms, it is highly rewarding.