76

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

Pierce_Brosnan wrote:

I too think Connery could not have done a good job on that movie. The way Lazenby captured that last crying scene, I could not imagine Connery doing it!

Lazenby manages his emotional last scene reasonably well. John Barry was being rather unfair when he commented that, while Connery could have given a moving performance in that scene, Lazenby "couldn't boil an egg!"


caractacus potts wrote:
Shady Tree wrote:

For one thing, in an alternate OHMSS, Connery's Bond voiced by George Baker for the duration of Bond's disguise at the clinic would have seemed ludicrous, and would probably have been unacceptable to Connery as an actor anyway.

in my last viewing, I was convinced this was only done because Lazenby was not a proper actor. The middle section of the film is where he has the most dialog, and Lazenby has to actually act. The first section is dominated by Dianna Rigg, and the final is all those action sequences, Lazenby doesn't have to deliver so many lines. But in the middle he has to talk a lot, and be charming and funny, and its another actor overdubbing the vocals who makes him look competent.
No way either Connery or Moore would have needed overdubbing for those same scenes.

I think that 'the George Baker sequences' at Piz Gloria would really have suited Roger Moore's Bond: the adopted persona, the kilt, all the double entendres with the girls, the idea of promiscuity (but in a rather juvenile form, as opposed to primal carnality) and the superficially polite but snobbery-laden dialogue with Blofeld, who poses as the Count de Beauchamp. So perhaps a really interesting question is what OHMSS might have been like if, rather than Lazenby, it had starred Moore (not Connery) as Bond.

Check out Lazenby's reaction in mid-shot as he enters the lounge at Piz Gloria, dressed for dinner, and sees all of Blofeld's 'Angels of Death' for the first time - just as John Barry cues some smarmy jazz to signify attraction. The expression on Lazenby's face - a smug, suppressed grin - is exactly the expression that Moore would have worn in that moment.     

Moore would have been much more at ease with 'the George Baker material' than he is, for example, with the scenes of rough treatment of women that he was saddled with in his first actual Bond movies (with Gloria Hendry in LALD and Maud Adams in TMWTGG) - a misfiring callback to Connery. The earlier OHMSS scene in which Bond slaps Tracy is problematic in the same sort of way, and it arguably would have remained so, whoever the actor.

Some of Moore's best actual scenes deliberately recall OHMSS. The cautious friendship with Topol in FYEO harks back to the alliance with Draco, there's the loss of Liesel on the beach, the adopted expert persona (this time a marine biologist) in a first meeting with Stromberg in TSWLM, and the spikey one-upmanship with Christopher Lee in TMWTGG (though that's to do with a clash over professional ethics rather than social snobbery).

As fantasy casting for OHMSS, Moore (though he was actually older than Connery) would have looked credibly young enough - as Lazenby indeed was - to fall in love with Diana Rigg.  On the other hand, I'm not sure that Moore could have brought Lazenby's level of athleticism to OHMSS's full-on action sequences: Peter Hunt and John Glen might have shot and edited a tough 'action' performance out of him anyway.

The downside of a successful Moore casting for OHMSS, beginning a Moore cycle of Bond movies three or four years early, is that we wouldn't, then, have got Connery's sly, witty performance as a superstar Bond in DAF (a major loss, despite the debate over Connery's look in DAF) and Moore wouldn't have debuted as the definitive Bond of the 70s, with the funky inauguration which set up his style in LALD. Nor would we have had The Persuaders!  What we might have got is a properly dramatic re-match in the film following OHMSS, between the Bond of OHMSS and Blofeld, as opposed to the throwaway, comic epilogue to the story offered belatedly in the pre-credits sequence of FYEO after Moore has left flowers at Tracy's grave. Would a Moore who'd have starred in OHMSS had sufficient acting chops to cut it in a revenge-oriented sequel? I think so. One need look no further than the way he disposes of Locque in FYEO.

Apparently, Timothy Dalton may have been considered for Bond as early as for OHMSS. That would have set up a whole other line of possibility for the series!


caractacus potts wrote:
Shady Tree wrote:

OHMSS inherits from its source novel some pretty awful sexual politics, with dubious ideas about what a suicidal girl needs to 'cure' her.

and then once he's engaged to be [married] to said suicidal girl, he goes on his secret mission and begins sleeping his way through the Angels of Death! if Irma hadn't interrupted after the second, he would have shown his illustrated genealogy textbook to all twelve. Then after Tracy saves his life, she asks "what really went on on top of that mountain?" and he changes the subject. One of the Austin Powers-est moments in the whole series.

Even if Irma had missed her parting shot, I'm not so sure that things would have worked out happily between Bond and Tracy in Acacia Avenue, Tunbridge Wells. For one thing, Angela Scoular's Ruby Bartlett might have turned up on their doorstep to say she's pregnant with James Bond Junior, or to do a 'Fatal Attraction'. 

It remains to be seen how Bond and Madeleine Swann fare in their planned retirement to Jamaica, announced for Bond 25. I guess a lot of fans will be expecting an early demise for Madeleine, with Bond motivated to get after the culprits. If Barbara Broccoli was really brave, she'd resist going down that path (we've been there before; with Vesper, in LTK and - sort of - with Tracy): why not end Craig's tenure with a future with Madeleine, upholding the outcome promised at the end of SPECTRE (despite whatever turmoil and drama Bond 25 has in store)? Now that a precedent has been established for re-booting continuity with the casting of a new Bond, there's no reason, necessarily, for denying Bond again the happy ending he didn't get in OHMSS.


John Drake wrote:

It’s a pity Lazenby had such bad advice back then.  I got hold of an Italian horror film he starred in shortly after quitting Bond, called ‘Who Saw Her Die?’ and the special features included an interview with the producer, who claimed that Lazenby did this film for the simple reason that he was broke and wanted enough money to buy a boat and go sailing.  The song that closed ‘TWINE,’ Scott Walker’s ‘Only Myself to Blame,’ always reminds me of Lazenby and I guess if there was change I would make I would put that over the closing titles of OHMSS.

I totally agree that 'Only Myself To Blame' is a good fit to OHMSS. The lyrics sort of match what must be Lazenby's regret over squandering the opportunity to make further Bonds; and the lyrics might also speak to a fantasy Bond universe where Bond and Tracy had the chance to make a go of it but their marriage ultimately failed (much to the regret of an older Bond) because of his irrepressible instinct to get back out there and indulge his habits of the 60s - spying and womanising! Scott Walker's vocals bring to mind Matt Monro's song for FRWL, but the downbeat, melancholy 'lounge jazz' elements of 'Only Myself To Blame' are also very much in the style of John Barry's piece 'Try', for the OHMSS soundtrack. Knowing what a fan (of both Barry and Bond) David Arnold is, that connection is irresistible. 

I have one side note on something that has always bothered me in the OHMSS pre-credits sequence, with apologies if anyone's ever picked up on this in another thread. Draco's men have presumably been tasked to keep a protective eye on Tracy. Since it's clear from the episode on the beach that she's suicidal, it's obviously unwise of one of them to put a knife close to her throat, just after Bond has rescued her from the waves. Draco's thug is offering her, on a plate, the opportunity to lunge forward and finish the job - which doesn't make sense. (This would have been a messier end than the romantic method of suicide that she'd chosen for herself, and perhaps the threat is enough to bring her to her senses).

Last edited by Shady Tree (28th Apr 2019 09:02)

77

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

That's a great reply Shady Tree.
Referring back to Caractacus' reply, the moment which most annoys me about OHMSS, which is one of my Top 3, is the replacement of Lazenby's voice by George Baker's.
As I understood it, this wasn't done for any reason other than to play an extended joke. Peter Hunt thought it'd be clever and suggest a new talent for our man James.
I think it's a ruse which falls very, very flat. After all, Bond hasn't ever met Blofeld, and Blofeld hasn't met Sir Hilary, so he doesn't have to sound like anyone except himself. It really undermines Lazenby's authority in the role, one which he's just about built successfully during the opening exchanges with Rigg and Ferzetti. Terrible, terrible, terrible decision - and yes, one which Connery would never ever have sanctioned.
Incidentally, while I would have preferred the Blofeld Trilogy to have been sequentially correct, I can't imagine Connery in the movie as we see it. I think that's because his interpretation never displays the vulnerabilities which Lazenby drew on.

78

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

chrisno1 wrote:

After all, Bond hasn't ever met Blofeld, and Blofeld hasn't met Sir Hilary, so he doesn't have to sound like anyone except himself.

Thank you, and I agree, except that within the loose continuity of the films the characters had already met, in YOLT, as Pleasance and Connery (albeit with Bond wearing his Japanese cosmetics); thus in OHMSS Bond has a new perfunctory disguise to satisfy the question as to why Blofeld doesn't appear to recognise him immediately.

79

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

Shady Tree wrote:

...within the loose continuity of the films the characters had already met, in YOLT, as Pleasance and Connery (albeit with Bond wearing his Japanese cosmetics); thus in OHMSS Bond has a new perfunctory disguise to satisfy the question as to why Blofeld doesn't appear to recognise him immediately.

that's a good point, that almost explains why Blofeld doesn't recognise Bond in OHMSS. We usually mock the Japanese disguise Connery assumes in YOLT, but maybe it actually worked well enough to confuse Blofeld?

however there's at least two other reasons why Blofeld should already know what Bond looks like:
-the targeted revenge scheme in FRWL, in which there is even a Connery-double used for target practice
-and Bond's deliberately publicized funeral at the beginning of YOLT. Doesn't Blofeld even reference the phony funeral when they finally meet in the volcano HQ?


btw I use the phrase "engaged to be engaged" because I don't think Bond actually proposes to Tracy until the barn scene, after he has escaped the mountain. He earlier agreed to marry her, in exchange for information on Blofeld's whereabouts, but this was a promise to her father and not to Tracy. Despite all the soft-focus montage in the first act, I don't think we ever hear the two of them talk about marriage, and he does seem to surprise her with the proposal in the barn scene.

80

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

caractacus potts wrote:
Shady Tree wrote:

...within the loose continuity of the films the characters had already met, in YOLT, as Pleasance and Connery (albeit with Bond wearing his Japanese cosmetics); thus in OHMSS Bond has a new perfunctory disguise to satisfy the question as to why Blofeld doesn't appear to recognise him immediately.

that's a good point, that almost explains why Blofeld doesn't recognise Bond in OHMSS. We usually mock the Japanese disguise Connery assumes in YOLT, but maybe it actually worked well enough to confuse Blofeld?

however there's at least two other reasons why Blofeld should already know what Bond looks like:
-the targeted revenge scheme in FRWL, in which there is even a Connery-double used for target practice
-and Bond's deliberately publicized funeral at the beginning of YOLT. Doesn't Blofeld even reference the phony funeral when they finally meet in the volcano HQ?


btw I use the phrase "engaged to be engaged" because I don't think Bond actually proposes to Tracy until the barn scene, after he has escaped the mountain. He earlier agreed to marry her, in exchange for information on Blofeld's whereabouts, but this was a promise to her father and not to Tracy. Despite all the soft-focus montage in the first act, I don't think we ever hear the two of them talk about marriage, and he does seem to surprise her with the proposal in the barn scene.

I'm impressed by your two scholarly points as to why in OHMSS Blofeld should already know what Bond looks like. I guess the continuity of the films through to DAD is loose enough that we're not really meant to be exercised by inconsistencies at that level; perhaps it's only since the Craig re-boot that such points would matter, in a different era with higher viewer expectations of film-to-film continuity (learned from millenial consumption of 'long form' serial TV, box sets and the like; though admittedly 'SPECTRE''s ret-con of the three preceding Craig films was quite unsubtle).

Point taken re. "engaged to be engaged"! I'm trying to remember when exactly in OHMSS Bond visits a jeweller's and whether Tracy's in the car for that trip.

There had been a suggestion at one point, in pre-production, that the story treatment of OHMSS should address the difference in appearance between Connery and the new Bond actor by including in the plot the idea that there had been some plastic surgery for Bond to alter his face and throw his adversaries off the scent. This was wisely dropped, though the idea of surgically altered appearance found its way into both DAF and DAD (making Blofeld doubles in DAF).

Last edited by Shady Tree (27th Apr 2019 20:12)

81

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

yeh I think the way we watch films has changed since there have been DVDs and now Netflix.
we now are so privileged to have the entire history of cinema available on demand.

but when I was a lad these films came on maybe once a year Sunday nights on ABC, on a snowy old tube teevee with rabbit ears, further handicapped by commercial breaks, edits, and real life distractions without the chance to rewind. On Monday morning when I discussed these films with my school chums we were all a bit confused about what we each thought we saw, and those misunderstandings persisted until the film came on teevee again a year later.
They were not designed for the kind of overanalysis we all get into now.

Whereas even when Casino Royale came out, it was clearly written to be viewed at least twice upon quick succession. The first time you finish it you're probably very confused as to what Vespers motivation really was, then you go home and debate it online, then you go back and pay attention to all the little clues like when she enters from the wrong side of the room and it makes sense. The film assumed a new way of moviewatching that did not exist when the classic films were made.

82

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

caractacus potts wrote:
Shady Tree wrote:

...within the loose continuity of the films the characters had already met, in YOLT, as Pleasance and Connery (albeit with Bond wearing his Japanese cosmetics); thus in OHMSS Bond has a new perfunctory disguise to satisfy the question as to why Blofeld doesn't appear to recognise him immediately.

that's a good point, that almost explains why Blofeld doesn't recognise Bond in OHMSS. We usually mock the Japanese disguise Connery assumes in YOLT, but maybe it actually worked well enough to confuse Blofeld?

however there's at least two other reasons why Blofeld should already know what Bond looks like:
-the targeted revenge scheme in FRWL, in which there is even a Connery-double used for target practice
-and Bond's deliberately publicized funeral at the beginning of YOLT. Doesn't Blofeld even reference the phony funeral when they finally meet in the volcano HQ?


btw I use the phrase "engaged to be engaged" because I don't think Bond actually proposes to Tracy until the barn scene, after he has escaped the mountain. He earlier agreed to marry her, in exchange for information on Blofeld's whereabouts, but this was a promise to her father and not to Tracy. Despite all the soft-focus montage in the first act, I don't think we ever hear the two of them talk about marriage, and he does seem to surprise her with the proposal in the barn scene.

Guys, I'd completely forgotten about the meet in YOLT !  ajb007/rolleyes
And I only saw the climax of the damn thing on TV the other night ! ajb007/rolleyes
But yes, Shady, I agree with you, that Blofeld has seen Bond only in disguise and also yes, Caractacus, that then negates the whole of FRWL.
I hate timelines. They simply don't work. And none of this does.

As I've got older and wiser - but clearly still impulsive [see errors above] - I've come to recognise that OHMSS should really be the opening salvo of the James Bond saga as it allows so much more to make sense. I expect that'll be comprehensively disproved by somebody, but it would certainly explain why Lazenby looks very much a 30-year old in OHMSS and why Connery, in DN and FRWL, is so bloody ruthless, with both men and women.

83

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

No problem, but we simply have to live with the loose continuity of the early films and not worry too much about inconsistencies. However young Lazenby looks it's clear from OHMSS that he's been after Blofeld for some time (Bond would rather resign than give up Operation Bedlam) and that Blofeld's current plot is just the latest of many.

The viewer is expected to assume that the events of the preceding Bond movies 'happened'. OHMSS explicitly references Bond's memories of at least three of his four SPECTRE-related movie missions (FRWL among them), and the whole design of the title sequence is set up to impress viewers with the idea that this is the same James Bond we've known and loved, despite the re-casting.

OHMSS was in cinemas several years before Bond films were broadcast on TV and, of course, there was no home video yet. No history of the Bond movies had yet been published in any detail or in book form. Audiences may have seen previous Bond movies again in cinema 'double bills' (I used to love those), but really that was the only opportunity of re-viewing them. So, few people were in a position to spot, less still to worry about, finer questions of plot time-line. All the producers wanted to do was to establish that OHMSS was another film in their own 'official' canon and not a rival Bond film - not set in a different universe (as the surreal spoof movie of 1967, 'Casino Royale', had been). The different directors of the Eon Bond films were each able to make their own stylistic choices within the limits of the Bond genre and that, as much as anything, accounts for the inconsequential discrepancies between individual movies in the on-going series at the time - the quibbles that we might self-indulgently debate today.

Last edited by Shady Tree (28th Apr 2019 13:33)

84

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

I think it was Peter Hunt on the DVD commentaries and/or documentaries who said the Bond films were made to be just fun entertainment. Hunt made it sound like he was the main person responsible for the first six Bond films, and that he put them together the best he could to tell the most cohesive story he could tell, but he knew that they were far from perfect and didn't think it mattered. He didn't intend for people to analyse them so much, which was perfectly fine for that era. There are plenty of inconsistencies in the 1960s Bond films that were mistakes, and plenty that were knowingly/lazily done because the film makers didn't think anyone would notice or care.

We are free to analyse these faults now and free to come up with theories. It's fun to think about these things. But unfortunately the true answers to many of our questions are not satisfying answers. The Bond films were B films and not made to the standards of Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick. Peter Hunt makes it sound like the 1960s Bond films were put together in Cubby and Harry's garage, and I love the casual attitude he had to making the films. It's part of what makes the films so much fun. I think Bond films made a big jump in quality with The Spy Who Loved Me, then another with GoldenEye, and then with Craig took a huge leap forward in the amount of care put into the films. But I'm not saying the films have been getting better, as that's all in the eye of the beholder.

85

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

I agree, except that from GF/TB onwards the Bond films were what we would now call blockbusters, and a great deal of time, talent and care was lavished on their production. They had always been well made: 'A grade' talent applied to 'B movie' concepts - from the inception - generating phenomonal success and popularity. The early ones have odd internal continuity lapses but yes, there was no interest in creating a watertight arc between films... because at the time, and for this genre, audiences didn't particularly expect it or look for it as part of their entertainment.

Your point about Peter Hunt's approach is interesting. The Bond film-makers saw themselves as technicians making popular entertainment rather than as auteurs, yet the aesthetic sensibility which each core contributor brought to the movies amounts to artistry in its own right (Hunt, John Barry and Ken Adam to name but three) and it was all cinema magic when combined.

When Hunt got his chance to direct, with OHMSS, he went out of his way to create imaginative, memorable shots, and John Glen's second unit work is also brilliant.

Last edited by Shady Tree (28th Apr 2019 10:25)

86

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

In Sinclair McKay's Bond book, he has a sharp quote from Connery who said how Lazenby just didn't have that line delivery as an actor to take the sting out of the dodgy jokes Bond is given - and he's spot on. I can get on with Lazenby but his joke deliver is just awful, and to be fair, he's given a Connery script and also all the other actors have struggled with Connery's legacy in this regard.
There are some jokes only Connery could get away with.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

87

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

I genuinely wonder what Connery's opinion on OHMSS is. And does he regret not doing that one instead of the other three instead.

88

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

Shady Tree wrote:

No problem, but we simply have to live with the loose continuity of the early films and not worry too much about inconsistencies. However young Lazenby looks it's clear from OHMSS that he's been after Blofeld for some time (Bond would rather resign than give up Operation Bedlam) and that Blofeld's current plot is just the latest of many.

The viewer is expected to assume that the events of the preceding Bond movies 'happened'. OHMSS explicitly references Bond's memories of at least three of his four SPECTRE-related movie missions (FRWL among them), and the whole design of the title sequence is set up to impress viewers with the idea that this is the same James Bond we've known and loved, despite the re-casting.

OHMSS was in cinemas several years before Bond films were broadcast on TV and, of course, there was no home video yet. No history of the Bond movies had yet been published in any detail or in book form. Audiences may have seen previous Bond movies again in cinema 'double bills' (I used to love those), but really that was the only opportunity of re-viewing them. So, few people were in a position to spot, less still to worry about, finer questions of plot time-line. All the producers wanted to do was to establish that OHMSS was another film in their own 'official' canon and not a rival Bond film - not set in a different universe (as the surreal spoof movie of 1967, 'Casino Royale', had been). The different directors of the Eon Bond films were each able to make their own stylistic choices within the limits of the Bond genre and that, as much as anything, accounts for the inconsequential discrepancies between individual movies in the on-going series at the time - the quibbles that we might self-indulgently debate today.

Ah, Shady Shady, I love your act...

I am not only older and wiser but also less attentive.

When I first joined this forum, way back when, there is no way I'd have forgotten those little continuity scenes in OHMSS. I remember reading somewhere - it might have been in Rubin's book - that those scenes were inserted to remind the audience this was James Bond, even if it wasn't Sean Connery, and quite possibly they wouldn't have been included had Sir Sean taken the part. Unfortunately, they are there, so we can't really alter the progressive and loose time frame as we see it, even if only in theory. This is a great pity as swapping OHMSS to the front of the franchise does save a fair few problems, though it probably creates others as well.

89

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

Napoleon Plural wrote:

I can get on with Lazenby but his joke deliver is just awful, and to be fair, he's given a Connery script and also all the other actors have struggled with Connery's legacy in this regard.

On this subject of jokey line delivery, and how effective in this regard the different Bond actors are, Daniel Craig has it down.

Kudos to Craig for channelling Roger Moore in his quip made in SF, directly before he realises that Dame Judi's M is fatally wounded. She asks what's kept him. He's just arrived and killed off Silva, after having first plunged through an ice hole for an underwater fight with a heavy. He replies, "Well, I... got into deep water!" That "Well, I..." is pure Moore, and Craig seems to intend it that way. It's a knowing, throwback moment of light relief, clearing a way for the serious dramatic business of M's death.

Craig's jokey moments are carefully rationed for optimal effect. During his pursuit of Patrice in SF's PTS, the sight gag as he smartens his jacket, having just 'changed carriages', recalls, for me, both Brosnan and Moore; the later comedy when he gestures to the shocked driver of a moving District Line train to let him aboard, then announces that he's 'Health and Safety', reminds me of both Dalton and Connery.

I don't think any of the other Bonds could have got away with Craig's "Who says it's my first time?" joke with Silva, which implies that Bond may have experimented with gay sex in the past. Connery would have been too red-bloodedly straight, in an 'unreconstructed' way, to countenance the joke (despite smelling like "a tart's handkerchief" and wearing a pink kipper tie in DAF); Lazenby and Moore would have been uncomfortably awkward about the joke; and with either Dalton or Brosnan one might have believed too readily that they actually meant it! Craig's smile for Silva has just the right, unnerving note of ambiguity - which his sexual self-confidence is secure enough to allow.

Last edited by Shady Tree (5th May 2019 11:11)

90

Re: OHMSS - am I the only one who...

Jimmy Bond wrote:

I genuinely wonder what Connery's opinion on OHMSS is. And does he regret not doing that one instead of the other three instead.

There was an interview with Connery on the set of DIAMONDS that was published in an issue of BONDAGE Magazine in which he gives the opinion that the film didn't work. I believe it was in issue #13. I'll have to dig out my copy and see what he said about the film.