Going against the more traditional holiday movie fare (a big chunk of it takes place during the Christmas season so it counts), it has become tradition to celebrate with what has become the most underrated, overlooked Bond flick (which is a shame). On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is by far the most emotionally charged film in the cannon. It leads the secret agent to abandon his “bachelor’s taste for freedom” for the daughter of the head of an underworld organization. At first, Bond enters into a bargain with Draco, father of Countessa Teresa di Vicenzo. In exchange for help in tracking down the evil Blofeld, 007 would “look after” the head-strong, resilient, resourceful woman. Bond’s first encounter with Traci was almost tragic as the countessa was about to drown herself.
No Bond movie is complete with a love story alone. James tracks Blofeld to his hidden Alpine chalet where he has been cultivating his crop of female lovelies in another of his plots for world domination. The spy’s disguise as a genealogist is discovered and he is locked in one of the endless array of death traps from which he undoubtedly escapes. With the bad guys in pursuit, James again meets up with Traci who saves his life. However, she is captured and taken to Blofeld’s lair. In the rescue mission led by Bond and Draco, Traci proves her resilience in hand-to-hand combat with several baddies.
I have always liked Bond in wintery climates. Breathtaking scenery, action on skis, bobsleds, and a demolition derby on ice are just some of the action sequences. OHMSS is very slim on gadgetry. It does feature two of the worst inventions created by Q. Radioactive lint? Plus a large, cumbersome safecracking device that takes forever to open a safe. Thank goodness James brought along some reading material while waiting… have your name prominently displayed in the comment box if you can tell me what that material is.
I think the reason for the underappreciation of the movie is the acting choice for Bond, himself. Poor George Lazenby was an Australian model with no acting experience attempting to fill the shoes of a character who was so well established by Sean Connery. Telly Savalas played the role of Blofeld with a devine sense of villainy. And the gorgeous Diana Rigg used her talents from the television series The Avengers (skip the big-screen movie adaptation) very well as the ill-fated Traci.