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A Few Words About A few words about...™ On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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The hunt for the final Bond titles to be released continued, and finally ended with the last three. What a waste of time.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service, director Peter Hunt's lone addition to the Bond series, and the only film with George Lazenby in the lead, was neither a high, nor a low point in the series.

Originally a Monaural mix, the audio has been decently spread to 5.1, and is presented in DTS-HD MA.

Image quality is a bit odd, and unexpected for this special anniversary. The new Blu-ray is inclusive of vertical scratches on a number of shots, that could easily have been removed. Whether there back in 1969 or not seems irrelevant.

Image - 3

Audio - 4

RAH
 

AdrianTurner

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Sad about that - however, I might argue that none of the original Bond films (everything up to the Brosnan era) had more than routine-looking photography. Thunderball is especially ugly, in my view. Considering the money they lavished on the sets and locations, most of them looked fairly ordinary. Even You Only Live Twice, shot by Freddie Young, looks ho-hum and could have been shot by any old journeyman.
 

rich_d

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AdrianTurner said:
Sad about that - however, I might argue that none of the original Bond films (everything up to the Brosnan era) had more than routine-looking photography. Thunderball is especially ugly, in my view. Considering the money they lavished on the sets and locations, most of them looked fairly ordinary. Even You Only Live Twice, shot by Freddie Young, looks ho-hum and could have been shot by any old journeyman.
Or perhaps you were just distracted ...
 

Russell G

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My favourite of the classic Bond films. Sad it's a bit bunk on Blu. The whole set sounds a bit here or there. I'll wait for a spectacular sale before plunking down my dollars. Thanks for all the work Mr. Harris!
 

JoshZ

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RAH, I was hoping you'd comment on the brightness and contrast of the disc. In the commentary, Peter Hunt mentions that he lit this movie differently than the earlier Bond films, however the Blu-ray seems to have its levels boosted. Whites look blown out, and the movie has a rather flat, cheap look to it. But I'm having trouble telling how much of that is digital tinkering, versus how much was lighting or film stock choices.
Hunt specifically says that he didn't want the sets to look like sets, but that casino set early in the movie looks really stagy, and the brightness seems to have a lot to do with that.
I noticed the vertical scratches you mention, but they didn't bother me so much on this one. The scratches are much worse on Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.
 

JoshZ

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Was also hoping that you could comment on the opening credits. The titles on several of the 2.35:1 Bond movies, including this one, have been pillarboxed to 2.2:1. My first assumption was that Maurice Binder may have shot those sequences on 65mm. However, the titles on Moonraker are obviously squeezed. Round images like the moon are oval. This makes me suspect that Lowry Digital did this in a misguided attempt to adjust for overscan (like Warner often pillarboxes the credits on classic films).
 

Billy Batson

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I'd have to agree with Adrian, the Bonds always looked rather ho-hum, very workmanlike. Many years ago working in a film lab, I was working with someone who used to assist with the dubbing on some of the 60's Bonds, & I asked him why some of the sound sync was so bad on them, & he said that a lot of the lines were changed between shooting & dubbing, so the actors were dubbing lines that they didn't say in the first place!
 

Peter Neski

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"Even You Only Live Twice, shot by Freddie Young, looks ho-hum and could have been shot by any old journeyman."
how can you tell from what prints we are given? Ted Moore shot both the wonderful looking Goldfinger and the cruddy looking Diamonds
 

JoshZ

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Billy Batson said:
I'd have to agree with Adrian, the Bonds always looked rather ho-hum, very workmanlike. Many years ago working in a film lab, I was working with someone who used to assist with the dubbing on some of the 60's Bonds, & I asked him why some of the sound sync was so bad on them, & he said that a lot of the lines were changed between shooting & dubbing, so the actors were dubbing lines that they didn't say in the first place!
That wasn't an uncommon practice at the time.
 

UHDvision

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The 5.1 remix on this one is awful. The music is buried by the effects, especially on the Gumbold scene, which is astounding sounding in mono.
 

JoshZ

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HDvision said:
The 5.1 remix on this one is awful. The music is buried by the effects, especially on the Gumbold scene, which is astounding sounding in mono.
Yeah, and the dialogue has serious phase issues every time they try to pan it to the side speakers. This is definitely the sloppiest 5.1 remix of the lot.
 

brioni

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JoshZ said:
Was also hoping that you could comment on the opening credits. The titles on several of the 2.35:1 Bond movies, including this one, have been pillarboxed to 2.2:1. My first assumption was that Maurice Binder may have shot those sequences on 65mm. However, the titles on Moonraker are obviously squeezed. Round images like the moon are oval. This makes me suspect that Lowry Digital did this in a misguided attempt to adjust for overscan (like Warner often pillarboxes the credits on classic films).
The AR for each title sequence has always been the same as the film it’s in. Maurice hated his titles being squeezed, that’s why he personally rearranged them for the TV versions.
 

JoshZ

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brioni said:
The AR for each title sequence has always been the same as the film it’s in. Maurice hated his titles being squeezed, that’s why he personally rearranged them for the TV versions.
I figured as much. In the "007 Mission Control" section of the Thunderball and Moonraker discs, you can compare the pillarboxed credits sequences with text-free versions at 2.35:1. Watching that, it's pretty clear that the pillarboxed versions are squeezed. The Moonraker moon is round in the text-free version.
 

Stefan Andersson

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JoshZ -- re: your queries about image quality -- for more information, very relevant it seems to me, see:
http://www.zetaminor.com/dvd/james_bond_dvd/james_bond_guide_3_ohmss.htm
Scroll down for screencaps comparing R1 SE (2000) and R2 UE (2006), also various other comments on video/audio changes between various versions
http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s4017serv.html - comments about video/mastering at bottom of review
 

Robert Harris said:
On Her Majesty's Secret Service, director Peter Hunt's lone addition to the Bond series, and the only film with George Lazenby in the lead, was neither a high, nor a low point in the series.
I respectfully disagree. This is the ultimate Bond film. Diana Rigg is the best Bond girl. It's got the best Bond score, the best stunt work, a brilliant camera team taking full advantage of one of the most beautiful mountain locations in the world, and a memorable ending unlike any other in the series. And all of this in a film that had to compensate for the absence of Sean Connery, who was synonymous with the character of Bond. A first-rate job done by all.
 

John Hodson

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Bill Huelbig said:
I respectfully disagree. This is the ultimate Bond film. Diana Rigg is the best Bond girl. It's got the best Bond score, the best stunt work, a brilliant camera team taking full advantage of one of the most beautiful mountain locations in the world, and a memorable ending unlike any other in the series. And all of this in a film that had to compensate for the absence of Sean Connery, who was synonymous with the character of Bond. A first-rate job done by all.
But the 'ultimate Bond film' is missing one vital ingredient Bill surely? The best Bond...
BTW, IMHO, it's also the best edited, certainly of the 'classic' era.
 

John Hodson said:
But the 'ultimate Bond film' is missing one vital ingredient Bill surely? The best Bond...
True, but George Lazenby was so good, and the movie surrounding him was so REALLY good, I soon stopped noticing that I wasn't seeing Sean Connery. It couldn't have been easy for George to step into that particular role, especially in the Bond-crazy 1960's.
 

Spencer Draper

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To me this gets better every viewing, and has become the best film for me. It is the closest the films ever came to Fleming, and the brilliant script only tightens up a few plot points from the novel. Despite being inexperienced, George does effectively put across the general sense of malaise that 007 is supposed to be feeling throughout the story that only furthers his own personal turmoil. This is fully expressed in Bond's introduction in the teaser, which is quite easily the best Bondian moment of the entire series. Bond is tired, feeling his age, pissed off, disobeying and ignoring orders and begins to hurtle his car through a cliffside road at dawn. Then he is passed by a stunning girl at speed (Pure Fleming) and shifts into gear after her. Of course we've seen this in Goldfinger, but five years later things are different. Now Bond throws caution to the wind and doesn't cut himself off with a quip.
The score is Barry's finest Bond, and Peter Hunt finally got his shot at directing. This is what makes the film. Hunt knew 007 inside and out and knew exactly what worked for a Bond film.
The LD so far has been the only edition to be completely error free, so I'm hoping that this BD at least got that right. The mono is essential and should have been lossless. It seems that they again attempted to tweak the coloring to be a bit more accurate but in doing so have elevated the contrast levels.
 

Richard--W

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Spencer Draper said:
To me this gets better every viewing, and has become the best film for me. It is the closest the films ever came to Fleming, and the brilliant script only tightens up a few plot points from the novel. Despite being inexperienced, George does effectively put across the general sense of malaise that 007 is supposed to be feeling throughout the story that only furthers his own personal turmoil. This is fully expressed in Bond's introduction in the teaser, which is quite easily the best Bondian moment of the entire series. Bond is tired, feeling his age, pissed off, disobeying and ignoring orders and begins to hurtle his car through a cliffside road at dawn. Then he is passed by a stunning girl at speed (Pure Fleming) and shifts into gear after her. Of course we've seen this in Goldfinger, but five years later things are different. Now Bond throws caution to the wind and doesn't cut himself off with a quip.
The score is Barry's finest Bond, and Peter Hunt finally got his shot at directing. This is what makes the film. Hunt knew 007 inside and out and knew exactly what worked for a Bond film. ...
See? OHMSS continues to win respect. It's reputation seems to grow with each passing year.
The film reaches a creative and dramatic peak in the series. It is pure Fleming, and the action scenes were fresh and new in 1969.
Just think what editor / director Peter Hunt and writer Richard Maibaum might have accomplished if EON had permitted them to continue their collaboration into the 1970s. OHMSS would have been the start of an upgrade of the franchise.
I'm disappointed in the Blu-ray, however. The color is wrong, and the contrast is wrong. Unbelievable.
 

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