- Apr 24, 2006
- Charlotte, NC
- Real Name
- Matt Hough
Peter Hunt's On Her Majesty's Secret Service really went into the world with rather unpredictable expectations. With no Sean Connery on board and being a movie that cost more than any previous Bond film, ran much longer than any previous Bond picture, and found itself surrounded by a general feeling of espionage fatigue, no one knew what the final results would be. As it turned out, the film eventually made its money back, but a recalcitrant new star wasn't asked back for another go, and the producers knew the future of the franchise was now on tenuous ground. This reissue of the previous Blu-ray release comes in new steelbook casing with a digital copy included, but the disc's contents are identical to the previous release.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 1.0 DD (Mono), English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 2 Hr.22 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraVioletsteelbook case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 09/15/2015
The Production Rating: 4.5/5
Having escaped from James Bond when his volcano-secluded fortress was destroyed, Blofeld (Telly Savalas) retreats to a Swiss Alp stronghold dubbed Piz Gloria. Here he plots his next terrorist attack, this time on Great Britain and the world in the form of a biological weapon targeted against agricultural and livestock producers of the world. James Bond (George Lazenby) is dispatched to stop him disguised as a mild-mannered genealogist. Along the way he meets, becomes fascinated by, and eventually falls in love with the madcap, thrill-seeking Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg).
With several Bond adventures in the future taking place in ski resorts, this is the film that features the most impressive skiing stunts and most breathtaking Alpine photography. In fact, the entire enterprise seems to up the “wow factor” with a succession of stupendous fights (three in the first twenty-one minutes; according to authorities, George Lazenby won the role of 007 over his other contenders because he was the best at doing the action fight choreography in screen tests) and heart-stopping chases in cars (one memorable scene on an icy race course), two chases on skis, and a memorable climactic chase and fight on bobsleds. The middle sections of the 142-minute film sag just a bit as Bond tries to pass himself off as an intellectual not particularly interested in women, but the developing love story between Bond and Tracy is so involving (a beautiful montage sequence that is by far the most romantic interlude in any Bond movie as they’re serenaded by Louis Armstrong’s last song “We Have All the Time in the World”) and so unique to the series that it almost doesn’t matter. Having been an editor and then second unit director on previous Bond efforts, Peter Hunt came to the project fully versed in Bond, but this vastly complicated project went way over schedule and budget. There also seemed to be a bit too much ill-advised reminiscence about previous Bond films both in the main title sequence and in another moment when Bond goes to his office and begins sorting through memorabilia from his past as props (and musical themes) from Dr. No, From Russia with Love, and Thunderball are packed away.
Amid much world press attention, George Lazenby effortlessly stepped into the shoes of 007. Though he may have been a pill to work with on and off the screen, his recalcitrance doesn’t read on-screen at all, and one wonders if the next several Bond movies might not have been improved with his suave, easily commanding presence. Diana Rigg is lovely and fascinating as the troubled Tracy who inevitably lets herself give in to love, and Gabriele Ferzetti as her mobster/tycoon father has authority and on-screen confidence to spare. Telly Savalas as Blofeld is problematic looking or sounding nothing like previous incarnations of the role, being much more a man of action and not leaving Bond’s death to others (and why he wouldn’t recognize Bond after already dealing with him in the last film unless the films are not to be perceived as being in chronological order). Ilse Steppat is another memorable villainess henchwoman as Irma Bunt while Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny gets her most generous amount of screen time in the series here as she first saves Bond’s job when he’s ready to quit and then later reacts genuinely to losing him to another woman.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The 2.35:1 Panavision aspect ratio is faithfully delivered in the 1080p presentation using the AVC codec. Unlike You Only Live Twice, the color here sparkles and has a vibrancy missing from the transfer of the last film. While flesh tones sometimes err on the pink side (especially in the film’s first half), color consistency otherwise is admirable. Sharpness is superb, too, allowing us to see facial anomalies and the texture of fabrics easily. Black levels are very good as is shadow detail. The main title credits are windowboxed with this transfer. The film has been divided into 32 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is excellent (the avalanche sequence will test your sound system almost as much as any modern action film). Discreet use of the fronts and rears is noticeable if not always mixed with aplomb, and John Barry’s music (and Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “We Have All the Time in the World”) is once again given a greater emphasis in the fronts rather than the entire sound spectrum, but it boasts good fidelity. Though most of the dialogue has been placed in the center channel, there are patches of directionalized dialogue in certain scenes. There is also a Dolby Digital mono track included.
Special Features Rating: 5/5
Audio Commentary: once again presided over by John Cork, and it’s once again a compilation of cast and crew comments both vintage and more recently obtained. Expertly aligned with the sequences being described, it’s another entertaining commentary track.
Casting On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1:35, SD): a vintage glimpse of George Lazenby and Diana Rigg being interviewed by the press about the movie.
Press Day in Portugal (1:32, SD): another brief look at a staged press event purportedly during the filming of the wedding scene but actually mounted the day before the actual filming in another location.
George Lazenby in His Own Words (9:27, SD): an interview with the second screen Bond at the Dorchester Hotel in 1968 prior to filming and later on in 2002 reminiscing about his brief reign as Bond.
Shot on Ice (9:45, SD): a 1969 promotional film showing behind-the-scenes work on the sequence where Tracy must drive a car on ice to get away from some of Blofeld’s henchmen.
Swiss Movement (7:29, HD): another vintage 1969 featurette which stresses the international flavor of the casting of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and focuses on the three month shooting schedule in the Piz Gloria location.
Exotic Locations (4:24, SD): Maud Adams narrates the locations for the movie.
Inside On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (41:41, SD): a documentary featuring interviews with director Peter Hunt, star George Lazenby (who discusses his hiring, the difficult shooting schedule, and his firing), and others covering the basics of the production schedule.
Inside Q’s Laboratory (10:26, SD): an overview of the Q gadgets from many of the Bond films and offering a tribute to Desmond Llewelyn who had died when the Ultimate Edition DVD was being readied for market.
Above It All (5:41, SD): a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the ski sequences were shot by ace aerial cameraman Johnny Jordan.
Theatrical Trailer (2:16, HD), the five TV spots (3:10, SD), and the seven radio spots (30:27).
Image Database: contains dozens of black and white and color pictures and artwork dividing the production photos into eight classifications.
Steelbook Casing/Ultraviolet: code sheet enclosed in the case.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
One of the most memorable of all James Bond adventures due to its star’s single entry in the series and its concentration on human concerns rather than tricks and gadgets while not stinting on the action and adventure, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in its original Blu-ray transfer is being offered in this new steelbook case exclusively at Best Buy though Amazon is listing the item for future sale (no date specified) and marketplace sellers are also there asking outrageous sums for it. Highly recommended for those who don’t already own a copy!
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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