With the newest James Bond movie about to hit our movie screens, now is an excellent time to go over those old movies. Which Bond is THE BOND for you? Obviously, most people think of only one actor when they think of the series: Sean Connery. It's true that Connery brought a certain charm to the role that made Roger Moore seem like a troll by comparison. It is also true that the last Bond, Timothy Dalton, had qualities in his performances that reminded one of both Connery and Moore. He delivered the toughness of Connery and the smooth, aristocratic attitude of Moore in equal measure.
But what about the missing Bond movie? George Lazenby replaced Connery for one movie in 1969, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", and delivered a performance that was the closest to author Ian Fleming's take on the character. What? George Lazenby? Isn't that the guy who's in those direct to cable "Emmanuel" movies now? Yes, the mighty has fallen, but "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is an extremely cool James Bond movie for several reasons.
To begin with, George Lazenby is a bit gruff, it's true. He doesn't have the diction or the charm of either Connery or Moore, but what he does have is the brutal physicality that the Bond in the Fleming novels has. Lazenby throws his fists around, showing absolutely no mercy to his enemies. He's placed in a series of perilous situations that are ideally suited for a Bond adventure; deadly ski shots are backed up with some pretty amazing car chase sequences that outdid similar scenes in any previous Bond film.
To top it all off, there's the killer plotline involving a sterility agent hidden in women's cosmetics, all masterminded by that ultra cool bad guy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Telly Savalas is perfect as Blofeld in this movie, because he's just cheesy enough to make the whole concept believable. Plus, ultra sexy Diana Rigg (gggrrrooowwwwlll) is just too much as the woman who steals Bond's heart, because she's his equal, not just another "bird" for James to use and ultimately, abuse.
So, don't believe me? Check out "Diamonds Are Forever", complete with a safari outfit wearing, hairpiece brandishing Sean Connery, and saddled with the awful stylings of Jill St. John, and tell me that Lazenby didn't do okay as James Bond.
Copyright 1995 John A. Lavin
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