George Lazenby — The Uncomfortable Bond

Read my overview of the James Bond franchise

When Connery had had enough of paparazzi and had uttered his famous comment that he didn't find Japanese women sexy, the producers let him out of his contract and turned to an Australian part-time male model with little acting experience.

James BondGeorge Lazenby was a generically handsome man, with a pleasant but unremarkable voice. His low level of talent wasn't a fatal detriment, although it would have helped if he hadn't been placed in the Bond movie that required the most emoting. Diana Rigg, his costar who is quite talented, has said Lazenby was horrible, not only as an actor, but also as a person. The second part has been backed up by the director as well as Lazenby himself, who admits he lacked the acting chops and the maturity to be the star in a major picture. The real problem was his lack of charisma. James Bond is a larger than life figure that was just too big for Lazenby.

For the each other actors who've taken the role, I say what his Bond was like. Not so for Lazenby. His Bond isn't like much of anything. He never works out who he is. He attempts to be sensitive, but manages only weak and false.

Lazenby's only Bond film:


On Her Majesty's Secret Service

The Devil Says

Skip It

(And pretend it never existed)

With a new actor playing Bond, this was a new start for the series. Unfortunately, it isn't a very impressive one. There are plenty of new things: The drab acting of the star (in what should have been Bond's most emotional outing), the miscasting of the Bond girl (Diana Rigg is beautiful, but too strong for the role of a suicidal, wild heiress—she does fine when Tracy is in control of herself), and the pace (it's glacial). At 140 minutes, this is the longest Bond film, and it could be cut in half. I won't say that having cringe-worthy dialog is new, but the quality is. There are several horrible semi-jokes, but the winning line has to be, "There's always something formal about the point of a pistol." Point of a pistol? Is this a pistol with a bayonet?

Gadgets Low.
Absurdity of evil plot High
Killer fish No

It is a movie in search of a plot. It meanders about almost randomly for a time (not the first Bond film to do so—think Thunderball) and doesn't decide on a story for an hour. The one it ends up with is more unlikely than Die Another Day''s invisible car. Bond masquerades as a genealogy  expert to infiltrate the evil Blofeld's allergy lab, where the villain is using psychedelic lights to hypnotize girls into liking chickens. His master plan is to give them all diseases (in cosmetic bags) and use them to blackmail the world into dropping all charges against him and accepting his title. What the Hell kind of a plan is that?

James BondWhat does amuse me is the theme of whoring.  I've always supported prostitution and am happy to see it enter mainstream entertainment. Both Bond and Tracy, his girl of the moment, are whores. Keep in mind, I say that word without any derogatory connotations. Bond pays off Tracy's gambling debts, so she sleeps with him, but not, as women usually do, in gratitude, pretending there isn't a trade involved. Nope, she tells him that he's purchased her for the night. Later, he sells himself, agreeing to marry her in exchange for information on Blofeld's location.

For a film so concerned with connecting itself to its predecessors (the opening credits sequence is filled with images of past opponents and babes; Bond handles items from the other movies while the old themes play), it has bizarre continuity problems with Blofeld. Not only has he changed his personality, age, abilities, goals, leadership position, and facial scar, but he also has memory problems. He can't remember James Bond even though they've met and chatted before. You'd think he would remember the guy who shot at him. The reason for the lapse is that in an earlier version of the script Bond had undergone plastic surgery to throw off his enemies (and explain why Bond didn't look like Sean Connery). Eventually the producers worked out that was a stupid idea, but they were so lazy they didn't bother to correct the script.

In recent years, On Her Majesty's Secret Service has gained defenders who praise its lack of gadgets and  its meaningful relationship. Not using cigarette-dart guns would be more impressive if they'd managed to make the film exciting. As for the relationship...Are these people nuts? Meaningful? The big romance is shown in a montage. A montage! That's the same technique used in Ski School and other works of cinematic art. It is best not to dwell on whatever the film was saying (or ignoring) about mental health but it is safe to say even Bond is not the cure to suicidal depression.

I can't beat Blofeld's comment in summarizing the quality of the movie: "Do you remember how when you came here you hated chickens?" Yeah, that says it all.

Sins (What does this mean?)

Pride Bond is still proud though it doesn't show in any special way. Blofeld could use some Pride as he seems very concerned his vain attempt to be addressed by title.
Sloth Nada.
Avarice Nada.
Gluttony Nada.
Wraith The violence is less comic book-like than is the norm for a Bond flick. There's also a lot less of it. Except for a silly-looking ski chase (with obvious rear-projection effects), there is almost no action till the climax, which is admittedly entertaining.
Beauty Nada. For a Bond film, the cinematography is remarkably unremarkable.
Thought I suppose Bond's still bright, though it's hard to tell.
Humor Bond has his normal one-liners, but Lazenby has a slightly stiffer delivery than a pitchfork (and I know pitchforks).
Lust Much less in the hot babe department than I've come to expect from a Bond movie. Diana Rigg is beautiful and sexy, but does little to show off either. You will do better with an episode of The Avengers. There is another girl for Bond to shag, but it's done for laughs, and isn't particularly funny.



My Other Bond Reviews

The Connery Films
The Moore Films
The Dalton Films
The Brosnan Films
The Craig Films


Buy It






Bond Girls

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Diana Rigg: Tracy di Vicenzo
Angela Scoular: Ruby Bartlett




Bond Villains

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas)