On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the sixth instalment of the James Bond film franchise and stars George Lazenby as Agent 007, who replaced Sean Connery.
Bond faces off with Blofeld again, this time played by Telly Savalas. The Bond villain reveals his plan to blackmail the world, threatening global famine and infertility unless they comply.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features some of the most iconic stunts and locations in the Bond series, including a dramatic ski chase during a daring escape from Piz Gloria, Blofeld’s mountain retreat.
Through his journey, Bond meets Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo, a woman who captures Bond’s heart, so much so that their love culminates in marriage, but as with everything in Bond’s love life, it doesn’t end well.
On Her Majesty’s Service was met with scepticism at the time, and wasn’t as big a Box Office hit as the previous movie You Only Live Twice. It could be the public didn’t like it that Bond wasn’t Sean Connery anymore, or it could be a new more emotional Bond was on show.
Whatever the reason, the film was criticised at the time, but it’s actually a really good Bond movie. It was stripped of all the gadgets, and it had more of a realistic villainous plot, and to be fair, it’s actually a really good movie.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Synopsis
The film follows Bond, played by George Lazenby, as he travels to Switzerland to track down Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of the global criminal organization SPECTRE.
Bond is aided by Tracy di Vicenzo, the daughter of Marc-Ange Draco, the head of the Unione Corse, a European crime syndicate. Bond saves Tracy at the beginning of the movie and Draco has Bond kidnapped and brought to him, to thank him as it’s the only way he would be able to get Bond there.
He tells 007 of Tracy’s troubles, and offers him $1m to marry her. Bond refuses the offer but does say he’ll keep dating her if Draco helps 007 track down Blofeld. Bond and Tracy fall in love and eventually get married, but their happiness is short-lived.
Bond tracks down Blofeld in his remote lair, Piz Gloria, up in the Swiss Alps and poses as a man Blofeld thinks he’s doing business with. During his visit, Bond meets twelve beautiful women – the Angels of Death, who’ve been treated by Blofeld for various allergies.
In his disguise, bond wears a kilt outfit and has dinner with the Angel’s of Death, who are excited that a man is there. One of them, Ruby, writes her room number 8 on his bare leg.
Later that night, he visits Ruby’s room and she’s naked waiting for him. While there, 007 discovers Blofeld’s plot as the Angels of Death are being manipulated to spread deadly bacteria around the globe. He also enjoys more time with a second Angel of Death.
Bond’s dalliance with the women blows his cover and Blofeld has him thrown into a lockup. He finally escapes and makes a daring escape from Piz Gloria on skis as Blofeld and his accomplices give chase.
Bond ends up on one ski, and has a few close shaves but makes it to the mountain village where he’s reunited with his love, Tracy. She helps him get away in her classic red 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 but are chased by Blofeld’s henchwoman Irma and her crew.
The chases are spectacular and Tracy’s driving ends up on an ice, Nascar style race as the villains give chase. They finally get away and end up in a barn, where Bond professes his love to her, and proposes marriage.
The next day they’re out on a leisurely ski until Blofeld and his men track them down and give chase. Both Bond and Tracy are adept skiers, but Blofeld causes an avalanche to stop them. He thinks he’s killed Bond but he finds and kidnaps Tracy.
007 heads back to HQ but M forbids him from mounting a rescue mission for the girl he’s fallen for. Of course, Bond goes against M and devises a plan asking Draco and his team for an offensive against Blofeld’s command center.
Draco gets 3 helicopters to infiltrate Blofeld’s mountain retreat, which they destroy and free Tracy. Draco takes his daughter on the helicopter, while Bond stays to makes sure Blofeld is finished.
Blofeld makes his getaway all alone on a bobsleigh, and Bond gives chase after him. The bobsleigh chase is spectacular with both men almost losing their lives a few times. Blofeld believes he’s finally got rid of Bond after he throws a hand grenade to blow his bobsleigh off track.
But Bond is soon on top of him and the fight continues. After a few minutes chase, Blofeld meets his end as he smashes into a tree, and we think this is the last we see of Bond’s oldest foe.
In the aftermath of the mission, Bond decides to retire from MI6 and live a peaceful married life with Tracy. They have an expensive wedding in Portugal with everyone from MI6 there. Miss Moneypenny sheds some tears as Bond marries, before driving off on their honeymoon.
While driving on a mountain pass, tragedy strikes, however. Bond stops to remove some of the flowers off the car when Blofeld, wearing a neck brace, and his henchwoman Blunt drive by and she randomly shoots, killing Tracy.
This leaves Bond heartbroken and the last moments of the film are emotional as Bond quietly speaks to his dead wife. It’s an excellent finish to what is an excellent Bond movie.
George Lazenby’s Performance as James Bond
Australian George Lazenby was cast as the second James Bond after Sean Connery’s first departure. Ironically, he beat off a too-young-at-the-time Timothy Dalton to the part.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service wasn’t a Box Office success, compared with the previous You Only Live Twice, and some claim that to be down to Lazenby’s performance.
There weren’t any gadgets used, but the ski chase and avalanche scene is spectacular and has gone down in Bond history as one of the best chase scenes.
The film was criticized, but everyone knew Lazenby was leaving after this film, even though he’d signed to do 7. In retrospect, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a great film and Lazenby played an excellent part.
Lazenby’s Bond was, like Daniel Craig’s, a bit of a romantic, and not scared to show his inner feelings. The storyline and his pummelling of the villains was up there with some of the best action seen throughout the whole series.
But the problem many see in Lazenby was his lacking of Sean Connery’s sophistication. Instead, Lazenby was more real, and his closing teary monologue was very un-Bond like, but still extremely well acted.
All things considered, George Lazenby embodied a remarkable James Bond. Although it was initially panned by critics, the movie has matured like a fine bottle of red wine and even if wasn’t as commercially successful at its time of release.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Bond Villain
George Lazenby’s first and only antagonist was Bond’s regular enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. This time played by Telly Savalas, the famous eye-scar has gone, but the bald head and Persian cat remain.
Blofeld’s now staying in a remote hideaway in the Swiss Alps, with the intention of claiming the aristocratic title ‘Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp.’
Blofeld deviously plots to contaminate and sterilize the global food supply with a deadly biological weapon, all through his Angels of Death who have been brainwashed into committing his reprehensible deeds.
He promises not to execute his plan if all of his previous crimes are forgiven and he’s acknowledged as Count de Bleauchamp.
Bond sets out to foil Blofeld’s plan, and there are some fantastic action scenes down the mountain slopes between the two sides. Notably a ski chase, and what we think is the end of Blofeld as Bond chases him down a bobsleigh run at the end.
We think Blofeld dies here, but unbeknown to anyone, he survives and has one more trick up his sleeve. He’s out to avenge Bond destroying his masterplan and so he follows 007 as he’s driving on his honeymoon in Portugal.
As Bond stops the car to remove some flowers, wearing a neck brace Blofeld and his henchwoman drive past and open fire. Bond survives the attack, but his new wife, Tracy Bond dies. Bond is distraught as the film ends.
Bond Girls in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
The Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo – Tracy
Teresa (Tracy) is seen at the start of the movie and is intending to commit suicide by drowning herself in the sea. Bond sees her in the distance and drives onto the beach and runs into the sea to save her.
Their next meeting is in a casino in the south of France. Bond is playing cards, when Tracy walks over and grabs everyone’s attention with her revealing low cut dress as she leans over the card table.
Played by Diana Rigg, Tracy is the stunning daughter of crime syndicate Unione Corse head Marc-Ange Draco, who’s thankful Bond saved his troubled daughter and asks Bond to marry her. 007 refuses at first but promises Draco that he’ll keep dating her if he helps him to find Blofeld.
As an independent and daring woman, Tracy was reticent of Bond’s intentions at first due to her upbringing as a Mafia heiress. However, after seeing his genuine affection for her, she can’t deny the romantic connection between them any longer and they eventually became lovers.
She helps Bond get away from Blofeld after Bond escapes. They spend the night in a barn and 007 tells her how much he loves her and proposes to her, calling her ‘Mrs James Bond.’ The next day they go out on a leisurely ski, but they’;re followed by Blofeld who causes an avalanche. They both survive, but Tracy is kidnapped and taken to Blofeld’s lair high up in the Alps.
Bond frees her and they marry in Portugal, and are set for a long life together after Bond quits MI6. While driving on their honeymoon, however, Bond pulls over to remove some flowers from the car, when Blofeld and his henchwoman drive by and open fire, killing Tracy.
Ruby and Nancy – 2 of the 12 Angels of Death
Bond may have fallen in love in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but that didn’t stop him from totting up the female connections, bedding 2 of Blofeld’s 12 Angels of Death.
While undercover at Blofeld’s mountains hideaway, a kilt wearing Bond is treated to a dinner with the 12 Angels of Death and Blofeld’s henchwoman, Irma. One of the Angels of Death, Ruby Bartlett, writes her room number 8 in lipstick on Bond’s bare thigh.
Played by Angela Scoular, Ruby Bartlett awaits Bond in her room, which he goes to and finds her naked. They make love and then Bond notices how strange she starts acting, as an all seeing Blofeld puts her in a trance.
After enjoying some passion with the gorgeous Ruby, Bond finds an unexpected guest in his bedroom when he returns, as another of the sex starved Angels of Death, Nancy played by Catherine Von Schell.
There waiting for Bond, Nancy smiles and makes it clear she wants Bond. He asks her name, but she collapses in his arms and tells him, ‘I’ll tell you all about myself later, in the morning.’
Bond goes back for more the following day, but his cover is blown and thinking Ruby is in bed waiting for him, he finds Blofeld’s henchwoman Irma Bunt hiding in Ruby’s bed. Luckily for Bond Irma does not become a Bond girl.
Best Scenes in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
The best scenes in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the ski and bobsleigh chases. The ski chase is after Bond escapes Blofeld’s lair and is hunted by the Bond villain and his henchmen.
The chase is full of suspense and excitement, culminating in a dramatic climax as Bond escapes them on one ski in the end, and he’s reunited with Tracy not long after.
The bobsleigh chase is after Bind has gone back to rescue Tracy and destroy Blofeld and everything he’s worked for. Tracy is recued, Blofeld’s mountain hideaway is up in smoke, but he gets away on a bobsleigh.
Bond gives chase on his bobsleigh and both are as good as Olympians, of course. The chase continues down the bobsled run as they bump and soar through the icy mountainside until Blofeld is hit and presumably killed by a tree.
Both action scenes are intense and thrilling, and are the perfect combination of action and suspense, showcasing everything the early Bond’s were about – drama and unbelievable action.
Cars and Gizmos in the Movie
There are no amazing gizmos used, and Q’s only appearance in the movie is at the end when Bond gets married. However, high quality cars are always used in Bond movies and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service maintains that.
Aston Martin DBS
Bond drives an Aston Martin DBS in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, an olive green, six cylinder DBS. He isn’t seen much driving in this movie as it’s mostly up in the Swiss Alps, although the DBS does make another appearance in the next Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever.
The DBS boasts a secret place in the glovebox for his sniper rifle, but other than that there’s no special gadget or bullet proof glass, unfortunately as it would have saved Tracy’s life at the end.
Aston Martin lent two of DBS’ to the production company for use in filming: chassis numbers DBS/5109/R and DBS/5234/R. The former was used for studio scenes and close-ups while the latter was featured in exterior shots throughout the film.
1969 Mercury Cougar XR7
Bond’s love, Tracy is seen driving around much more than Bond and her car is a red, 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 Convertible. The Cougar XR7 was equipped with a 351 cubic inch V-8 engine, with red luxury leather seating and a Hurst shifter.
It is one of the few classic cars with four headlamps on the front grille, and is perfect for Tracy, a girl about town. Tracy uses it all the time and she also uses it spectacularly to help Bond escape Blofeld’s crew.
Her and Bond get in the Cougar and end up driving through a Nascar-style stock-car race on ice. She drives on there chased by Irma Bunt and the heavies, and bumps and squeezes their way through and finally to safety.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Like a Fine Bottle of Red
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service had a tough beginning. After the public’s lack of response to Sean Connery’s absence in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and with production-related issues further limiting its array of gadgets, the movie faced an uphill battle.
It has since become a classic film in the Bond franchise, and George Lazenby played an excellent Bond.
Diana Rigg’s performance as Tracy di Vicenzo has cemented her place in Bond history as one of the iconic Bond girls. And Telly Savalas’ brilliant portrayal of Blofeld, alongside his henchwoman Irma, is both memorable and menacing.
With some sublime action scenes down the mountains, and a love story to boot, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a Bond film that has defineitly aged well, just like a fine bottle of red wine.