Mr. one and done.
James Bond was no longer Sean Connery (although he would be again). Now he was a tall and lanky Australian.
Sean Connery had resigned from Bond during the filming of You Only Live Twice and sent the producers into a search for the new James Bond. Lazenby accepted the role and, reportedly, was offered a 7 film contract. However, he decided to only do one Bond film because, according to Wikipedia, his agent had convinced him that “the secret agent would be archaic in the liberated 1970s.”
Hm. Perhaps not the best advise ever given.
In the movie, Bond (George Lazenby) is in search for his old nemesis Blofeld (Telly Savalas), who was hatching his latest evil scheme. This time, Blofeld intended on sterilizing the world’s food supply through the aid of his brainwashed “Angles of Death.” Along the way, Bond met Countess Tracy (Diana Rigg), a daughter of a crimelord who had info on Blofeld.
The relationship between Bond and Tracy was one that was uncommon amongst the Bond movies. Tracy felt like a complex character that we really did not get enough from. The ending of the film focused on the connection between these two characters and drove home the emotion for them. The final scene of the film was one of the tougher scenes in the franchise.
Continuity may have been a little iffy in this movie. Bond and Blofeld went face to face, with Bond “undercover” and they pretended as if they hadn’t seen each other before. Blofeld was also missing his scar from his appearance in You Only Live Twice. I guess since both of them were new actors, one could argue they had not seen each other before. It is just strange since they played it off as if Bond had been searching for Blofeld for awhile.
As for Lazenby, the first act or so of the movie was awkward for me. I was watching him so much, trying to get used to him that he did not feel like James Bond, despite the efforts in the opening scene to really drive it home that he was. However, that awkwardness melted away as the film progressed and I stopped seeing the differences and started seeing him as the character. I actually liked what he did and how he took the character in a slightly different direction.
The film did take a couple of shots at Connery, as Lazenby saying that, “This never happened to the other fellow.” There was a bit with Bond resigning from Her Majesty’s Secret Service only to receive a vacation.
There was a lot of great action, including some ski slope chases that were quite thrilling. This movie was closer to the novel than some of the previous Bond films, which meant it was more realistic and less campy. I found that to be fairly intriguing.
It was never going to be easy to follow Sean Connery in this role, but George Lazenby did an admirable job and, as I said before, the ending of this movie was uncommon and exceptional. This was surprisingly good and makes me wish that Lazenby would have continued on with the part.