On Her Majesty's Secret Service

 Release Details - Credits - Music - Cast - Notes

release details
Date of release: 18 December 1969 (UK/US)
Running time: 140 mins, making it the longest of the Bond movies
Aspect ratio: 2.35 : 1
Classification: PG (UK)

Alternative titles: The Queen's 007 (Japan).

Directed by: Peter Hunt
Produced by: Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli
Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum
Additional dialogue by: Simon Raven
Associate producer: Stanley Sopel
Production designed by: Syd Cain GFAD
Director of photography: Michael Reed BSC
Editor and second unit director: John Glen
Special effects: John Stears
Main title designed by: Maurice Binder

Music composed, conducted and arranged by: John Barry

Main theme: "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (instrumental)
End theme: A version of the James Bond theme.

Additional: "We Have All The Time in the World"
Sung by: Louis Armstrong
Lyrics by: Hal David
Highest UK chart position: 1 (in 1995 when the song was re-released when it was used in a Guinness commercial).

Additional: "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?"
Sung by: Nina
Lyrics by: Hal David
Usage: During the sequences in the Swiss village when Bond escapes from Piz Gloria.

Musical notes: The soundtrack is the last to make use of the original arrangement of the Bond theme from Dr No.

James Bond: George Lazenby
Tracy (Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo): Diana Rigg
Ernst Stavro Blofeld: Telly Savalas
Marc Ange Draco: Gabrielle Ferzetti (dubbed by David de Keyser)
Irma Bunt: Ilse Steppat
Miss Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Sir Hilary Bray: George Baker
M: Bernard Lee
Campbell: Bernard Horsfall
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Grunther: Yuri Borienko
Olympe: Virginia North
Tousaint: Geoffrey Cheshire
Che Che: Irvin Allen
Raphael: Terry Mountain
Gebruder Gumbold: James Bree
Hammond: John Gay

The girls:
Ruby Bartlett: Angela Scoular
Nancy: Catherina Von Schell
Scandanavian: Julie Ege
Chinese: Mona Chong
Jamaican: Sylvana Henriques
American: Dani Sheridan
English: Joanna Lumley
Indian: Zara
Australian: Anoushka Hempel
German: Ingrit Back
Israeli: Helena Ronee
Irish: Jenny Hanley

Braun: George Cooper
Felsen: Les Crawford
Draco's Helicopter Pilot: John Creudson
Draco's Driver: Richard Graydon
Blofeld's Driver: Reg Harding
Hall Porter: Dudley Jones
Chef de Jeu Hussier: Martin Leyder
American Guests: Bessie Love, Elliott Sullivan
Casino Guest: Lenny Rabin
Janitor: Norman McGlen
Klett: Bill Morgan
Greek Tycoon: Steve Plytas
Chef du Jeu: Robert Rietty
Piz Gloria Receptionist: Joseph Vasa
Manuel: Brian Worth
SPECTRE skier: George Leech
Piz Gloria guard: David Brandon, Stefan Zurcher

The gunbarrel: The gunbarrel sequence uses the same idea as Dr No with the dot stopping in the middle of the screen to reveal the Saltzman-Broccoli presents credit. George Lazenby wears a hat to match the Simmons and Connery sequences used for the earlier films, but he kneels all the way down to the ground as he fires. Oddly, the "blood" totally obscures Bond whereas in the Simmons and Connery versions it was transparent. The arrangement of the music does not use a guitar.

Using the title: The title of the film is not explicitly mentioned although there is an occasional mention of Her Majesty's Secret Service.

The novel approach: On Her Majesty's Secret Service is a faithful adaptation of one of Fleming's best novels, even retaining its tragic ending. Indeed, it even improves slightly on the plotting by having Blofeld hold Tracy hostage during the final sequences, bringing neatly together the two subplots (the hunt for Blofeld and the Bond-Tracy romance). There is one minor change concerning the title that Blofeld claims: in the book it is Count de Bleauville whereas in the film it is Count de Bleauchamp. The last chapter of the novel is called "All the Time in the World", which inspired the title of the Louis Armstrong song used in the film.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: The cover for the Secret Service is given the full title of Universal Exports (Ltd) London, as seen on a brass name plate in an establishing shot at the start of the film. This implies that MI6 now has its own building, rather than simply sharing accomodation with other organisations as it did in Dr No.
M, Q and Moneypenny are all in residence. The only other Service personnel to appear is Campbell, an agent who shadows Bond while he is operating in Switzerland until Blofeld intervenes. In the original novel Campbell was given the first name Shaun and was said to work for Station Z (Zurich), but neither of these additions make it to the screen.
Bond is shown to have an office at the Secret Service headquarters. It is numbered 17 and is sparsely furnished but there is a portrait of the Queen on one of the walls. We also see M at his home, a large house called Quarterdeck where he has a butler called Hammond. M is again referred to as an admiral (as he was in You Only Live Twice) and his hobbies include collecting butterflies.
Bond has been working on Operation Bedlam for the last two years. This basically involves a hunt for Ernst Stavro Blofeld, presumably following the events of You Only Live Twice.

Locations: London, the south of France, Portugal and various locations in Switzerland including Berne.

The villain: Ernst Stavro Blofeld returns as the main villain, with Telly Savalas providing a tougher interpretation of the role than Donald Pleasence in You Only Live Twice. It is unclear whether SPECTRE still exists as an organisation. Bond mentions it and Draco says that some of his men have defected to Blofeld, but the familiar numerical structure of the organisation from the earlier films is not referred to. However, there is some continuity in the character, who is again seen to be petting a white cat.
This time around Blofeld is concerned with achieving the title Count Balthazar de Bleauchamp and he has engaged the London College of Arms in order to confirm his claims. One of his main points of evidence is that he has no earlobes, this is a congenital condition of the de Bleauchamps (it is suggested that he has had his earlobes removed in order to achieve this). However, Blofeld is also concerned with a more nefarious scheme. From a hideaway called Piz Gloria in the Swiss Alps he is supposedly researching into the cures for allergies. However, he is actually developing biological weapons and has already caused an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in England the previous summer. He has now developed Virus Omega which produces total infertility in plants and animals, leading to their complete extinction. He plans to release it using his "angels of death" if the United Nations do not agree to his demands, namely a full pardon for his earlier crimes and confirmation of his de Bleauchamp title.
Blofeld is supported by a large number of guards and has a "personal secretary" in the shape of a German woman called Irma Bunt. Although Bond destroys Piz Gloria, Blofeld and Bunt both escape (although Blofeld is injured and is seen wearing a neckbrace) in order to wreak revenge. Although Blofeld is seen again and (arguably) disposed of, Irma Bunt does not return - a rare example of a villain who escapes completely, which is ironic given her particular crime...

The girl: Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, known as Tracy, is the daughter of Marc Ange Draco, the head of the Union Corse, one of Europe's largest crime syndicates (although he also has substantial legitimate interests including Draco Construction). Her mother was an Englishwoman who travelled to Corsica, where she met and married Draco. Tracy's mother died when she was 12 and she was sent to school in Switzerland where she rebelled against her father and got into a certain amount of trouble. Continuing this rebellion she married an Italian count, although he soon killed himself in a crash involving his Masarati and his mistress. When Bond first meets Tracy she is attempting to commit suicide, but Bond soon gives her a purpose to live. Draco recognises this and offers Bond one million pounds in gold for Bond to marry his daughter. Bond refuses, but he soon falls in love with Tracy anyway and they do marry. However, shortly after the wedding Bond and Tracey are attacked by Blofeld and Irma Bunt (Blofeld is driving; Bunt fires the shots) and Tracey is killed.

Bond's conquests: At least three - Tracy (twice), Ruby Bartlett and Nancy. He also has an interest in one of the other girls at Piz Gloria, but it is unclear whether he actually made it with her before being discovered by Blofeld.

Gadgets: The film is very light on gadgetry. Q talks about a method of tracking people using radioactive lint. Bond later uses a large device that opens safes and contains a photocopier. Not to be out-done, Blofeld provides his angels of death with an atomizer containing Virus Omega and a compact containing a radio that allows them to communicate with him.

Recurring characters: Blofeld, as discussed under the villain section above.

Continuity: As well as the mention of SPECTRE, there are numerous other continuity references deliberately included in the film in order to reassure the audience that this is still a Bond movie despite the absence of Sean Connery. The title sequence features clips from the previous five movies (although none featuring Bond, of course) and when Bond clears his desk he is seen packing Honey's knife (from Dr No), Grant's watch (from From Russia With Love) and the underwater rebreather (from Thunderball) while the soundtrack switches to extracts from the scores to these films. This is a nice idea, although it is unclear how Bond was able to get hold of these objects!
007 is known as "Commander Bond" at the Plaza hotel in France, confirming his navel rank as established in You Only Live Twice.
The fact that the film does stick so closely to the original novel does produce a major continuity error. In Fleming's version, the story describes Bond's first meeting with Blofeld. However, in the chronology of the movies they met in the previous film. So how does Bond expect not to be recognised by Blofeld when he infiltrates Piz Gloria pretending to be Sir Hilary Bray? Granted, Bond now looks totally different, but I don't think this is intended in the film!

Cameos: The pedestrian reflected in the Universal Exports name plate in the opening shot of the film is the director, Peter Hunt.

Cuts: Some European video and theatrical versions of the film omit the lengthy sequence of Bond breaking into Gumbolt's office in Berne (which is somewhat crucial to the plot) and a scene with Campbell arguing with Gunther when he tries to gain access to the Piz Gloria cable car. Another sequence was filmed that never made it into any version; Bond discovers one of Blofeld's men eavesdropping on him when he visits the College of Arms and chases him through London.

I didn't catch the name?: Bond's famous introduction is George Lazenby's first line as 007 when he meets Tracy on the beach at the start of the film - "Good morning. My names Bond - James Bond". He later identifies himself as "Bond, James Bond" when he telephones Draco with his proposition about a "demolition deal" after M has refused to authorise an attack on Piz Gloria.

Vodka Martinis: Bond starts off drinking Dom Perignon 57 at the Plaza hotel, but Draco provides Bond with a Martini, shaken not stirred, when they first meet.

Gambling: Bond plays Chemin de Fir at the Plaza hotel in France. Tracy joins in, but she loses 20,000 Francs when she doesn't stand on five. She can't cover the bet, so Bond gallantly covers for her.

Bond bits: The film mirrors Sean Connery's introduction in Dr No when establishing George Lazenby as the new Bond. The audience is only shown brief glimpses of him until he gives his trademark introduction (see above).
In order to infiltrate Piz Gloria, Bond pretends to be Sir Hilary Bray, the Sable Basilik at the London College of Arms. Bond is shown to be very good at mimicing the real Sir Hilary. This is achieved by George Baker, the actor who played Sir Hilary, dubbing for George Lazenby in the relevant scenes.
Bond has accurate knowledge of caviar, women's perfume and butterflies. Sir Hilary Bray has traced his ancestry back to Sir Otto Bond. Another of Bond's descendants was Sir Thomas Bond, the Baronet of Peckham in 1734. Sir Thomas's coat of arms featured three bezants (gold balls) and the motto "The World Is Not Enough".

Other trivia: Bond and Tracy's wedding seems to have a very grand guest list - a toast starts with reference to "Their Royal Highnesses, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen"!
Bond meets Draco on the 13 September. The subsequent events of the film take place in the run up to and beyond Christmas.
Ruby Bartlett is from Morecombe Bay in Lancashire, England. She was sent to Piz Gloria to get treatment for her allergy to chickens (an unfortunate condition since her parents own a chicken farm).

Anything else?: At the end of the pre-credits sequence, Tracy runs off from Bond leaving only her shoes causing him to comment that "This never happened to the other feller". This is either a sly reference to Sean Connery or simply to Prince Charming, depending on your point of view.
When Bond is taken to Draco's headquarters he passes a janitor who is whistling the theme song to Goldfinger.

The Bond Film Informant was compiled by Matthew Newton. © Copyright MJ Newton. No part of this site may be reproduced without permission unless otherwise stated.

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