On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969)

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Released 1-Nov-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Casting
Interviews-Character-George Lazenby In His own Words
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Press Day In Portugal
Synopsis-Shot On Ice, Swiss Movement
Featurette-007, Women, Aliies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Making Of-Inside Her Majesty's Service
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Q's Lab, Above It All
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1969, The Year Of Release
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1969
Running Time 136:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Peter R. Hunt
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring George Lazenby
Diana Rigg
Telly Savalas
Gabriele Ferzetti
Ilse Steppat
Lois Maxwell
George Baker
Bernard Lee
Bernard Horsfall
Desmond Llewelyn
Yuri Borionko
Virginia North
Geoffrey Cheshire
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music John Barry


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The 6th film in the wildly successful United Artists 007 series, upon its theatrical release On Her Majesty's Secret Service was a box-office disappointment. It's also a film that sits uneasily with many Bond fans. To many it's a stain on the Bond name. Personally I like this film, but can understand why some don't. To a large extent, On Her Majesty's Secret Service breaks the mould of the earlier Saltzman/Broccoli produced 007 films.

    Firstly, Sean Connery opted for early retirement and chose not to participate in this film. To replace the bankable Connery was an incredibly difficult task for the producers. In George Lazenby's defence, Connery's shoes would be impossible to fill for any capable actor, let alone a nomadic male model who had little acting experience. (Yes, a male model no less!) At some points in the film, it's like the filmmakers are desperately trying to remind you this is a James Bond movie. The opening credits have flashback scenes from all the previous films, and when Bond is in his office at MI6 he goes through his drawers to find old mementoes from the previous films. Cue each film's soundtrack as he goes through the items (no really... they did cue the soundtracks.)

    Secondly, Q supplied gadgets do not appear at all in this film. Bond relies on his own contacts and resources to hunt down Blofeld. In fact, for a large portion of the film 007 is actually working outside of MI6, at and one stage even resigning (if not for the wisdom of Miss Moneypenny.) This conflicted Bond, tired of the system he was working in is a much truer Bond to Fleming's books than many of the other films.

    Finally, Bond falls in love, talks about having a family and actually gets married! One of my favourite parts of the film is the romantic montage set to Louis Armstrong's We Have All the Time in the World. Walks along the beach, romantic dinners, holding hands in the street, window shopping.... in a Bond movie? So out of place is this montage, it's almost like watching a scene from a Rock Hudson/Doris Day film. The movie ends on a downer, though, as Bond's new bride Tracy gets gunned down by Telly Savalas' Blofeld and Ilse Steppat's Irma Bunt.

    Interestingly enough,  the movie was originally planned to end with the wedding, and Tracy's murder was to be the opening scene of the next movie, Diamonds are Forever. For whatever reason (editorial or getting rid of Lazenby we'll never know) it was left at the end of the film for the most emotionally charged conclusion to any Bond film.

    Most of the film was shot in beautiful Switzerland, where SPECTRE's evil master Dr Evil (I mean Ernest Blofeld) has a laboratory working on spreading disease around the world. His plan is to hold the world to ransom for the antidote. Bond poses as Sir Hilary Bray, an expert in heraldry that Blofeld has hired to confirm his royal connection. Prior to this assignment Bond had rescued and fallen for one of my all-time favourite Bond girls, the delightfully snobbish Diana Rigg. As Bond's cover is blown a great ski chase ensues and Tracy comes to his rescue. Then operating outside of MI6, James gets his future father in law to use his henchmen to take down the Swiss fortress Blofeld inhabits.

    As far as screenplays go, On Her Majesty's Secret Service one of the better in the Bond universe. Unfortunately an unsure leading man distracts viewers as he attempts to make Bond his own. What if Connery had continued on for this one? How good would it have been? One can only wonder.

    If you haven't visited this episode in the Bond library for a while it's definitely worth a look as an interesting and ultimately enjoyable film. (Plus it's not every day you get to see an Aussie with a licence to kill.)

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Lowry deserve every cent they got for the restoration of these films. Not only is this the best transfer for a movie of this age that I have seen, this is one of the best looking transfers I have ever seen, period.

    OHMSS has been magnificently transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.

    Overall the image was incredibly clear, however there were a few scenes that were noticeably softer. For a great example of how clear the picture is check out the wallpaper and surroundings at 20:45, the upholstery on the couch at 23:32 and the mural at 25:02. Seriously, I am amazed at the detail that seems to leap out of the screen in many shots. Other reviewers have said the same thing, but I doubt that this film has ever looked so good. Bring on the HD era.

    Black levels are good and shadow detail is accurate.

    Unlike some other reviews of these new editions that have mentioned reddish skin hues, thankfully this film's colouring is strong and consistent with realistic skin tones.

    There are no film artefacts present at all. This is one of the cleanest transfers I've seen. There is no grain either.

    Four English subtitle streams are available, two of which accompany the audio commentaries. They are quite accurate to the dialogue and easy to read.

    As an interesting aside, I did notice (actually my wife noticed and then told me) at 120:51-54 you can see a helicopter literally disappear from view as it goes to land in the assault scene! Airbrushed out? Has this appeared in previous versions?

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The default audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kbs), with the alternative being DTS 5.1. I couldn't detect any substantial difference between them. Unfortunately the original mono soundtrack is not on the disc. That said however, the tracks are generally front heavy tracks and quite conservative in the surround mix.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand. Sync was correct, although it's an amusing film to watch with all the dialogue that was looped for the actors.

    The music was fantastic. John Barry's theme song sounded great and every time we heard We Have All the Time in the World  I dreaded the emotional ending that was to come.

    There were a few moments when the surrounds were utilised, especially in the aerial assault on Blofeld's mountain lair and the roar of the thundering helicopters.

    The subwoofer wasn't used much.

    There were no click or pop issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    This set has some of the best menus I have seen.

Audio Commentary- Director Peter Hunt plus others

    A passable collection of anecdotes with some technical commentary. Not really a director's commentary, though. It's the same track as was found on the last edition. How great would it have been for a Lazenby/Rigg commentary as well! Maybe on the high definition release?

Featurette-Behind The Scenes Casting OHMSS (1:30)

    Extremely brief. This shows some old footage of Lazenby meeting the press for the first time. Interesting but not really informative.

Interviews-Character-George Lazenby In His Own Words (9:25)

    Interview footage of Lazenby at different stages of production and promotion. He comes across as pretty arrogant. He could have had the world at his feet and it seems like his arrogant manner cost him dearly. He even seems to acknowledge that in a recent interview.

Interviews-Cast & Crew-Press Day In Portugal (1:30)

    Footage from the wedding scene.

Shot On Ice (9:19)

    A very old but fun look at the filming of car chase scenes in Switzerland.

Swiss Movement (7:14)

    A fun but dated look at the making of the film.

Featurette-007, Women, Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manual

    Redundant look at different chapters of the film based on characters, action and so on.

Featurette-Making Of-Inside Her Majesty's Service (41:40)

    A great look at the making of the film with some interesting quotes and footage. This is the same documentary as was present on the previous OHMSS release from a few years ago. Very enjoyable.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Q's Lab (10:21)

    A lovely look at Desmond Llewelyn and Q's influence on the franchise. The same documentary as was found on the previous OHMSS release from a few years ago.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes -Above It All (5:27)

    A great, but old look at how the various aerial shots from the film were done. Pretty standard technique for now, but quite cutting edge for back then.

Theatrical Trailer-Archive TV Spots-Broadcasts

    Standard promo fare. Great to see how the industry has changed.

Radio Spots-Communications

    Very over the top radio ads - very cheesy compared to today's marketing efforts

Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of  Bond In 1969, The Year Of Release

    Photo gallery.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Given the superior PAL transfer and the fact that they get a worldwide release - go for R4.

Summary

    A controversial Bond film, but a lot of fun if you can overlook its deficiencies.

    The video is fantastic, but what happened to the helicopter?

    The audio was good, but where is the original mono?

    Lots of special features. I'd love a Lazenby and Rigg commentary, though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Box Office Disappointment / Disappearing Helicopter - grug (there is no bio.) REPLY POSTED
Any News on Goldeneye? - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!) REPLY POSTED
"Superior PAL" -
I think Lazenby gets a bum wrap - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Fat chance getting a Rigg / Lazenby Commentary -
SPOILER ALERT! -
Is this the same version as the previous dvd? - jab.book (oh boy, oh boy, oh bio)
Film artefacts -