Trivia - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
At 140 minutes, this is the third longest 007 movie, eclipsed by 2006 outing 'Casino Royale' and 2012's 'SPECTRE'
George Lazenby wanted to do as many of his own stunts in the film that the studio would allow him to. During the shooting of one of the stunt scenes he broke his arm and the filming of some of his scenes were delayed because of it. In the scene where Bond is taken into Blofeld's lab at Piz Gloria to meet Blofeld for the first time, Lazenby's broken arm in a cast is hidden by his coat which was draped over his arms because he could not get it over the cast. In this scene Blofeld's guard has to remove Bond's coat for him because Lazenby could not do so because he had just broken the arm. The guard that removes Bond's jacket was played by Yuri Borionko who had his nose broken by Lazenby during one of Lazenby's fight screen tests while he was auditioning for the role of Bond. After Lazenby broke Borionko's nose Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman told Lazenby, "We're going with you."
Joanna Lumley makes one of her first screen appearances in this movie. Unlike other "Avengers" actors and actresses (Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman), she is the only one to have appeared in a Bond movie before starring in "The Avengers".
The building used for Blofeld's clinic called Piz Gloria, is a restaurant located atop the Schilthorn Mountain in the Bernese Oberlands. The only public access to the restaurant is by cable car from Mürren or Stechelberg. The owners allowed filming on condition EON paid $125,000 to refit the interior of the partially completed building and construct a helicopter pad. When the restaurant opened it was given the name Piz Gloria used in the film.
Since George Lazenby was a virtual unknown when he was cast as Bond, initial teaser advertising for the film emphasized the Bond character rather than the actor playing him. Several ads in fact utilized an image of a "faceless" Bond. United Artists would later say that this marketing strategy was a mistake which hurt the film's performance at the box office.
Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore were both offered the role of James Bond in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", but both turned it down. Dalton felt he was too young at the time, and Moore was still under his contract in the TV series "The Saint".
A double was used for Diana Rigg at the ice rink as the actress did not know how to skate.
By the time the movie was released, Lazenby had quit the role, and turned down a multi-picture deal because he was led to believe that the tuxedo-clad super spy would become an anachronism in the forthcoming Woodstock era. He would later express regrets about this decision.
At the wedding, Draco and M are seen discussing an occasion where M's department cost Draco three men. M says, "Ah, yes, November 1964 - the bullion job." This may be a reference to the Fort Knox caper in "Goldfinger", implying Draco was once in league with Auric Goldfinger.
Lazenby was previously a car salesman with a part time job as a male model. He was also well-known in Britain as "The Big Fry man," after the chocolate bar commercials he starred in, carrying an outsize bar on his hunky shoulder.
The search for a new Bond was compared with the search for Scarlett O'Hara; 413 actors audition for the role. Lazenby was determined to get the role, he spent most of what money he had on a Saville Row suit and a Rolex watch, then while having a Bond-eque haircut Albert R. Broccoli walked into the same salon, made the connection and later offered him the part.
For the pre-titles sequence, railway sleepers (tracks) were buried under the sand to allow Bond's Aston Martin to drive on the beach.
Actors considered for the part of Tracy Draco included Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve. Diana Rigg was finally chosen partly because of her appearance as Emma Peel in British TV's spy series "The Avengers".
Lazenby and Rigg were rumoured to have had a bad relationship on set. This was a rumour started after Rigg joked to Lazenby over lunch one day before filming a love scene that "I'm having garlic - I hope you are too!" Further evidence of this bad blood was an exchange of open letters from the two in the British press after filming finished.
Director Peter R. Hunt had previously edited many 007 movies, the job of editor (and second unit directing) went to John Glen - a future Bond director.
Lyrics were originally intended for John Barry's main theme, but were later rejected. Instead, Louis Armstrong's memorable rendition of "We Have All The Time In The World" closes the film.
As Bond clears out his desk, we see Honeychile's knife from "Dr. No", Grant's garrote/watch from "From Russia With Love", and a re-breather from "Thunderball". A bit of the theme music from each movie is played as we see the appropriate item. There are no logical reasons as to why Bond would have any of these items. This "trip down memory lane" is revived in Bond's 20th outing "Die Another Day", with many of these items visible in Q's lab.
As Bond passes a janitor in Draco's headquarters, the man can be heard whistling the "Goldfinger" theme.
George Baker provides the voice of Bond when 007 is pretending to be Sir Hilary Bray, much to the chagrin of Lazenby.
The film performed admirably, out grossing its nearest competitor almost two to one at the U.S. box office where, according to Variety, it was the most popular film in the country for four solid weeks. It generated enough rentals at the box-office to claim ninth position on the box office chart for the year 1970. The persistent belief that it was a flop arises from its disappointing showing in comparison to the previous three Sean Connery Bond films, all of which made twice as much money.
Sean Connery was offered a then very large salary of $1 million to make this film but declined.
To date, George Lazenby is the youngest actor to portray 007 at the age 30.The rest of the actors and their ages, in no particular order: Sean Connery - 32, Roger Moore - 46, Timothy Dalton - 41, Pierce Brosnan - 43 and Daniel Craig - 38.
George Lazenby also bears the distinction of being the only 007 actor who was born and raised outside the United Kingdom. He's from Australia. (Pierce Brosnan was born in Ireland but moved to the UK when fairly young.)
Q calls Bond by his first name for the only time in the series, following the wedding.
Bond's sliding along the ice whilst firing a machine gun in the attack on Piz Gloria was a spur-of-the-moment idea from director Peter R. Hunt.
Just before the opening credits, after Tracy runs away from him, Bond turns to the camera and says, "This never happened to the other fellow," a sly reference to the previous Bond, Sean Connery. It is also the only time the "fourth wall" is broken in the series.
In the pre-credits sequence, we are introduced to George Lazenby as James Bond in a very similar way to that which Sean Connery was introduced in "Dr. No".
Bond and Tracy's wedding day took 5 days to shoot.
A sequence filmed but cut from the final print occurs after Bond visits the real Hillary Bray at the College of Arms. In the cut scene, Bond discovers an enemy agent spying on him. He follows the villain to a train station and kills him. The scene showing Bond murdering an enemy agent who is following him was cut as it was felt to be too cold-blooded for Lazenby's version of Bond. Nonetheless, a scene during the Piz Gloria escape in which Bond appears to beat a guard to death ("Merry Christmas" he says to the body afterwards) is considered one of the most violent sequences in the history of the Bond films.
While Bond is shopping for Tracy's wedding presents, an additional scene was originally included that showed him being watched from the shadows by Irma Bunt.
This is one of the most faithful adaptations of an Ian Fleming novel; virtually everything in the book occurs in the film. Staying so close to the source actually caused some continuity problems due to the different order of the films. For example, in this film neither Bond nor Blofeld recognize each other, despite having met face-to-face in the film version of "You Only Live Twice".
The Playboy magazine that James Bond is seen "reading" while in the lawyer's office is the February 1969 issue featuring centrefold Lorrie Menconi (the cover of the magazine and the top part of her centrefold can be seen).
When James Bond is searching for his family tree the man says that and old ancestor's motto was "The World is not enough" ("Orbis non sufficit"). In a nod to this film (and indeed Fleming) the motto was used as the title for the 19th James Bond film, and in the final act when being tortured by Elektra King, James Bond says, "The World is not enough. Family Motto".
The College of Arms in London were not only responsible for helping with some of the dialogue, but their members also created the Sable Basilisk letterheads and helped Production Design Syd Cain with Blofeld's coat of arms. The college itself also appeared in the film.
Novelist Simon Raven was brought in to polish the dialog, notably the exchanges between Tracy and Blofeld.
The film was originally rated M by the MPAA in the USA. It was subsequently re-rated PG.
The John Barry score for this movie was the first in the EON Production series to extensively use synthesizers and electric guitars.
A Rolex worn by George Lazenby drew a bid of $40,373 at Christie's in London in 2003.
The 'body' that gets minced inside the snow plough during Bond and Tracy's ski flight from Blofeld's assassins was actually a dead goat.
Certain film techniques appear in the James Bond series for the first time in this picture: slow motion (when Bond is knocked out in his bedroom), flashback (Bond remembering Tracy being captured), and breaking the fourth wall (Bond turns to the camera and says, "This never happened to the other fellow").
"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was the first Bond film to be shot in stereo - the Leicester Square Odeon had to be fitted with special speakers for the occasion.
Director Peter R. Hunt is seen, although obscurely, reflected in the Universal Export sign directly following the credits.
The poetry that Tracy quotes to Blofeld ('Thy dawn, O Master of the World, thy dawn; For thee the sunlight creeps across the lawn, For thee the ships are drawn down to the waves, For thee the markets throng with myriad slaves...') is by James Elroy Flecker.
James Bond is said to be a descendant of Sir Otto Le Bon. 16 years after this movie, Simon Le Bon and his band Duran Duran sang the title song to the later James Bond movie, "A View to a Kill". In that song's music video, Simon Le Bon makes a joke based on his name's similarity to James Bond.
Actors considered for the role of Bond included: Adam West, Robert Campbell, Anthony Rogers, Hans De Vries, John Richardson, and Roy Thinnes.
Gabriele Ferzetti's voice was dubbed by David de Keyser, who would later appear in the next Bond film, "Diamonds Are Forever" - he plays a doctor
Ian Fleming's original novel is significant as it was the first James Bond book written and published after the start of the long-running film series. The original novel even included a cameo by Ursula Andress, who Fleming had become enamored with after she co-starred in the first Bond film, "Dr. No".
In the original take of the final scene featuring Tracy's death, Lazenby came to tears. Director Peter R. Hunt then made them shoot the scene again because he said that, "Bond does not cry." There were only two takes shot.
Features the only signature gun barrel sequence of all Bond films in which Bond drops down on one knee while shooting at the audience.
Production of the film was twice delayed. It was initially planned to have been the Bond film to follow "Goldfinger", but "Thunderball" was made instead. Later, the film was to have been released in 1967, but "You Only Live Twice" was produced for that year instead.
Tracy's red convertible, that she calls her big M, is a very rare 1969 Mercury Cougar CJ428 convertible supplied by the Ford Motor Company.
The role of Irma Bunt was the only English language role for German actress Ilse Steppat. It would also be her final role. She died less than a week after this film was released.
George A. Cooper is often wrongly credited with being in this film.
Most of Brian Grellis's performance was removed from the final print.