After the success of plying Mel with sushi while we watched You Only Live Twice last time, I thought I’d try something similar this time. As much of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is set in Switzerland, my original intention was to purchase a Swiss roll, the staple food in Switzerland. Then I thought I’d get a Toblerone, as it has a fittingly alpine design. Ultimately, we eschewed anything as we’re getting in shape for our wedding, which is now just a few months away.
James Bond is racing through the streets of Royale-les-Eaux, and starts racing against a woman in a red convertible.
“As if you’d just start racing people like that!” exclaims Mel.
He arrives at the beach to witness Tracy di Vicenzo walk out into the surf.
“I like that gown.”
Bond runs into the sea after her.
“What is he doing? Weirdo. Stalking weirdo.”
I explain that Tracy’s trying to drown herself.
“How does he know that? I think he’s after ‘saved-your-life’ sex. I don’t know why she’s unconscious, she hasn’t even been underwater.”
We are finally given a glimpse of the new Bond’s face as he delivers the famous introduction, “Bond. James Bond.”
Mel is underwhelmed. She says, “I have literally never seen that man before in my life.”
Bond is then attacked by some men while Tracy drives off in his car.
“She’s not very grateful, that woman, is she? just running away.”
Bond picks up Tracy’s discarded shoe and looks at it ruefully.
Bond says, “This never happened to the other fella!”
I ask Mel what she thinks about this.
“I think he should back off!”
Mel thinks ‘the other fella’ refers to Prince Charming in Cinderella. She’s a big Disney fan.
I ask if she doesn’t think he means the other Bond, Sean Connery?
“What that he didn’t sleep with her? ‘Shit! She got away – unsexed!'”
I ask if she thinks this is the same James Bond we’ve been watching in the Connery movies?
“Yes. It’s like Doctor Who: same man, different appearance… Or in this case, same shit, different face. I think he said that as a wink to the audience because they would obviously notice he’s different and its a joke so they don’t look for an explanation. It was straight to the camera, James Bond never does that, it’s shot as drama. What does it really mean then?”
I explain that there is no right answer, everyone has to go on their own journey and decide whether every actor plays the same Bond. It’s like thinking whether or not you believe in God.
We laugh. Mel claims, “You can’t liken one of the biggest questions about life and existence to James Bond! Wars have been started over religion.”
We unpause and the titles kick in. The silhouettes of Brittannia fail to impress Mel.
“They’ve absolutely got their nips out this time. Ridiculous.”
Bond arrives at his hotel.
“Who is this man?” Mel asks.
George Lazenby, I reply.
Some of the furniture catches Mel’s eye, “I like that chest… and I don’t mean that like James Bond would mean it!”
In the casino that evening Bond encounters Tracy again. At first we can’t see her face at the cards table.
“Thats right, just stare at her breasts, don’t give her a face. She might as well have a lampshade for a head.”
Bond tries to persuade Tracy not to commit suicide, “Please stay alive,” he implores her. “At least for tonight.”
“Urggh. ‘Stay alive while I shag you tonight and tomorrow you can kill yourself.’ Shitbag.”
Bond goes to Tracy’s room and is attacked by a henchman.
“He never just goes away and has a nice trip does he?”
Bond wins the fight and goes back to his own room.
“That shirt is far too tight for him.”
Tracy is waiting and trains a gun on his back.
“Shoot him in the back and get it over with,” Mel advises her.
Bond slaps Tracy when she won’t tell him who his attacker was.
Mel gasps. I say that he thinks she just tried to have him killed, and then threatened him with a gun.
“You still don’t slap a woman.”
After spending the night with Tracy, Bond is in reception the next morning when he’s threatened by a gunman and told to go outside.
“Why would you go?” wonders Mel. “You would just shout. Ridiculous. There’s loads of people there.”
Bond is taken to meet Tracy’s father, Draco, who wants the spy to marry his daughter. The older man says, “What she needs is man. To dominate her. To make love to her enough to make her love him. A man like you.”
Needless to say, this is not Mel’s view of marriage. “That is wrong on so many levels. I can’t even start to dissect that. I’m not even going there because it makes me so angry,” she says.
Back at MI6 headquarters Bond greets Moneypenny by pinching her bum.
Mel gasps, “What a sexist pig! He just gropes her. Like an animal.”
Moneypenny doesn’t seem to mind, and writes a memo to M requesting two weeks leave instead of the resignation he dictated.
“She’s an idiot. An absolute weakling. As if you’d let a man treat you like that.”
As Bond courts Tracy we hear Louis Armstrong’s Bond theme, We Have all the Time in the World.
This is something Mel likes, “I really like this for our first dance.”
Bond goes undercover as Sir Hillary Bray from the Royal College of Arms. He arrives in Switzerland to determine if Count de Bleuchamp is really Blofeld.
“He looks like a cheap Sherlock Holmes.”
After a while Mel says, “it’s quite boring this one isn’t it?”
After being taken to Piz Gloria, Bond changes into evening wear for dinner, which is a kilt and sporran.
“He looks utterly ridiculous. It’s that frilly napkin-thing round his neck.”
Bond is introduced to the other guests at Piz Gloria, all young ladies.
“Here you go, Bond, you’ll be in your element with that harem.”
“They portray women as stupid and pathetic…’what’s a genealogist?'” Mel mimics in a simpering voice. “How long’s left?”
Bond visits Ruby’s room. As she lays in bed Mel exclaims, “you can see her nipple there!”
A little while later Mel says of Lazonby, “I can’t get used to his face.”
Bond’s bed-hopping comes to an end when he is rendered unconscious. He comes to and sees Blofeld’s Christmas tree.
“There’s a bit too much tinsel on that tree,” Mel advises.
Count de Bleuchamp reveals that he knows Sir Hillary is James Bond 007 after all, and that he is none other than Ernst Stavro Blofeld!
I pause the DVD and ask Mel about this. They met each other face-to-face in You Only Live Twice, so why does she think Blofeld can’t remember what Bond looks like?
“I don’t remember him either, and I’ve been watching this for an hour-and-a-half!”
Blofeld reveals that he was behind the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in 1967. I ask Mel if she thinks he might have caused the one in 2001 as well?
“I’m still dealing with farmers angry about that at work. I’ll send them to Blofeld.”
I ask Mel how she feels the different actors playing Bond and Blofeld compare to the versions in the previous film.
“He’s a lot worse than Sean Connery because this guy is forgettable. Sean Connery is charismatic and you can’t help watching him when he’s on the screen. In this one I keep forgetting who’s Bond. I’ve never heard of this James Bond or seen his face before, but I’d heard of Blofeld because his name is renowned as a villain. This film feels like a well-kept secret.”
Having been imprisoned by his nemesis, Bond is now trying to escape from the cable car machine room.
“This is the most boring Bond movie yet. I might be the most boring movie I’ve ever watched. I keep forgetting James Bond’s face.”
I ask if she finds it worse than Casino Royale with David Niven?
As has often happened with these films, Mel gets quite into the action sequences and doesn’t say much. Bond is skiing down the mountain, pursued by Blofeld and his thugs. In the village below he bumps into Tracy, who helps him escape in her car.
Bond tells Tracy she has beautiful… earlobes.
Mel tells her, “You look like a bear.”
“By the way,” Mel asks on 007’s behalf, “Is now a good time to tell you that I slept with two other women, one right after the other?”
Bond keeps kissing Tracy while she tries to evade their pursuers.
“If I was driving a getaway car and someone kept slopping in my ear I wouldn’t appreciate it. It’s icy conditions and she hasn’t even got chains on her tyres.”
They hole up in a barn for the night.
“I bet he sleeps with her.”
She is his girlfriend, I say.
“What makes her is girlfriend?!”
They were courting earlier, horse-riding, walking along the beach…
“And then what did he do?”
Well, he had to go on a mission…
“… and who did he do missionary with?”
…and he had to find out information about the girls at the clinic were.
James and Tracy are snuggling and he’s even discussing marriage.
“Has he just proposed to her? after just sleeping with those other two women? He doesn’t mean it, he’ll just drop her… Dump him! He’ll abandon you!”
The next morning they are skiing for their lives again, with Blofeld and his goons hot on their heels. One of the men gets puréed in a machine for digging toboggan runs. It starts ejecting a stream if bloody snow.
“Strawberry slush puppy! Did you ever find that slush puppies were rubbish once you’ve sucked all the flavour out? The trick is to get them to put a double-shot in; one at the bottom and one at the top.”
An avalanche puts paid to our heroes’ escape and Blofeld captures Tracy. Back in London M can’t help, so Bond returns to Piz Gloria with Tracy’s father Draco and his Union Corse thugs to rescue her, and stop Blofeld holding the world hostage.
During the attack Tracy threatens a guard with a bottle she has broken.
“Don’t waste the Dom!”
Tracy won’t leave without Bond so her father knocks her out with a right hook.
“Obviously punching a woman in the face is disgusting. Obviously. I don’t know what more to say… And her loyalty to James Bond is misplaced.”
After the battle is won, and Blofeld has escaped Bond’s pursuit along a toboggan run, Bond visits a jewellers.
Mel says, “That ring isn’t very nice.”
Mel’s interest picks up again with the wedding, as we’re busy planning our own nuptials. This is certainly more interesting than our usual pre-wedding viewing: Don’t Tell The Bride and Four Weddings.
That’s Miss Moneypenny!
“I don’t like her dress or her hair either.”
If this was Four Weddings, Mel would not be scoring Tracy’s do very highly.
Draco advises his daughter to obey her husband in all things.
“You’d better not be wanting any of that shit , ‘cos you’re not getting it,” warns my fiancee.
A crying Moneypenny catches Bond’s hat..
“Moneypenny, move on.”
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service plays out it’s tragic ending, as Tracy is killed by Blofeld and Irma Bunt as the newly-weds drive away from their wedding.
“That is ridiculously sad. I can’t believe you’ve made me watch that three months to the day until we get married.”
“That’s really sad. What a horrific ending.”
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service trailer:
Mel will Return… watching Diamonds Are Forever.
Order On Her Majesty’s Secret Service on DVD from Amazon: