5. June 2013 11:51
Step back in time to the late 1960s, when Sean Connery resigned from playing James Bond, producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli decided to gamble and doubled down with an untested director and an unknown star and came up with the crown jewels: On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Based on years of research, hundreds of interviews, and exclusive access to the archives of author Ian Fleming, screenwriter Richard Maibaum, and director Peter Hunt, this inside look features never-before-published script details, storyboards, production documents, interviews, memos, marketing material, call sheets, and hundreds of rare, behind-the-scenes photographs of the cast and crew, including sequences and entire sets not seen in the film. From novel to script to screen, this book details the incredible journey of making the most unique entry in the James Bond film series, the longest running, most successful film franchise in history. This is not the white-washed "authorized" story, but the real story.
Learn how OHMSS had been in development since 1964 (early prints of Goldfinger promised that "James Bond will return in On Her Majesty's Secret Service"); how early drafts of the screenplay made Blofeld Goldfinger's brother "I think you knew my brother, who called himself Auric Goldfinger" - Blofeld; and how George Lazenby became swept up in the whole hippie movement, believing that James Bond, the short haired, suit wearing hero of the establishment, would not last against the rising counter-culture. "Bond is a brute. I've already put him behind me. I will never play him again. Peace man - that's the message now."
I'm afraid George Lazenby comes across as 'very handsome, but rather dim'. For example, composer John Barry told music journalist Gavin Martin that George Lazenby "stood at the back and listened to the score for one of his scenes. He said to me 'It fits!' He said it as if it was the greatest compliment I could ever have hoped for. I thought 'What do you think I do for a living? Christ, we've got a real brain going here, obviously.'"
The biggest irony, of course, is that by leaving the role as he did, George Lazenby was forever associated with James Bond. Bet he wishes he'd signed that seven picture deal now.
James Bond historian John Cork wrote:
The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service is a landmark book for anyone interested in cinema and popular culture. Charles Helfenstein has dug deep into the archives for amazing depth, uncovering many unreported facts about the Bond film most cherished by hard-core fans. Where Helfenstein shines best is his research into the development of the film with screenwriter Richard Maibaum and the influence of director Peter Hunt. He gives fans everything they could ask for with an abundance of information on the film's release and promotion. The section covering the film's production gives a wonderful overview of the film's complex shooting and challenging locations.
As someone who has personally been through many of the core production documents on this movie, read scripts and interviewed many of the cast and filmmakers, I was stunned how much Helfenstein uncovered that I never knew!
The book shines with passion for the film. This is, in its own way, a love story, a compelling exploration of the sixth official James Bond film, the one that almost killed the series but ignited a fire in the hearts of many Bond fans. The book itself is part of a larger story of one of the most successful and enduring film series every produced, yet it stands on its own. The book takes you inside this often over-looked, but deeply influential film.
I give this my highest recommendation.
Charles Helfenstein's The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service is a must have for any Bond fan.