What sort of movie do a bunch of 8 year old girls want to see in 1969? Well, in my case – it was a James Bond film. Not THE Bond, you understand, the experimental BOND who came between Sean Connery (still the BEST, as far as I’m concerned – feel free to disagree, BUT you better have a good argument!) and Roger Moore (a somewhat pale substitute).
When my school-friend, Donna had her 8th birthday on March 26th of the year 1970, she invited a group of us girlies for an afternoon movie and cake and ice cream back at her house. We all met up at Sheridan Mall’s movie theatre and lined up excitedly to see the thrilling new Bond flick, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service featuring Australian actor, George Lazenby as “Bond, James Bond”. Prior to this role, Lazenby had been the number one male fashion model in the world from 1964-68. According to the IMDb, Lazenby had a chance encounter with Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli in a London hair salon where he gained the opportunity to audition for the role of the already iconic Bond.
Okay, so 8 year olds don’t get the sexy innuendos or the witty repartee – that’s for sure, and this may be why even today, I still like this movie, despite it not being favoured by most Bond fans. What we girls witnessed was fast-paced, edge-of-your seat action – speedy ski-slope chases, wild, perilous situations, creepy, bald Telly Savalas as Blofeld and lots of hip, beautiful (even to our innocent eyes) women, particularly the lovely Diana Rigg. We witnessed violence like we had not seen before. (My dad had taken me to see The Battle of Britain late in 1969, but that was planes being shot down, not hand to hand combat with freakish villains. )It’s hard to believe that this movie even got away with being shown to kids – it was pretty scary for me and I think I even got a few nightmares out of it.
Poor George Lazenby! He did a pretty good job of capturing the suavity of Connery’s Bond, but even he sensed that it was a losing battle, since he bailed on ever doing any more Bond films due to the physical toll it took on his person. What would have happened had he continued? Where would Roger Moore be in the film annals today?
Lazenby’s last documented film is a goofball teen/sex romp called Winter Break. No doubt he donned some skis as an instructor or something. His most recent photo reveals him to be a chiselled, still-manly man – rather like a George Hamilton without the gravy-coloured face.
Daniel Craig seems to be carving out his own form of Bond character. I wonder if there will ever be another Bond anomaly like Lazenby to follow him in say, 2018. I mean, diamonds are forever, but so is Bond, right?