October 10, 2006

On Her Majesty's Secret Service, part three

To recap this recap (using the nice and succinct Wikipedia plot summary):

For more than a year, James Bond, British secret agent 007, has been trailing the private criminal organization SPECTRE and its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in "Operation Bedlam". Bond is convinced SPECTRE no longer exists. Frustrated by his inability to find Blofeld, Bond composes a letter of resignation for M. Meanwhile, Bond encounters a suicidal, beautiful, young woman named Teresa di Vicenzo and interrupts her attempted suicide (by drowning).

Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo ("Tracy" to her friends) is the daughter of Marc-Ange Draco, head of the Union Corse, the biggest European crime syndicate. He believes the only way to save his daughter is for Bond to marry her. To facilitate this, he offers Bond a great dowry—as well as Blofeld's whereabouts; Bond refuses the offer, but agrees to continue romancing Tracy while her mental health improves...

The Countess

And romance her Bond does! The courtship is like a print ad for liquor, cigarettes, or stereo equipment, straight out of a late '60s issue of Playboy or Esquire come to life.



Draco informs Bond that Blofeld has been hiding in Switzerland; upon further investigation, Bond discovers he has assumed the title and name Comte Balthazar de Bleuville. Blofeld has undergone plastic surgery to physically pass as heir of the de Bleuville bloodline—to the degree that he has asked the London College of Arms to declare him the reigning count.

While waiting for a special spy gadget device to crack the combination of a safe containing information about "Comte Balthazar de Bleuville" (Blofeld), Bond enjoys some quick reading. It is an interesting blurring of reality, as two icons of the "Swingin' '60s" meet (it's also one of those neat little moments that make this an important Bond film, in my opinion):


And so, having found Blofeld after a two year search, 007 heads for the Swiss Alps, impersonating College of Arms representative, Sir Hilary Bray:


Bond as College of Arms representative, Sir Hilary Bray. Glasses do an amazing job of hiding a person's identity in fiction.

Sir Hilary Bray's (Bond's) escorts to Comte Balthazar de Bleuville's (Blofeld's) secret lair:
Eurotrash of an undetermined country, one apparently a former Olympian(?).


Blofeld's lair atop Piz Gloria. I want one.

When Dr. Evil Blofeld is told of Sir Hilary's (Bond's) arrival, we get our first glimpse of Shinehead O'Connor (in OHMSS):

At Piz Gloria, Bond learns Blofeld has been curing a group of young British and European women of their livestock and food allergies. In truth, Blofeld and his homely aide, Irma Bunt, have been brainwashing them into carrying biological warfare agents back to Britain and their home countries in order to destroy Britain's agriculture economy, upon which post-World War II Britain depends.

Despite their allergies, the young women are not allergic to men. And Bond doesn't seem to mind. Strange.


Bond like!


Women with allergies being treated by Blofeld like!

Bond, again, under the guise of Sir Hilary Bray, is wearing a kilt, and as the only male in a room full of attractive, flirtatious women, one can see new, practical uses for the sporran:
The sporran, keeping things weighted down.

Later, that evening...
Bond like!

Bond comes face to face with Dr. Evil Blofeld:

Appearing only as hands, or hands and voice in Thunderball and From Russia with Love, Blofeld makes his first appearance in You Only Live Twice, portrayed by Donald Pleasance.

As you can see, the greatest bald actor, other than Yul Brynner, Telly Savalas, plays him in OHMSS.
I'm still rather partial to Mike Myers' interpretation.


Believing himself discovered, Bond escapes by ski from Piz Gloria and encounters Tracy, who helps him escape.
What are the odds?? Okay, she could have found out from Draco, her father, that Bond had travelled to Switzerland. I grant you that. BUT, the chances of she and Bond coming together at that very moment? That's about as ludicrous as having a group of women being treated for allergies by a bald, evil super villain who has a thing for long-haired white cats.


COMING UP IN THE FOURTH AND FINAL PART, "ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD" TURNS OUT TO ACTUALLY BE ABOUT TWO MINUTES, AND I DISCOVER THE REASON WHY THIS IS PROBABLY THE LEAST POPULAR BOND FILM.

5 comments:

Lisa said...

Yay! I was hoping you'd come back to this, cause I love that Diana Rigg but not enough to actually watch this myself. Also: sporran!

ScottyB said...

Love the recap, and looking forward to the finale!

Tracy said...

These are just brilliant. :D

alice said...

Wow. I've never seen anything quite like this before. Brilliant!

Chris said...

Thanks, y'all!! The pressure is now on for part four, scottyb!

lisa-I too like Diana Rigg. She was once very pretty (painfully so). Sporran! indeed (I LOL-ed when I read that).

tracy-Brilliant? My head swelled.

alice-I like Austin Daily Photo alot.