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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » On Her Majesty's Secret Service
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 19, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Many times while watching a picture, audiences will be distracted by one element that's lacking, whether it be the score, editing, cinematography or, at worst, a bit of miscasting. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is an early entry in the 007 series, and delivers strong characters, story as well as action.

What it doesn't provide is a great Bond. George Lazenby gives the role a try, and it just doesn't seem to suit him. He has none of the snap to the lines that the other Bonds have, and doesn't pull off the humor like Brosnan does, or Connery did.

In "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", Bond falls in love with a Countess(Diana Rigg) after saving her life, and also goes after his arch enemy, Blofeld, who plans to use biological warfare in his attempt to take over the world. Director Peter Hunt keeps things moving at a rapid clip, and although Lazenby occasionally doesn't work as Bond, the film moves on with or without him. Even considering a few tiny problems, this is definitely an enjoyable entry in the series.


The DVD

VIDEO: This is, for the most part, a very good transfer of the 31 year old movie, but there are some problems that take away from the impression of MGM's anamorphic transfer. The general quality of the picture occasionally looks pleasing, with images that are solid with acceptable colors, but the distractions become a little too numerous at times. Images remain sharp though, with good detail.

What sometimes began to bug me was not shimmering or pixelation - you won't find either one of those here. The picture's biggest flaw is really that many sequences have anywhere from one or two minor marks on the print used to, occasionally, an unacceptable amount. When the image looks its best, it does deliver a pleasing picture, but there are some sequences that were dissapointing. Overall, it's not unwatchable, but it could be a little smoother.

SOUND: This edition of the Bond series is presented in the film's original mono soundtrack. It's actually not that bad - of course it's limited compared to more recent films, but there's really no problems with it, such as hiss or any sort of distortion. Occasionally it does sound a little thin, but I found it generally acceptable, if unremarkable.

MENUS:: As with the rest of the Bond series, MGM has put an enormous amount of effort into making the menus a fun and exciting way to introduce this edition of the series, with film-specific images and animation coming together to form a really neat opener to the DVD.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Peter Hunt and a number of other members of the cast and crew of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Like many of the other Bond films, the commentary is narrated and led along by a member of the Ian Fleming Foundation. Director Peter Hunt does much of the talking, and he's very funny at times, sharing his comments with humor and energy. He starts off with the obvious element that was hanging over the series, how to introduce the newest Bond, and how this edition had to go from there.

This track is edited together, with comments from the narrator joining together the subjects that are discussed. He also offers many interesting facts on his own about this film, as well as other editions of the Bond series.

A rather huge crowd of cast and crew populate this commentary track, from the cinematographer to the actors to the director and other members of the crew. Edited together, their comments reveal a great about of detail about this film. Their comments are in fun, too - although there is production and technical detail presented, there are plenty of stories that are amusing, as well - such as how the huge crew had to travel by cable car to a location.

Inside "On Her Majesty's Secret Service": A 43 minute documentary, this time we're taken into the history of the story, from the problem of chosing a new Bond for the series to the problems with shooting on locations, all the way to the release of the final product. Bond Lazenby shares his thoughts on his role in the series in interviews, and gives quite a few interesting opinions on what it was like to step into a role as popular as 007.

Featurettes:: "Inside Q's Lab"(11 min), a presentation about the gadgets of the bond series; "Above it All"(6 minutes), about the production.

Also: Theatrical trailer, 5 TV Spots, 7 Radio Spots and a photo gallery for this film.


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