Sunday, December 02, 2012

The (Still) Polarising Effect Of "OHMSS"

As I start writing this blog entry it's 4:37AM in the morning and I can't get back to sleep.  I was woken by the buzz of a mosquito somewhere in our bedroom.  In turning on the bedroom light I woke my wife, who wasn't very happy, but alas I can't find the flying insect I fear the most.

I have spent the best part of an hour trying to return to sleep without luck, and for some reason I started thinking about Bond which has ultimately led me to this moment.

I watched "50 Years Of Bond Cars - A Top Gear Special" the other night when it premiered on free-to-air TV here on Oz.  I thought it was great.  Richard Hammond obviously enjoys Bond and the show was both insightful and humerous.  I especially thought the ending with the underwater Lotus was brilliant, as was the invisible van.  There was one thing that disappointed me though, the omission of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and I'm sure others have already commented on this elsewhere on the web.  While I love the Aston Martin DBS, surely the stock-car race in the Mustang with Tracy driving was worthy of "Top Gear".  And if this film was omitted because there's not really much of Bond driving in this film, he never actually drove the Toyota 2000 GT in "You Only Live Twice" either but there was plenty of screen time attributed to that car.

(Intermission while my computer suddenly reboots to load another Windows update.  Fortunately nothing appears to have been lost)

And then on Thursday some of my parents friends sent me an article written by Charlie Higson, a great Bond continuation author, that discussed 50 years of Bond as a cultural icon.  Yes, a very interesting article, but this time instead of omitting "OHMSS" Mr Higson wrote that "George Lazenby spoke for no one".  Now I know we've heard similar opinions about Mr Lazenby before, but in my mind in the context of the article this phrase also indicates that the film itself has no relevance to the decade in which it was made.  Yet Diana Rigg's character is surely one of the strongest in the series*, which strangely is also a decade in which women's rights were at the forefront.  And the fight scenes in the film are much more realistic than some of the previous films, the gadgets less present, perhaps because of the more gritty, less over the top films also being released or being made toward the end of the 60's at a time when the Vietnam War was in full swing ("Diamonds Are Forever" although made in 1971 perhaps a relic of an earlier 1960s).

And so again, tiredness hopefully returning to myself, I think about the polarising effect of "OHMSS" even today, some 43 years after it's release.  Surely I (and Christopher Nolan to think of it) can't be wrong when we say it's our favourite Bond film.  Yet "OHMSS" is still treated by many as an abnomally, and ignored or derided as it was in the EON Bond series until "For Your Eyes Only".

But then again, perhaps that's the attraction of the film.

* Even Daniel Craig's Bond momentarily took control of the steering wheel in "Skyfall" while Eve, Naomi Harris, was driving in the pre-credit sequence of "Skyfall".

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