OHMSS’s 40th anniversary Part V: the film’s legacy

Forty years after its release, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service has one of the most mixed legacies of the James Bond film series.

1. While profitable, it would be the first film in the series not to be considered a hit and a major financial success.

2. It scared away producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman from further faithful adaptations of Ian Fleming stories. It wouldn’t be until 1981 (and after Saltzman departed the series) when For Your Eyes Only utilized large portions of two Fleming short stories that much of Fleming’s plots appeared in a film.

3. A combination of No. 1 and No. 2 caused the series to go in a much lighter direction in the 1970s. There wasn’t even a hint of the unhappy ending of OHMSS, which concluded with Bond’s bride perishishing.

4. Despite all that, OHMSS is viewed by many hard-core Bond fans (or “the base” in the language of politicians) as one of the best, if not the best film in the series.

5. Even if you don’t buy into No. 4, it features one of the best of John Barry’s 11 scores for the series, one that Barry has referred to as his “most Bondian.”

6. It had a terrific performance by Diana Rigg as Bond’s doomed bride. While fans debate about George Lazenby’s turn as 007, his Bond was more vulnerable than the one by Sean Connery. It contributed to a film, under the guidance of director Peter Hunt, that took more chances than its immediate predecessors, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. There was still spectacle, but there was emotion to go with it. It’s a unique chapter in the film story of 007, one that hasn’t really been matched since.

5 Responses

  1. ” 1. While profitable, it would be the first film in the series not to be considered a hit and a major financial success. ”

    Seems strange that serious Fans like you do contribute to that unfounded rumour .
    Do you really believe that if OHMSS had not been a major financial success , there would have been a following film ???

  2. Kevin: How is it an unfounded rumor? It didn’t do as well in the box office as previous 007 films. The post says it was profitable. Also it says OHMSS was not considered a MAJOR financial success. There’s a difference between being a financial success and a major financial success. United Artists certainly didn’t consider it a major financial success. If it was, they would tried to get Lazenby back after he quit.

  3. So do please tell me What was FRWL compared to Goldfinger ? Or TB compared to YOLT ?

    ‘ Major ‘ or just ‘ average ‘ success ?

    Come on , people , stop splitting hairs . Either a film is a success , or it’s not .

    Considering OHMSS paved the way for D.A.F – and therefore , all the films which have followed , I say that film was indeed a success . ( and its bad reputation – as we all know – comes mainly from the Press …Not the audience ) .
    If you want me to find the Variety figures of all the Eon entries , I have those somewhere …

  4. ” The film performed admirably, out grossing its nearest competitor almost two to one at the U.S. box office where, according to Variety, it was the most popular film in the country for four solid weeks. It generated enough rentals at the box-office to claim ninth position on the box office chart for the year 1970. The persistent belief that it was a flop arises from its disappointing showing in comparison to the previous three Sean Connery Bond films, all of which made twice as much money. “

  5. nice site and great information

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