Customer Review

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alright, October 2, 2012
This review is from: LIFE 50 Years of James Bond (Hardcover)
I over all enjoyed the review of Bonds first 50 years. I liked the box office reports that shows what the gross's would be by todays standards.

However, the writers of this book nearly lost me with the review for On Her Majesty's Secret Service which they called "more than a little bit lost"?! Are they nuts? When it first came out it was met with some criticism, trying to carry the torch after Connery, but it has since been met with universal praise from film historians, critics, and fans alike. It is regarded as one of the best adaptations of Fleming's novels and one of the best Bond films of all time. I mean are the LIFE writers from the 60's? Modern critics have given an 82% approval rating and In September 2012 it was announced that On Her Majesty's Secret Service had topped a poll of Bond fans run by 007 Magazine to determine the greatest ever Bond film. Goldfinger came second in the poll and From Russia With Love was third. Catch up to the present consensus LIFE. .

They even got it wrong when the labeled OHMSS a flop. It had a budget of $7 million and made back over 11 times that with $80 million which by todays standards is over $400 million. And they call that a flop?! Presently Avengers had a budget of $220 million and made back $1.5 billion, which is about 7 times it's budget. So OHMSS actually made back more of a profit in comparison to it's budget than Avengers and yet Avengers is considered a huge success. At the time OHMSS was released it was considered a disappointment in comparison to what the Connery films grossed, Thunderball was at $141 million, but that certainly doesn't make OHMSS a flop. You people need to get your facts straight.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 11, 2012 6:48:03 PM PDT
Marty Gillis says:
Greetings from a fellow OHMSS fan. Not only is that film at the very top of my Bond fave list (with FRWL right underneath it) but in my opinion it features John Barry's very best score. Also, people can say what they will about George Lazenby (who I personally think would have become a GREAT Bond if he didn't leave), but I think he threw a punch more convincingly than ANY Bond, before or since! (expecting flack from Craig fans now) I am enjoying my copy of this book but take much of the text with a grain of salt and prefer James Bond-The Legacy even though it only goes as far as the Brosnan era. Cheers! Marty G

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2012 4:41:47 PM PDT
RR says:
Agree 100%. OHMSS has so far been the best. Best score as well.

Posted on Nov 12, 2012 1:29:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 12, 2012 1:38:50 AM PST
To date, there are 23 films in the "official" (that is to say, EON-produced) Bond canon. Why are you so hung up on a review of one? This is less a review of this book than an impassioned, and clearly partial, defense of a single film that is evidently a personal favorite of yours. Hardly helpful, in my estimation. Surely there is more to the book than just its take on On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 1:38:07 AM PST
C. Phillips says:
Well that was the one part I decided to focus on but if you want me to go further into why I think this books is poorly put together then I will. The author clearly knows nothing about Bond if you pay attention to this passage from his over view of Casino Royale.

"Barbara Broccoli and her colleagues would never want this to get around, but the 2006 version of Casino Royale has more in common with the 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale than it does with most if not all of the other Bond films in Eon's 50-year Bond series. In 1954 the TV folk were trying to bring Fleming's character and plot to the screen, and that was the purist goal in 2006 as well."

Wow ... just wow. How did someone who knows nothing about Bond or it's history get to write this book? First off, the 1954 version is not considered to be a close adaptation. The basic plot and villain is in place but they totally changed the Bond character, even to the point of making him an American agent named "Jimmy" Bond. They totally changed the ending to the story. It's lacking very key moments from the book like the famous torture scene where Le Chiffre beats Bonds privates. John Cork, author of James Bond, The Legacy, even points out that the most important ingredient is missing from the show and that is the character James Bond.

Now if we skip ahead to the 2006 version, yes it is indeed faithful to an extent. However it sacrifices key moments from the book to modernize the story. They also add on the entire first half of the story before he gets to Casino Royale. They also alter some key sequences during the Casino Royale section to increase it's commercial sensibilities for modern audiences. That's hardly being the closest adaptation in the Eon Bond series.

Now don't get me wrong. I love Casino Royale. But calling it a closer adaptation than all previous Bond films is totally false. If these fools actually did research they would find that many of the earlier Bond films were much closer to the books than Casino Royale. From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service are in particular extremely faithful. OHMSS is definitely the closest I'd say though. It's just crazy how much money these jerks are making off an unsuspecting public just looking for a Bond fix. When Life promises a book that tells of the history of Bond we are looking for objectivity and we are also looking for well researched facts. At every turn this book presents opinions as though they are indisputable and totally false facts.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 1:45:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 12, 2012 2:10:30 AM PST
That is more helpful, thanks. It also confirms other reviews that have said this book is not well researched or well written. I can accept if a reviewer has a different opinion than I do about a given movie. (Given that this is Bond Mania weekend with the release of the new film, the Internet is abuzz with all kinds of ranking lists regarding the franchise, and there hasn't been a single one with which I am in total agreement, subjectively. That's just the way it goes with Bond.) But bad research or bogus facts are another thing altogether. It sounds like this book is one to pass by.

Posted on Nov 12, 2012 12:43:06 PM PST
While I have the book and like the photographs, I completely concur with your comments regarding OHMSS. Definitely in my top 3, definitely one of the, if not THE, closest adaptations, great everything, and the best John Barry score. Diana Rigg is delicious (okay, I may be channeling Bond here...). Seriously, I don't understand why some fans want to hate this one so much. It has every great element you expect, plus more, and in my opinion Lazenby did a fine job for a beginner. He would have developed into a great Bond, and there is a good chance the drastic veer toward humor started in Diamonds Are Forever would never have happened. Some humor was acceptable, but the silliness of the Roger Moore era (no matter that I appreciate them on their own merits) would have been curbed and I, for one, would have been a much happier Bond fan...

In any case, your points about OHMSS are spot on.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 1:27:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 12, 2012 2:01:46 PM PST
Lazenby sinks it for me. I find his performance wooden and boring, bringing down an otherwise fine film. Seeing him opposite the splendid Rigg has always bothered me; she deserves a more commanding co-star. Had Connery done it, I think it would have been an excellent film. It also would have made a fine first vehicle for Moore - far better than the silly Live and Let Die. (I also would have preferred a Blofeld with more quirky menace, a la Donald Pleasance, rather than the almost gladhanded gusto Telly Savalas brings to the part.)

Perhaps Lazenby would have improved over time, but that's speculation. His spartan track record as an actor gives us little indication of how he might have developed, although his performance in OHMSS doesn't convince me he eventually would have been good in the part. He could have just as easily continued to be mediocre. Ultimately, OHMSS is not my least favorite Bond movie, but considering what it could have been with a different lead, it may be the one I find most disappointing.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 8:30:14 PM PST
the reviewer says:
"They totally changed the ending to the story. It's lacking very key moments from the book like the famous torture scene where Le Chiffre beats Bonds privates."

You do realize that that kind of torture would not have gone over well with 1950's television standards?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 10:06:03 PM PST
C. Phillips says:
I think that you missed the entire point. Yes you are right but that has nothing to do with what I was trying to say. The 1954 Casino Royale was not close to the book except for basic plot and some characters. They changed everything around and yet the author of the LIFE book claims that it's closer to the books than any of the EON movies which is false. I could care less about the torture scene. I'm trashing the LIFE book not the 1954 Casino Royale.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 7:54:00 PM PST
the reviewer says:
No I got what you were saying, I'm just saying is that it's silly to bring up the torture scene since regardless of whether or not the film was faithful they would still have to change it.
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