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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

Notes on On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond 007) - Ian Fleming

* The eleventh Bond book.

* Second appearance of Blofeld.

* Strangely enough, if I were going to read only one of Fleming's Bond books, this probably wouldn't be it, yet it is my favorite in the complete series. No, it's really not so odd: after seeing Bond tortured by love in so many other novels, it's a pleasure to see him finally find a future in it.

* But there's also plenty of action, a worthy adversary, great detail, humor, and pathos. Because of Tracy, though, it all works best on top of a solid foundation of the other books.

* The sixth Bond movie (George Lazenby).

* Reasonably faithful adaptation. Lazenby is a good Bond (and it's remarkable how well he handles the final scene, which is the diciest of them all).

* With a brand new actor playing the role and it's longer running time (it was the longest Bond film to date and held the record until Daniel Craig's "Casino Royale" beat it out decades later), it's regrettable that the producers still chose to make it about Movie Bond (toned down a bit, it's true) rather than Book Bond. Movie Bond is a superman who is never really hurt and never truly threatened--that's why he can crack his stupid jokes after supposedly facing mortal danger. It's also why it's hard to generate any meaningful suspense, or indeed any sympathy for the character. Though still one of the very best Bond movies, it's the all-too-frequent appearances of Movie Bond that prevent this from rising above its franchise into the wider world of great movies.

* Diana Rigg, though, blows all other Bond girls to date right out of the water.

* And it contains, of course, the best song ever played in a Bond film: "We Have All the Time in the World" by Louis Armstrong.