Sean Connery is considered by most to be the greatest James Bond ever. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is considered by many to be one of the greatest Bond stories ever. This is why it’s a heinous cinematic crime that we never got to see Connery play 007 for the 6th time in OHMSS.
Why didn’t Connery come back after You Only Live Twice? Sean had mentally checked out by the mid-60s and he felt that he was being grossly underpaid, especially after the huge hits of Goldfinger and Thunderball. He resented the Bond producers, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Especially Saltzman! So much so that Connery demanded that Saltzman not be on the set while he was acting. Things got worse when Sean arrived to film in Japan. The press didn’t leave him alone. He had enough. He said never again! (More on that statement other time…another place.)
Why did the producers go with George Lazenby to star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Lazenby was a complete unknown, who they thought they could mold into the next Connery. That proved easier said than done. Lazenby is really the only weak spot in the entire film. Not entirely his fault, as he had never acted before. But when your great film’s only weakness is the lead actor, that’s a major issue and the producers only had themselves to blame. OHMSS needed Sean Connery. And actually, Sean Connery could have really used a film like OHMSS.
With the beautifully talented Diana Rigg as Tracy, Bond’s future wife, and with terrific character actor Telly Savalas, playing the villain Blofeld, Connery would have fit right in. If he was tired of Bond because the movies had become lazy and out-of-this-world, then OHMSS was exactly what he needed. It’s one of the more grounded Bonds in the franchise’s 55+ year history. There are hardly any gadgets, the action is shot well thanks to director Peter Hunt, the locations make it a sweeping epic, and it offers a Bond actor a first: Bond falls in love and gets married.
It’s a shame that this movie didn’t end up as the followup to Goldfinger, as it was intended to be. Bond history might have changed. Connery would have eventually had enough of being “underpaid” and would have grown too old for the part, but we would have seen him in somewhat of his prime in one of the best 007 movies ever made.
As it stands now, if you are a Bond fanatic like myself, you have grown to respect and love the film. It’s easily in my top 10 Bond flicks, but for casual Bond fans it’s an outlier. Usually you will hear from them: “Oh yeah! That one with that one guy who only played the part once. The one without Sean Connery.” That’s a shame. Sean Connery is James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Has a much better ring to it. That would have been an all-timer on the level of From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, Casino Royale and Skyfall. Even with George Lazenby as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service it still might be. It’s that good of a movie.
8 thoughts on “Sean Connery in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service””
I totally agree and post it over and over on 007 Facebook groups. Sean as 007 in OHMSS would have tied Goldfinger for the best film of the series! It wouldn’t even be #2. And it was scheduled after Goldfinger, as I taped on AMC an early Goldfinger release and there it was at the end. “James Bond will return in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” A real collector’s item to have it.
The 007’s Connery could have played the Roger Moore parts, and beyond Never Say Never. Personality conflicts, lawsuits, money. Further the films would have been shaped to a Connery way of acting. I doubt Jaws, the Sherriff, Herc would have been in any of the films for example. Mr. Kidd and the other detracted from Dimonds LV was not the city for the film thrown together with actors, stunts unbecoming in a 007 film.
I agree George lazenby did a good job in the movie considerating it was his first acting job
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Lazenby was the best Bond as far as I’m concerned. I also think it was the best Bond Movie ever.
Thanks for answering my query on why Connery didn’t do O.H.M.S.S.
I decided Last week to watch all the bond films in order coz I’ve not seen the early ones or the new ones. Only some of the Moore’s in the 90s
It was a diobolical shame that Sean Connery diddn’t play the role of 007 in OHMSS as it was one of the best 007 movies. As i believe that Sean Connery was made for the role as secret spy 007 James Bond Sean Connery still lives on as the reall and original James Bond and no actor can ever replace his role as the secret spy
Time to CGI Sean into OHMSS. No, just kidding. I loved the film and George did a decent job but I can’t help but picture Sean in it.
To be fair, George Lazenby did play two more times. He returned in a cameo for the TV movie “Return of the Man from Uncle” in 1983 and then played James Bond again in the spoof-inspired “Diamonds Aren’t Forever” for Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the later 1980s. How did they go around the copyright issues? George Lazenby never really finishes his line when introducing himself as “James…” due to some nearby noise!