2007/01/31

Dinner and a Movie

Perhaps I should skip the dinner part. It was my turn to cook last night and I threw together (literally) a simple spaghetti, salad, garlic bread, dinner which anyone can do without a recipe from me. I had everything timed just right until I realized - just when everything was ready - that I didn't have a sauce for the spaghetti - mama mia! So I tossed peeled tomatoes in a pan and added catsup (we're out of tomato paste) spices and lots of grated garlic (vampires don't come anywhere near our house - the kitchen still smells of it 24 hours later). Tasted pretty good actually.

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The movie was one from my college days and a bit out of character for me. I have watched most of the James Bond films, but I don't think very highly of them as they were created as political propaganda with a naive world view, and portray rather poor values all round - murder as a way of life, obeisance to royal authority, sexism, unhealthy lifestyle choices, etc. But if one is in the mood, the Bond movies can offer some great scenery, action, and well, fun.

The Bond film that we watched is one which makes many Bond fans groan. It is also the only one I own on DVD. The title is "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", which came out in 1969. I can hear some of you ... "not that one".... well just stop that right now and read on.

Yes, this is the one filmed after Sean Connery called it quits (for a short while) and it stars George Lazenby, possibly the worst actor to play Bond. He tried to imitate Connery in the film rather than create his own version of the character like Roger Moore did later on. At times Lazenby even has an annoying lisp. OHMSS also uses speeding up of the frames in fight scenes which comes off rather badly. But one actor, even in the lead role, and a few bad special effects, does not an entire movie make.

What does this film have going for it that could possibly outweigh the bad acting of Lazenby? Well, quite a lot actually.

Movie Trailer

For one thing, the scenery - it was filmed in the Swiss Alps and Portugal - is stunning. For another, there are some amazing skiing sequences shot by a cameraman (Willy Bogner) who at times skied backwards with the camera between his legs(!) and at other times was towed behind a bobsled. Another plus is the actor playing the bad guy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. It was Telly Savales of the TV series "Kojak" fame and he did an excellent job.

All the Time in the World


The music was one of the major highlights. The regular James Bond themes were well arranged and matched to the scenes perfectly. The movie's sub-theme "All the Time in the World" was sung by Louis Armstrong in what would turn out to be his last recording session. Hard to beat the old Satchmo.

To give George Lazenby some credit, he did many of his own amazing stunts.

We had some good laughs at the sexist remarks. But nothing in this almost 40 year old movie could match the words of Japan's PRESENT Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, Hakuo Yanagisawa, who the other day referred to women as (I am not making this up) "birth-giving machines"! So much for social progress. That remark may, hopefully, cost him his job.


The best element in this film, which makes it rise above many others of this genre was the performance by Diana Rigg as the heroine, Theresa di Vicenzo, the only woman who the Bond character ever actually falls in love with and marries. Diana Rigg is a favorite of K and Panadbonium for her role in the British 1960's TV series "The Avengers" which we have on DVD and watch from time to time. She brought her natural beauty and classical training to this movie, and is no doubt the most talented actress to portray a heroine in a James Bond film.

So if you're in the mood for an action film with dinner and perhaps have missed or "dissed" this one in the past (as I had), give "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" another chance and this time focus on everything other than the lead character. You may find it to be surprisingly good entertainment.

Oh, and try to plan dinner a little better than I did.

14 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

Diana Rigg...grrrrr. We saw a bunch of Bond films a few months ago, but missed that one. We'll have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

He..he...he...why not try to prepare a whole set of BAMBOO dinner on your next turn, Panda?
Starting with some slice of bamboo for appetizer, then follows by a HOT bamboo soup, a BBQ bamboo in the main course. Finally, make a bamboo juice dessert. Yummy..!!!

Of course, don’t forget to see The movie of “House of bamboo”.

Pandabonium said...

Bamboo dinner - yum. Don't forget bamboo shoots.

I've never seen House of Bamboo. Looks like it would be fun - 1955, Robert Ryan, Robert Stack - mobsters and US investigators in Japan? Far out.

YD said...

Hey! That's the Schilthorn peak we went last summer! :-)

Sometimes I prefer self-made pasta sauce, cuz I can put in lots of ingredients to get the flavour I like. Some garlic, onions and herbs do wonder...

My blog has totally vanished. Anyone else experiencing any problem with blog?

Old Broad said...

I cannot tell you how many times I have used KETCHUP as a substitute. HILARIOUS to know others do, too.
Dinner & a movie actually sounds like a great idea. Here at home.

QUASAR9 said...

lol Pandabonium,
it's not what you throw together
It is literally how you toss it together - and a little bit of this and a little bit of that ...

Mama Mia

Sounds like you are having fun all around

Hypatia said...

I think the only thing I liked about this move was Diana Rigg! I saw it many years ago, but didn't care for it.

Not that I'm into Sean Connery's slap-em-around versions either, but I take them w/a grain of salt and enjoy the early 60's styles.

I liked Roger Moore too, and was glad he did his own take on the role.

The next best one I like was Pierce Brosnan - he didn't have great scripts, but I thought he struck a good balance between the more urbane Roger Moore type and the sexy action of Sean Connery.

The last one I didn't see (but my daughter did). She's watched nearly all the Bond films, and she really like this one.

But it's very different, much more realistic - (probably influenced by films like The Bourne Identity and such); and it's not a "happy" film
with easy White Hat/Black Hat characters.

Pandabonium said...

YD - sometimes blogger gets screwed up. Your blog looks fine this morning.

Old Broad - oh good, I won't feel so guilty now if I put catsup/ketchup in tomato sauce. We can then focus on the three hundred year old confusion over whether to call it castsup or ketchup (the latter is winning these days). :P

quasar9 - like galaxies colliding.

Hypatia - thanks for the comment. I haven't seen Casino Royale. As time went on Bond films interested me less and less even as they added more and more special effects (the last six or seven films). I agree Bronson does a good acting job.

As for Casino Royale, I remember the 1967 version of the story which was a Bond spoof starring Peter Sellers and an all star cast. :)

loloma said...

Speaking of Yanagisawa... I am amazed at how some people can say/do whatever they want and still get away with it. :(

Old Broad said...

With a shout-out to my friend, Pandabonium.
ITMFA

ladybug said...

Speaking of spoofs, my favorite Bond spoofs are two movies starring James Coburn Our Man Flint (1966), and In Like Flint, which is a 1967 sequel.

Supposedly Mike Myers was inspired by these films, resulting in his Austin Powers movie series. In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin Powers says his favorite movie is In Like Flint.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

We take the Bond films with a grain of salt and of course the subtexts are dated now, but I still like 'From Russia with love' and a few others. The new one is quite a shocker though - a cold character is Bond. As usual though good locations.
Pierce Brosnan of course sends homself up when he did the Bond role.
w.

Pandabonium said...

Loloma - it is amazing when someone like that lets slip a line that reveals how they really think.

Old Broad - rage on girl. ITMFA!

Ladybug - I had forgotten about those. I think I only saw In Like Flint. funny stuff.

Wendy - From Russia With Love was a good one. Probably the best plot of any of them. Grain of salt is putting it mildly. I can never suspend disbelief quite enough to forget that 007 is just a murderer doing the dirty work of a crime organization (government). Perhaps depicting him as cold is a more accurate portrayal of the nature of his work.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I've never been much of a Bond fan, strangely enough considering my affinity for sci-fi/action flicks.

As for Yanagisawa, all I can say is that I really like the Yanagisawa mouthpiece I use with my alto saxophone, and how dare that idiot politician insult its fine name!