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Lazenby is the second official actor to portray the British secret agent, following Sean Connery, who had become a cultural icon in the role. Lazenby had a difficult task in filling these shoes, and nearly everything about his portrayal of Bond has been controversial. Lazenby quit the role of Bond right before the premiere, citing he would get other acting roles, and that his Bond contract, which was one and a half pages thick, was too demanding on him. Lazenby is however, arguably the fittest bond yet.
George Lazenby's first serious acting role was as James Bond in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). He was a model before. He aproached the producer at a hairdresser.The film's producers, perhaps mistrusting Lazenby's ability to carry the picture, took the unusual step of overdubbing Lazenby's voice with that of George Baker in major scenes in which Bond impersonated Baker's character. The technique had never been used in a Bond film for a leading actor whose first language was English. It was rumoured that Lazenby had been "difficult to work with". Lazenby subsequently admitted that he had neither the maturity nor the experience to completely understand the studio system. According to an interview with Lazenby, the difficulties were due to director Peter R. Hunt refusing to talk directly to Lazenby after Lazenby was too brusque in passing on a request that Hunt's friends clear a set before filming.
Certainly, Lazenby's James Bond is a man less amused by life than was Connery's, less accessible, more a man who lives from ruse to ruse, more stoic and resigned. Until he falls in love, he is a hedonist without pleasure. This treatment was the deliberate approach of the film's director Peter Hunt, who has stated in an interview that "I was very insistent that we stay with the story of the book". Hunt reshot scenes where he was unhappy with Lazenby's portrayal of emotion. Critical response to On Her Majesty's Secret Service remains sharply divided as well, affecting estimates of George Lazenby's potential as James Bond. It follows the plot of the novel more closely than did the other film adaptations of the eponymous source novels, including serious dramatic subject matter pivotal to the development of Bond's character: Bond's contemplated resignation from MI6; his comically botched impersonation of a sexually ascetic genealogist at a mountaintop allergies clinic for beautiful young women; and his brief, tragic marriage to the daughter of a Corsican crime syndicate leader. American movie reviewer Leonard Maltin has suggested that had Sean Connery held the leading role, On Her Majesty's Secret Service would have epitomised the series.
Although the film was not as successful as previous Bond films at the box office, some aficionados consider it as one of the best films of the James Bond series, with many critics feeling George Lazenby "nailed" the character of James Bond as described in the novels. Commercially, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is widely believed to have paled in comparison to the previous Bond film You Only Live Twice and to the following, Diamonds Are Forever (both featured Sean Connery as James Bond); this has been partly attributed to a poor publicity campaign. In fact, the film was not much less successful than You Only Live Twice, taking about 80% the box office gross with 74% of the budget, and was the second highest grossing film of 1969. (It has also been suggested that it was partly arresting a slide in what was at the time a declining franchise; receipts for You Only Live Twice already reflected a substantial decline from the previous hit Thunderball, yet, in comparison, the receipts for On Her Majesty's Secret Service declined at a lesser rate than did those of You Only Live Twice). When adjusted for inflation, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the median performer of the entire James Bond franchise
Life After Bond:
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