This time, we’re going back further than we have ever gone before. The swinging sixties were about to end. The Beatles were working on Abbey Road, Patrick Troughton was in his final year as The Doctor, and another iconic man was about to change his face for the first time. That man was James Bond.
This was a big gamble. Sean Connery had already established himself as Bond after five films, but did not want to do a sixth. Producers had wanted Timothy Dalton to take over, but Dalton considered himself too young for the role. It came to be that George Lazenby would be the second James Bond, and had signed a contract for seven films. He left the role after one. That film was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
This film was to be an action packed movie, so needed the poster to be just as action packed. Which it did, but it also packed in a great big fantasy as well.
Fourth example: ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE
To say James Bond films are fictional, is an understatement. Fantastical would be closer to the point, but even then, the poster that they released for OHMSS was more than that. It was beyond fantastical.
Take a look at the poster. There is a lot of action going on. Blofeld is in a toboggan firing a gun at Bond, along with henchmen in yellow ski suits firing rifles also toward our hero. You can also see an exploding mountain base, with helicopters hovering to the side of the explosion. That all happened in the film. Ok, maybe not all at the same time, but the detail is there. Then you see Bond and his lady for this film, Tracy. They too look spot on. Tracy did wear a dress like that, and yes, she had a gun in this film. Bond did wear a tuxedo, and he definitely had a gun. Then you look to Bond and Tracy’s feet.
Yes, they are wearing skis. No, Bond never wore skis with his tuxedo; they may be a talking point, but they just don’t match. So, where the hell did that come from? Why did they include so much detail? I understand the fact that, as Bond had just changed, that the artist needed to make him identifiable. The tuxedo does that, where a normal ski suit would not. So, why include the skis? This addition just makes Bond look plain ridiculous.
And yet, for some reason, that is why I love this poster. It has Bond, always suave and sophisticated, ready for anything. Including the snow. It’s almost as if the artist is taking the mickey, intentionally, at the fantasy of James Bond’s world. It’s a rather precise critique at how Bond is seen, but its not made with a hate or a dislike of Bond. The artist actually loves him and his extravagant stories. How can we tell this? Because the artist doesn’t spoil the picture by adding other Bond trademarks.
They could have added Bond holding a Martini in his empty hand for good measure, maybe even stuck in a gadget watch on his wrist. But they didn’t. They knew when enough was enough. And that’s what makes this poster perfect, in my viewpoint.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was a critical hit and a box office success too, yet had mixed feelings with the general public. This was due to the style of this new Bond, who was tough, yet had more emotion than Connery’s Bond. This was the darkest and grittiest Bond for that time, and is more in line with the Bond that we have seen in more recent years played by Daniel Craig. We see Bond truly vulnerable for the first time. It’s with no surprise that, only over the past 15 years, OHMSS has finally been given it’s due and has been highly acclaimed as the film it deserves to be.
I’m afraid that brings us to an end for the current run of Big Liars in Little Poster Town.
Big Liars in Little Poster Town will return…