Continuing the theme of films that are of the season but not seasonal, I watched some thrillers.

On_Her_Majesty's_Secret_Service_-_UK_cinema_posterOn Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the only James Bond film starring George Lazenby as Bond it’s also the only one where the Bond Girl gets 007, albeit with tragic results in the end.

This Bond film has a slower pace than most focusing on the romance Bond and the Contessa Treresa di Vincenzo, Played by Diana Rigg (though that doesn’t stop him from going after every other character in a skirt (other than Bloeeld’s right hand woman Frau Irma Bunt)) After that I’t all about Bond trying to infiltrate Blofeld’s (this time played by Telly Savalis) lair disguised as a genealogist in order to prevent Bloefeld’s latest convoluted blackmail scheme to threaten the world, this time using a bioweapon transported by brainwashed fashion models.

All of this leads to some entertaining action scenes and high speed chases on skis and bobsleds but all in good fun. For the most part this was a nice piece of fluff. I’m not sure completely what I thought of Lazenby as Bond… to a certain extent not being familiar with him had his disguise work on me when he first appears as the genealogist… But otherwise I don’t think I had a problem with him.

TheFrenchConnectionI find it interesting the number of films I first heard of in a collection of Mad Magazine Parodies by Jack Davis growing up. So for years all I knew about The French Connection was an exaggerated portrayal of Gene Hackman’s performance of Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle playing up every bit of loudmouthed racism the character has. Mind you the character is no saint and it’s almost a tribute to Hackman’s art that he’s nearly impossible to like.

Loosely based on a true story about one of the greatest drug busts in American History, the plot starts with Doyle and “Cloudy” Russo played by Roy Schneider stumbling over a huge smuggling operation based in Marseilles France. From there we have them bulldozing their way through the case finally breaking it wide open (even though nearly everyone gets away or off in the end)

This was an incredible film to watch that I seriously doubt could be made today. The Hackman’s Doyle is one of the great antihero’s in American film, bombastic, slovenly,racist but perversely charming. I found myself frequently cringing over some of the things he does as a seventies “cowboy cop” even though he miraculously succeeding by the end of the film.

All in all I found myself fascinated all the way through with it’s wonderful portrayal of the underside of seventies New York contrasted with the old world charm of Marseilles.