Category: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”: Danish souvenir programme (1969)

COLLECTABLE

 
In December 1969, the Danish branch of United Artists released this 16-page souvenir programme in A6 format to mark the Danish cinema release of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (EON Productions 1969). The programme was distributed for free in selected cinemas during the film's theatrical run in Denmark.

Read More

Exclusive interview: George Lazenby discusses his film career, part 2 (2016)

James Bond•O•Rama.dk got an exclusive one-on-one interview with George Lazenby, when the 76-year old former 007 star visited Oslo in Norway on Thursday 1 September 2016.

Read part one of the George Lazenby career interview (the 1970's)

George Lazenby i David Mason-smoking på The Thief, Oslo 01.09.2016 - foto © Brian Iskov
George Lazenby in a Mason & Sons tuxedo at The Thief, Oslo 01.09.2016 - photo © Brian Iskov

While in Oslo, George Lazenby was the guest of honor at a 4K gala screening of his only performance as James Bond 007, ”On Her Majesty's Secret Service”. This marked the first time since the film's world premiere in 1969 that George Lazenby sat through the film from beginning to end. When he was asked afterwards what it felt like watching his 29-year old self playing James Bond on the cinema screen, Lazenby promptly responded:

”I wish I had done it better!”


INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE LAZENBY

PART TWO: THE 1980'S AND BEYOND

By Brian Iskov, Oslo 01.09.2016

Bond•O•Rama (Brian Iskov): ”On Her Majesty's Secret Service” is my favorite James Bond film.
George Lazenby: Well, you have good taste.
Bond•O•Rama: But you have 60 other credits in your filmography that people rarely talk about.
George Lazenby: Oh yeah. They never talk about 'em.
Bond•O•Rama: So I thought that's what we're gonna do.
George Lazenby: Oh, if I remember them.

Read More

Exclusive interview: George Lazenby discusses his film career, part 1 (2016)

James Bond•O•Rama.dk got an exclusive one-on-one interview with George Lazenby, when the 76-year old former 007 star visited Oslo in Norway on Thursday 1 September 2016.

George Lazenby in a David Mason tux at The Thief, Oslo 01.09.2016 - photo © Brian Iskov
George Lazenby in a David Mason tux at The Thief, Oslo 01.09.2016 - photo © Brian Iskov

In most of his interviews and public appearances, George Lazenby happily reels off the same 10-15 anecdotes about his brief tenure as James Bond 007. The idea behind this conversation was to take a Random Roles-style approach and dig deeper into his filmography, which after all counts 60 credited film and TV roles and spans almost half a century from 1969 to today.

Bond•O•Rama (Brian Iskov): ”On Her Majesty's Secret Service” is my favorite James Bond film.
George Lazenby: Well, you have good taste.
Bond•O•Rama: But you have 60 other credits in your filmography that people rarely talk about.
George Lazenby: Oh yeah. They never talk about 'em.
Bond•O•Rama: So I thought that's what we're gonna do.
George Lazenby: Oh, if I remember them.

The short time frame – 13 minutes – allotted to our one-on-one with George Lazenby obviously curbed the level of detail in both questions and answers. As it is, Lazenby tends to go off on tangents (more often than not about his manliness and/or sexual prowess), which is why some of his comments only bear a tenuous relation to the question or the film referred to.

A few extra insights have been added from the Q&A that George Lazenby did prior to the screening of ”On Her Majesty's Secret Service” in the Vika cinema later that same evening.

Maryam d'Abo and George Lazenby at Vika Kino 01.09.16 - photo © Brian Iskov
Maryam d'Abo and George Lazenby at Vika Kino 01.09.16 - photo © Brian Iskov

P.S.: George Lazenby's memoirs have been in the offing for quite some time now, but there is still no publishing date as such. At his press conference in Oslo, Lazenby explained that he had hired an American ghost writer for the job, but that the writer had difficulty capturing Lazenby's particular brand of Australian humor.

On the other hand, a documentary on George Lazenby's life and career, ”This Never Happened to the Other Fella”, is currently in post-production. Directed by Andrew Lumley, the show will air as part of the Limelight Documentary Series on the US streaming platform Hulu.

Morten Steingrimsen, the head organizer of the ”James Bond in Oslo” event, has seen a rough cut of ”This Never Happened to the Other Fella”. He confirms that quite a few of George Lazenby's non-Bond films will be covered in the documentary.

Go here for part two of our exclusive George Lazenby interview!

Read More

Bond•O•Rama meets George Lazenby, pt. 2: “James Bond in Oslo” (2016)

PHOTO REPORT

Last night, 1 September 2016, George Lazenby – the 76-year-old former ex-James Bond from Australia – visited Oslo, the capital of Norway. James Bond•O•Rama.dk reports from the event.

James Bond in Oslo banner

The event "James Bond in Oslo" featured a gala showing of George Lazenby's only James Bond film, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), digitally restored in 4K.

Before the gala screening at Vika Kino, George Lazenby participated in an onstage Q&A moderated by former Bond girl Maryam d'Abo (Kara Milovy in "The Living Daylights", 1987).

Maryam d'Abo og George Lazenby i Vika Kino, Oslo 01.09.2016 - © Brian Iskov
Maryam d'Abo and George Lazenby at Vika Kino, Oslo 01.09.2016 - © Brian Iskov

Read More

“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969): Nina van Pallandt’s Christmas song

Only one of the 27 official James Bond film adaptations (to date) is set around Christmas.

Only this one James Bond film contains a newly-composed Christmas song written by John Barry and Hal David.

Only this one James Bond tune was originally recorded by a Danish vocalist.

OHMSS Christmas Angels framegrab
Christmas Eve at Piz Gloria. Framegrab from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969)

The Christmas song "Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?" appears as source music in the film version of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (EON Productions 1969). The track, arranged by John Barry, is sung by Danish singer/actress Nina van Pallandt and an unnamed children's choir. Phil Ramone produced the session at CTS Studios in London.

The lyrics for the song were written by Hal David, who previously collaborated with John Barry on Tom Jones' "Thunderball" (1965) and Shirley Bassey's "Diamonds are Forever" (1971). In Jon Burlingame's book "The Music of James Bond" (Oxford University Press 2012), Hal David says that in the case of "Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?", he delivered a finished Yuletide poem to John Barry who then put it to music:

"I think it's the only time, with John, that I wrote the lyric first".

In the clip below, Nina van Pallandt lip-synchs to her recording of "Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?" in the British TV special "Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show" (BBC 25.12.1969):

In the 1950's, Nina van Pallandt was well-known in Denmark as one half of the singing duo Nina & Frederik. She later moved abroad to pursue an international career. While Nina & Frederik performed in concert venues and cabarets in London in 1962, they recorded four Christmas standards, arranged and conducted by John Barry, for an EP released on Columbia in November that year. Of the four tracks - "White Christmas", "Silent Night", "Away in a Manger" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" - the first two were also issued as a 7 inch single.

While researching the biography "Nina van Pallandt - hellere tro på det gode en gang for meget" (published in Denmark by People's Press) in 2011, Danish writer Jacob Wendt Jensen spoke to Nina van Pallandt about her participation in the James Bond Christmas carol. The following quote appeared in Jacob Wendt Jensen's book "Agent 007: De danske forbindelser" (Byens forlag 2012):

"The song "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown" was not recorded specifically for the film, but it found its way onto the soundtrack anyway. John Barry was incredibly sweet. He's been my musical director several times in London as well as New York. It was a huge thing for me, having a song in a James Bond movie, so I was thrilled. On my first viewing I thought: "Is that really little old Nina from Denmark, appearing in a Bond film?"

Jacob Wendt Jensen's 2012 book also quotes this paragraph from Nina van Pallandt's autobiography "Nina", which was published in Great Britain by Walker in 1973:

NIna1973_DoYouKnow_EXCERPT (SH)
Excerpt from the chapter "Nina Alone" (p. 193) in Nina van Pallandt's autobiography (Walker 1973)

Nina van Pallandt's original recording of "Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?" can be heard briefly during two scenes in the film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". The song is first piped through the train station's sound system 47 minutes into the film, as James Bond (George Lazenby) arrives by train to Mürren i Switzerland. Later, 100 minutes in, a snippet is played at the skating rink where Bond tries to hide from Irma Bunt and her goons.

"Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?" appears on the soundtrack album for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" with the vocal simply accredited to "Nina". This same recording was issued as a 7-inch single on CBS 28 November 1969. Nina recorded another John Barry/Hal David original, "The More Things Change", for the B-side.

Elsewhere in Europe, local artists recorded their own cover versions of "Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?" in their native languages. These were mixed into the German and French dubs, respectively, of the film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Thus, German cinema audiences heard Katja Ebstein singing "Wovon traümt ein Weihnachtsbaum im Mai?" during the scenes mentioned earlier:

In France, Isabelle Aubret performed the song as "Savez-vous ce qu'il faut au sapin de Noël".

In the United States, Jackie DeShannon re-recorded the song in a new arrangement by Rene Hall. This version, handsomely produced by Sam Russell and Irv Hunt, was released as a single in late 1969.

The Kapp label issued a 7-inch single with Do-Re-Mi Children's Chorus performing "Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?" in an arrangement by Marty Gold. Please note: This version is not for the faint-hearted. Proceed at your own peril!

Finally, the perennial James Bond cover band Eric Winstone Big Band, whose recordings are constantly reissued under different names, did their take on "Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?" for the album "Eric Winstone Plays 007" (1973):

James Bond•O•Rama wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas.