2019 marks the 50-year anniversary of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (EON 1969).
The following photo report concludes our coverage of the unofficial fan event "OHMSS50". Bond•O•Rama was invited to participate in the second half of the celebration that took place at and around Piz Gloria in Switzerland from May 31 to June 2, 2019.
Much of the location shooting of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was centered around the Schilthorn Peak in the Bernese Alps. From October 1968 to June 1969, EON Productions set up base in the nearby Alpine village of Mürren, 1638 metres above sea level.
This year marks the 50-year anniversary of the release of EON Productions' "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969).
From May 25 to June 2, around 250 James Bond fans from 17 countries gathered for the fan event "OHMSS 50". The ambitious unofficial celebration, arranged by journalist and expert Bond travel guide Martijn Mulder from the web site On the tracks of 007, covered several of the film's locations in Portugal and Switzerland.
Eleven of the cast and crew members from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" returned to the scene as the caravan of fans reached Piz Gloria on the Schilthorn mountain in the Bernese Alps. Bond•O•Rama's Brian Iskov had the privilege of being an accredited member of the press for the concluding Swiss part of OHMSS50.
The rotating alpine restaurant Piz Gloria, only accessible by cable car, is of course famous as Bleuchamp's (Blofeld's) Institute for Allergy Research in EON's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Nearly all of the film's scenes in The Alpine Room were shot on location after the film crew discovered the half-finished building on the Schilthorn peak during a recce in 1968. Construction had come to a standstill due to financial woes. EON Productions saw that the location perfectly matched the script's demands and agreed to pay for the completion.
When the restaurant opened its doors to the public in 1969, around the time of the film's worldwide release in cinemas, Piz Gloria wisely took its name from the film. The site has capitalized greatly on the 007 connection ever since. In recent times an interactive exhibition (Bond World), a Bond Cinema and an outdoor Bond Walk of Fame has been added to the attractions at the Schilthorn. The crafty Swiss even got away with a unique clause in the contract which allowed them to promote Piz Gloria as an official Bond location - a right that EON Productions has never before or since granted anyone. Thus the gift shop is packed with 007 merchandise not available elsewhere.
The anniversary celebration "OHMSS50" culminated on Saturday June 1 with a stupendous party at Piz Gloria. George Lazenby (007) led the starry VIP line-up, and the magnificent-sounding cover band Q the Music incorporated several of John Barry's musical cues from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" into their triumphant live concert in the low-ceilinged foyer.
Theser are Bond•O•Rama.dk's exclusive pictures from OHMSS50 at Piz Gloria.
On September 2, 2016, James Bond•O•Rama.dk had the pleasure of talking to Maryam d'Abo during the "James Bond in Oslo" event.
The British-French actress starred as Kara Milovy opposite Timothy Dalton's James Bond 007 in "The Living Daylights" (EON Productions 1987).
In 2002, Maryam d'Abo co-wrote, produced and hosted the TV documentary "Bond Girls are Forever" in which she interviewed a string of actresses from EON Productions' James Bond film series. The interviews were edited into a tie-in book also titled "Bond Girls are Forever". The book was co-written by John Cork and published by Boxtree in 2003. Maryam d'Abo has since revisited and re-edited the documentary twice, in 2006 and again in 2012.
The following is a transcript of our chat in Oslo. Our time was sadly limited to 15 minutes, as Maryam d'Abo had to rush to the airport.
James Bond•O•Rama.dk: Didn't you play the Queen of Denmark in a film – or rather, a queen of Denmark? Maryam d'Abo: Yes, I did.
I believe she was called Queen Rosalind? Maryam d'Abo: Can't remember the name, but I did play a Danish queen in "The Prince and Me 2: The Royal Wedding" (2006) with this American actress [Kam Heskin, ed.]. We shot outside of Prague. I went back to Prague after "Doctor Zhivago" (2002), the TV series, yeah.
So you didn't go anywhere near Denmark. Maryam d'Abo: No. But I've been to Copenhagen. I did something there ... Gosh. I went there a couple of years ago to do something. It might have been a commercial. I was flown in to Copenhagen and stayed in a really nice boutique hotel. Actually, this [Oslo] was reminding me a little of Copenhagen with the docks and all. But it's not as nice as Copenhagen. It was not a movie, more like a commercial or something like that, because I was only there very briefly for three days. But it was definitely a job.
Did you do a junket for "The Living Daylights" in Copenhagen? Maryam d'Abo: No. Never. I did Vienna, a big junket, and we premiered in Amsterdam.
On September 1, 2016, Bond•O•Rama.dk had the pleasure of sharing a table with legendary Bond girls Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick. This is the first half of our three-way conversation.
Caroline Munro (b. 1949) adorned the set of “James Bond 007 - Casino Royale” (1967) at the age of 16 as an uncredited "Guard Girl”. Ten years later, she made quite a sensation as Stromberg's scantily clad helicopter pilot Naomi in "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977).
Martine Beswick (b. 1941) made her striking film debut as Zora, one of the fighting gypsy women in "From Russia with Love" (1963). The film's director, Terence Young, asked Beswick to return for "Thunderball" (1965), now in the role of Nassau agent and Bond ally Paula Caplan.
Beswick, now 75 years old, has since retired from acting, whereas 67-year-old Munro still does the occasional tiny cameo. The two lovely and charming women are however much in demand as guests of honour at horror, sci-fi and James Bond conventions all around the world. Beswick and Munro prefer to travel and appear together, and as the bosom friends merrily chattered away, completing each other's sentences almost telepathically, their chemistry was immediately apparent to Bond•O•Rama's special correspondent.
Ditto their contrasting personalities. As soon as Caroline Munro learned that yours truly was yet to have lunch at 3pm, she warmly offered to share her pot of tea with me. She came across as sweet, motherly and somewhat innocent compared to the more devil-may-care, outspoken "big sis" Martine Beswick. Both were exceedingly fun and endearing.
Bond•O•Rama met Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick at the design hotel The Thief in Oslo, where George Lazenby had held court at a press conference earlier that day. This first part of the interview (edited for clarity) primarily touches upon subjects related to James Bond 007. Part two, focusing on Beswick and Munro's film work outside of the Bond series, will follow shortly. [EDIT: Read part two here.]
A very special thank you to Morten Steingrimsen and “James Bond in Oslo” for facilitating this interview.
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.
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.
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.
On September 1, Bond•O•Rama will be interviewing George Lazenby in Oslo, Norway. The following report chronicles our previous meeting with the former James Bond 007 at the SciFiWorld fair 2014 in Malmö, Sweden.
Being a film journalist and lifelong James Bond 007 fan, I have had the pleasure of shaking hands with Pierce Brosnan and locking eyes with Daniel Craig's steely blue glare. But I never dreamed that I would get to meet the anomaly that is George Lazenby: The man who played the part just once, only to spend his entire life trying in vain to distance himself from it.
George Robert Lazenby was born on 5 September 1939. The brown-eyed Aussie made film history as the male model who filled in for Sean Connery as James Bond 007 in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the sixth film in the EON Productions series.
I'd never been an actor before. I became James Bond through my arrogance and ignorance and not knowing I couldn't do it.