Another Bond from LS always feels like X-Mas to me :-). I'm esp. thrilled that this one doesn't seek to "rescue" an obnoxious entry, but to improve upon an already good one. LS keeps showing his dedication to the Fleming spirit of the series in his stellar commentary and defines the "gold standard" together with HAL9000.
It's a pity some technical problems hamper further improvements, I for one wouldn't mind to see the cartoon-style action scenes slowed down. And I agree that "when in doubt, cut one-line jokes" is the way to go. Concerning the (on a PC screen nearly invisible) compression artifacts in the deep shadows: Afaik crazy bitrates aren't the only or best solution for this, but proper encoder tuning. I suggest you seek help on the doom9 video forum with a sample clip, esp. if you're doing the final encode with x264 this should be solvable.
But these are minor nitpicks, because LS convinced me that OMSS is a “golden age” movie and Lazenby is an authentic Bond after all. It’s amazing to see good fan-editors identify and solve key problems and how much a movie can benefit from dedicated work. After you’ve been told what the problems are, it’s all clear, but figuring it out is another matter altogether...
... and LS got it right: The basic problem I always had enjoying this one is that the Tracy love story seemed so disconnected from the dragging Bond vs. villain part. And all the references to the "real" Connery made Lazenby look like a single O who cannot decide between traditional promiscuity and being a soft Bond with a skirt. LS' edit solves these problems, and I can hardly wait what Bond movie he'll tackle next!
This is one of those edits that isn't about fixing a botched movie, it's just about trying to "perfect" something that was close to brilliant anyway. I'm one of those that's of the opinion that Lazonby is a great Bond and it's the film he's in, that has the problems. OHMSS has lots of little flaws and this corrects almost all of them.
Audio/Video Quality: I watched the HD file (And alternate music/audio track) and it's pretty much equal to the Blu-Ray, without the filesize being massive. Great job.
Visual Editing: This is spot on without anything that stands out. There a few more inconsistent studio shots that I'd personally like to have seen removed, or regraded but the really bad ones are all gone.
Audio Editing: As per usual with an LS edit this feature seemless music replacement and general audio work. The music change over the closing credits is just beauiful, I'd be amazed to find any person who would not agree this was the way it should have been... including John Barry. I also feel that on the alternate-audio-track, the new instrumental-montage is also undeniably better. The opening credits change might be controversial though but with the option to remove it why not. IMO this totally transforms the movie by shifting the tone much more towards a romantic film and adds strength to every later scene where the theme is woven back in.
Narrative: The big narrative change is of course trimming a large chunk of fat from the romance and Tracy free Piz Gloria middle act. It's still hugely flawed that Tracy isn't this part of the movie (She could have easily been one quick rewrite away from being one of the brainwashed girls?) but LS gets through it very quickly so she doesn't feel "left out" anymore. There were one or two further trims that I think could have been made (e.g. Bond could have climbed across the cable-car engine room rope just the once) but that's nitpicking.
Enjoyment: The gold standard test for any "Fanfix" is "Does it replace the original?". This absolutely does for me. OHMSS was never my favourite Bond movie, but this brings it a lot closer to the top of the ranking.
Extras: The audio commentary was very enjoyable and interesting, even when you've already listened to the official commentaries and watched all the documentaries. The two other optional audio tracks are also a touch of class.
For me, the amazing action, cinematography and music in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service make the film one of the richest pleasures in the Bond series. No doubt the public would agree with this assessment had Connery stayed on as Bond, if only because so many people dismiss the film due to Lazenby. It must also be said that OHMSS – which features Bond falling in love, resigning and getting married – is probably the least appropriate story with which to introduce a new actor.
But what can you do? Last Survivor removes many of Bond’s worst lines, improving Lazenby’s performance (I would have liked to see several other lines dropped, such as “He’s branched off”). LS also wisely cuts references to previous Bond adventures, which in the original film only ensure that Lazenby is haunted by his predecessor in the role.
Scenes are cut so that Tracy can return to the film sooner. Nancy’s seduction is not missed, as it only echoes Ruby’s seduction; neither is Bond’s bash-up with the SPECTRE goons in the barn filled with bells, as there’s plenty more action extravaganza to enjoy. LS also fixes a few pet peeves, such as some goofy editing in the stock car rally and the mistimed detonation countdown at Piz Gloria.
But I feel the editor has cut too much in an effort to speed up the second act. The amusing idea that Bond (posing as Sir Hilary Bray) doesn’t like women isn’t properly established when the dinner scene is trimmed so heavily. Not a huge loss, but the film is less rich for the cut. What is a huge loss, for me, is Telly Savalas’ menacing, take-no-prisoners performance as Blofeld in the curling scene. Blofeld later calls Campbell, the bumbling climber, a “brilliant conversationalist” – a line dripping with condescension, my fav line in the film – but it doesn’t work without Blofeld confronting Campbell at the curling game. While the curling scene certainly could have been shorter, I think excising it completely is a mistake. Blofeld's presence is also diminished when he's not even on screen, as Bond and Bunt's "characteristic ambition" exchange (another fav of mine) is gone, and we hear less in the dinner scene about how much Blofeld controls the clinic's patients.
I found no issues with video or audio quality, and the video editing is seamless. Two issues in audio editing: there’s a loud pop at 52:13; and although I appreciate the option of “We Have All the Time in the World” over the titles sequence (it’s not for me), I would have preferred this option appear in the second audio track, rather than the main audio track, where it took me by surprise (not in a fun way).
I did enjoy the inclusion of John Barry’s “Bond Settles In” when Bond, er, settles in at Piz Gloria. Perhaps a future edit could also include Barry’s beautiful “Dusk at Piz Gloria,” which was unfathomably cut from the original film (you can find the track synced to the proper scene on YouTube). Also, props to LS for using the film’s original mono track, so we can hear all the glorious ‘60s SFX, and for his commentary track, which contains great insight into the mind of an editor and Bond fan.
In summary: The LS Cut makes all the changes necessary to bring OHMSS closer to perfection. However, the removal of too much material (particularly regarding Blofeld and the “angels of death”) brings the film back down for me.
Although this is my favourite Bond film, there were always little things about this movie that niggled. This fanedit has removed all of them! This was a great watch and the edits were seamless, I thoroughly recommend this fanedit!
This is a great edit. You have taken a great Bond film and subtly improved it. You took out most of the parts that always made me cringe a little. I think you very much accomplished the goal of focusing on Tracy throughout more, which was a great idea in my opinion. I thought the cuts were smart and I personally wouldn't want them any deeper. Great job!