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On Her Majesty's Secret Service - The curious case of two photo-shoots

When it came to publicise the release of the sixth James Bond film in 1969, its star George Lazenby had already announced that he would not be returning as 007. Undaunted, United Artists arranged a photo-shoot in London with eight models - one of whom was Jenny Hanley who appeared in the film as the ‘Irish Girl’. One of the other models engaged for the session was Caroline Munro who had already appeared in Casino Royale (1967) and would later play Naomi in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

PAN Books/Signet Books paperbacks and UK Photoshoot

The UK session featured the eight girls who were shot in a number of different poses against a large photographic cut-out of George Lazenby. The models retained their relative position in the line-up for each different pose. One of the shots from this session appeared on the UK PAN Paperback tie-in; whilst the US Signet paperback utilised an alternate image from the same session. The photograph of George Lazenby is taken from the only known session with him used for publicity purposes where he is wearing a dinner-jacket, frill-fronted dress shirt and holding a silenced Walther PPK.

George Lazenby as James Bond|Robert McGinnis & Frank McCarthy/Yves Thos poster artwork

The poster artwork used to promote the film featuring a tuxedoed George Lazenby and Diana Rigg on skis was painted by Robert McGinnis, which was overlaid on background artwork by Frank McCarthy depicting the action-packed finale at Piz Gloria. This artwork was used on the UK quad-crown posters and US one-sheets when the film opened in December 1969. The UK advance double-crown poster painted by Yves Thos used the Lazenby photo-shoot as its reference image. This full-length painting of Bond in ski attire was used in the fold-out soundtrack album issued to accompany the release of the film, and also featured on some European posters. The US campaign also included an advance one-sheet poster which replicated the style of the original London photo shoot, but this time with different models who were photographed in the United States.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service US Poster photoshoot

This time, a photograph of an unknown male model stood in for George Lazenby with his face in the shadows. It was as if the US campaign didn't want to promote George Lazenby as the new Bond, and he is missing from much of the publicity apart from the main one-sheet poster artwork. By contrast many publicity stills were available for use in the UK campaign, and Lazenby is promoted heavily as the new James Bond in the trailers and advertising materials listed in the Exhibitors' Campaign Book issued by the National Screen Service.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service US poster composite image

The final US advance one-sheet is actually a composite image made up from the two photo sessions. Before it was cleaned up for use on the final printed posters, the artwork shows that girls from both sessions appear. Photographs of each girl were crudely cut out and positioned (sometimes flipped or repositioned from their original stance) over the photograph of the model representing James Bond. This meant that Jenny Hanley (who appears in the film), and two other models feature on both the UK PAN and US Signet paperbacks, and on the US advance one-sheet poster. Although Hanley (and the two other English models circled in red below) only attended the UK session, she appears alongside unidentified American models in the US publicity for the film. The final US advance one-sheet poster obscures Bond's face even further by adding the tag-line ‘JAMES BOND 007 IS BACK!’. Bond also now holds a Walther PPK and the clever positioning of Jenny Hanley's photograph hides the model's wedding ring. On Her Majesty's Secret Service is unique in the Bond series in that the star's name does not appear above the title on the posters, or in the actual main-titles of the film. Instead Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli (contractually reversed in the western hemisphere) are presenting ‘James Bond 007’ and not George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service US 1-sheet poster & photoshoot images

Other countries utilised a combination of the main poster campaigns and variations on the photo-montage ‘Girls and Bond’ artwork. Germany combined this with the Yves Thos artwork of George Lazenby and reversed the layout back to its original state, whereas Lazenby's home country of Australia opted for the US flipped version. The actual photograph of Bond as depicted by the unidentified male model originated as part of a series of aborted ‘007 and Bride’ concept posters - an idea which was wisely unused as the images gave away far too much of the plot of the film in advance!

German and Australian posters|James Bond and Bride concept photo

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