Hemsidan senast uppdaterad: 2024-07-12

Jenny Hanley om arbetet med I Hennes Majestäts hemliga tjänst

Av: Mark Cerulli
Jenny Hanley On Her Majesty's Secret Service
FSWL-skribenten och LA-korrespondenten Mark Cerulli pratar med den engelska skådespelerskan Jenny Hanley, den irländska tjejen i I Hennes Majestäts hemliga tjänst (1969) med George Lazenby som Ian Flemings James Bond 007 med anledning av filmens 50-årsjubileum i år.

A Girl On The Mountain

One of my first questions for the wonderful British actress Jenny Hanley was “When did you get bit by the acting bug?” Her answer was a total surprise – no “acting bug” bit, instead, she was born into show business...

“Both my parents were actors and my grandparents were professional photographers,” Jenny states. (One of their clients was none other than future-Bond, Sir Roger Moore) She studied child psychology and had her sights on a quiet career as a nanny. It was her brother who wanted to be an actor, and yet she got all the breaks – being sent to modeling school, being spotted and suddenly finding herself in front of the camera in commercials and on magazine covers. Not the easiest transition for the painfully shy young woman.

“I wasn’t a wall flower, I was lichen!” the actress remembers with a laugh.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was Jenny’s second film. (Her first was a one scene walk on in 1968’s hedonistic British drama Joanna) None other than Harry Saltzman spotted her in a commercial and wanted to include her in the stable of young women he was building for use in films. (During Hollywood’s “Golden” era, studios groomed young talent, giving them acting and voice lessons along with other training. The UK’s Rank Organization had a similar “charm school”.) Saltzman, as always thinking ahead, envisioned building a similar talent pool for Bond films and other projects.

Harry offered her a movie straight away, “But the part had a nude scene which I wouldn’t do…” Jenny recalled. Instead Saltzman suggested she “… go off to Switzerland [Schilthorn Piz Gloria] and have fun for a few weeks.” And just like that Jenny had a role in the next Bond film! The producer also told her that she had to wear a red wig as they already had several blondes in the cast.

Jenny felt right at home on the set as she had worked with many members of OHMSS’s female cast – including Joanna Lumley, Anouska Hempel (now one of the most successful interior designers in Europe) and her London neighbor, Catherine Schnell.

Ilse Steppat, Zaheera, Jenny Hanley, Joanna Lumley, Sylvana Henriques, Ingrid Baack and Catherine Schell
From left to right: Ilse Steppat, Zaheera, Jenny Hanley, Joanna Lumley, Sylvana Henriques, Ingrid Baack and Catherine Schell on location at Schilthorn Piz Gloria in Switzerland. Copyright © 1969 Danjaq S.A. & United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

When asked about her memories of Harry Saltzman, Jenny mentioned going into his office, off London’s ritzy Park Lane: “It was a very masculine office, with dark furniture and a leather sofa that was so deep if you sat on it and leaned back, your feet were up off the floor like a child.” And if that weren’t intimidating enough, “Harry was behind an enormous desk up on a plinth, so he was definitely the King!” Of course he was – as half of the most successful producing team in movie history. The Bond films literally coined money and Saltzman and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli wielded immense power, yet both men treated her royally – “Harry was very sweet,” Jenny recalls, adding, “And Cubby was just as his name suggests, ‘Cuddly Cubby’.”

She also called director Peter Hunt “a gentle soul” although, “Peter didn’t have much to do with us because we didn’t have much to do.”

While she said Hunt wasn’t a “strong” director, “He made a really good film and he knew what he wanted. By gosh, the fight scenes, the skiing and car chases were brilliantly done!” Jenny also recalled an incident that shows how the Bond production team would let nothing stand in the way of getting a great shot: “There was a scene up on the mountain, and there wasn’t enough snow, so Peter sent a helicopter to another mountain and they filled up a huge upside-down parachute with snow and made several trips so we had enough snow! In a Bond movie, it was all possible to do…”

In terms of “character development”, there wasn’t a lot for Jenny’s Irish Girl - “I sat around and practiced my Irish accent and wound up not saying anything at all,” Jenny remembers with a chuckle. “I always say that a standard lamp could have done what I did in the film.” (A very beautiful standard lamp!)

For the Bond girls on location – every day began the same: “We were picked up in a horse drawn carriage, bundled in furs just to take us to the cable car to go up the mountain…. it was slightly surreal,” she marvels. Light workload or not, her memories of the set were nothing but positive… “Cubby wanted everything to be a family, which was sweet. And while we were out in Switzerland, his son was going to have his first haircut, which was to be a celebration and everyone was invited. It was great!”

Jenny also had a connection to the new Bond – George Lazenby – having met him when she was modeling. While he was friendly and fun to be around, Jenny recalled a bit of his strong personality coming out when he visited a local restaurant without a reservation. When told it was booked, he came back with, “Don’t you know who I am?” One hopes he got that table!

Of course, the pressure George was under was enormous, with the future of one of Cinema’s most valuable franchises riding on his relatively inexperienced shoulders. Fortunately, Lazenby had enough self-confidence for five men, so he was able to shrug the stress off and do the work.

“He carried the film and he did it beautifully... he had a good sense of humor and we got on well,” Jenny remembers.

The actress is also full of admiration for George’s famous independent streak.

“I remember his coming back for the premiere with long sideburns and facial fur (!) and being told, ‘That’s not Bond, got to a barber and get yourself shaved so you look like Bond’ and George said ‘No, I won’t.’ That was George!”

Jenny Hanley and George Lazenby in Switzerland
Jenny Hanley and George Lazenby during the production of On Her Majety's Secret Service in Switzerland.

Looking back on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Jenny has nothing but good feelings about the film. “It was good fun to do, ” she said, “And being a part of such an extraordinary franchise, Cubby made it like family and we are a family because we still meet up [at conventions] and EON [Productions] is very keen on keeping that family together.”

As On Her Majesty’s Secret Service turns 50 this year the film will be celebrated with two unique events in Portugal and Switzerland, the latter co-hosted by Schilthornbahn AG and Martijn Mulder’s On The Tracks of 007, in May and June.



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Bond 25 Bondbrudar Bondskurkar Britt Ekland Daniel Craig Dolph Lundgren George Lazenby Izabella Scorupco James Bond museum Kristina Wayborn Mary Stavin Maud Adams No Time To Die Ola Rapace Pierce Brosnan Roger Moore Sean Connery Spectre Timothy Dalton

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