‘Passport to Oblivion’

❉ This never happened to the other fella… George Lazenby is back on her Majesty’s secret service.  

It’s a dangerous life, Dr. Love. I live mine to the full”.

It’s a dangerous life for our Jason Love, but it’s also a very sexy one. Fittingly, he’s played by the most dangerous and the sexiest of the two sixties Bond actors.

Ladies and gentlemen, George Lazenby is back.  You heard me, the star of the very best Bond film is back. He’s back, bringing with the vigour, class and style he effortlessly brought to the big screen the year John Lennon ended the dream for all of us. We never had a four piece Beatle reunion, but George Lazenby is back.

And how!

Where On Her Majesty’s Secret Service masqueraded as a giant ballet, a reel of pirouetted fight scenes collapsing in the heart-wrenching finale, Passport to Oblivion is an aural adventure focused simply and solely on the actors voice. Barring the melifulous Timothy Dalton, no other Bond actor has the urgency, humanity and fallibility of a secret agent hidden in his voice. In other words, he’s perfect for this drama. Many happy returns, Mr. Lazenby!

Lazenby is now the second actor, after the inimitable David Niven, to have played James Bond and Dr. Jason Love, two secret agents steeped in sixties design. Heir apparent to Ian Fleming’s fashioned spy fiction, James Leasor’s Passport to Oblivion (1964) found itself on the big-screen under the witless title Where the Spies Are. Furthering the comparison between the two writers, Roger Moore starred in The Sea Wolves, a war drama steeped in Leasor’s prose, and this audio drama introduces sixties heart-throb Terence Stamp into Leasor’s world, a man who was pencilled as Bond before Lazenby’s casting.

Bathetically, Stamp plays the periphrastic ‘C’, detailing and describing the delicious exposition with Etonian elocution. The head of MI6, Stamp is one of the many cast members to put their voices to tape, with Nickolas Grace and Dempsey and Makepeace’s Glynis Barber and Michael Brandon completing the impressive line-up. Then there is Lazenby leading the fun filled ensemble, completing an audio drama that is better fun to listen to than the recent Daniel Craig films have been to watch.

Writer/director Barnaby Eaton Jones (who adapted the novel with co-writer Paul Birch) recognises his audience, completing a cycle frothy adventure steeped in sixties homage. The closest thing we’ve had to that in recent years were Matthew Vaughan’s X-Men and Kingsman spectacles, but Passport To Oblivion is more noteworthy. The script is replete with references to German Lugers, Russian double agents and nude female swimmer, Henry Mancini style guitar interpolations closing out chapters. Lazenby’s doctor is an irascible man described by a patron as drowning his sorrows in cars and campari after treating his measles. Caviar comes before gunshot and the audio drama is a loving throwback to the days when food and fun were expected before funnelled fights became the mainstay of spy dramas. It’s all a lot of fun to listen to, kitsch and classy in display.

It feels like the start of a beautiful series and there are plenty more Leasor works to choose from for future adaptations. We’re trusting Spiteful Puppet to keep the British end up!

❉ ‘Passport to Oblivion’ (2-DISC SET) will be released by Spiteful Puppet Entertainment 29th November 2019, RRP £14.99. Click here to pre-order now!.

❉  A regular contributor to We Are Cult, Eoghan Lyng’s writing has also appeared in New Sounds, Record Collector, CultureSonar, Punk Noir Magazine, DMovies, Phacemag and other titles. Follow him on TwitterVisit his homepage.

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