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Hilary Bray

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Sir Hilary Bray is a fictional character who appears in both the Ian Fleming novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service and its 1969 film adaptation. He is a minor ally, whose identity Bond adopts in an attempt to kidnap Ernst Stavro Blofeld and is portrayed by George Baker.

Novel biography

In the 1963 novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Sir Hilary Bray is a friend of genealogist Sable Basilisk from the London College of Arms. Unlike the later film adaptation, the character is never seen, living in 'some remote glen' in the Highlands of Scotland. With a passing physical resemblance to Bond, a prestigious lineage and a relatively low profile, the spy concocts a plan to adopt the identity of Bray and trick Blofeld into leaving the safety of Switzerland. Once he crosses the border a kidnapping can be arranged. M reluctantly agrees to the scheme and Bond proceeds to adopt the man's identity with his consent.

Film biography

In the film adaptation of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Sir Hilary Bray is a genealogist, effectively replacing the character of Sable Basilisk. He appears briefly when Bond attempts to find Ernst Blofeld. With a connection between Blofeld and Bray, Bond is sent to talk with Bray and attempt to find Blofeld. Sir Hilary Bray only agrees because the matter is of national importance. Bond then plans to disguise himself as Sir Hilary Bray, which is a good portion of the film. Sir Hilary Bray goes on holiday while Bond takes his identity to fool Blofeld.

Behind the scenes

Director Peter Hunt's neighbour George Baker was offered the part of Sir Hilary Bray. Baker had appeared previously as an (uncredited) NASA engineer in 1967's You Only Live Twice and would go on to portray Captain Benson, the James Bond ally in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me.[1]

In addition to playing Sir Hilary Bray, Baker dubbed George Lazenby's voice for the central segment of the film, where Bond is impersonating the genealogist, as Hunt considered Lazenby's imitation not convincing enough.[2]

Trivia

  • Throughout the movie it was implied that Sir Hilary Bray was not interested in girls. At least two girls even thought he did not like girls when Bond, posing as Bray, seduced them. Later when Bond is exposed, Blofeld even claims Sir Hilary Bray would not seduce women. This could be the first implied homosexual character in the Bond films before Wint and Kidd in Diamonds Are Forever, the film that succeeds On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Ian Fleming considered Baker to be the ideal candidate to play James Bond in the films but the role went to Sean Connery because Baker had other commitments to a rival studio.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Collin, Robbie (9 October 2011). "George Baker: the man who might have been James Bond". London: The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved on 9 October 2011.
  2. On Her Majesty's Secret Service audio commentary. On Her Majesty's Secret Service Ultimate Edition, Disc 1: MGM Home Entertainment. Retrieved on 6 November 2008.

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