Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies and many more at Trailers From Hell. This week we are mourning the loss of Diana Rigg, sexy Emma Peel of The Avengers on TV and a part of these three films on the big screen.
1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the sixth installment in the James Bond series, and the first without Sean Connery in the role of 007. George Lazenby vaulted instantly from starring in TV advertisements for chocolates to being “Bond. James Bond.” Life is good that way to some folks.
Life was good to Diana Rigg, at least the professional side of it. She played the Bond girl here. The character was an Italian countess who became, in the film, Bond’s wife – however briefly. Rigg had reportedly said that she always wanted to appear in an “epic film,” and OHMSS was that. Rigg may have had a somewhat charmed acting life, but she suffered some great personal heartbreak along the way.
I am of the age that Diana Rigg as Emma Peel had a great “M. Appeal” for me as a pre-teen boy. We won’t get into embarrassing specifics here, except to say that I was left with a lifelong search for a woman who could do a little judo hip-flip on me while entering a room.
Rigg reportedly had it in her contract for the BBC series Victoria that she would be served a cold bottle of prosecco as each day’s shooting wrapped. You can go that way if you like – a $10 bottle of Italian bubbles – or you can lean into the Bond lifestyle and order an expensive Champagne. While you’re leaning, extract a few Benjamins from your wallet. Bond was no slouch when it came to booze.
The Hospital, from 1971, has Rigg playing opposite George C. Scott as the love interest of a New York doctor at the center of his unraveling world. She serves as a brightness in the good doctor’s otherwise dark existence. That, despite the lack of cute little judo hip-flips in Paddy Chayefsky’s Oscar-winning script.
Bogle Vineyards, in the northern California town of Clarksburg, has made news recently by announcing that they are feeding a thousand medical workers, using local restaurants to do so. That sounds like as good a reason as any to pair their Old Vine Zinfandel with The Hospital. The Bogle wines are good, affordable and usually fairly easy to find, even at the supermarket.
In Theater of Blood – or Theatre of Blood in the U.K. – Rigg joins forces with Vincent Price in a 1973 horror film with laughs. That description somehow sounds better than “a comedy with a lot of murders in it.” Price plays an actor who got shafted by the critics – who thought up that crazy idea? – and Rigg plays his daughter. People think the actor did a deadly dive into the Thames, and so when the critics start dropping like flies, Rigg’s character is the prime suspect.
Theater of Blood was Price’s favorite movie, he said, because it gave him the opportunity to do some Shakespeare. Rigg called it her fave, too, saying it contained some of her best work.
One of the luckless critics in the movie is drowned in a barrel of wine, mimicking a murder from Richard III. The wine was a malmsey, I do believe. The Rare Wine Company makes a line of Madeira wines which are astoundingly good, if a little pricey. Their New York Malmsey is as good a choice as any.