JB’s Ivory Dinner Jacket in Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.

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1983 saw the three actors that had played Bond in the EON film series at that time on screen in the role. Roger Moore played Bond for the sixth time in the official EON Bond film Octopussy. Sean Connery reprised in the rival Bond film Never Say Never Again. And George Lazenby played a suspiciously James Bond-like character named “JB” in a made-for-television film called Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen-Years-Later Affair. Though Pierce Brosnan had not yet been officially considered for the Bond role at this time, in a 1983 episode of Remington Steele titled “Steele Away with Me”, Doris Roberts’ character Mildred Krebs said of her first adventure with Mr Steele, “It’s like a James Bond movie”. It’s a stretch, but 1983 featured four Bond actors doing the Bond thing on screen.

But let’s back up to Lazenby’s 1983 turn as Bond. 14 years after On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, George Lazenby looks hardly any different in his brief appearance in Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.. But instead of his Anglicised Australian accent in his Bond film, here he sounds like an Americanised Australian. His clothes have also become Americanised and lack the British flair present in his Dimi Major suits. Lazenby’s character is meant to evoke James Bond, as he drives gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5 with a number plate reading “JB” and says the line, “shaken, but not stirred”. This very DB5 now lives at the Dezer Collection in North Miami. Gayle Hunnicutt’s character Andrea Markovitch says, “It’s just like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.

To contrast Napoleon Solo’s black dinner suit, JB wears an ivory dinner jacket of dubious American origin. The dinner jacket is made of a wool or a wool and polyester blend, and it’s certainly not anything fancy. The lapels are a Parisian fishmouth style, halfway between a regular notched lapel and a peaked lapel. The fishmouth lapel adds a special touch to the dinner jacket like a peaked lapel would, but they don’t signify quality. The jacket’s buttons are shiny and beige, likely made of plastic. There is one button on the front and one button on each sleeve cuff. The pockets have flaps. Lazenby is the last of the Bond actors to be featured on this blog in an ivory dinner jacket. Seeing a James Bond actor wearing an ivory dinner jacket in an Aston Martin DB5 reminds one of Roger Moore in The Cannonball Run more than it does of Lazenby’s Bond.

JB wears a high-cut black waistcoat underneath with four or five buttons instead of the traditional low-cut waistcoat. The waistcoat is visible behind the shirt collar, indicating that it may be a backless waistcoat. The trousers are black with a sharp crease.

The black bow tie is pre-tied and looks very stiff. The shirt has a semi-spread collar, convertible cuffs, a narrow-pleated bib, black onyx studs and cufflinks. Two studs show above the waistcoat. The convertible cuffs instead of double cuffs make this shirt seem cheap. It also is the mark of a very cheap shirt or a hired shirt, and this entire outfit is likely hired. Not only the quality of this outfit is poor but so is the execution, but it is not a surprise coming from a television film budget. Thankfully the shirt does not have a wing collar.

This is not the only time George Lazenby reprised the role of James Bond. He later plays “James” in a 1989 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called “Diamonds Aren’t Forever”, again wearing an ivory dinner jacket as well as a black dinner suit.

10 COMMENTS

  1. You hit the nail on the head. Sadly, this is what a lot of people who are trying to look like James Bond end up actually looking like when they rent. A shame he donated all the tailored clothing he got to keep from OHMSS, since he looks in just as good of shape as he did in 1969 and could have worn the dinner suit and Frank Foster shirt again!

  2. Matt what kind of fit does the jacket have in your opinion? probably hard to see from the stills out there of the full outfit.

      • I doubt it is custom made, most likely off the rack. It would be interesting to see a fuller cut come back into fashion, but I doubt it. At least not in the next five years, in saying that I think the skinny craze is finally over and people are looking for a more neater fit with there tailor items.

  3. He also played a James Bond type character in an episode of the short-lived 1980s American Martial arts series called “The Master”. I believe he even has the DB5

    This is hilariously riffed in an episode of MST3K.

  4. It looks cheap and tacky. Every aspect of it. I think with these type of productions they just figured they’d go for an overall look and nobody would notice the “finer” details!

  5. Wow!! in 1983 Lazenby seemed still young,almost as at “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” times!
    If had been more wise and less stupid he could play James Bond until 1989 circa (“Licence to Kill”),and be the iconic 007 as much Sean Connery.
    A real pity,Lazenby was a excellent Bond.
    Very bad choice for his career leave the role.

    • I saw Diana Rigg talking on stage about her career earlier this year and she was very clear that, no matter what explanations he has given subsequenty, Lazenby was sacked by Broccoli and Saltzman.

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