"This never happened to the other fellow"
Writing in Slate, Dan Oko makes the bold claim that George Lazenby, who appeared as James Bond in but one film, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" turned in the best performance as the British superspy. Oko argues that Lazenby came closest to portraying Bond as the ruthless antihero of the Ian Fleming novels (which I've never read.)
I've only see the film once from beginning to end, though I've caught chunks here and there during the numerous Bond marathons that various cable channels run throughout the year. I'm not quite ready to agree with Oko that Lazenby was the best Bond, but I would concur that he brought a new dimension to what Oko notes had already become a cartoonish role after five Sean Connery films. Lazenby's was a more reflective Bond, who not only fell in love but--gasp--got married, though a doomed marriage it turned out to be.
Connery would return for one more film, "Diamonds are Forever" and then Roger Moore would take over the role. (Connery played Bond in the 1983 film "Never Say Never Again", but this was not an "official" James Bond film, and was largely a remake of "Thunderball.") I enjoyed some of Moore's early efforts, but I grew tired of his glib Bond--plus he stuck with the role far too long--and like Oko would have preferred to have seen Lazenby inherit the franchise. I must, however, take issue with Oko's disparagement of Timothy Dalton. I liked his grim, brooding portrayal of Bond, and I don't necessarily blame him for making his second and final Bond film, "Licence to Kill" one of the worst, if not the worst, in the series.
(For more thoughts on the James Bond series, including the newest Bond, go here.)