007, 1970's, Bernard Lee, Bruce Glover, Charles Gray, Desmond Llewelyn, Diamonds Are Forever, Guy Hamilton, James Bond, Jill St. John, Jimmy Dean, Lana Wood, Lois Maxwell, Putter Smith, Sean Connery, Spy
Diamonds Are Forever
- Sean Connery as James Bond
- Jill St. John as Tiffany Case
- Charles Gray as Blofeld
- Jimmy Dean as Willard Whyte
- Bruce Glover as Mr Wint
- Putter Smith as Mr Kidd
- Lana Wood as Plenty O’Toole
- Desmond Llewelyn as Q
- Bernard Lee as M
- Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny
After critics sniffed at On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Bond producers managed to persuade Sean Connery to come back for one more performance as 007. The result is Diamonds Are Forever, one of the weaker entries in the series. But as with all of the Bond movies there are at least things of merit to praise. I mean any Bond is better than no Bond at all, isn’t it?
Diamonds begins with Bond tracking Blofeld for the murder of his wife Tracy. Blofeld has skilfully managed to have people made to resemble him, so it is harder to track the evil mastermind. After duelling with 007, it appears the Bond kills him. After the credits, Bond is given his new mission by M. Bond is to impersonate a diamond smuggler and infiltrate a smuggling ring with mysterious motives. Along the path of this trail he meets the ravishing Tiffany Case, a smuggler not realising what she’s let herself in for. It soon transpires that Blofeld is in fact alive and well. He is armed with a plan to use the smuggled diamonds to construct a satellite that will destroy nuclear power. Coming up against his old nemesis and leading him to Amsterdam and Las Vegas in the process, Bond must also contend with the ruthless killers of Mr Wint and Mr Kidd, who appear to be unlikely killers, but who delight in the art of murder.
I think I’ll get the negatives out of the way first when reviewing Diamonds Are Forever. For starters, the fact that the opening scene has Bond searching for Blofeld after the murder of Tracy is skated over and never mentioned again. In the last film, there was an effort to give Bond heart with him falling for Tracy, but Diamonds Are Forever seems to forget this and proceeds without any thought. Also, the over the top humour that worked in many of the earlier Bond adventures, grows rather tiresome here and becomes more than a little unconvincing. Guy Hamilton, who directed the iconic Goldfinger, doesn’t quite know which direction to go in with Diamonds and this does make it one the weaker movies in the canon. With those negative thoughts out of the way, onto the positives in the picture. The locations are amazing to behold, especially Las Vegas decked out in all its neon glory. Many of the sets are also excellently mounted, including a hotel floor that doubles as an aquarium in which Bond and Tiffany have an amorous encounter while suggestively wrapped in mink. John Barry contributes a lively score of excitement and danger. The highlight has to be the classic title song, sung with seductive prowess by Shirley Bassey. The sensual atmosphere of the song adds to the sexy title sequence of girls draped in shimmering diamonds.
It is good to see Sean Connery give the role of Bond one last go. Diamonds doesn’t feature his best performance as Bond, but Connery has more than enough charm, wit and danger to paper over the cracks. Jill St. John is sexy and flinty as the diamond smuggler Tiffany Case. It is unfortunate that she starts out as independent and hard-edged but then falls into damsel territory. None of this is the fault of St. John who is charming and fetching, but more the writer’s fault. Charles Grey makes for a more funny Blofeld that the incarnations portrayed by Donald Pleasence and Telly Savalas. Yet he still has an air of menace about him as he puts forward his scheme. Jimmy Dean is a hoot as the billionaire kept captive by Blofeld, while Bruce Glover and Putter Smith make for an interestingly morbid duo as Wint and Kidd. Lana Wood, though appealing, is wasted as a gold digger who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Desmond Llewelyn has his moments as gadget guy Q, particularly funny with his device that allows him to win a lot at the slot machines of a casino. Unfortunately, series regulars Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell are underused as M and Moneypenny.
Certainly one of the weaker Bond movies, Diamonds Are Forever is still enjoyable at times, just not the sum of its parts.