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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Diamonds are Forever can be found here.
Suspecting that South African diamonds are being stockpiled to depress prices by dumping, M (Bernard Lee) orders MI6 agent James Bond (Sean Connery) to go undercover as diamond smuggler Peter Franks and unveil the smuggling ring. The mission leads Bond to fellow smuggler Tiffany Case (Jill St. John), offbeat assassins Mr Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr Kidd (Putter Smith), millionaire casino owner Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean), his old SPECTRE nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray), and a plot to use the diamonds in a laser satellite capable of destroying nuclear installations in the U.S., Russia, and China.
All of the James Bond movies are based, in some part, upon novels or short stories by British author Ian Fleming [1908-1964]. Diamonds are Forever is based on Fleming's 1956 novel of the same name. It was adapted for the screen by American screenwriters Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz.
After George Lazenby, who played Bond in the previous movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), decided that he didn't want to continue playing Bond, American actor John Gavin was then chosen to play 007 in Diamonds Are Forever. However, this was a rather unsatisfactory decision to many people. As a result, David Picker, the head of United Artists at the time, made Sean Connery an offer he couldn't refuse in order to make an encore appearance in the series as 007 in Diamonds Are Forever before he was ultimately replaced by Roger Moore who made his debut in the next Bond movie, Live and Let Die (1973).
"Diamonds Are Forever" is sung by Welsh singer Shirley Bassey, marking her second time as a Bond theme singer—her previous song was "Goldfinger" (for the Bond movie of the same title). She also performed a third theme, "Moonraker", and is the only singer to do a Bond theme more than once.
Blofeld's plan to take over the world this time include surgically altering other men to look like him, while he hides out at the Las Vegas residence of reclusive millionaire Willard Whyte. Under Whyte's identity, he has had an offshore platform constructed from which he can control a satellite-mounted laser weapon, with which he intends to hold Washington, D.C. hostage. The diamonds of the film's title are coming to him through a diamond-smuggling "pipeline" originating in South Africa; he needs the diamonds for use generating the laser. This is also the last EON production until 2015's Spectre to feature the character of Blofeld, due to a lawsuit brought by Thunderball co-scripter Kevin McClory over the rights to ideas originating in that screenplay, including Blofeld and SPECTRE.
SPECTRE stands for "The SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion." SPECTRE is an international terrorist organization run by Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Its members are recruited from the Gestapo, Smersh, the Mafia, and the Union Corse among others. With the exception of Goldfinger, all of the Bond villains from 1962 to '71 came from this organization.
In the precredits opener, Bond is searching the world for his arch enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He first tries to find him in Japan, then Cairo until he is finally led to Blofeld's hideaway where he disposes of Blofeld by dumping him into a steaming hot vat of mud. He then returns to London where M has turned his attention to a more pressing problem in South Africa's diamond mines. It appears that diamonds are being smuggled and stockpiled in order to either dump them on the market to depress prices or use them for blackmail. Rather than South Africa, however, Bond is sent to Amsterdam where, posing as smuggler Peter Franks, he contacts the woman holding the diamonds, Tiffany Case. He and Tiffany then smuggle the diamonds into Los Angeles by concealing them in a coffin holding the body of the real Peter Franks. From there, the coffin is taken to a funeral parlor in Las Vegas where the body is cremated and the diamonds retrieved...except that they aren't the real diamonds, which is the only thing that keeps 007 from getting cremated himself. When Bond learns that Blofeld is still alive and is using the real diamonds to create a laser satellite, he traces him to Mexico, specifically a platform oil rig in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
A slight hint is presented to Felix Leiter by Bond, who says "Alimentary, my dear Felix." The word "alimentary", an allusion to Sherlock Holmes' famous catchphrase "Elementary, my dear Watson!" is a play on words: alimentary itself refers to the human digestive tract. Therefore, Bond and/or his aides in MI6, before leaving Amsterdam, somehow hid the diamonds in Franks' digestive tract, likely just stuffing them down his throat. When the body is delivered to the Slumber Funeral home where it is cremated, the diamonds are easily recovered since it would take a much more tremendous amount of heat to melt the diamonds than it does to cremate a human body.
Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood) is found drowned in the bottom of Tiffany Case's pool with no real explanation, other than some speculation from Bond, as to what happened to her. In the original script, however, an explanation was given. After being tossed out of the hotel window by hoodlums working for Tiffany, Plenty (wearing nothing but a white towel to cover her mostly naked body) snuck back to the room hoping she could reclaim her clothing (which she allowed Bond to help her discard as they expected to sleep together) and took a peek at Tiffany's ID, finding out where she lived. This scene was in fact filmed and can be viewed as a deleted scene on the DVD. Plenty later showed up at Tiffany's house where she was mistaken for Tiffany and killed by Mr Wint and Mr Kidd. This scene was never filmed, presumably because a continuity error would have been created as Wint and Kidd already knew what Tiffany looked like having seen her on the Lufthansa flight.
The countdown has begun. Nine minutes until Blofeld intends to blow up Washington D.C. Bond stops to tie his shoelace on the way to the brig and releases a big red weather balloon into the sky. Felix and Willard take it as a signal from Bond and call in a squadron of a half dozen helicopters, all armed with explosives. At seven minutes and counting, they start attacking the oil rig. In the brig, Bond discovers a hole that opens into the sea below. He climbs out but, at four minutes and counting, he returns to the rig to find that Blofeld has prepared a bathosphere for escape. At two minutes and counting, Blofeld is being lifted into the water, but Bond intervenes and reverses the lift. At 40 seconds and counting, Tiffany joins Bond but she is forced overboard when she tries to fire a repeater rifle. 10... 9... 8... and Blofeld's bathosphere smashes into the rig, setting off massive fires. Bond jumps overboard. The oil rig explodes. In the final scenes, Willard Whyte and Felix Leiter (Norman Burton) send off Bond and Tiffany on an ocean voyage. Mr Winn and Mr Kidd, disguised as porters, bring to their suite a dinner supposedly compliments of Willard Whyte. Bond recognizes them as fakes when Mr Winn reveals his ignorance about the wine (a Mouton Rothschild) not being a claret and recognizes the odor of his aftershave. In the fight that ensues, Mr Kidd catches fire and jumps overboard and Bond flips Mr Winn overboard with the bomb that they had hidden in the dessert. In the final scene, Tiffany asks Bond how they're going to get the diamonds back from Blofeld's satellite.
The main villains are Jack and Seraffimo Spang (not Blofeld). They run a syndicate called "The Spangled Mob." Wint and Kidd are two of their hitmen. Wint is afraid of travelling and carries a card reading "My Blood Group is F." "Shady" Tree is a red-haired hunchback and a small time mobster in New York. He is not killed. Tiffany Case is blond. Peter Franks looks somewhat like Bond and Bond never meets him. Felix Leiter now has prosthetic limbs from being attacked by a shark in "Live And Let Die". Once in Las Vegas, Bond is taken to "Specterville", a ghost town in the desert that Serafimo has bought. There, Wint and Kidd stomp on him with cleats, but not with the intent to kill. Tiffany rescues him. Then he derails the train Seraffimo is using to run them down, killing him. On the Queen Elizabeth, Bond merely shoots Wint and Kidd. He then travels to French Guinea and shoots Jack Spang's helicopter out of the sky with an artillery gun.
Yes. As they can clearly be seen holding hands in one scene and Mr. Wint is clearly jealous when Mr. Kidd comments that Tiffany is "quite attractive...for a lady". In the book they are homosexual members of The Spangled Mob.
It was filmed at Palm Mortuary's Henderson location. (Henderson is the town just outside of Las Vegas, the two cities are basically being connected and have no real defining boundaries between each other.) The Mortuary itself (called Slumber in the film) is on the southern part of the Boulder Highway, between the intersections of Greenway and Major. While it has clearly been renovated in the time since the movie was released; the large, distinctive diamond-shaped window out front is still intact and easily recognizable.
The hotel/casino used for the Whyte House was called the International when it first opened up, but in the early 1970s became the Las Vegas Hilton. In the early 2010s, the name was changed again to the LVH (Las Vegas Hotel and Casino), no longer affiliated with the Hilton brand. It was changed again to the Westgate in 2014. While the hotel/casino has had some renovations, the shape of the building itself is mostly unchanged. The valet parking lane entrance seen in the film looks almost identical today.
Including Diamonds Are Forever, Connery made seven movies in which he played James Bond: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Never Say Never Again (1983).
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