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After the release of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, most people probably assumed that George Lazenby was officially the new James Bond... they were wrong. Connery returned supposedly one last time to reprise Bond in 'Diamonds Are Forever' which completed the Ernest Blofeld trilogy of the series for those who know what I'm talking about. The film picks up loosely following the events of OHMSS. What are those events one might ask? Watch it and see for yourself. Overall, I really liked Diamonds are Forever. It is on of the first Bond films I saw as a teenager so I guess it holds somewhat of a special place for me. That being said, I may fail to point out possible legit criticisms so for anyone who wonders what those criticisms could be, watch the movie or look for another review. Regardless of what "could" be wrong with Diamonds Are Forever, it definitely holds up well and is very entertaining. The movie on one or two occasions tends to make fun of itself but that really takes nothing away from it. As with the previous installments before and after Thunderball, I recommend this Bond title.
This was the first Bond film I ever saw, when I was about 10 or 11 and
I still remember it fondly, as much for the merchandising as anything -
yes I got my toy moon buggy and tri-bike, no doubt like millions of
other young kids of the time.
Looked at today, it palls somewhat, let down, ironically, by the franchise's growing addiction to gimmicky hardware and SFX set-pieces, which helps explain why this was effectively Connery's last hurrah in the character. Indeed, it's about the only one of his first six Bond parts you can visualise Roger "eyebrows" Moore in, as he gets little to do other than make smart one-liners, bed the female talent and man the afore-mentioned contraptions. He just about pulls it off, but you can see him going through the motions at times.
The movie's outlook towards women too, like Bond's, is anachronistic, I'm struggling to remember a scene where a woman is fully dressed, plus some of Bond's chauvinistic quips "I'm plenty"..."But of course you are" seem more at home in a "Carry On" film. The plotting also seems too similar to say, "You Only Live Twice", plus I also think the Mr Kidd & Mr Wint characters would have worked better without their campish gay overtones.
On the plus side though, Jill St John gives her cardboard character some presence, Charles Gray is an effective Blofeld (in triplicate), I enjoyed Jimmy Dean's take on "Howard Hughes" a la Willard Whyte, the Vegas locations are great, John Barry's music adds lustre (ouch!) and, I've got to confess, some of the big scenes still entertain, from the great fight in the confined space of a lift compartment, to the moon buggy escape, naturally the car park chase in downtown Las Vegas with THAT two-wheeled side-on stunt, the fight with Thumper and Bambi and the reckoning with Kidd & Wint as a postscript.
I enjoyed the movie but fear that nostalgia was clouding my critical faculties throughout, however as so many have done before, perhaps best to surrender to Bond and go with the flow.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was the Bond film that introduced irony and real wit to the series, thanks to the recently deceased Tom Mankeiwicz. Connery bluffly handled the role, and never telegraphed the jokes. He had aged since his appearance in You Only Live Twice, but his no-nonsense confidence worked very well with a terrific, fast-moving story that constantly surprised and entertained. Critics, notably Pauline Kael, enjoyed the witty, sardonic script that deftly referenced the modern takes on subjects like the Funeral business and Howard Hughes's disconcerting reclusiveness. Like the best Bond movies, it took you on a tour of an exotic location, and Mankiewicz' Las Vegas was one of the best uses of a location in the Bond oeuvre. Mankiewicz kept the movie moving, while inserting memorable and funny bits of business along the way. Morton Slumber, Shady Tree, Plenty O'Toole, among others, are perfectly realized minor characters, and cast perfectly. Not to mention Jimmy Dean as Willard Whyte, who brings cornball gusto to the role. This film was a balance of humor and credibility that the series never again equaled, and after this the irony quickly curdled. Diamonds Are Forever is a great example of creative storytelling, and maybe the most fun of the Bond films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The sixties, peace, love, psychedelia and the peak of Bond mania,
passed into history. The Beatles split up, Jim Morrison flat-lined in a
bathtub and Vietnam was napalming the American dream to ashes in a
controversial conflict that was fast starting to look like an epic
The Bond movies had been spoofed, ripped-off, imitated to near death and creatively dismissed by many critics. Lazenby had jumped ship, convinced that Bond was "old hat" and had no future other than a rattling decline into celluloid oblivion. This smacks of the same type of miscalculation made by the Decca A&R exec who turned down signing The Beatles because "guitar bands are on the way out." New American cinema was starting to turn out some of the greatest genre defining movies ever made. The world was going all glam, glitter and shock-rock - Alice Cooper, Slade, New York Dolls, Sweet, David Bowie.
And the original Bond returns in a glitzy, camp, sci-fi extravaganza, that still manages to be the fourth highest grossing film in the US of it's year. Ahead of Dirty Harry, Carnal Knowledge, A Clockwork Orange, Klute, The Last Picture Show and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. No indicator of quality, but certainly of a sustained popularity.
DAF is a slyer, more-knowing, self-deprecating artifact of it's time than most give it credit for. In it's sweep, it satirises the absurdity of Howard Hughes and his eccentric reclusivity, the global obsession over the lunar landings (and accompanying conspiracy theory surrounding beliefs of their fakeness), the conquest of space, and pokes fun at the mecca of arbitrary gambling-addicts and those dazzled by the air-headed neon facade of sleazy, hollow glamour.
Beneath the veneer of such glamour, death lurks, dispensed by two gay contract killers in the pay of a criminal cross-dressing mastermind with a penchant for white cats and impersonating a reclusive kidnapped multi-millionaire industrialist. And making doubles of himself - for some reason. Are we beginning to grasp it's charm yet? There are so many continuity, plot and logic errors in DAF, that sooner or later one might suspect they are deliberate. Connery coasts through, nonchalant and laid-back and still irrefutably BOND. DAF, it's fair to say, lost the plot, in the tipsy haze of a high-tech Rat Pack hangover. But, as a kid I loved it unconditionally, and I still think it's a blast today. OK, it may not have aged as well as some of it's counterparts from the sixties and seventies, but at the time and in the climate it was released, the escapism it provided and the way in which it integrated/resonated with the mood and flavour of that time and climate, made it stellar entertainment. There's something about it's inherent sincerity and lack of forced, contrived, self-conscious cynicism that appeals.
There are some crackling one-liners and dialogue, a ferociously brutal unarmed combat episode in a lift, an eye-melting pink tie, bizarre vehicle chases and the most unconvincing toupee a leading actor ever wore up to that point. It had a bizarre life of it's own.
Oh, did I mention Connery was back as Bond? I'd pay the price of admission for that fact alone. Wouldn't you?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sean Connery's last go-round in the initial James Bond series is a quirky entry that I find one of the most enjoyable. It keeps all of the trappings and recurrent characters we had come to expect in a 007 film but adds a few novel twists which keep things from becoming stale. Connery's co-star and female lead this time is Jill St. John and forgive me while I drool on my keyboard a moment. The term 'drop dead gorgeous' must have been invented for her and maybe even specifically for this movie. Casual nudity in mainstream cinema was not yet commonplace, but some of Ms. St. John's 'costumes' come about as close as is possible. As Bond aptly puts it shortly after meeting her character, Tiffany Case, "that's a nice little nothing you're almost wearing." Bond has a number of great one-liners in 'Diamonds Are Forever,' and Connery delivers them in a breezy, laid-back performance. The diamonds in question are to be used on a satellite to focus a laser beam that will destroy nuclear weapons, allowing SPECTRE to blackmail various governments. Yeah, that old plot again. But it's just enough to hang a number of funny and exciting scenes on, starting in Holland and ending up in Las Vegas. Maybe the oddest aspect of 'Diamonds Are Forever' is the inclusion of two openly and sometimes outlandishly gay characters, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. They are operatives/assassins in the employ of SPECTRE and appear at crucial times throughout the film... always together. The plot sometimes veers off into extreme silliness (it's hard to recall a chase scene sillier than the one with Bond in the moon-buggy) and the special effects range from believable to incredibly cheesy (the shot of Chinese missiles being destroyed and a flaming Chinese soldier crossing the screen has to be seen to be believed) which, along with the above-mentioned aspects, seem to indicate the series was heading in a more comedic direction just as Connery was making his exit. Whether this was an improvement is debatable, but Connery was, and is, the definitive Bond and 'Diamonds Are Forever' stands as one of the best 007 films.
The Connery Bond series started when I was a young boy and I took them
seriously. Diamonds, however, came out when I was well into my late
teens and somewhat more sophisticated. It dawned on me that the Bond
films were not really about violence and adventure but....comedy. And
it became more comic when Roger Moore took over the role.
I remember Robert Vaughn saying when he was asked if he were worried that his Man from Uncle TV series, hugely popular among adolescents in the 60s, would influence them to becoming violent. Vaughn astutely replied that kids understand that the show was to be taken as seriously as Donald Duck cartoons.
And that is how I remember Diamonds. Up to now I find myself amused when I recall the scene (SPOILER) near the end of the film when villain Blofeld's two bumbling goons tried to give Bond and his girl a payback for messing up their boss's plans. Bond and his lady (Jill St. John) were enjoying themselves on a cruise ship being served a luscious meal by the two goons disguised as waiters. And the piece d'resistance was Bombe' Surprise. And when Bond asked what was in the Bombe'. The waiter replied that it was a "surprise" (pronounced in the French fashion). There literally was a bomb in in the Bombe'.
The scene brought back another rib-tickling incident about another bomb disguised as food which I read about in The Manila Times back in the early '60s. A small town provincial mayor was staying in a third rate hotel in Manila during the Christmas season. He received a gift box which seemed to him odd as nobody was supposed to know where he was. . He called the police. Inside the box was a tin globe with the markings of a popular brand of Dutch Edam cheese popularly known as "Queso de Bola" (ball cheese). The Manila Times reporter quipped that it turned out to be a Queso de Bomba because there really was a bomb inside the tin. The idea of Edam ball cheese as a weapon is not really novel as I remember reading about a battle between the English and the Spanish during the age of cannonballs when the English, running out of cannonballs, used baby Edams as shot. They won.
Sean Connery returned to James Bond's role in 1971 after George Lazenby failed in the job.The plot of Diamonds Are Forever is too complicated to explain.I can't even remember it all that good.I'm pretty sure it had something to do with diamonds. Sean Connery is as charismatic as always.The good old Q is played by Desmond Llewelyn who tragically died last year. Diamonds Are Forever is a perfect entertainment movie.There are terrific action sequences so you can't get bored watching this movie.I recommend Diamonds Are Forever for every action freak out there.
Diamonds Are Forever represents a Bond film that simply celebrates the return of Sean Connery by losing all the emotion of OHMSS and pulling out all of the stops. A sattelite laser (thankfully not aimed at 007's crotch this time), a high speed chase where the police exhibit all of the intelligence of a non-featured J.W. Pepper, a floating fortress, and an amazing climax. A fan's only concern is wondering why Blofeld is making a habit of placing Bond in cells with holes in them! It seems that after a few years of hiding and countless plastic surgeries, Blofeld is getting careless - allowing Bond to get REALLY close to his world domination machine, so that when Bond ejects his programmed plan, he can only sigh and offer an exasperated "replace that tape immediately!" Regardless of a careless and all-too-mortal villain however, Diamonds Are truly Forever. It shines as one of the best.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This last worthwhile Connery Bond film came out in the early '70's; it
seemed to me even then at 12 years old that there had been a change in
social attitudes some degree of innocence had been lost in the 4
years since the previous film. Whereas You Only Live Twice was the
usual daft and deft mix of humour and action in a nonsensical plot,
Diamonds Are Forever had deft action in a nonsensical and messy plot
with a touch of tired and camp cynicism.
Bond is enrolled by the British government to find who is cornering the world's diamond-smuggling market and put a stop to it. It's an un-engaging battle for the viewer though, Stout Bond looks for the most part uninterested in putting in the actual work for the money for which he was enticed back. There's also probably the worst scene in any of his Bond films when he's escaping from Tectronics in a Moon buggy to someone brought up on Banana Splits it's awful and almost slapstick. The portrayal of younger women purely as sex objects is even more pronounced than before although I confess I personally I preferred to look at Jill St. John than Connery throughout. On the plus side Bond's punch up with the real Franks in the lift was exciting, the car chase through Las Vegas was amusing, and Bond getting hot under the collar in the funeral parlour was chilling there's plenty to savour, although Plenty wasn't in it for long. God help us if the world's safety depended on the quality of cassette tape playback!
Overall it's not as witty or memorable as we'd grown accustomed to, but watchable probably even for a non-completist. The next film in the series continued as The Saint, but to this day I still think the unshaken and unstirred Connery would have made a better Bond in the '70's, especially if he could've lost a lot of pounds and got a better wig. Never mind, there are the 6 movies of varying excellence and consistent entertainment from 1962-1971 to revel in every few years.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the most frequently quoted statistics concerning 'Diamonds Are
Forever' is that it was outperformed in the U.K. in 1971 by the feature
film version of 'On The Buses'. This is in fact untrue. 'Forever'
premiered in London on 30 December; it did not go on general release
until the following day when it went on to outperform every other film
in Britain in 1972. But I digress; the seventh 007 epic saw a brief
return to the role for Sean Connery, who'd vacated Bond's shoes for 'On
Her Majesty's Secret Service' ( 1969 ), now ( rightly ) regarded as one
of the all-time great Bond films, but at the time it was deemed to have
been a failure. David Picker, head of United Artists, lured the
recalcitrant actor back with the offer of a huge pay cheque and the
promise of funding for three movies of his choice. The new decade saw a
change in style for the Bond movies. The 60's ones were tongue-in-cheek
but mock-serious. The only one to adopt a lighter tone was 'Goldfinger'
( 1964 ). It was to recapture that tone that producers Cubby Broccoli
and Harry Saltzman brought back director Guy Hamilton. This is no more
apparent than in the scene in Slumber's Funeral Parlour - 'Morton
Slumber' ( the late David Bauer ) could have wandered out of an episode
of 'The Avengers'. The Fleming novel had Bond going undercover (
impersonating one 'Peter Franks', whom British Intelligence have
captured ) to infiltrate a gang of diamond smugglers, one of whom is
the beautiful 'Tiffany Case'. Much action is centred around Las Vegas.
Tom Mankiewicz and Richard Maibaum's script retained the early part of
the novel, but then deviated from it with 'Ernst Stavro Blofeld' (
Charles Gray ) yet again planning to hold the world to ransom, this
time with a laser-satellite ( full of diamonds ) orbiting the Earth.
Connery gives one of his best performances as Bond, certainly better than the one he gave in 'You Only Live Twice' in which he was virtually on auto-pilot throughout. No wonder audiences cheered when he once again said that famous line " My name is Bond...James Bond!". Charles Gray makes for an elegantly caddish 'Blofeld', delivering wry quips through cigarette smoke like an evil Noel Coward. Before anyone says 'Blofeld should not be British!', look at it this way - would not a man on the run from the intelligence services try to throw them off the scent in some imaginative way? Pretending to be another nationality makes perfect sense. The pre-credits sequence has Bond hunting the world for Blofeld ( presumably to get revenge for wife Tracy's death, its never made clear ). In South America, he finds him experimenting with clones. After a fight, Blofeld is sent hurtling face-first into a mud pool, but of course, it isn't really him. Maurice Binder's title sequence kicks in to the welcome return of Shirley Bassey's vocals.
'Forever' features Bond's first gay characters ( not counting 'Rosa Klebb' ) in the shape of killers 'Mr.Kidd' ( Putter Smith ) and 'Mr.Wint' ( Bruce Glover ), while 'Tiffany' ( the stunning Jill St.John ) is far more brash than previous Bond girls. Lana Wood shines briefly as the ill-fated 'Plenty O'Toole'. Those who dismiss the Roger Moore era for its wacky humour need to realise that the trend towards self parody in fact began here. The action sequences are a mixed bag; the fight in the lift between Bond and Peter Franks ( Joe Robinson ) is one of the very best to grace a 007 film, ditto the bruising encounter with 'Bambi' ( Lola Larson ) and 'Thumper' ( Trina Parks ), the moon buggy chase and Les Vegas car chase stunning ( remember Bond's car being driven on two wheels? ), but best of all is the scene where Bond ascends the Whyte House to break into reclusive millionaire Willard Whyte ( Jimmy Dean )'s sumptuous apartment. Some gorgeous sets by Ken Adam here. John Barry's score is one of his best ( my favourite track is '007 & Counting', heard as Blofeld's satellite goes about the globe causing havoc ). On the down side, the final helicopter assault on Blofeld's oil rig headquarters is flat and uninspired, like something out of a made-for-television film.
'Forever' is far from being classic Bond, but manages to be watchable and has some wonderful moments; for instance, when 'Felix Leiter' ( Normann Burton ) asks Bond where on Franks' corpse the diamonds have been hidden, he gets the reply: "Alimentary, Dr.Leiter!". It silenced critics who had claimed that Bond was washed-up and set the standard for the Moore 007 movies to follow. Connery would play the role only one more time, in 1983's 'Never Say Never Again'.
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