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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'.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I consider this one of the three greatest Connery/Bond films. The other two would be Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice. The story, the action, the villains and the ladies, all are terrific. John Barry's soundtrack is superb. He certainly captured the Las Vegas ambiance. My favorite things about the movie would be the villains. Blofeld, Peter Franks, Mr. Wint, Mr. Kidd. Memorable. The humor - nice! For years I used to only be familiar with the version that was seen on ABC, thus heavily edited and not shown in the 2:35 format. When I finally saw the unedited version in its theatrical format, it blew me away. Especially the elevator sequence. It is unwatchable in the 1:33 format. Too bad the sequence was deleted regarding what led up to Plenty's fate. It would have made sense in the film. Enjoyable anytime!
Diamonds are forever is Connery's swan song after refusing to come back Connery was enticed into it by money lots and lots of money. And Sean Connery was worth every cent. the movie picks up where On her Majesty's secret service left off. Bond is hunting Blofeld and when he finds him he murders him. His vendetta done Bond returns home and is given a assignment involving Diamond smugglers. But since this is a mission for 007 nothing is as it seems. The Diamonds are pursued by two homosexual killers Wint and Kidd who are two of the most memorable characters in the movie. When Bond tracks the diamonds down to a smuggler name Tiffany Case things heat up. Tiffany has been targeted for death and Bond saves her only to find the whole thing goes much deeper. Blofeld is back from the dead for one thing. And a mysterious billionaire named Willard whyte is involved somehow. The film while not the best written Bond benefits from it;s strengths which is mainly Connery as Bond. It's a good sound action flick which goes well with a bowl of popcorn and the lights dimmed. Sean Connery is James Bond. What More can you want from a Bond movie?
For what he thought would be his farewell appearance as James Bond,
Sean Connery starred in Diamonds Are Forever which takes James Bond
from the Amsterdam diamond market, to the Las Vegas Strip, to the deep
blue sea. What starts as an investigation into some diamond smuggling
eventually turns into another of SPECTRE's schemes for world domination
by their number one, Ernest Stavro Blofeld played here by Charles Gray.
After George Lazenby failed to ignite much passion in the role of 007, producer Albert Broccoli paid dear for Sean Connery's services to return as Bond. A nice two million dollar paycheck, probably it would be ten million in today's dollars. Connery was probably feeling very generous because he had finally scored in commercial hit in another role with The Anderson Tapes is immediately preceding film.
Jill St. John and Lana Wood earn their wings as Bond girls, especially St. John who is a diamond smuggler being ripped off by SPECTRE. Of course the charm's of 007 were never more effectively employed in turning that woman's loyalties, or at least not since Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. But Bond employs different skills to deal with Trina Parks and Lola Larson as Bambi and Thumper a pair of skilled lesbian assassins.
I guess in recognition of the Stonewall Rebellion SPECTRE decided to go gay as well. And they weren't going to discriminate either, Putter Smith and Bruce Glover are a pair of gay males in the contract killing business and they're pretty good at it too. There's is the final encounter with 007 in Diamonds Are Forever.
Jimmy Dean plays Willard Whyte a Howard Hughes like reclusive gazillionaire with Bruce Cabot as his chief assistant and voice to the outside world. How they figure in SPECTRE's plans you have to see the film for, but let's say that Howard Hughes's far flung empire is something to keep in mind. In fact I'm not sure why Hughes didn't sue Cubby Broccoli.
Diamonds Are Forever marked the farewell movie role for Bruce Cabot. In his last years Cabot could always get work with John Wayne, Diamonds Are Forever marks one of his few non-Wayne films he was in.
Like From Russia With Love and You Only Live Twice, this film also has to do with yet another scheme for SPECTRE to gain control of outer space from the super powers. It's not near as good as the first one and Goldfinger which are my two favorite Sean Connery Bond films, but the 007 cult around the world should be pleased with this film.
This is probably my favorite film in the whole 007 series, even though it is not thought of as one of the best. This film has all the elements that made the series great; beautiful women, glamorous locations, plenty of action and even some very humorous moments. Even though Sean Connery was tiring of the role he seemed to show that he had fun making this, his final appearance (at least until Never Say Never Again) a very memorable one. Also, Jill St. John gives a very amusing performance as Tiffany Case. The thing that made her performance great was the fact that she did play it for laughs, not like the other Bond women who were either window dressing or damsels in distress. This film is one fun ride.
The seventh James Bond movie "Diamonds Are Forever" can be seen as one of the best or one of the worst Bond films. It depends on how you look at it: if you don't require more than just harmless entertainment with no brains, "Diamonds" is your ultimate Bond movie. But if you can't overlook the silliness, bad editing, and the seemingly hastily rigged up script, you should avoid this one. It cannot be compared to the classic Bonds of the 60's, but it's not as bad or as silly as the Roger Moore Bonds "The Man with the Golden Gun" and "Moonraker".
Diamonds Are Forever is directed by Guy Hamilton and adapted to
screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz from the novel of the
same name written by Ian Fleming. It stars Sean Connery, Jill St John,
Charles Gray, Bruce Glover, Putter Smith, Joseph Furst, Norman Burton
and Jimmy Dean. Music is scored by John Barry and cinematography by Ted
Bond 7 and 007 is assigned to find out who is stock piling all the black market diamonds. This leads him to a sinister weapon being manufactured in space that can destroy major cities, the architect of such vileness? SPECTRE chief Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the man who murdered Bond's wife and someone Bond thought he had already located and killed.
With George Lazenby withdrawing from the franchise after just the one film, off to massage his ego and take further bad advice from those around him, Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman set about making Bond sustainable box office in the 1970s. American actor John Gavin (Psycho/Spartacus) had signed on to fill the tuxedo, but armed with wads of cash the producers managed to entice Connery back to the role he had previously fell out of love with. Helped, too, that Connery's post Bond movies, his last outing had been You Only Live Twice in 1967, had hardly set the box office alight. It seemed a long shot, but Connery stunned the movie world by agreeing to once again play the role that many would come to know him for.
Back came Connery, back came director Guy Hamilton and back came Shirley Bassey to sing the title song (a true Bond classic it proved to be as well), these were reassuring signs, as was having Blofeld remain on villain duties. However, stung by the criticism of Lazenby's humanesque On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and the drop in box office profits compared to Connery's latter Bond films, the makers decided to play this Bond as fantastique, something that would define Bond until Timothy Dalton tried something different at the end of the 1980s. Roger Moore would replace Connery as Bond two years later and it's widely thought that his arrival as 007 ushered in the "ridiculous" era of overt humour, preposterous sight gags and cartoonish escapades, not so, it began with Connery's Diamonds Are Forever. The moment Bond drives a Ford Mustang on two wheels, all bets were off in the franchise.
Artistically "Diamonds" is a disappointing movie, fun for sure, but the screenplay refuses to let the film take itself seriously. It's often camp and the picture lacks dramatic thrust and spectacular action, with the finale a rather tepid affair. Connery's presence gives the film some warmth, but his charisma and vocal delivery can't detract from the fact he looks to be doing it purely for the money. His weight, like his hair colour, fluctuates, and much of the vibrancy of his 60s Bond portrayals had disappeared. Charles Gray turns in the worst Blofeld of them all, saddled with a screenplay that has him cloning and cross dressing, Gray has Blofeld as charming and wry, gone is the menace and machismo so wonderfully portrayed by Pleasence and Savalas respectively in the previous two Bond movies. Felix Leiter in Norman Burton's hands has been reduced to being a bit of a doofus, the baddies are either too fey or over the top, while Jill St John's main Bond girl, Tiffany Case, descends from being a steely femme at the beginning, to a voluptuous caricature.
On the plus side. Barry's score and Ken Adam's sets are still franchise joys, the byplay between Bond and M (Bernard Lee again) reminds us of once great characterisations, while Desmond Llewelyn's Q is nicely sent out in the field for a change. Action wise there's some fine moments. The pre-credits sequence as Bond chases down Blofeld starts things off excitingly, a fight in a lift is up with the best of the Bond movie dust-ups and the dirt bike and Mustang chase sequences are well put together by Hamilton. Good gadgets, too, if you like that side of Bond? There was enough good parts here, and the return of Connery, to ensure Diamonds Are Forever was a monster success at the box office, where it grossed over $115 million worldwide. It proved that Bond had longevity, but with a new actor to come to the Bond role in two years time and the big shift to comedy action over tough guy missions, would Bond turn off the movie loving public? 6/10
Many people are apparently put off by this Bond film. Sure, Sean
Connery is older, you see Blofeld (this time with a head of hair) and
the series seemed a tad out of place in 1971, when the anti-war
movement was running strong.
This movie is not Goldfinger, despite the presence of Guy Hamilton at the helm and Shirley Bassey as the singer of the title theme. What this movie is is a stylish romp that seems to bear some nod to the Batman TV series in terms of style. In some other respects, this movie plays almost like an Anglicized version of "The FBI," or like "The Persuaders."
And that is not at all bad!
The original femme fatale of the 1966 Batman series, Jill St. John, is the female lead here, and is fun to watch. She shows a lot of spirit in the role. Charles Grey is fun to watch as Blofeld, because he brings a real wit to the role. The dialogue is definitely sophisticated, and it is a very stylish production that I think holds up well. And Lana Wood does a fine job here, too! (Oh, and I met her in Detroit in May 2009; sweet lady!!)
This movie is also more daring in terms of sex than any other Bond: The public display of affection the thugs Wint and Kidd show, as well as the topless scene of Lana Wood's character.
Gadgets don't seem to dominate this outing. It's no 1960s Connery film (the lead actor's older), nor a 1970s Moore outing (more serious). This movie is sandwiched between the two eras, and it rightly should be taken on its own terms. Which means, I think it is one of the most enjoyable Bond films made--a sophisticated, stylish romp. It is, in my view, a most enjoyable Bond (and my personal favourite)!
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