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After On Her Majesty's Service Secret disappointed at the box-office,
despite revisionist reviews and viewers considered it one best and most
emotional Bond films, Sean Connery was begged to return to the series.
Diamonds Are Forever is his last official Bond film and the last
official Bond film to feature SPECTRE and Bond's nemesis, Ernst Stavro
Blofeld (unless you count the disgraceful cameo in For Your Eyes Only).
After a personal mission of vengeance for his decreed wife against Blofeld (Charles Gray), MI6's best agent, James Bond (Connery) is asked to investigate a diamond smuggling operation, leading him on a trial from South Africa, to Amsterdam and Las Vegas and taking on a funeral director, Las Vegas casinos, a billionaire tycoon and two gay hit men.
As well as the return of Connery, Guy Hamilton, the director of Goldfinger and Goldfinger's singer Shirley Bassey. Diamonds Are Forever starts off really strong as Bond beats up a lot of contacts to get to Blofeld, including strangling a woman with bikini top which was surprisingly dark. The fight in the film was early one in the film as a Bond fights a man in a lift: it was a tight, close quarters affair that was well choreographed and edited.
The first half of the film was the better half as it was a serious yet fun affair, featuring a decent enough plot and some down to earth gadgets. But as the film continued into Las Vegas Diamonds Are Forever becomes a more camper, light hearted affair. The setting, set design and the moon buddy chase basically become elements to be used in the first Austin Powers film. Diamonds Are Forever is a more comic, cheesy film, with emphasis on silly comedy and moments like Bond fighting two women called Bambi and Thumper and the portrayed of two flamboyant henchmen. Even the Bond girl, Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) starts off as a competent woman to becoming a ditzy idiot: it is a drastic character change. This was mainly because audiences at the time did not response well to a darker, more serious and sombre Bond that George Lazenby portrayed in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and it is only until Casino Royale that audiences have accepted a darker, grittier Bond.
Besides from Connery is has always been excellent as Bond, most of the cast were bad. Gray was okay as Blofeld, but he did not have the presence of Donald Pleasance or menace of Telly Savalas. Accept for the rest of the Bond regulars the cast was bad, St. John was a very bad actress, so was Lana Wood and Norman Burton was the worst actor to play Felix Leiter.
In terms of scale this Bond film is lacking; much of the action takes place in Las Vegas, limiting the scale non feel s very exotic and limiting the scope. The Las Vegas setting was basically an attempt to make the series appeal more to American audiences.
As a direct follow up to On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever is a disappointment for discarding the revenge storyline and focusing on a lighter story. But as a standalone Diamonds Are Forever is decent. It is better then other films in the series like Moonraker, The Man With the Golden Gun and Die Another Day. It's enjoyable enough, but not the most memorial film of the series.
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.
Sean Connery's final Bond movie may not be his greatest, but it is
certainly very entertaining. Because Connery is an actor who's improved
as an actor the older he gets he still has a great deal of gravitas in
his final official Bond-outing, unlike his follower Roger Moore.
The film's plot is intriguing and fairly well written. The narrative moves at a nice pace. Action and dialogue are used in even intervals to make the movie flow naturally. The comedy is also not as cheesy as in most Bond films but it's really up to the viewer what sort of attitude they take to the film's comedic and gag moments. From a production side of things the film is quite excellent. Unfortunately the film has very much settled into a traditional James Bong-formula. The structure is rather predictable even if the variety of action keeps the film from becoming boring. Overall the film fails to achieve a serious tone and more or less caters to the needs of the early 70s Bond audiences which unfortunately means the plot loses any sort of serious weight.
However, despite its predictability, Diamonds are Forever is a fun and even a slightly self-parodying experience and definitely an entertaining movie.
Diamonds Are Forever is a really funny James Bond film. Maybe this is
due to the screenplay by the excellent Tom Mankiewicz who would later
script the next two Roger Moore outings.
Sean Connery returning to the role after the departing of the disastrous George Lazenby is very welcome indeed, but sadly, Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever is not the same as Sean Connery in From Russia With Love or Goldfinger.
In fact, Connery looks about two stone overweight in this one, with a greying toupee and a tired, vacant look on his face. Its actually frightening to see how much he has aged in almost ten years and not in a good way. Not that the great man would give a stuff considering the fortune he made on this flick. Still, hes better on an off day as Bond than Lazenby firing on all cylinders.
This was the 007 that also had a great pair of Homosexual killers Mr Wint and Mr Kidd. Having them murder and spout one liners all through the film is one of DAF's highlights. However, the casting of Charles Gray as Blofeld (WITH HAIR) is crap. And just what was it with those Carmel coloured Tunics that he wore? They look silly. Jill st John as Tiffany Case just plain irritated me throughout. Terrible temper indeed. I preferred Lana Wood as Plenty and they offed her...such an inventive, wonderful idea.
A thankful return to form though.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The return of Sean Connery to E.O.N productions for "Diamonds Are
Forever" was a surprise. It is a lot of fun from beginning to end with
Sean Connery giving a great performance as Bond .
He seems to have mellowed and delivers the nifty one liners by Tom Mankiewicz in a subtly knowing way.
It seems to to be a more suave interpretation of Bond -- his voice is softer and therefore when he threatens he is much more of a lethal presence than before. There are action sequences with much more of a comic slant and Blofeld seems a lot more camp in Charles Gray's witty performance along with the very funny henchmen Mr Wint and Mr.Kidd.If this was the way the films were going I would love to have seen Sean Connery continue with the role.
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.
Diamonds Are Forever is one of the best Bond movies and one of my
favourites. It marked Sean Connery's return to Bond for the first time
since You Only Live Twice.
James Bond is sent to Las Vegas to investigate a diamond smuggling operation which turns out to be the responsibility of old rival Blofeld. After several attempts to kill him by Mr Wint and Mr Kidd, he saves the world once again.
The best parts of the movie are the chase with the moon buggy in the Nevada Desert, the car chase through Las Vegas in which several police cars get destroyed and the climax on Blofeld's oil rig.
Joining Sean Connery in this movie are Jill St John (The Lost World) who plays love interest Tiffany Case, Charles Gray (The Devil Rides Out) as Blofeld, Bruce Cabot (King Kong), Laurence Naismith (The Valley of Gwangi), Lana Wood and Jimmy Dean. Bruce Glover and Putter Smith play great parts as male lovers Mr Wint and Mr Kidd. Bond regulars Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell also appear.
I have seen this movie several times and never tire of it.
Rating 5 stars out of 5.
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971) *** Bond in Las Vegas with
bodacious Jill St. John. Neat driving sequence down the Strip.
Glitzy locale is the real star in this rather by-the-numbers entry of the Connery era. Title song sung by Shirley Bassey.
In my opinion, Sean Connery is good as Bond here. And for all the people who hate this film, I have two quotes: 'U is for Umbrella. We take it lest it rains. We hope we shan't want it till we're home again.' 'I'm Plenty! Plenty O'Toole!' Yes, although not the best, this is funny! I liked Tiffany's hair changes (Weren't you a blonde when I came in? I tend to notice little things like that), and thought she was a good Bond Girl, but Plenty is prettier, has a cooler name, and is less forgettable. Oh yeah, and: 'Miss Case is quite attractive...for a lady!'
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SDI before its time, this film is cool, and I love the moon buggy scene. Connery brings back humor to the Bond character. The two henchmen in this film, make it funny and different. This film has a great ending, and ages well. I feel sorry for the police in this film
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