George Lazenby was asked to make a second Bond movie but declined, due to a lengthy and restrictive potential contract. Burt Reynolds was the original choice to replace him but was unavailable. Then American actor John Gavin was signed to play James Bond in this movie. At the time, he had recently played the French Spy OSS 117 in the Eurospy flick OSS 117 - Double Agent (1968). Adam West turned down the role because he felt that James Bond should be a British actor. Michael Gambon turned down the role because he was "in terrible shape" and "had tits like a woman." At the last minute Sean Connery agreed to return as Bond for the sixth time in a two-picture deal and at an astronomical salary for the time. Producer Albert R. Broccoli insisted that Gavin be paid-out the full salary called for in his contract.
During a late 1990s airing of the movie on TBS's Dinner and A Movie, Bruce Glover recalled that while filming their scenes together, he and Putter Smith had Sean Connery convinced that the two were actually openly homosexual. Glover added that a few years later while on an airline flight he was flirting with a female flight attendant, and suddenly heard a Sottish accented voice saying "You son of a bitch..." Glover turned around and saw the man was Connery.
According to Lana Wood's autobiography, she was the victim of a prank when she first met Sean Connery. Someone on the set told her to meet Sean at his Las Vegas hotel room. The door was open and she sat down in a chair. Sean called from the bathroom that he'd be there in a minute. He then walked out stark naked. They had a brief fling during filming, until she was abruptly dumped by Sean, who decided to carry on with Jill St. John instead.
Bond's escape through a moon landing "movie set" refers to the popular conspiracy theory of the time that the real moon landings were faked. The scene is filmed in a Johns-Manville gypsum plant located just outside of Las Vegas. During filming the wheels kept falling off. In one scene where a car turns over you can see one of the wheels that had broken off the buggy rolling in the foreground. In 2004, Sean Connery bought the moon buggy for approximately $54,000.
This is the second of three James Bond title songs sung by Shirley Bassey. The first was Goldfinger (1964) and the last was Moonraker (1979). She also sang a version of the "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" song for Thunderball (1965) which was not used. To date, Bassey is the only singer to have performed a Bond title song more than once.
The alleyway car roll sequence is actually filmed in two locations. The entrance was at the car park at Universal Studios and the exit was at Fremont Street, Las Vegas. It was filmed over a 3-day period.
Reportedly, the final scene Sean Connery filmed as Bond (at least in the official movie series) was the one in which an unconscious Bond is loaded into a coffin at the funeral home. So, Connery's last ever day of playing James Bond for EON Productions was Friday the 13th August, 1971.
During Bond's briefing with M at the beginning of the film, M refers to Bond having just been on Holiday, and later quipped how the Service had managed well during Bond's absence. These were inside jokes referring to Sean Connery's absence in the previous film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
Given all the business with caskets, cremation, etc., it's interesting to note that producer Albert R. Broccoli once worked as a salesman and manager for the Long Island Casket Co., and Sean Connery once worked for an undertaker.
The two fighting girls in charge of watching Willard Whyte are named Bambi and Thumper. These characters were not in the Ian Fleming novel, but were made up by the film. Stuntwoman Donna Garrett was originally signed to play the character of Bambi. However, the last one (Trina Parks) had the name of her character changed in the Spanish-dubbed version, for uncertain reasons, to Pluto. 'Bambi' and 'Thumper' are two of the lead characters in the Disney animation classic "Bambi".
Jill St. John went on to marry Robert Wagner, who appeared in the Austin Powers movies which spoofed the James Bond films. St. John was also best friends with Wagner's late wife Natalie Wood who drowned in 1981. This makes co-star Lana Wood his then-sister-in-law.
Producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli cast Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole after seeing her in Playboy Magazine. Her voice is dubbed in the movie, and she is standing on a box for some of her scenes with Sean Connery because, even in high heels, she was too small to fit into the frame with him. In the scene in Bond's hotel room, she was unaware that her derrière would be visible through her pink panties.
Albert R. Broccoli hated the line "Alimentary, Dr. Leiter," which Bond says when asked the location of the diamonds concealed in a corpse. He thought no one would understand it referred to digestion. At the film's premiere, two people in the front row burst out laughing at the line, and Broccoli quipped, "Big deal, they're doctors."
This was the last Bond movie by Eon to use SPECTRE or Blofeld. (The name SPECTRE is not mentioned at all in this movie.) After this, writer Kevin McClory's legal claim against the Ian Fleming estate that he, and not Fleming, had created the organization for the novel "Thunderball" was upheld by the courts. Blofeld is seen but not identified later in For Your Eyes Only (1981), as Eon's arrangements with the Fleming estate do not permit them to use McClory's works.
This movie boasts the most number of aliases used by James Bond in a Bond movie. These were as Peter Franks, as Mr. Jones (and Tiffany Case as Mrs. Jones), as Klaus Hergescheimer at White Techtronics and as Burt Saxby on the telephone.
This is the one of few James Bond movied which does not feature the wine beverage champagne. The type of sherry served to James Bond, M and Sir Donald Munger at dinner was a Solera. James Bond mentions solera in relation to sherry. Solera is a method of aging and blending wine beverages in barrels. The year that James Bond says was the original vintage on which the sherry was based, was '51, not 1951 but 1851. The brand of wine served at the end of the movie was a Mouton Rothschild '55, a claret.
The line about "La Rochefoucauld" was another hot-button dispute between Albert R. Broccoli and Tom Mankiewicz. In the end, it was kept in because Mankiewicz convinced Guy Hamilton to shoot the scene in a way that Cubby had no choice but to let it stay. When the film opened in France, Mankiewicz pointed out that that line got a huge laugh, to which Cubby retorted that France was their least profitable market. Tom Mankiewicz was only allowed to work on the next movie Live and Let Die (1973) on condition that La Rochefoucauld never be mentioned in a script again.
Actresses considered for the role of Tiffany Case included: Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda and Faye Dunaway. Jill St. John had originally been offered the part of Plenty O'Toole but landed the female lead after impressing director Guy Hamilton during screen tests. St. John became the first American Bond girl.
Charles Gray, who plays the master villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in this film, played a Bond ally called Henderson in You Only Live Twice (1967). David Bauer, who plays Morton Slumber, previously appeared uncredited as an American diplomat in "You Only Live Twice" also.
Ninth James Bond movie and the seventh movie in the EON Productions official film series. It was the seventh film to both feature Bernard Lee as M and Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny and the sixth to feature Desmond Llewelyn as Q. It was the sixth James Bond film to star Sean Connery as James Bond and the last for him in the EON Productions official film series.
Mashed potatoes were used to replicate the consistency of the brown substance mud bath featured in the opening teaser. What the producers failed to take into account was that after 24 hours and under all the hot lights, mashed potatoes emit an almost unbearable smell.
After the disappointing box-office performance of On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) in the US - although it was a hit in other parts of the world - the producers of this film went all-out to win back American audiences. This partly explains why the bulk of this film is set in the United States, specifically Las Vegas, and because much of Ian Fleming's source novel takes place in Las Vegas or in the surrounding desert. Many of the James Bond movies have been known to have cast and crew participate in some high-stakes gambling. Shooting this film in the Vegas casinos, however, was only permitted in the hours of 3-6 AM. Strangely, the name [Las] Vegas is never spoken in this movie.
This was the last "official" appearance by Sean Connery as James Bond. Though it was made later in the film series, 'Diamonds Are Forever' was only the fourth novel published, making it actually the first of the six Bond novels adapted with Connery.
Because of Sean Connery's high fee, the film's special effects budget was significantly scaled back. Connery was reportedly paid $1.25 million (US) to return as James Bond, a figure unheard of in those days.
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include Lufthansa Airlines; Rolex Watches, James Bond wears a Rolex Submariner; Martini & Rossi Vermouth; Playboy Clubs; Hertz Rent-a-car; Las Vegas strip casinos and nightclubs such as the Riviera Hotel & Casino, Tropicana Hotel & Casino and Circus Circus Casino; Mouton Rothschild Wine; Seaspeed Hovercrafts; Courvoisier Cognac; Honda Motorbikes; Shell Oil; Bell Helicopters; and Ford cars including Mustang, Thunderbird and other makes.
Vehicles included Tiffany Case's red 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 "Fastback"; a silver and white MoonBuggy; a 1968 Cadillac hearse; a Hughes 500/OH-6A Cayuse; various Ford makes including a 1971 Thunderbird driven by Mr. Witt and Mr. Kidd, a 1971 Econoline van, 1969 and 1971 sedans and various 1970 and 1971 Custom 500s as police vehicles; Honda US 90 ATC three-wheeler ATV motorbike; one Bell 206B JetRanger, two UH-1H Huey and three OH-6A Cayuse helicopters for the oil rig attack; Blofeld's one-seater Bathosub mini-submarine; an airplane and cameo appearances of a new yellow Triumph Stag in Amsterdam and Aston Martin DBS in Q's workshop.
The film's title song "Diamonds are Forever" has been extensively covered or sampled. It has been covered by David McAlmont and can be heard on David Arnold's Bond song compilation album, "Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project". It was also covered by the Arctic Monkeys at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival. It has been sampled in the song "Sexy Lady" by Yung Berg and "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" by Kanye West. The song has also been used on the song "Psychology" by Dead Prez.
According to the film's CD Soundtrack sleeve notes, the title song debuted in the UK Charts on 15 January 1972 and it peaked at the No. #38 spot. It debuted in the US Charts on 29 January 1972 and it peaked at the No. #57 spot. The soundtrack album debuted on the US Charts on 8 January 1972 and went to No. #74.
This is the only instance to date that a leading James Bond villain has been seen cross-dressing in drag [Note: in Thunderball (1965)'s opening sequence, Bob Simmons played a minor male villain henchman impersonating Madame Boitier].
This is one of few Bond movies that has one predominant setting which is Nevada, USA, particularly Las Vegas. It is only briefly set in other locations such as Amsterdam during the early part of the film. Dr. No (1962) was mainly set in Jamaica whilst On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) is the only Bond movie to be completely set in Europe.
The film boasts not one but two sets of henchmen / henchwomen who act in pairs, the only Bond movie to do so. These are Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd and Bambi & Thumper. Octopussy (1983) featured a pair of knife-throwing twins Mischka and Grishka which were originally intended for Moonraker (1979) whilst Dr. No (1962) had the triplet assassins the Three Blind Mice. Rumours of a pair of Bond Girl twins were in existence during pre-production of Quantum of Solace (2008).
The distinctive Landmark Hotel can be seen briefly in the background of the Las Vegas gas station scene. It is the tower with saucer-shaped upper section visible behind 'Tiffany Case' as she delivers the "Forget it, Curly..." line. The Landmark was built in 1963, didn't open until 1969, and was imploded in 1995 to allow for an expansion of the adjacent Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot.
A "5x Blue Chip Stamps" sign is visible in the gas station scene. Blue Chip was a brand of trading stamps, a customer loyalty program used before credit cards and computerized sales terminals became commonplace. Retailers gave the stamps to customers in proportion to the amount they spent, and the stamps could later be exchanged for merchandise.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The Willard Whyte kidnap plot was based on a dream of Albert R. Broccoli. He had known Howard Hughes in Hollywood and dreamed he was going to meet his old friend in Las Vegas, but when he entered Hughes's room it was occupied by an impostor. Hughes was flattered and allowed EON to film inside his casinos and at his other properties. His fee was reputed to be one 16mm print of the film.
The number of Blofelds that James Bond encountered in the movie totaled four, including the real one. There were three duplicates including incomplete ones. The first was prepared in the clinic, the second pretended to be Blofeld in the clinic, and the third was seen with the real Blofeld on the top floor of the Whyte House. The plastic surgery subplot is actually in keeping with traits given to him by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Ernst Stavro Blofeld was named after Tom Blofeld with whom Ian Fleming went to school at Eton. His son is cricket commentator Henry Blofeld. Blofeld's date of birth as given in the literature as 28 May 1908, the same date as Fleming.
The first line of the Ian Fleming James Bond short-story read: "With its two fighting claws held forward like a wrestler's arms the big pandinus scorpion emerged with a dry rustle from the finger-sized hole under the rook." The last lines read: "For Bond, it was just the end of another adventure. Another adventure for which a wry phrase of Tiffany Case might be the epitaph. He could see the passionate, ironical mouth saying the words: 'It reads better than it lives.'"
Richard Maibaum's original idea for the ending was a giant boat chase across Lake Mead with Blofeld being pursued by Bond and all the Las Vegas casino owners who would be sailing in their private yachts, which, apparently, would include mock-ups of a Roman galley, a Chinese junk, etc. Bond would rouse the allies into action with a spoof of Lord Nelson's famous cry, "Las Vegas expects every man to do his duty." Alas, Maibaum was misinformed; there were no Roman galleys or Chinese junks in Las Vegas, and the idea was too expensive to replicate, so it was dropped. Maibaum may have thought the eventual oil rig finale a poor substitute, but it was originally intended to be much more spectacular. Armed frogmen would jump from the helicopters into the sea and attach limpet mines to the rig's legs (this explains why frogmen appear on the movie's poster). Blofeld would have escaped in his BathoSub and Bond would have pursued him hanging from a weather balloon. The chase would have then continued across a salt mine with the two mortal enemies scrambling over the pure white hills of salt before Blofeld would fall to his death in a salt granulator, becoming, in Bond's words, "the salt of the earth." Permission was not granted by the owners of the salt mine, and it also made the sequence too long. Further problems followed when the explosives set up for the finale were set off too early; fortunately, a handful of cameras were ready and able to capture the footage.
Scenes explaining how Plenty was killed in Tiffany's pool were shot but deleted from the final scene. In these sequences, Plenty returns to Bond's hotel room after being dropped out the window. She discovers Tiffany's address on her I.D. and later goes to Tiffany's home to confront her. Wint and Kidd arrive shortly thereafter and mistake Plenty for Tiffany.
During the filming of the scene where Plenty O'Toole is shown drowned in the pool, Lana Wood actually had her feet tied (albeit loosely) to a cement block on the bottom. Film crew members held a rope across the pool for her, with which she could lift her face out of the water to breathe between takes. Unfortunately, like most pools, this one had a sloping bottom, and the block was slipping into deeper water with each take. Eventually it reached a depth from which she could no longer get her face out of the water. Alert film crew members noticed this, and quickly jumped into the water to untie her feet, thus saving her from drowning for real. Wood, being a certified diver, remained calm during the ordeal, although she later admitted to a few "very uncomfortable moments" while she was unable to breathe. A deleted scene explains how the character got there. Bond has dinner with Plenty, she offers to walk him back to his hotel room; after being thrown from Bond's window, Plenty returns to the room, discovers him alone with Tiffany Case, and finds Tiffany's address. While Plenty is dead in the pool, James Bond and Tiffany Case chat in the home of Kirk Douglas, which had previously been used by Leslie Bricusse to compose the Bond title song for the movie You Only Live Twice (1967).
The main villains from the source Ian Fleming novel were called Jack and Seraffimo Spang. In a rare occurrence in an EON Productions official series adaptation of an original Fleming novel, their names were not used for the film. But pretty much all the supporting villains (Shady Tree, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd) were. Ernst Stavro Blofeld takes the Spang brothers' place in the film.
The title "Diamonds are Forever" was apparently inspired by an American magazine advertisement which James Bond creator Ian Fleming saw. The tagline for the ad read "A Diamond is Forever", a common catchphrase in both the diamond selling business and saying in the English language. "Diamonds are Forever" was the fourth James Bond novel. It was first published on 26 March 1956 and this film is only loosely based on it. Fleming also wrote a 1957 non-Bond book titled "The Diamond Smugglers" which dealt with the same subject of diamond smuggling.
Blofeld's "death" aboard the mini-sub was not how the sequence was originally intended to end. In the screenplay, Blofeld used the sub to escape and Bond followed, with the two eventually doing battle inside a diamond mine. These scenes were never filmed.