The title was apparently inspired by an American magazine advertisement, which Ian Fleming saw. The tagline for the ad read "A Diamond is Forever", a common catchphrase in the diamond selling business. "Diamonds are Forever" was the fourth James Bond novel. It was first published on March 26, 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.
During a late 1990s airing of the movie on TBS' "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 Scottish-accented voice saying, "You son of a bitch . . . " Glover turned around and saw the man was Connery.
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, August 13, 1971.
Because of Sean Connery's high fee, the film's special effects budget was significantly scaled back. Connery was reportedly paid $1.25 million to return as James Bond--a figure unheard of in those days.
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).
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 was filmed in a Johns-Manville gypsum plant located just outside of Las Vegas, NV. During filming the moon buggy's 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. The moon buggy was discovered rotting in a farmer's field in Kent in the early 1990s, and completely restored in 1993 by the James Bond International Fan Club. In 2004 it was auctioned at Christie's and purchased by Planet Hollywood Las Vegas for $44,000.
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."
Jill St. John and Lana Wood have been involved in a decades-long feud that began during the filming of this movie, throughout the spring of 1971, when both women were dating Sean Connery at the same time. In February 1982, less than three months after the mysterious drowning of Lana's sister Natalie Wood, St. John began a relationship with Robert Wagner, Lana's brother-in-law, and eventually married him. At a photo shoot of former Bond Girls in September 1999 for "Vanity Fair" magazine, an altercation occurred between St. John and Wood when photographer Annie Leibovitz asked for a picture of them together. Reportedly, St. John was so adamantly opposed to the idea that it reduced Wood to tears (St. John's publicist, however, said it was he who vetoed the photo because Wagner would prefer his present wife not be shot with his former sister-in-law). In February 2016, Wood crashed an event honoring St. John in Palm Springs and publicly confronted Wagner in front of cameramen over Natalie's death. Following the confrontation, Wood claimed she received a threatening phone call from an anonymous woman who told her to "lay off" Wagner "or something serious could happen to you." "My first instinct was it might be Jill, trying to scare me off, and protect him. But I'd recognize Jill's voice. It wasn't her," Wood told RadarOnline in July 2016.
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.
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. John Gavin was signed to play Bond in this movie, and had recently played the French Spy OSS 117 in the Eurospy flick Niente rose per OSS 117 (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, at an astronomical salary for the time. Albert R. Broccoli insisted that Gavin be paid the full salary called for in his contract.
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.
The original plot had Gert Fröbe returning as Auric Goldfinger's twin from Goldfinger (1964) seeking revenge for the death of his brother. This character was a Swedish billionaire with a laser mounted on a supertanker.
Sean Connery made the most of his time on location in Las Vegas: "I didn't get any sleep at all. We shot every night, I caught all the shows and played golf all day. On the weekend I collapsed--boy, did I collapse. Like a skull with legs." He also played the slot machines, and once delayed a scene because he was collecting his winnings.
Willard Whyte was based on Howard Hughes. Among the similarities; Whyte owned the Whyte House in the film, Howard Hughes owned a real life Las Vegas Hotel, the Desert Inn. At the time of the movie, Jimmy Dean, who played Whyte, was an employee of Hughes at the Desert Inn. Dean confessed to being largely uneasy portraying a fictional version of his real life boss.
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 US, 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 from the hours of 3:00 am to 6:00 am. Strangely, the name "Las Vegas" is never spoken in this movie.
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.
Since the car chase in Las Vegas would have many crashes, the filmmakers had an arrangement with Ford to use their vehicles. Ford's only demand was that Sean Connery had to drive the 1971 Mustang Mach 1 that served as Tiffany Case's car.
The alleyway car roll sequence was 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 three-day period.
Due to the height difference, Lana Wood had to stand on a box for most of her scenes with Sean Connery. This proved problematic for the scene where Connery had to strip Lana out of her dress, and down to her underwear, because a body double would not have worked for obvious reasons. Ultimately Lana was given extra high heels to wear in that scene.
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 Whyte Techtronics, and as Burt Saxby on the telephone.
When Lana Wood was cast as Plenty O'Toole, she was told early on that the scene where she is thrown out of Bond's hotel room and lands in the pool required the stunt team to throw her into the pool "basically naked", but she was assured that no one outside of the film crew would see her undressed in public, because the scene would be shot at night. Unfortunately for her, the scene was shot in Las Vegas and as the actress herself noted, most of the people in Vegas were up at night, so contrary to what the filmmakers had promised her, she had to endure countless people watching her emerge from a pool soaking wet, clad in nothing but flimsy see-through underwear and high heels, from their hotel rooms.
Given all the business with caskets, cremation, etc., it's interesting to note that Albert R. Broccoli once worked as a salesman and manager for the Long Island Casket Co., and Sean Connery once worked for an undertaker.
It was originally revealed that Blofeld survived the end of the film, and the filmmakers were planning on bringing him back for one last outing in the next film, but the legal controversy made that impossible.
The two fighting girls in charge of watching Willard Whyte are named Bambi and Thumper. These characters were not in the novel, but were made up for 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 animated classic Bambi (1942).
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.
This is the only instance to date that a leading James Bond villain has been seen in drag (in Thunderball (1965)'s opening sequence, Bob Simmons played a minor male villain henchman impersonating Madame Boitier).
This was the last official appearance by Sean Connery as James Bond. Though it was made later in the film franchise, "Diamonds Are Forever" was only the fourth novel published, making it actually the first of the six Bond novels adapted with Connery.
For the deleted scene, where Plenty O'Toole, soaking wet and wearing a white towel, returns to Bond's hotel room after being tossed in the pool in the hopes of retrieving her clothes and to see if Bond is alright, Lana Wood was not wearing anything under the towel and she was genuinely cold.
Ninth James Bond movie, and the seventh movie in the EON Productions official film franchise. 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 franchise.
In this film, Plenty O'Toole tries and fails to sleep with James Bond, only to end up losing her clothes and being thrown out a window wearing nothing but her underwear and high heels for her trouble. In real-life, Lana Wood, who played Plenty, claims to have had an affair with Sean Connery, who played Bond.
Jill St. John went on to marry Robert Wagner, who appeared in the "Austin Powers" movies, which spoofed the James Bond films (and who was represented by Albert R. Broccoli when he was working as a talent agent in the 1950s). St. John was also childhood friends with Wagner's late wife Natalie Wood, who drowned in 1981. This makes co-star Lana Wood his former sister-in-law.
This is the one of a few James Bond films that does not feature champagne. The type of sherry served to James Bond, M and Sir Donald Munger at dinner was a solera. Bond mentions solera in relation to sherry. Solera is a method of aging and blending wines in barrels. The year that 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.
Harry Saltzman was said to strongly dislike the movie's theme song, believing its lyrics to be suggestive, and largely a double entendre regarding the penis. The theme song was used at the insistence of Albert R. Broccoli.
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. Wint 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.
It was later intended after Diamonds Are Forever (1971) to bring back the character of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) around six years later. Early script drafts of "The Spy Who Loved Me" featured SPECTRE, but these had to be removed for legal reasons due to a dispute with then rights owner Kevin McClory, who owned the film remake rights to Thunderball (1965) (which he re-made as Never Say Never Again (1983)), as well as to the names SPECTRE and Ernst Stavro Blofeld. A very early version of the script intended to have Blofeld return as the villain for the first time since this film. Screenwriter Richard Maibaum's original draft script for "The Spy Who Loved Me" featured an alliance of international terrorists entering SPECTRE's headquarters and deposing Blofeld before trying to destroy the world for themselves to make way for a New World Order. This script was deemed too political by producer Albert R. Broccoli. Later, for legal reasons, the villain could not be called "Stavros" so the name had to be changed, resulting in his being called "Stromberg" (Curd Jürgens) instead, because of its similarity to "Stavro", the middle name of Ernest Blofeld. According to the book "The Complete James Bond Movie Encylopaedia" by Steven Jay Rubin, the initial hypothesized SPECTRE of "The Spy Who Loved Me" included "members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Japanese Red Army and other modern terrorist organizations". SPECTRE does appear briefly in the original Ian Fleming novel "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1962), one of the few Bond novels by Ian Fleming to do so.
When the film aired on ABC, the network had the scene where Lana Wood walked around wearing nothing but a flimsy pair of see-through pink panties, artificially altered, to make it appear as though she were wearing a black bra with black panties.
First Bond film to not use the villain from the novel of the same name. This film features Blofeld as the villain, wheras the novel's villains were the Spang Brothers (although Wint and Kidd were in both the novel and film).
During location filming, Ken Adam visited several funeral homes in the Las Vegas area. The inspiration behind the gaudy design of the Slumber mortuary (the use of tasteless Art Deco furniture and Tiffany lamps) came from these experiences.
The surname of the Ernst Stavro Blofeld character was allegedly named after Thomas Blofeld, with whom James Bond creator Ian Fleming went to school at Eton College. He was a Norfolk farmer, a fellow member of Boodle's and the Chairman of the Country Gentleman's Asssociation. His son is cricket commentator Henry Blofeld. Ernst Blofeld's date of birth is the same as Fleming's--May 28, 1908. In addition, a man named Ernest Cuneo was a friend of Fleming's. According to the book "Martinis, Girls and Guns: 50 Years of 007" (2003) by Martin Sterling and Gary Morecambe: "Cuneo may have also have inspired Blofeld's forenames--it is but a short leap from Ernest Cuneo to Ernst Stavro". According to the book "For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming + James Bond" (2009) by Ben Macintyre: "Alternatively, Blofeld may owe his name to China scholar John Blofeld, who was a member of Fleming's club Boodles, and whose father was named Ernst". In addition, the book "The Bond Code: The Dark World of Ian Fleming and James Bond" (2008) by Philip Gardner states: "The name is also revealing in a psychological way. Ernst is Teutonic for 'earnest', and Stavros is Greek for 'victor', and so he is the 'earnest victor'", and "the name Blofeld means 'blue field', a swipe at his own blue-blood rampant in the field, like heraldry", and "As the creator of SPECTRE, Blofeld is in reality the spectre of Ian Fleming that looms ever present within his divided mind".
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 Broccoli 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 Broccoli retorted that France was their least profitable market. 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.
This is one of the few Bond movies that has one predominant setting, which is Las Vegas, NV. 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, while On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) is the only Bond movie to be completely set in Europe.
Originally this had been planned as a revenge film, and Richard Maibaum's original treatment for the script had Bond mourning his dead wife Tracey and vowing revenge on Blofeld. However, with George Lazenby's departure from the role, the script was completely rewritten, and there is no mention of Tracey and of her death deeply affecting Bond.
The first scene in the Amsterdam sequence opens with a shot of a pleasure boat named the Prins Willem-Alexander (Prins is Dutch for Prince). This was the four-year-old grandson of Queen Juliana and the son of her successor, the then Princess Beatrice. He ascended to the throne as King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in 2013.
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.
This film had been updated from a PG rating to a 12 rating by the BBFC due to James Bond saying the word "bitch", and Mr. Kidd being engulfed in flames by Bond, as a result screaming in terror, which was similar to a scene in another Bond film, Licence to Kill (1989), which had a 15 rating.
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 film's title song 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.
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 and Mr. Kidd and Bambi and Thumper. Octopussy (1983) featured knife-throwing twins Mischka and Grishka, which were originally intended for Moonraker (1979), while Dr. No (1962) had the triplet assassins, a.k.a. the Three Blind Mice. Rumors of a pair of Bond Girl twins were in existence during pre-production of Quantum of Solace (2008).
According to the film's CD soundtrack sleeve notes, the title song debuted in the UK Charts on January 15, 1972, and it peaked at the number 38 spot. It debuted in the U.S. charts on January 29, 1972, and it peaked at the number 57 spot. The soundtrack album debuted on the U.S. charts on January 8, 1972, and went to number 74.
According to Robbie Collin in the UK newspaper "The Telegraph", "Bond author Ian Fleming invented SPECTRE in 1959 to replace James Bond's usual Soviet enemies. Fleming believed the Cold War might be about to end and wanted to keep his spy thrillers relevant". Fleming's SPECTRE Executive Cabinet included "21 people including former Gestapo members, Soviet spy group SMERSH, Josep Tito's [Josip Broz Tito's] secret police, Italian, Corsican and Turkish organized crime gangs". Its goals were "profiteering from conflict between the superpowers, eventual world domination" and its methods included "counter-intelligence, brainwashing, murder, extortion using weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological and orbital)".
Filming of the moon buggy chase took place on July 20, 1971--the second anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission which landed men on the moon. Six days after the filming Apollo 15 was launched, which was the first "J" mission to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle. In real life the mission was originally slated as Apollo 19, but the cancellation of three Apollo flights (the original Apollo 15 mission was scheduled as an H4 mission and Apollo 20 was the first one to be canceled, since it was reassigned to the Apollo Applications Program, which the Skylab space station was launched).
Final Bond film in which he is seen wearing a hat during the gun-barrel sequence. When Roger Moore took over the role in the following film Live and Let Die (1973), the sequence would be filmed with the actor playing Bond without wearing a hat, a tradition that would continue with every subsequent Bond movie.
Some dialogue between Wint and Kidd at the funeral parlour was cut from the script. As Bond passed them, they were arranging flowers. Wint said, "Mother loved Azalias, but they always made her sneeze". Kidd replied, "Now she can really enjoy them". After Wint knocks Bond out with the urn, he quipped, "Mother was always such a help..."
There was originally a comic coda to the scene where Tiffany escapes the 'girl in a gorilla' sideshow: Maxwell and his partner collide with the girl (named Goona in the original script), who exclaims, "C'mon guys, what the hell is this?" "Let us through, we're agents", hollers Maxwell. "Hey, wait!" shouts the girl as the two run past "We need an agent!". "I guess they didn't dig the act", she laments
The climax was different in the original script. Wint and Kidd, disguised as waiters, bring a trolley of food to Bond and Tiffany's cabin, then send Bond to the ship's radio room where a message from Willard Whyte is apparently waiting for him. There, an operator assured Bond that no such message has been received. Meanwhile, Tiffany has been bound and gagged and tied to the bed. The killers have rigged up a 'sizzling pot of boiling oil, attached by rope' over the bed and then to the door handle. When Bond opens the door, the slack created will cause the boiling oil to pour over Tiffany ("Perfect. It's Romeo and Juliet", says Wint closing the door. He sees Kidd start to cry. "I just can't stand these unhappy endings", wails Kidd). Bond frees Tiffany after climbing through the cabin's porthole. While Kidd's death is the same as in the final film, Wint gets the boiling oil thrown in his face and is then impaled on the sharp end of an ice sculpture on the trolley.
Producers originally intended to include Irma Brunt, Blofeld's female assistant in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. However, Ilsa Steppat, who played Brunt died unexpectedly just after OMHSS was released, and producers decided to drop the part rather than recasting it.
The Moon Buggy was inspired by the actual NASA vehicle, but with additions such as flailing arms, since the producers didn't find the design "outrageous" enough. Built by custom-car fabricator Dean Jeffries on a rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair chassis, it was capable of road speeds. The fiberglass tires had to be replaced during the chase sequence because the heat and irregular desert soil ruined them.
According to the book "James Bond: A Celebration" (1987) by Peter Haining, Jules Verne's Captain Nemo was the inspiration for Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who was originally intended to be the villain in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Tom Mankiewicz says he was hired, because Albert R. Broccoli wanted an American writer to work on the script, since so much of it was set in Las Vegas "and the Brits write really lousy American gangsters" - but it had to be someone who also understood the British idiom, since it had British characters. David Picker, from United Artists, had seen the stage musical Georgy! written by Mankiewicz, and recommended him. He was hired on a two-week trial, and kept on for the rest of the movie.
The character of Dr. Metz, an expert on laser refraction, may be an "homage" to the Metz corporation (Metz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG), a well-known manufacturer of professional-quality camera flash equipment.
A handful of villains and henchmen in the James Bond universe have had a "Mr." attached to their name. The Mr. Hinx henchman (Dave Bautista) and Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) characters both appear in Spectre (2015) but share no scenes together. "Spectre" also features a henchman called Mr. Guerra (Benito Sagredo), resulting in the movie having three characters that have a "Mr." in their names. Mr. White has appeared in three Daniel Craig James Bond films: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008) and "Spectre"--the most Bond films for any henchman-type character after Jaws, who appeared in two Bond movies. In Dr. No (1962) there was a henchman called Mr. Jones (Reggie Carter); in Goldfinger (1964) there was a henchman called Mr. Ling (Burt Kwouk); in You Only Live Twice (1967) there was a villain called Mr. Osato (Teru Shimada); in The World Is Not Enough (1999) there were two: Mr. Bullion (Goldie) and Mr. Lachaise (Patrick Malahide); in Die Another Day (2002) there was a henchman called Mr. Kil (Lawrence Makoare); in Live and Let Die (1973), as with its source Ian Fleming novel of the same name, the arch-villain was called Mr. Big, but in the film version he was also known as Dr. Kananga, with the character's real full name in the source book being Buonaparte Ignace Gallia; in this film there were two henchmen, Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith), who functioned as a buddy-team henchmen double-act; in Fleming's novel "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1962), the villain's employer was Mr. Sanguinetti, but this character does not appear in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
When Plenty O'Toole is being forced out of Bond's bedroom, wearing nothing but her panties and her high heels, her necklace is missing . A few minutes later, her necklace can be seen on a table in Bond's bedroom.
Due to Plenty O'Toole flaunting her sex appeal and her eagerness to sleep with Bond, as evidenced by how casually she goes along with Bond stripping her down to her underwear, many interpreted this as her being forced out of Bond's room almost completely naked and as having an unfair "punishment" subtext, especially when compared to Tiffany Case, who is more or less rewarded for sleeping with Bond, by being with him at the end.
The score for the film was recorded at CTS Studios, Bayswater, London, in October 1971. The recording sessions were engineered by John Richards. The Orchestral Contractor was regular John Barry collaborator and violinist Sidney Margo.
With Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), Ralph Fiennes became the seventh major actor or actress who has appeared in both the "James Bond" and "The Avengers" universes, the latter being the English spy one, and not the comic super-heroes one. From the original television series The Avengers (1961), three actors appeared in Bond movies: Honor Blackman played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964), Patrick Macnee portrayed Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View to a Kill (1985) and Diana Rigg played Tracy Di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), which also featured as The English Girl Joanna Lumley, who would later appear in The New Avengers (1976) which also starred Macnee. Nadim Sawalha appeared in The Avengers (1998), as well as two Bond movies: The Living Daylights (1987) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Fiennes actually appeared in "The Avengers" (1998), co-starring with former James Bond Sean Connery, who played the villain Sir August de Wynter. Of these seven actors, both Fiennes and Macnee have portrayed The Avengers' character of John Steed, in the theatrical film, and television series respectively, with the latter also voicing the Invisible Jones character in "The Avengers" (1998). In this film John Steed (Fiennes) and Emma Peel (Uma Thurman) get across the frozen river by "walking" on the surface inside inflatable plastic bubbles, which is similar to how James Bond gets aboard Ernst Stavro Blofeld's (Charles Gray's) oil rig in Connery's final official Bond movie, "Diamonds Are Forever".
The treatment of Plenty O'Toole during the scene where she is caught by Tiffany's thugs, wearing nothing but her underwear and high heels, has been interpreted by some fans and critics as having misogynistic undertones and that her sexual humiliation was being played for laughs, as she was violently forced out of Bond's hotel room almost completely naked and was more cruel than funny. This also holds true during the opening teaser, where Bond interrogates Marie by ripping off her bikini top.
Due to the deleted scene, in which Plenty O'Toole returns to Bond's hotel room wearing nothing but a white towel, after being thrown into the pool by Tiffany's thugs, the viewer is left with the incorrect impression that she was basically forced to abandon her clothes, as it seemed there was no time or chance for her to return to Bond's room, resulting in her low-cut purple dress remaining with Bond.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
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. 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 crew members noticed this and quickly jumped into the water to untie her feet, 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 You Only Live Twice (1967).
Until Spectre (2015), this was the last James Bond movie made by EON Productions to officially use the SPECTRE criminal organization or the villain character Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The name SPECTRE is not mentioned at all in this film, as Blofeld is apparently operating sans SPECTRE. After this film writer Kevin McClory's legal claim against the Ian Fleming estate that he, and not Fleming, had created the organization for the novel "Thunderball" (1961) was upheld by the courts. Blofeld is seen but not identified later in For Your Eyes Only (1981), as EON's arrangements with the Ian Fleming estate at the time did not permit them to use McClory's works.
Scenes explaining how Plenty was killed in Tiffany's pool were shot, but deleted from the final film. In these sequences, Plenty returns to Bond's hotel room after being dropped out the window. She discovers Tiffany's address on her ID, and later goes to Tiffany's house to confront her. Wint and Kidd arrive shortly thereafter, and mistake Plenty for Tiffany.
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, et cetera. 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.
The Willard Whyte kidnapping 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' room it was occupied by an impostor. Hughes was flattered and allowed EON Productions to film inside his casinos, and at his other properties. His fee was reputed to be one 16mm print of the film.
Plenty O'Toole dies by drowning. A decade later, Lana Wood's sister Natalie Wood died the same way. She later fell out with Robert Wagner and Jill St. John for going public with her opinion of the events that led to her sister's death.
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.
The first line of the 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.'"
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 Ian Fleming.
The main villains from the novel were called Jack and Seraffimo Spang. In a rare occurrence in an EON Productions official franchise adaptation of an original Ian Fleming novel, their names were not used for the film. However, pretty much all of the supporting villains (Shady Tree, Mr Wint and Mr. Kidd) were. Ernst Stavro Blofeld takes the Spang brothers' place in the film.