Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever (1971)


After killing SPECTRE’s Blofeld, James Bond (Sean Connery, The Untouchables) is assigned to investigate a series of mysterious deaths related to the diamond market. Bond’s mission takes him to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he teams up with a beautiful diamond smuggler, Tiffany Case (Jill St. John, Tony Rome).

Reaction & Thoughts:

“Curious how everyone who touches those diamonds seems to die.”

There really are two types of Bond movies: the gritty and slightly more realistic Bond films, and then you have the over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek Bond movies. Diamonds Are Forever clearly belongs to the latter.

Roger Moore has always been associated with the droll Bond, but director Guy Hamilton and Connery are really the ones responsible for making the franchise sillier and campier. First, they made Goldfinger (1964), which is deliciously ridiculous, and Diamonds Are Forever, written by Richard Maibaum (No Man of Her Own) and Tom Mankiewicz (Richard Donner’s Superman), follows closely in its footsteps.

Many fans think this is one of Bond’s weakest entries — it is definitely not as good as Dr. No (1962) or From Russia with Love (1963) — but I liked it. The script is witty, the action sequences are well-staged and most of the acting is good. I also loved Ken Adam’s production design. The elaborate sets are super-groovy — wait until you see one of cinema’s funkiest beds! It’s also cool to see Las Vegas in 1970s.

After skipping one entry, Sean Connery was lured back for one last adventure. The actor agreed to do the movie because the producers offered him everything but the moon — Connery just couldn’t turn down such a lucrative deal. Connery looks old and overweight (it’s hard to believe that he was only 40-years-old when he made the film!), but he seems to be enjoying himself (he laughed all the way to the bank!).

Co-star Jill St. John seems to be having fun too. The homosexual henchmen, played by Putter Smith and Bruce Glover (beloved cult actor Crispin Glover’s dad), are a hoot. Charles Gray (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) is a surprisingly dull Blofeld, though. Gray’s Blofeld isn’t very menacing — it’s almost like a parody of the real thing. Lana Wood (Grayeagle), Natalie Wood’s sister, plays “Plenty’ O’Toole.”

The title song, composed by John Barry (Born Free and The Lion in Winter) and with lyrics by Don Black, is sung by Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger). It is a deliciously racy tune. The song per se is not great, but Bassey really knows how to sing a Bond melody!

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Overall, Diamonds Are Forever is mindless fun. Although it does belong at the very bottom of the Connery era, I think it’s pretty darn enjoyable if you don’t take it too seriously — the film paves the way for the more lighthearted Moore movies. As far as I’m concerned, Connery left the series on a pleasant note. Color, 115 minutes, Rated PG.

James Bond will return
Live and Let Die (1973)

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