After killing SPECTRE’s Blofeld, 007 (Sean Connery, The Untouchables) is assigned to investigate a series of mysterious deaths related to the world 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:
There are really 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, campier. First, they made Goldfinger (1964), which is deliciously ridiculous, and Diamonds Are Forever, written by Richard Maibaum (Ransom!) and Tom Mankiewicz (Superman), follows closely in its footsteps.
I know a few fans who think this is one of Bond’s weakest entries — it is definitely not as good as Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963) — but I quite liked it. It’s just a very entertaining movie. 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 sets are groovy — wait until you see one of cinema’s funkiest beds! It’s also a great opportunity to see Las Vegas before it became the Disneyland for adults.
After skipping one entry, Connery was lured back for one last adventure. He is in top form here. You never get any signs that he had grown bored with the series. The actor agreed to do this movie because the producers offered him everything but the moon and he just couldn’t turn down such a lucrative deal. I particularly liked the brutal fist-fight inside an elevator, which is on par with the famous train fight in From Russia With Love (1963).
St. John seems to be having fun too. And yes, those gay henchmen, played by Putter Smith and Bruce Glover, are a hoot. It’s a great touch that makes the movie feel very modern. Charles Gray (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) is a surprisingly dull Blofeld though. He’s a good actor, but for some reason he seems to be struggling to make the super-villain interesting. I much prefer Donald Pleasence’s and Telly Savalas’s interpretations. Lana Wood, Natalie’s sister, plays ‘Plenty’ O’Toole. Sammy Davis Jr. had a cameo role that was deleted in post-production.
The title song, composed by John Barry and with lyrics by Don Black, is sung by Shirley Bassey. 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 belongs near the bottom of Connery’s era, I think it is pretty darn enjoyable. As far as I’m concerned Connery left the series on a good note. Color, 115 minutes, Rated PG.
James Bond will return
Live and Let Die (1973)