Diamonds are Forever (1971)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Diamonds are Forever</strong> (1971)

(Second Viewing, On Blu Ray, September 2018) There’s the end of a James Bond era and the beginning of another in Diamonds are Forever. It would be the last of the Bond movies to focus on Spectre and Blofeld (due to rights issues, no less) until the 2010s, and also the last of the EON-sanctioned productions to feature Sean Connery. It also marks the first Bond to truly lean on the craziest possibilities of the Bond franchise: Far from the relatively grounded On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, here we are with satellite laser weapons, gymnast bodyguards, a moon rover chase, body doubles, a pair of camp gay assassins, a reclusive billionaire, circus intrigue and so on. Whew. It sounds like a lot, and indeed at times we wish for the film to calm down a little bit. The result is firmly in the tongue-in-cheek Bond formula phase that would be so firmly exemplified by Roger Moore’s tenure. This being said, Connery’s return to the role is welcome even if the film isn’t as good as his other ones—he’s visibly older than in previous films, and the added touch of gray and world-weariness suits him well. Lana Wood makes for an intriguing Bond Girl, although her role becomes less and less interesting as the film advances. Indeed, there is a sense of missed opportunities in Diamonds are Forever that is made worse by the deliberately silly tone—the first minute of the film is awesome as an angry 007 travels the world and brutalizes informants in the search for Blofeld, but this soon turns to mush with an unrelated smuggling plot and a limp return to Blofeld later during the film. There are plot holes and dumb character decisions everywhere, not helping the film’s credibility or impact in the slightest. Some of the action scenes do work well, though—the chase through Las Vegas has a uniquely American flavour that sticks out (although, after being immersed in the very British atmosphere of the Bond series for a few movies, it reminds us by contrast that American culture and way of life is really, really weird) and even if the car-on-two-wheels stunt makes no sense, it’s still remarkably fun to see. While clearly the worst Connery-era Bond (I abhor Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd), I still have a bit of a fondness for Diamonds are Forever, largely because it’s closer in tone to the Moore movies through which I was introduced to Bond.

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