Ranking the Bond Movies: #10 – Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
This is kind of a cop out, I know. Quantum of Solace is almost definitely the better film. But I just can’t put that one in the top ten. And I’m still playing my hunch that Skyfall is going to be a top ten film. So this really a temporary thing. Assuming Skyfall makes top ten, what’ll happen is, this’ll drop to #13, Quantum will be #12, and what #9 is (don’t want to spoil it just yet) will be #10. And all will be right with the world.
That aside — I really like this movie. It’s probably Connery’s most ridiculous Bond film. But for some reason it’s very enjoyable to me. Maybe it’s because I love the location of Vegas, I love the Slumber, Inc. section, I love Tiffany Case, I love that Blofeld is in it, I love that Vegas car chase (not the moon buggy chase). It definitely doesn’t hold up as well as Quantum of Solace does, and I probably should have that here, but, like I said, it’s a temporary ranking anyway.
I don’t know — there’s just something about Connery’s Bond movies that just feels right.
FUCK THESE DOORS!
The cold open begins in Japan, as Bond is beating the shit out of a Japanese guy for information on Blofeld. The Jap says Blofeld is in Cairo.
In Cairo, a man in a fez tells Bond to “ask Marie.”
Well, hello, Marie.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Bond. James Bond.”
“Is there something I can do for you?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact there is. There is something I’d like you to get off your chest.”
So that happened.
We then cut to Blofeld in the middle of some plastic surgery procedures. He now looks like Charles Gray. (Note: The criminologist from Rocky Horror. That’s where you know him from. Don’t look it up. Keep reading. I’m more entertaining.)
Only – guess who’s there.
And guess who’s expecting him.
Blofeld just won a Teen Choice Award.
But it’s not Blofeld.
“Ah ah! Got you, bitch!”
I love how much fun Bond is having with this. It’s like he knows it’s a cold opening.
It’s a rather warm reception for a cold opening.
Oh no! The dreaded mousetrap in the pocket gag! I haven’t seen that since Nam!
This is my favorite moment – Blofeld shouting, “Kill him!” HE’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, YOU FUCK! YOU DO IT!
Also, riddle me this, Batman – lackey has a machine gun…
And Bond throws a scalpel at his arm. Okay, fair enough.
HOW DOES BOND THROW TWO MORE SCALPELS INTO HIS CHEST WITHOUT THE DUDE FIRING HIS WEAPON ONCE?
He uses the magic flick.
And now finally Blofeld pulls a knife.
OH NO! The dreaded light smash! Incapacitating!
He’s seriously knocked out from a fucking hanging light?
The floor is lava.
Honestly, that looks like chocolate. Is this the Gloop family commune or something?
And that’s the end of Blofeld.
… or is it?
Credit sequence! Set to Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds Are Forever.”
After the credits, Bond is being briefed on diamonds to investigate a smuggling ring, which he doesn’t feel is entirely necessary. (It feels like Connery going, “I came back for this shit?”)
He also pulls a moment of calling out what year the sherry is. And when M tells him there is no year for sherry, he says he means the “original vintage, on which the sherry is based.”
“Oh that’s right, I know my shit.”
Only we find out he doesn’t know much about diamonds, and M says it’s “refreshing to hear there’s one subject you’re not an expert on.”
Aww… they’re like an old married couple.
We then get a bit of a briefing on African diamond mining. (Konvict Music.) But whatever. It’s not important.
What is important is us being introduced to Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, a gay couple if ever I’ve seen one.
These guys creep me the hell out. They really like saying each other’s names. Gotta wonder which is the bottom man.
They’re waiting out in the desert, talking about scorpions. They then meet a dentist who is also a diamond smuggler and kill him.
The old scorpion down the back while checking the wisdom teeth gag. Just like in Korea.
He looks like one of those people who have seizures in church.
The dentist’s contact arrives and they blow up his helicopter.
Oh, and they hold hands.
Bond is told that the market for smuggling has gone up in recent years and that none of the diamonds have gone onto the market, which means someone is stockpiling them.
Then Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint arrive at a white teacher in Africa’s school.
She acts as a fence of sorts, holding the diamonds in her books, Andy Dufresne style, and passing them along. So she’s kind of like AIDS personified.
Bond is then sent to Amsterdam to investigate a professional smuggler named Peter Franks. Bond asks if they know who his contacts are, and M snaps back, “We do function in your absence, Commander.”
It’s almost like they all know that the Lazenby episode was a disaster and this is Connery being like, “Y’all know I’m the best,” and acting like an asshole about it. And everyone else is like, “Can’t we just move on and act normal?”
We then cut to Peter Franks arriving in Amsterdam – and Bond taking his place.
Hey, a Triumph Stag! Fun car.
They do it really nicely. Franks is told he has a message and goes into an office, and a second later, out comes Moneypenny, dressed as a policeman. And Bond is waiting inside Franks’ car. And we know exactly what happened without them showing us.
And then Bond and Moneypenny do their flirting and Bond goes off as Franks.
Oh, we got a hovercraft up in this bitch!
Bond then goes to meet Tiffany Case.
Now that’s how you introduce a Bond girl.
God-damn look at her.
“Weren’t you a blonde when I came in?”
“I tend to notice little things like that – whether a girl is a blonde or a brunette.”
“Which do you prefer?”
“Well, as long as the collar and cuffs match…”
“We’ll talk about that later.” (Oh, I know we will, you dirty bitch.)
Look at her – professional. Taking a fingerprint like that. Oh, I like her.
“Well, that’s quite a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing.”
Oh, but Bond has one up on her – motherfucker’s got the right fingerprints!
And he knows it, too.
Naturally we know who is responsible for this –
Make a note of the car on the left. That’s a 1968 Aston Martin DBS, most likely the one that George Lazenby drove in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It doesn’t make any further appearances in this movie, unfortunately. You can also spot a red car in the background with a side strake and a hood that opens from the windshield, which leads me to believe it’s a second DBS. Seriously too bad they didn’t use them.
It’s only a cameo, since we find out the real Peter Franks escaped custody. Bond rushes to get back to Case’s apartment.
That’s how you avoid being seen, James?
There’s actually a great little bit as Bond pretends to be German. And the two of them have a nice little elevator fight (that unfortunately ends with Bond spraying him with a fire extinguisher and him falling over the railing and presumably breaking his neck).
That fire extinguisher was only for use in Case of emergency.
Bond then switches IDs with him, which leads to:
“You just killed James Bond!”
Oh yeah, she go’n fuck the shit out of you. (Also, she knows who Bond is. So why the fuck does he think he can use fake identities with villains? Which… another thing… why the fuck doesn’t she know what he looks like?!)
Case shows Bond the diamonds and they put them inside Franks’ coffin. (It’s funny because Frank White was doing that shit for real at like, the exact same time.)
But uh oh – Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are on the plane! (Doing gay things, probably.) This leads to one of the most awkward exchanges ever. “I must say – Miss Case seems quite attractive… for a lady … He he he he.”
It’s so awkward it’s funny. He he he he.
Time to go join the Mile High Club. #YOLT
And look who it is – Felix Leiter. He’ll be back later. Say goodbye to Felix.
Bond is then brought to the funeral home by some people who are absolutely on the level and are not mob connected in any way.
We then arrive at Slumber, Inc., where Franks’ body is turned into Soylent Green.
I thought it was a sled! Or Dumbledore!
I wish my remains were worth that much.
Then, as Bond goes to bring the remains to their – final resting place –
You got knocked the FUCK OUT.
(What do you think the count’s at now?)
Bond then wakes up in what must be one of the most frightening situations ever – not only being buried alive, but being fucking CREMATED alive.
But it’s stopped. Since Bond never gave the next smuggler the real diamonds. (Plus they never gave him the real money, either.) Felix took the diamonds back at the airport.
Bond, back at his hotel (in style, naturally), has Felix send over the real diamonds, and also finds out the guy who was the other smuggler, Mr. Tree, is actually a lounge act in Vegas. A stand up, at that.
But he too is killed by Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint.
Bond then goes to the casino. Which is where we meet –
“Hi, I’m Plenty.”
“But of course you are.”
“Named after your father, perhaps?”
She want the dick.
A word on Plenty O’Toole.
Oh, but she sees he knows what he’s doing. He’s no sucker. (But she is, I’m sure.) He gives her $5,000 for simply standing there and letting him admire the view.
And just like that – she really want the dick. (Notice his expression about the whole thing.)
This then leads to one of my favorite cuts in the film: “Say, why don’t we go some place and have a drink.”
That’s code. She has to swallow.
I’m sorry I have to pry your eyes away from that screenshot, but now’s a good time to play another round of Assassination Attempt or Sex. Since…
Great shot. Oh… but then Plenty comes out of the bathroom…
“Exceptionally fine shot.”
“I didn’t know there was a pool down there.”
I was laughing my ass off at this. It’s always funny when mobsters mean for worse things to happen to someone than actually do. And she’s fine in the pool. Probably the most buoyant person we’ve ever had in a Bond movie.
(Mike Note: Those aren’t buoys!)
And then after Bond hits one of the guys they back out of the room and leave. Which of course means there’s someone else in the place.
Good evening, Miss Case.
Now would be a good time for a word on Tiffany Case.
Now he sees her? It’s usually standard protocol to Case the joint before you get into anything. Anyway, redheaded Bond girls (other than Helga Brandt) are usually okay, and this Case is no exception. She’s a thief with a heart of gold (this heart isn’t cold) who starts as a “bad guy” and quickly goes good after realizing that without Bond she’d likely be killed. Felix gets on her Case about her criminal past, but James comes to her rescue because he’s screwing her. It looks like she gets around, James, so it’s probably safest to use rubber in this Case.
Oh, yeah – that happened while we were talking.
Bond was temporarily off the case to be on the Case.
Case then makes a deal with Bond to get the diamonds and then the two of them will flee to Hong Kong together. (Right, because someone who has shown to be crafty and out for their own interests can be trusted. Not that Bond gives a fuck, I’m just saying.)
She then goes to pick up the diamonds at the circus. She plays the water balloons game, which is rigged so she can win.
This little kid next to her calls her out for cheating, and she snaps at him. He was being a little twerp and all he got was a telling-off. The Thai kid that helped Bond in Man With the Golden Gun got pushed into a river; I can only imagine that if this kid had been Thai, he’d have had his fingernails pulled off.
(Mike Note: That would suck. Then they’d fire him from the shoe factory.)
She finds she’s being tailed, and manages to lose them.
She goes home, planning not to follow through on her plan with Bond, but he’s there.
Whoa, that’s some serious nipple action we get there.
We also see that Plenty O’Toole was killed, having been mistaken for her.
Plenty was also played by Natalie Wood’s sister.
I’ll let that irony sink in.
(Also – Robert Wagner is now married to Jill St. John, who played Tiffany Case. So… figure that shit out.)
I almost didn’t want to put that parenthetical in the article and ruin the momentum of that glorious pun up there.
Bond asks Case who her connection is, and she won’t tell him.
Now there’s a very Connery thing to do.
He has her tell him where the diamonds are, and they go there. They see the contact picking up the diamonds and follow them – in our Bond car. Or, one of them. I don’t even know.
I like this car, and I don’t. It’s a 1971 Mustang Mach 1, which is a far cry from the ’68 Mustang 390 GT that Steve McQueen drove in Bullitt, as far as I’m concerned. With 370 horsepower from its 429 Cobra Jet Ram Air, it was faster than McQueen’s car, but the styling is crummy. The wheels are ugly as sin, and the whole thing feels a little too stretched out. Mustang fans will also notice that they left the “Mach 1” decal on, but removed the side stripe, which just looks odd. It’s not a bad choice; it certainly looks more appropriate than most other contemporary muscle cars.
I can’t see Bond in a Hemi ‘Cuda, a ’71 Corvette, or a Plymouth Road Runner. In fact, I sort of wish he’d had the chance to drive an American car between 1963 and 1967, cause a second-generation Corvette split window coupe strikes me as just the right machine for the job. In fact, that’s only four years old here, why couldn’t Case drive one of those? Anyway, this car goes on two wheels. Hooray. It’s not as bad as the chase from For Your Eyes Only, but it’s also not You Only Live Twice or Goldfinger.
I would like to say — isn’t it refreshing to have a Bond movie that takes place in the US where every single car isn’t a Chevy Impala? SOME Bond movies thing that’s a good idea for some reason. But oh well, live and let live.
They follow the diamonds, and find they’re being taken in Bert Saxby, the casino manager’s van by Professor Dr. Metz, some scientist or other. It’s unimportant. Scientists usually work for the villain, whether they’re evil or not, and whatever they do doesn’t matter since they’ll probably end up dead anyway.
We also find out about the owner of the casino – the Whyte House – Willard Whyte – who is basically Howard Hughes. Let’s not even play games. It’s Howard Hughes – runs shit, even though he’s been in seclusion for years. We are told this out of nowhere. (Note: That means he’ll be important to the plot. It’s writing 101. Bad writing 101 if you don’t do it correctly.)
Anyway, Bond sneaks into the back of the van (how nobody notices this I have no idea), and Case follows in her car.
The van then drives to a van down by the river a factory out in the desert.
Bond then sneaks inside and there’s a humorous sequence where he pretends to be a guy checking radiation shields and annoys the fuck out of Prof Doc Metz, and then the real guy shows up a moment later. It’s funny. (LEAVE ME ALONE. THIS IS ALL I HAVE.)
Bond then sneaks in as they’re taping a fake moon landing and steals a moon buggy.
And the chase is on.
One of the more ridiculous Bond chases in history, but hey, we’ll go with it. Pretty sure Roger Moore out-ridiculoused this by film two.
I do actually hate everything about this chase, but pretty much every movie below the top five gets ONE pass. Seriously, though, the Quantum of Solace chase wipes its ass with this scene.
Okay, now the chase is on.
See what I’m talking about? The styling sucks! Look at the rear fenders, they just sort of meander to the back of the car. The Bullitt Mustang bulged, it had haunches. The thing looked like it was going to pounce on you. So much for aggression, Mach 1. This is why Speed Racer drives the Mach 5.
Well – once they get back to Vegas. Gotta have some change of scenery.
I don’t think the editing and sound guys get nearly enough credit for providing top-notch chases every time in this franchise. Seriously, if there’s ever a problem with a chase, it’s always at the creative stage – it’s poorly planned, it has too many gadgets or implausible actions, it takes place in a moon buggy… — it’s never because of the editing or the sound design. I think those guys need a shout out.
Agreed. Even the moon buggy chase was pretty well executed. I’m consistently impressed with the work they did in these movies. And find me the guys who did that chase from Quantum of Solace because I want to buy them all drinks.
See what I mean?
Oh, and they fucked again while we were talking.
Goddamn, look at her.
And again, just because – Jesus Christ.
And look at this fucking hotel room.
There’s a nice touch where Connery climbs out the window and atop the elevator to go see Willard Whyte. It’s great. He does it so calmly and smoothly. This is how Bond is supposed to do shit. I love how they shot this scene.
Also, I don’t know what it is – the slanted angles, I guess – but this shot made me scared shitless of heights. And not even the fucking Burj Khalifa scene in Ghost Protocol did that to me. Opposite angles from heights are scary as fuck.
Seriously, every cut they make here made me feel like, “you’re gonna fucking fall. I’m gonna fucking fall.”
Yeah, I’m sure that’s safe.
So Bond goes upstairs to meet Mr. Whyte. Whyte is expecting him.
He lives in style, this Whyte.
What would you expect from a Whyte? Whytes always live in style, they own everything, the bastards.
OH BUT ITS BLOFELD UP IN THIS MOTHERFUCKER!!
And… another Blofeld?
Is this an Eddie Murphy movie?
Turns out, Bond only killed a Blofeld double.
I agree with the cat.
Bond then kills one of the Blofelds by throwing one of the cats at him to see if it would be as attached to him as the real Blofeld’s cat would, only –
“Right idea, Mr. Bond.”
I’m pretty sure that’s this entire franchise in a nutshell, right there.
Bond asks Blofeld what his plan is, and to his credit, Blofeld doesn’t tell him. In fact, he even jokes that, were he to tell someone, Bond would be the first person he tells. He actually says, “You know that.” Which is pretty awesome.
He then sends Bond out of there. Doesn’t try to kill him or anything. Bond even gives him a look like, “Who are you and what have you done with the real Blofeld?”
He looks around like, “This can’t just be a regular elevator.” And sadly, it’s not. (How awesome would that have been if it were?)
Bond gets knocked out. Again. (This time by gas.)
It’s great cause you’re expecting the floor to drop out or something, but instead the gas comes out and he’s out cold. If it were a Roger Moore film, you’d be expecting the floor to drop out and a huge boxing glove on a spring would pop out and clock him.
“Well… I guess we have to rape him, Mr. Wint.”
“I can’t wait to lay some pipe with him, Mr. Kidd.”
Seriously – they’re gonna rape him.
They put him in the trunk of a car and take him out of the Adam West Batcave into the desert.
They then stuff him into a pipe and take off.
No – that’s not what I meant when I said –
Bond then wakes up inside the pipe in the morning, just as they’re about to unknowingly bury him alive in it.
And then they do bury him alive in it.
“This is because I fucked so many women, isn’t it? … Fuck you, symbolism.”
Oh, but don’t worry – Algernon is with him.
What the fuck is that shit?
It’s a pipe-laying machine, apparently. Soldering the pipe shut. Bond breaks it so men come to fix it so he can get out.
This whole sequence was so low on tension I wondered afterwards why it had even been put in the film. One of these days the henchman are going to get wise and just put one in his ear, and then where’ll he be?
Bond then calls up Blofeld and poses as Saxby, using the same voice-changing device Blofeld uses (thanks, Q!) to sound like Whyte.
It’s kind of like Cameron prank calling Ed Rooney.
He uses it to find the location of Willard Whyte, who Blofeld now wants dead.
Bond goes up to get Whyte, who is perfectly safe inside his summer home. And he’s got some bitches with him.
I have no idea what the fuck their deal is. This is one of the most bizarre fight scenes I’ve ever seen.
But we meet Whyte, and he’s not too bright.
We then see Q in the casino, winning at every machine. Tiffany tries flirting with him to get out of jail.
That’s not how you get out of jail. There’s dice everywhere, bitch, roll some doubles.
Then she sees Blofeld in drag, walking through the casino, and goes after him. (Dude – can’t you just take a side entrance? I’m pretty sure you’re rich enough where being in drag is a choice.)
Blofeld then abducts her. I’m surprised he didn’t ask her to move a couch in the back of a van. (“Case? No, I’ve never heard anyone by that name. Oh, wait… was she a great big fat person?”)
Whyte, Leiter and Bond then figure out what Blofeld’s plan is – creating a laser satellite out of the diamonds. Just like Napoleon.
Icarus? WAIT, IS BLOFELD NORTH KOREAN?
Blofeld then uses it to destroy a bunch of nuclear weapons in the U.S., China and the Soviet Union.
Look – red October.
Red China indeed.
These puns will never get old.
Also, watching a flaming Chinaman running will never not be funny.
Blofeld then holds all the countries for ransom, saying nuclear supremacy will go to the highest bidder.
Bond and Whyte realize Blofeld is in Baja, since Whyte doesn’t own any buildings in Baja. And for some reason Blofeld put that building in the building map in his office. I guess because he couldn’t remember where it was, or… ??
Oh shit, offshore oilrig.
Bond arrives in an inflatable bubble (kind of like the one he had in World Is Not Enough), and is immediately taken to see Blofeld.
I love how calm he is about everything.
Apparently Blofeld was expecting a head of state to offer him money for the ransom. But anyway – look who’s here.
Seriously, she looks fucking good.
I was always more into the 60s Bond girls. She doesn’t look bad, but…mmm, 60s.
Apparently she’s cool with Blofeld now. But, as we see – she’s still helping Bond.
Seriously – top five or six all-time in terms of general hotness.
Are we doing that list? We should totally do that list and compare our rankings. I’m guessing I put Kissy Suzuki higher than you do.
(Mike Note: As long as I remember, we’re totally doing that list.)
Bond then actually starts fucking with Blofeld, deliberately acting obtuse. And in the process, manages to switch the fake satellite tape for the real one.
Look at that one dedicated henchman… don’t you know the henchmen’s union was segregated until 1966, buddy?
This is a great moment – Blofeld goes to hit another target, and has Bond taken away. Before he goes, Bond goes right up to Case and just says, “Bitch.”
While also doing this.
“Your problems are all behind you now.”
Bond then tries to escape – and it doesn’t go so well.
That’s three for him in this movie.
Then Case comes back and says she switched the tapes, not knowing Bond had already done it.
Oh, you stupid bitch.
Leiter and his men prepare to come and Apocalypse Now the fucking place.
Bum bum bum BUM BUM!
The nice thing is – I’m sure one of those henchmen is actually named Charlie.
Case goes to switch the tapes back, but Blofeld catches her. He has Prof Doc Metz destroy the tape.
Also, Blofeld has a battle sub. I love the way how he tries to sneak away, leaving everyone else to die.
And he’s got henchmen helping him get away, too! I’ve never understood this. When henchmen see that their leader doesn’t give a SHIT about them and continues helping the guy even as the army shows up. It really bothered me in Thunderball when Largo jettisoned the cocoon of the Disco Volante and the henchmen on it were still firing at US Navy destroyers after their boss had deserted them. GIVE UP AND SAVE YOUR OWN LIFE. And don’t act surprised that he left you to die. Not 30 minutes ago you watched him lock your buddy in the shark pool to die with Bond. Henchmen are dumb.
What the fuck is he battling – seahorses?
That ain’t no cigarette boat, that’s a loosey boat.
Bond then takes a hold of the controls and swings Blofeld around and shit.
(It’s funny how when Roger Moore does the exact same thing, it’s ridiculous.)
And then this happens:
Women can’t do anything when he’s around, can they?
Bond uses Blofeld to blow the place up and dives out of there.
He then goes off with Case on a cruise (it looks like Spider-Man nutted everywhere).
But looks who’s on there –
Is this a gay cruise?
They could have gotten away scot-free if they didn’t do anything. Fucking henchmen…
A bomb in the cake? Really? (Just like the Boer War.)
Bond then figures out who they are really easily, and they try to kill him.
What the fuck are you gonna do with those?
What About Kebab?
And then Bond throws the other one overboard and…
Mitt Romney should probably have used that as a campaign ad.
And everything’s cool again, and they’re gonna fuck.
Then Case asks Bond, “How the hell do we get those diamonds down again?”
Ba dum chish!
Final Thoughts on Diamonds Are Forever:
So that was weird. Okay, it has to be said that Connery on his worst day still keeps up with the best of them, and that’s what this is. This movie isn’t altogether wrong, but I still have Plenty of issues with it. Please remember that I only have harsh words for this film because I’m holding it to a higher standard than the Special Olympics rubric I used for the Roger Moore films.
Let’s get it out of the way. I really don’t like this location. Las Vegas is the anti-Bond in my mind. When you think about it, Bond is the air of sophistication — he watches Formula 1 instead of NASCAR, he wears dress shoes instead of cowboy boots, and he plays Chemin de Fer instead of slot machines. After the classic European, Asian and Caribbean locations of the 1960s, Las Vegas looks like a big sequin-y, neon mess. I envision the ideal Bond gambling somewhere classy like Monte Carlo. This movie felt like the Connery Bond equivalent of slumming with a trailer park chick. Goldfinger did America way better.
The car could have been better and the moon buggy chase is just…I’m not gonna touch it. Bambi and Thumper are pretty ridiculous, as is Whyte. Connery is still pretty spry, but he looks considerably older here than he did even in You Only Live Twice, and I think the desert location also makes it plausible for people to just drive everywhere instead of running.
It’s cool that Blofeld’s back, but this is my least favorite Blofeld. He’s a bit too ubiquitous in this film for my tastes, even compared to the Telly Savalas Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Charles Gray’s character isn’t as sinister as Savalas, as creepy as Pleasance or as mysterious as Anthony Dawson. This guy feels like a normal Bond villain, not the supervillain we’ve come to expect.
I like Plenty and Tiffany. Wint and Kidd are a lot of fun, holding hands and just sorta being gay together. I like that. Felix is always welcome, as is Q being a boss. The overall plot is sound, so that’s good too. But all in all, this movie really pales next to something like From Russia With Love, even though it has all the true Bond conventions. It’s got all the ingredients, but something about it just wasn’t cooked right.
This comes after Quantum of Solace for me, even before the verdict is in on Skyfall. I’d watch that first and enjoy it more than this every time. That said, this is still a great film in Bond terms and well worth the watch.
My Final Thoughts:
It’s clearly Connery’s most ridiculous effort, but I like it. A weaker Connery is still better than almost all the Moore films. And it has a bunch of elements that I really enjoy.
Honestly, and I’ll state it again, because it doesn’t make any sense, yet is what I’m doing — I really should have Quantum of Solace here, but I put this ahead for now because I think Skyfall is going to make the top ten when it comes out (which is nine days from now), and assuming that happens (which — it’s a pretty solid bet, based on what I’ve been hearing), in that case, I’ll have Quantum stay at #11 and put this at #12. That feels pretty fitting. So let’s not get so hung up on the ranking as much as the positives this film has to offer — which are a fair amount. It does have its fair share of questionable elements, like the moon buggy chase and Bambi and Thumper, but it’s a Connery Bond movie, and there really isn’t a bad one of those, and there are some really fun elements to it. Just watching it, it’s clear it belongs just outside the top ten, and that’s what it’s going to be — just, not for the next ten days.
– – – – –
Official Bond Number: #7
Release Date: December 17, 1971
Run Time: 120 minutes
Budget: $7.2 million
Box Office: $43.8 million domestically, $116 million worldwide
Title Song: “Diamonds Are Forever,” by Shirley Bassey
Music By: John Barry
Based On: ”Diamonds Are Forever,” by Ian Fleming
Director: Guy Hamilton
Writer: Richard Maibaum & Tom Mankiewicz
First Lines: ”Where is he? I shan’t ask you politely next time. Where is Blofeld?”
Last Lines: ”James, how the hell do we get those diamonds down again?”
– – – – –
– – – – –
- Ernst Stavro Blofeld
- Tiffany Case
Secondary Bond Girl:
- Plenty O’Toole
Bond Villain Chick:
- Mr. Kidd & Mr. Wint
- Felix Leiter
Other Important Characters:
- Willard Whyte
- Peter Franks
- Dr. Metz
- Shady Tree
- Mrs. Whistler
– – – – –
- Somewhere in Latin America
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Baja California / Mexico
– – – – –
- Triumph Stag (Peter Franks)
- Ford Mustang Mach 1 (Tiffany Case)
- Ford Econoline (Dr. Metz)
- Ford Thunderbird (Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd)
- Ford Galaxie 500 Sedan
– – – – –
- Bond’s pocket mouse trap thing.
- Case has a fingerprint scanner.
- Q has that ring that makes slot machines jackpot every time.
- Bond has a grappling hook cord built into his suspenders.
- The voice changer Blofeld (and Bond) uses.
- Bond has that water bubble thing he uses when he lands near the oil rig.
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- After On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, George Lazenby left the franchise. He said it was because the producers treated him like a fill-in. He was new to the business and was taking over for Connery, the definitive Bond, so pretty much everything he said or did he said felt as though it was ignored. Kind of like, “Oh, that’s nice, but we’ve been doing this for longer and we know the right way to do it.” So he left and producers had to scramble to find a new Bond. They really wanted Connery back, so they offered him an obscene amount of money ($1.25 million, which at the time was a lot of money for an actor to be paid) and got United Artists to agree to back two films of his choice — an offer he actually couldn’t refuse. (P.S. The two films were The Offence and a “Macbeth” adaptation with all Scottish actors, which never happened because Polanski made a “Macbeth” film during that time.)
- Jill St. John was originally cast as Plenty O’Toole but after impressing Guy Hamilton, was given the part of Tiffany Case. (Lana Wood was cast as Plenty after Saltzman and Broccoli saw her in Playboy.) Before she was given the part, they also considered Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda and Faye Dunaway (only one of whom fits the model of a Bond girl).
- Paul Williams was originally cast as Mr. Wint but apparently wanted too much money.
- This film features the most aliases used by Bond — Peter Franks, Mr. Jones, Klaus Hergescheimer and Bert Saxby. I’m not sure if I count that last one, but all right.
- Isn’t it funny that all three Bond movies where a circus is present (this, Moonraker and Octopussy) are all relatively campy efforts for the franchise?
- The plot came about because Albert Broccoli knew Howard Hughes and had a dream that he was going to go meet Hughes in Vegas, and that Hughes’ room was going to be occupied by someone else. (Apparently Hughes was amused by this, so he let them film inside his casinos and other properties for the film. His only request was a 16mm print of the finished film.)