Eye For Film >> Movies >> Diamonds Are Forever (1971) Film Review
Diamonds Are Forever
Reviewed by: Stephen Carty
With On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the Bond creative team refreshingly shook things up with a dark instalment that toned down the gadget-based excess and went back to the grit of the originals. However, as this wasn't what audiences wanted, the producers decided to give them their hearts' desire with Diamonds Are Forever - big stunts, over-the-top action and Sean Connery. Sadly, the result is a very tired movie...
After tracking down Blowfeld (Charles Gray) to avenge the death of his wife, James Bond (Connery) is assigned to a smuggling operation. Heading off to Las Vegas and eventually teaming up with beautiful smuggler Tiffany Case (Jill St John), the trail leads Bond to reclusive multi-millionaire Willard White (JimmyDean) who seems to be stock-piling diamonds. Making matters worse, it turns out that his old nemesis is still alive.
With George Lazenby quitting after some questionable advice from his agent, Broccoli and Saltzman decided that money was no object to get Sir Sean back (he demanded the then-astronomical fee of $1.2 million). Though originally intended as a reboot, they decided to recreate the success of series high Goldfinger (at one point the villain was supposed to be Goldfinger's diamond-obsessed twin). And yet, despite the team being back in place - Guy Hamilton directing, Richard Maibaum writing and Shirley Bassey belting out the tune - the end product is so different.
There are some good points - a Mustang chase through Vegas, some classic 007 lines (“one of us smells like a tart’s handkerchief. I’m afraid it’s me, sorry about that, old boy.”) and the most outrageously-named Bond fling girl yet (Lana Wood's curvy Plenty O'Toole). The problem is that by going back to the sci-fi trappings and by-the-numbers big-bangs, the action is rarely threatening and everything feels like a backwards step. Indeed, those who loved the bitter and moving finale to OHMSS will wince as James disposes of his wife's killer only to quip "welcome to hell Blowfeld".
As for the man himself, though undoubtedly too unflappable and a far cry from his ultra-smooth Sixties peak, Connery's last official turn as Bond (he would return unofficially in Never Say Never Again) still elevates the movie into the just-watchable category. Shame, then, that everyone else is so unmemorable - from St John's limp Case to Norman Burton’s Felix Leiter. While Putter Smith and Bruce Glover stand out in the wrong way as camp henchmen Mr Kidd and Mr Wint respectively, the casting of Gray as Blowfeld is just plain confusing, after he played a Bond ally in You Only Live Twice.
Flawed and tired without being completely unwatchable, Diamonds Are Forever is fun in a so-bad-it's-good kinda way. Ultimately though, it's not the send-off Connery deserved.Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2009