Movie Review: DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

Getting Sean Connery to return as James Bond was major news in the early 1970s. After George Lazenby’s one and done (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), the idea that the two producers Connery loathed (more Harry Saltzman than Cubby Broccoli) and $1.2 million (a record at that time) could lure him back for his sixth turn as 007 was mind-blowing.

Unfortunately, you can see Connery mentally cashing his paycheck many times throughout Diamonds Are Forever. To the actor’s credit, he gave $1 million of it away to charity. Connery was not the same dashing spy we remembered uttering the famous “Bond, James Bond” line in 1962’s Dr. No. By 1971, he was in full “dad-bod” mode and audiences knew that this would be just a one time deal. Connery was only 41, but he somehow managed to look much older.

Diamonds Are Forever was the hit the producers were looking for and it’s mostly thanks to the return of Sean Connery. This movie is fun and messy at times, more campy than Connery’s previous five movies combined, and there are a number of scenes that just don’t look like they belong in a Bond movie.

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Bond’s coolest moment? When he first meets Tiffany Case. It’s Connery’s Bond at his most charming.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Plenty (no pun intended) to choose from, but I’m going to with Bond getting beaten up by Bambi and Thumper. Moon buggy Bond is a close second.

Bond’s best line? The Plenty O’Toole reply of “but of course you are” and “named after your father perhaps” are too classic and easy to choose. I will go with Bond’s underrated “small world” comment to the dumb gangster who says he “also got a brother.”

Best acting performance? Bruce Glover (father of Crispin) as Mr. Wint is the best choice. This is one of the campiest Bond movies ever and the actor goes for it!

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? Ripping off a girl’s bikini top after telling her “there’s something I’d like for you to get off your chest” and then proceeds to strangler her with it. Yup, Connery is back. 

Worst line in the movie? Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) saying either “blow up your pants” to a kid, or “keep leaning on that tooter, Charlie, and you’re gonna get a shot in the mouth” at the gas station.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 77th time? It just dawned on me that Bond was in that car with those gangsters from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for about four hours. What the hell did they talk about?

Best action sequence? That elevator fight between Bond and Franks is in the top five best fights ever in the Bond franchise.

Who or what is the title song about? Rumor has it that composer John Barry told Shirley Bassey to sing about a man’s penis. Shirley is definitely singing about not needing a man like Bond in her life, since she has her diamonds. “Men are mere mortals who are not worth going to your grave for”… damn Shirley!

Best looking cinematic moment? I think the oil rig action sequence is well done. Especially the pull away shot at the end.

How could the villain have succeeded? Blofeld has a gun on Bond and doesn’t use it. Instead he gases Bond in an elevator, only to have him buried in a pipe. Making things way too complicated.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? This is easy. Roger Moore. Moore took over just two years later and was meant for this campy side of Bond.

Does Bond ever think he might die? He looks pretty damn worried during his almost cremation.

What would have made the movie better? If it had been a direct sequel to OHMSS and starred Lazenby. Think 007 meets Taken. No offense to Connery, but he phoned this one in.

What’s in a name? Bond uses the name Peter Franks and also pretends to be Franks’ brother. He also uses Mr. and Mrs. Jones for a bridal suite at the Whyte House.

What’s in a title? Diamonds Are Forever comes from the Ian Fleming novel of the same name. Although as usual, not much of the film resembles the book.

Drinking game: Take a shot of Belvedere Vodka every time the word “diamonds” is uttered (not counting the song). You will be drunk before Bond gets to Amsterdam.

“WTF?!” moment: Where to start? Bond making out with himself. A woman in the circus “turns” into a gorilla. An elephant plays the slots and wins money. But the winner is Blofeld in drag. There’s no explanation for it, other than Charles Gray in drag works better than Donald Pleasance or Telly Salavas in drag.

Fun fact: The original plot had Goldfinger’s twin brother as the main villain. I’m guessing this brother loved diamonds?

Overall ranking: 24th best Bond movie out of 24 Bond movies.

Review synopsis: James Bond just doesn’t belong in Vegas. Gray is the weakest Blofeld. The revenge plot goes away too quickly and the rest of the story is all over the place. Jill St. John isn’t a very interesting Bond girl. Connery is the greatest Bond of all-time, but he goes out with a dud. As a Bond fanatic, Diamonds Are Forever is still watchable and enjoyable, but it’s also my least favorite film in the franchise’s history. It is a poorly made film. 

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