Thursday Night Movie Club
Diamonds Are Forever
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Release Date: 17 December 1971

Director: Guy Hamilton
Sean Connery
Jill St. John
Charles Gray
Lana Wood
Jimmy Dean
Bruce Cabot
Putter Smith
Bruce Glover
Norman Burton
Joseph Fürst
Bernard Lee
Desmond Llewelyn
Leonard Barr
Lois Maxwell
Margaret Lacey
James Bond
Tiffany Case
Plenty O'Toole
Willard Whyte
Mr. Kidd
Mr. Wint
Felix Leiter
Dr Metz
Shady Tree
Mrs. Whistler
Diamonds Are Forever movie poster Diamonds Are Forever movie poster Diamonds Are Forever movie poster
Sean Connery as James Bond 007James Bond's wife has been murdered before the marriage can be consumated. How does Bond react? Does he drop into depression, alcoholism, misery, sorrow? No, he methodically tracks down Bloefeld and sends him to hell with a wink and a smile. Bond has no reaction what so ever after finally avenging his wife's death. What gives?

Sean Connery is back as James Bond 007 and so is the tried and true formula for success. After the previous film, producers Brocolli and Saltzman are no longer willing to take risks with their lucrative franchise. It shows!

Connery goes through the motions without much excitement. He is still cool, suave and sophistocated, but his heart just isn't in the material. No wonder, the screenwriters' hearts aren't in the material either.

Bernard Lee as MThe screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz is an original story that only borrows Ian Fleming's title. They completely ignore the previous film and its tragic ending, pretending as though it never happened. They never mention Bond's wife. Anyone who hadn't seen the previous film won't make the connection during the precredit sequence. M (Bernard Lee) brushes the insident aside saying Bond can now get back to some solid work. There is no mention of Bond's wife for the next three films.

Charles Gray as Ernst Stavro BloefeldDiamonds Are Forever borrows the story directly from Goldfinger. Bond is sent on a relatively routine mission involving diamond smuggling out of South Africa. The authorities know about the smuggling. However, all of the couriers in the smuggling chain are being murdered. They must find who is behind the smuggling before the trail completely dries up.

Bond inserts himself into the operation pretending to be Peter Franks, a smuggler hired to transport the diamonds from Holland to the United States. Along the way, Bond discovers that there is something vastly more sinister than what appears on the surface. Surprise, Bloefled is not dead! He is collecting vast stores of diamonds. He is creating a fantastic laser weapon. He can hold the world hostage (see Thunderball) and world domination goes to the highest bidder.

Mankiewicz and Maibaum also make a poor attempt to recreate "Pussy Galore", not as a great female character, but merely for a good laugh. Here, we have Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) and Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood). These are both prime opportunities for Bond to utter some glib remark. "Good thing you weren't born at Van Kleef and Arpel." "Named after your father, perhaps." Ha Ha!

Jill St. John as Tiffany CaseJill St. John is an accomplished actress but her material is written for an airhead, not a major criminal planning and executing the diamond smuggling. Her first scene is her best, after that, it's all downhill. Try this for a surprise, after making love to Bond, Tiffany Case converts to the side of good and wonders if she will have much of a prison sentence. Lana Wood is not a very good actress. Her sole purpose in the film is window dressing for Bond to say his smug line.

The two henchmen are about as threatening as wet toilet paper. Maibaum and Mankiewicz set the standards low for stereotyping. Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint (Putter Smith and Bruce Glover) are a gay couple. Can you say "faggots, gay boys" and any other gay slur? These two fulfill every and all stereotype. As, hitmen or thugs, neither actor is capable of menacing a four-year old boy let alone James Bond. In fact, they are so stupid that the don't shoot Bond in the back of the head, execution style, when they have the chance. James Bond is so good even the criminals are afraid to kill him.

James Bond's car - Ford Mustang GTDirector Guy Hamilton cannot create an exciting action sequence the entire film. Action scenes are now played for laughs. James Bond is set upon by every police car in Las Vegas. He escapes without a single scratch to his Ford Mustang GT while every police car is wrecked in a public parking lot. There is also a chase where Bond has stolen a moonbuggy to escape a scientific laboratory. The three-wheeled vehicles chasing Bond are much faster and manuverable but they crash for no apparent reason other than operator stupidity.

There is one very good scene. Bond has infiltrated the laboratory following the diamonds. He pretends to be Claus Hergesheimer of G section checking radiation shields. All of those years of Bond driving Q crazy comes full circle as Bond is a complete thorn in the side of the great Professor Dr. Metz.

The James Bond franchise is showing signs of old age. There is nothing new and exciting in Diamonds Are Forever. Bond will return. Lets just hope for something fresh to breathe some life back in to 007.