Diamonds Are Forever (1971) Director: Guy Hamilton
After the unexpected of departure of George Lazenby following On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Sean Connery returned one more time to reprise his role as James Bond. He was lured by a ridiculous sum of about $20M pounds in today’s dollars. The outcome was Diamonds Are Forever -likely the worst of the Sean Connery Bond era.
Throughout the film, Connery seems aged, tired, and legend has it that the last scene Connery filmed as Bond is when he is beaten up, thrown into a coffin, and pushed into the crematorium. In the film, Bond is sent to track diamond smugglers incognito which leads him to an odd Bond girl named “Tiffany Case,” who eventually brings Bond to the infamous Blofeld. Blofeld is holding the world ransom while his nuclear-capable satellite threatens to blow up various locales (using diamonds). The film opens with Bond attempting to hunt down Blofeld to exact vengeance for the murder of his wife, though this is never explicitly stated (from the close of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). Meanwhile, Blofeld is busy making clones of himself. Bond kills a double of Blofeld, thinking he has killed the true Blofeld, and then Bond pursues South African diamond smugglers. However this pursuit leads Bond right back to the true Blofeld. There are several complex side plots: one involving Willard Whyte (a not-so-veiled reference to Howard Hughes), a Nevada businessman who allows Blofeld to use his properties; two women named Bambi and Thumper, the highly odd and off-putting guards over Willard Whyte; and also two ridiculous henchmen (their relationship to the plot was unclear to me) who are quite clearly gay, and also not very threatening. As per a typical Bond film, the plot is outrageously confusing,
This was the final film focusing on SPECTRE until the the 2015 film of the same name. Shirley Bassey sings the memorable lead song (she also sang the songs for Goldfinger as well as Moonraker).
Diamonds Are Forever is definitely not Sean Connery’s best Bond film. It is a segway between the goofy and campy Roger Moore era of James Bond, and the sleek and impressive era of early Sean Connery Bond films. The plot of Diamonds Are Forever is extraordinarily difficult to follow, the acting is not particularly memorable, Blofeld’s character is not as dark and mysterious as earlier films, the introduction of cloning and diamonds is not particularly intriguing, and holding the world random is all pretty ridiculous -and lastly, perhaps the worst part of the film, are the two gay henchman who are odd and not particularly frightening. There are far better Bond films than this one in the early Connery era and in the Daniel Craig era.