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Diamonds Are Forever (1971) - Illustrated Reference

Updated on May 3, 2015

Diamonds Are Forever was directed by Guy Hamilton and premiered on 14th December 1971. Starring Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Putter Smith, Bruce Glover and Jimmy Dean. Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz. Music by John Barry. Theme sung by Shirley Bassey. 120mins.

007 is searching for Ernst Stavro Blofeld, to avenge the death of his wife Tracy. Blofeld is using diamonds for a deadly laser targeting satellite that can destroy cities and nuclear bases from space.

Bond, with the help of a beautiful diamond smuggler, travels to Las Vegas and to a reclusive billionaire who may hold the key to Blofeld’s whereabouts.

Diamonds Are Forever was the 4th Bond novel written by Ian Fleming, it was published in 1955. The previous story in the series was Moonraker and the next would be From Russia With Love.

Sean Connery
Sean Connery
Jill St. John
Jill St. John
Charles Gray
Charles Gray
Sean Connery and Lana Wood
Sean Connery and Lana Wood
Putter Smith with Bruce Glover
Putter Smith with Bruce Glover
Jimmy Dean with Sean Connery
Jimmy Dean with Sean Connery
Lola Larson
Lola Larson
Trina Parks
Trina Parks

Tiffany Case: My God! You just killed James Bond!
James Bond: Is that who it was? Well just goes to show, no one's indestructible.

Sean Connery (1930-) / James Bond

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sean Connery won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Untouchables (1987). Has also played 007 in Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967) and Never say Never Again (1983).

Jill St. John (1940-) / Tiffany Case

Born in Los Angeles, California, Jill St. John was originally set to play Plenty O’Toole but the director thought she was too good for the lesser role and was given the part of Tiffany instead.

Her films include - The Lost World (1960), Tender is the Night (1962), Who's Minding the Store? (1963), The Liquidator (1965), The Oscar (1966), Tony Rome (1967), Sitting Target (1972) and The Player (1992).

Blofeld: Tiffany, my dear. We're showing a bit more *cheek* than usual, aren't we?
(Tiffany hands over the cassette hidden in her bikini bottom)
Blofeld: Take her below and lock her up with Mr. Bond. What a pity, such nice cheeks too. If only they were brains.

Charles Gray (1928-2000) / Ernst Stavro Blofeld

Born in Bournemouth, England, Charles Gray was the third person to play and voice Blofeld, this time with hair. Blofeld even turns up in drag in one scene. Gray had also appeared as Dikko Henderson in You Only Live Twice (1967). Hammer horror fans will remember the actor as the evil Mocata in The Devil Rides Out (1968).

His films include - The Entertainer (1960), The Night of the Generals (1967), Mosquito Squadron (1969), Cromwell (1970), The Beast Must Die (1974), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976 as Mycroft Holmes), The Legacy (1978), The Mirror Crack'd (1980), Shock Treatment (1981) and The Jigsaw Man (1984).

Plenty: Hi I'm Plenty.
Bond: But of course you are.
Plenty: Plenty O'Toole.
Bond: Named after your father perhaps?

Lana Wood (1946-) / Plenty O'Toole

Born in Santa Monica, California, Lana Wood (Natalie’s sister) is this films obligatory sacrificial lamb. Her films include - The Searchers (1956), Five Finger Exercise (1962), For Singles Only (1968), Speedtrap (1977), Grayeagle (1977) and Satan's Mistress (1982).

Mr. Wint: Curious... how everyone who touches those diamonds seems to... die.

Bruce Glover (1932-) / Mr. Wint

Born in Chicago, Illinois. As if Blofeld wearing lipstick and a dress wasn’t camp enough, there are two gay killers Wint and Kidd, working for him. Bruce is the father of Back to the Future actor Crispin Glover.

Glover's films include - The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Walking Tall (1973), Chinatown (1974), Hard Times (1975), Walking Tall P.II (1975), Final Chapter Walking Tall (1977), Ghost Town (1988), Warlock the Armageddon (1993) and Ghost World (2001).

Putter Smith (1941-) / Mr. Kidd

Born in Los Angeles, California, Putter Smith is a Jazz musician, he has appeared in two other films - Win, Place or Steal (1975) and In the Mood (1987).

Norman Burton (1923-2003) / Felix Leiter

Born in New York City, Norman Burton is the 4th actor to play CIA Agent Felix Leiter.

His films include - Planet of the Apes (1968), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Fuzz (1972), The Terminal Man (1974), The Towering Inferno (1974), The Gumball Rally (1976), Fade to Black (1980), Crimes of Passion (1984) and Bloodsport (1988).

Jimmy Dean (1928-2010) / Willard Whyte

Born in Plainview, Texas, Country singer Jimmy Dean plays billionaire recluse Willard Whyte, loosely based on Howard Hughes.

Guarding the billionaire are Bambi and Thumper, played by Lola Larson and Trina Parks. They knock the stuffing out of 007 when he pops in looking for Whyte.

Sean Connery with Lana Wood
Sean Connery with Lana Wood

The film has few similarities with the novel. Blofeld does not appear in the book, the villains are gangsters, the Spangled Mob, and there is no laser satellite. The story concerns diamond smuggling operations running from Africa to Las Vegas.

This was the last time Blofeld and SPECTRE appeared in the official Bond movie series. Producer Kevin McClory owned the film rights to the names and would use them when setting up his own Bond production Never Say Never Again (1983).

Sean Connery is back as 007! Bond fans were celebrating. The previous Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service starring George Lazenby was not well received by moviegoers at the time. Though over the years it has gained a fan following. Connery was back but only for this one film, he was paid £1.2m which he donated to the Scottish International Education Fund.

Bond has surprisingly few gadgets at his disposal in this film. One of the best gags was when Q is chatting to Bond by phone and in the background men can be seen lowering rocket missiles into Bonds Aston Martin.

In an exciting car chase Bond drives a red Mustang Mach 1 through the streets of Las Vegas. When Bond tips the car over on two wheels to escape though a narrow alley the producers noticed that the car was tipped over on the wrong wheels for the shot exiting the alley, so an insert was added showing the car somehow flipping onto the other wheels. Bond also drives a "Moon Buggy" when escaping from the laser satellite laboratory in the Nevada desert.

Shirley Bassey sang the title song, one of the best in the series. It was her 2nd Bond song after Goldfinger she would sing one more Bond theme Moonraker (1979).

Sammy Davis Jr was to cameo as himself in the film but the scene was cut out, it can be seen on the deleted scenes on the DVD

Diamonds Are Forever was one of the biggest hits of the year, grossing about $116m worldwide. Bond would be back but without Connery. The search was on for the next actor to play Bond.

The Critics Wrote –

"Campy, rather vicious addition to a well-worn cycle, with an element of nastiness which big budget stunts cannot conceal." (Halliwell)

"Bond looks better than ever, partly because Sean Connery has returned to play him. During Connery's one-picture absence, some fellow named Lazenby filled the role - the way concrete fills a hold." (Time)

"A wry and exhilarating bit of entertainment." (Time Out)

"A lot of things have changed since "You Only Live Twice" (1967), the last real Bond adventure, but 007 has remained a steadfast agent for the military-industrial complex, a friend to the C.I.A. and a triumphant sexist. It's enough to make one weepy with gratitude. I mean, not everything must be mutable." (New York Times)

"Bond still packs a lethal wallop in all his cavortings, he still manages to surround himself with scantily-clad sexpots. Yet Diamonds Are Forever doesn't carry the same quality or flair as its predecessors." (Variety)

"Sean Connery, was born to the role: dry, unflappable, with a mouth that does as many kinds of sly grins as there are lascivious possibilities in the universe. There's something about his detachment from danger that props up the whole Bond apparatus, insulating it from the total ridiculousness only an inch away." (Roger Ebert)


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    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks Cogerson, Burt Reynolds almost got the role after Lazenby grew a long beard, waved goodbye to Miss Moneypenny and left for Hong Kong to make kung fu films.

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 6 years ago from Virginia

      My least favorite of the Connery Bond movies, Connery looks very very bored....the movie looks tired as well...maybe if they would have waited a few more years and recharged their batteries a little, I think they could have made a better movie. I think making 7 movies in 10 years has to be very difficult. But I enjoyed reading your well informed hub, that is loaded with great photos and information. I agree with Flora, think Jeremy Brett would have made a great Bond. Voted up and useful.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 6 years ago from London, England

      Thanks for commenting FloreBreenRobison. Charles Gray is one of my favourite character actors, love that voice of his. He also played Mycroft opposite Nicol Williamson in the Seven Per Cent Solution.

      I'm a huge fan of the TV series The Avengers and had to mention the Bond connections to it in my last hub.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Sean Connery wasn't available for Secret Service which was why he wasn't in it. Not sure why the franchise didn't work around his schedule. But I absolutely adore diana Rigg, so I still enjoyed the film.

      Charles Gray also was well known for playing Mycroft Holmes opposite Jeremy Brett. I'm a big Brett fan. Jereemy Brett was one of the actors considered for Bond after Connery left. Of course, James Bond went to Roger Moore. Good thing to, since no actor has played both Bond and Holmes and Brett was fabulous as Holmes.

      Mty favourite Connery film is Goldfinger. But I love Diamonds Are Forever too.


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