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Film Review: Diamonds are Forever

Updated on December 22, 2016

Background

In 1971, Guy Hamilton directed Diamonds are Forever, based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, as the seventh film in the franchise, Starring Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean, Bruce Cabot, Norman Burton, Bruce Glover and Putter Smith, the film grossed $116 million at the box office.

Synopsis

After Bond kills Blofeld for the murder of his wife in the previous film, he is assigned to an international diamond-smuggling case. He infiltrates the group by posing as a smuggler and finds that the operation is part of a plan to build a laser to hold the world hostage.

Review

Despite Diamonds are Forever not being the worst Bond film, it certainly isn’t very good. It has its moments, starting quite strong, with Bond going on a rampage of revenge against Blofeld for killing Tracy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, succeeding in killing him while in the throes of making doubles for himself. After that though, the plot just seems all over the place in figuring out the diamond smuggling operation, which is in itself the cover-up for another scheme to hold the world ransom. It seems interesting enough, but in the points where Bond is figuring it all out, the silliness really comes out. He hijacks a lunar rover and drives it all over a pretty poorly guarded space research facility, Plenty O’Toole is thrown out a window, with the guy doing the throwing remarking he didn’t know there was a pool below, and Willard Whyte remarks that one of his workers is fired after said worker is shot and is tumbles down a hill. It all just seems so out of place for the eventual reveal and payoff.

Furthermore, Connery was essentially forced and bribed back into the role with a gigantic paycheck and his acting really reflects this. Like in You Only Live Twice, he just seems flat-out bored in most scenes and like he couldn’t really care less in others. When he’s pointing out the fact that there are numerous bases that the operation could be based out of to Whyte, he doesn’t sound like it’s going to take a long time. What it does sound like is that he’s listing everything off and practically waiting for Whyte’s exclamation concerning where it is. What's more is in the aforementioned lunar lander scene, Connery gives barely any emotion as he goes about he tears the place and the lander apart. On the other hand, there is some legitimately good acting from him in some parts, it's just that there aren't a lot of those scenes. One instance is the scene where he’s fighting with Peter Franks in an elevator, it looks like he actually cares about the fight and the scene, but the next scene comes and he’s back to boredom.

However, the villains are written rather well, especially with this film being the sendoff to the main villain being a gigantic villainous organization with plans for world domination. Blofeld survived and is impersonating Whyte as he plans to conquer the world carry out and might have actually succeeded had it not once again been for Bond. Using doubles to confuse him makes sense, though close listening can identify that the real Blofeld will always call him Mr. Bond. Yet, he still makes his classic stupid mistake, this time putting the location of the oil rig where his plans are being carried out on the map where Whyte’s other facilities are. Surely everyone that would have gone in to see Blofeld would have known and while hiding in plain sight is a legitimate strategy, there was no reason to hide. Plus, once Whyte is freed by Bond, he’s able to know that he doesn’t have any investments where the facility is.

There’s also Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, the classic example of a unique pair of henchmen and their idiosyncratic addressing of each other after speaking doesn’t get old. The two of them are also fairly competent for the most part, not to mention how fair a homosexual couple was portrayed in the early 1970s.

2 stars for Diamonds are Forever

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Sound

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD/Blu-Ray Collection (Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection)

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Movie Blu-Ray (For the "Bond 50 Box Set.")

Golden Satellite Awards

  • Best Classic DVD Release (For "The James Bond DVD Collection," volumes 2 & 3)

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