The James Bond series was a monumental series for me growing up and, as I planned on featuring one of the 20+ films in the series as a Key Movie, I just couldn’t choose. Since I can’t choose a single one, I am reviewing each and every Bond film continuing with today’s entry, Diamonds Are Forever
Welcome to Key Movies Of My Life James Bond Edition.
Today’s Key Movie:
Diamonds Are Forever:
With the slight hiccup that was George Lazenby replacing Sean Connery as James Bond, Connery returns for a final romp as the dashing 007. In a jet setting, world traversing adventure, this time bond is hot on the trail of a diamond Smuggler only to uncover a plot by his old nemesis Blofeld.
The film opens with yet another of the producers heavy handed ways of introducing Connery having returned to the franchise. Bond is travelling around the world hunting Ernst Stavro Blofeld, his nemesis who killed Bonds wife in the previous film. It seems that Blofeld, fully aware of Bonds vendetta, has made every attempt to disguise himself using plastic surgery. Connery quickly dispatches his enemy before the credits even roll showing that not only is Bond back, but he is the Bond we know and love. But wait, how could he kill Blofeld in the opening sequence only to have Blofeld as the film’s villain? Well, that’s the catch, did you really think killing the head of SPECTRE would be that easy?
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
This is an odd one. While very much celebrating the return of Sean Connery as James Bond the producers seemed to want to fill the film with everything they could almost making it a parody of itself. It is campy, silly, and takes every famous trope from the franchise and jams them in anywhere and everywhere they can.
I’m not saying it’s a bad film, but it does get a little heavy handed in it’s delivery. It is abundantly apparent that Connery isn’t a spring chicken, even showing a little grey on the temples but even at his advanced age, he still has some moves in him, ensuring that viewers are not let down by the lack of action. If anything, this film ratchets up the action even more so than ever before tossing in a multitude of fight scenes, car chases and more in some of the most over-the-top sequences in any Bond film to date.
The film both succeeds and fails in it’s cast of villains in this one. With Blofeld (this time played by Charles Gray) proving to be one of the best iterations of the Head of SPECTRE to this point. Throwing off both Bond and the audience in his ‘death’ this film really shows just how cunning this nemesis can be.
Where the film fails is the inclusion of a very strange assassin duo who go by Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. They are an odd pair showing up in the most unbelievable times and seeming to be there just to push the story forward. In a way they come across as somewhat of a morbid comic relief but lacking in the comedy side of things as they repeatedly murder people and try to dispatch Bond is some of the most inane and unbelievable ways possible. They seem to have a complete lack of conscious and could probably be more sociopaths than assassins. I won’t even discuss Bambi and Thumper…yeah there are villains in this named after the characters from the Disney film. They are…rather…acrobatic…
The Bond girls in this one are pretty much wasted in the story as eye candy and do very little to move the plot forward or even provide much other than being eye candy. The only one that is worth anything outside of being eye-candy is Tiffany Case (played by Jill St. John). Tiffany is a Diamond Smuggler who is chasing Bond just for the profit in the Diamond he is pretending to smuggle under the assumed name Peter Franks. She is, like most of the good Bond Girls, a perfect match for Bond in her cunning nature.
We also get a chance to see the fourth incarnation of regular Bond ally Felix Leiter, this time played by Norman Burton. Since much of the film takes place in Las Vegas, it only makes sense for the CIA to be involved while Bond goes about his business.
As for the Bond Theme, this time we see the return of Shirley Bassey to the film as she performs the title song Diamonds Are Forever. While it is certainly not the instantly recognizable Goldfinger song, it is still a great song in it’s own right. To give you a chance to hear it for yourself, here you go:
Overall, this isn’t a bad one but it is VERY heavy on the camp and over-the-top nature of the mid half of the Bond Franchise. That being said it is a perfect lead in for the next decade of Bond films led by the former Saint, Roger Moore.
OK, where do I get this movie?
As normal, this one is available pretty much anywhere films are sold. If you dig the franchise as much as I do, you should grab the boxed set. It is pretty great. Otherwise you can find it in digital format where every you like to get your movies from.
Of course, the trailer:
Late To The Game 2/14/2019
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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