Countdown to Spectre: Diamonds are Forever (1971)

This is the next installment in my look back to the James Bond 007 series in anticipation for the new installment, Spectre coming out on November 6th. If you are interested in any of my earlier installments, click here.

While investigating mysterious activities within the world’s diamond market, James Bond, Agent 007 (Sean Connery) discovered that his evil nemesis, that was presumed dead, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray) is stockpiling diamonds to use for his deadly laser satellite. With the help of a beautiful smuggler named Tiffany Case (Jill St. John), Bond must set out to stop the evil genius as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

So Sean Connery is back for this one (pause for excitement). George Lazenby who starred as Bond in the previous film, was offered a contract to be in seven films but chose to leave after one. The studio considered many options but when they all declined, all roads led back to Connery. Like with most people, a boatload of money helped him reconsider retiring from playing Bond. Unfortunately, this film will make his last official appearance as Bond. He was in an unofficial Bond film called Never Say Never Again which was released in 1983 (I will not be covering it here). At first, from the way the plot was going you would think the story was about uncovering diamond smuggling but it was really just about stopping Blofeld and his laser. I did not figure this out until around halfway through (I don’t read a film synopsis before I watch said film). It felt like they tried to make this part of the film more elaborate and complex than it really needed to be. There still is a story here but it is partially submerged in quips, puns, and general campiness. Some may find this first half of the film to be a little boring as almost nothing happens but they may forgive it for the quips, puns, and general campiness. Or they’ll just not find it funny and hate it. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t quite love it either. I just wished that there was a little more action as I found that the film did not seem to favor as much of it. Out of all the Bond films I’ve seen so far, this one has the least Bond-like. Connery has never had a bad performance as Bond including this one but he seemed to be a little disinterested here. Maybe it’s the one film absence or just mailing it in after his payday. Jill St. John’s Tiffany Case, as with most Bond girls, starts off as a strong, independent woman and just gets seemingly dumber as the movie goes on. Charles Gray, who played a minor role in You Only Live Twice, played the villain Blofeld in a different way than what I’ve previously seen. First, he has a full head of hair and his performance was the most menacing so far and was amusing. I was still a little weird to me after having seen him before. The one thing that felt odd to me was the seemingly henchmen characters in the film, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint (Putter Smith and Bruce Glover). They just seemed out of place and unnecessary to the plot. What didn’t help was that most of their quips and quirkiness just didn’t work. With the previous film not being successful, I can understand why they would want to recreate the success of a more successful film like Goldfinger by bringing back the director and some of the crew from that film. It unfortunately just didn’t work except for the opening theme (Shirley Bassey does not disappoint). Overall, this is a disappointing end to the Connery Bond era.

Score: 6.5/10

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Next: Live and Let Die


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