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Diamonds Are Forever (1971) Movie Review

 

The cold open to Diamonds Are Forever depicts an angered James Bond (Sean Connery) roughing up a series of people in his search for terrorist supervillain and now arch-nemesis Blofeld (Charles Gray). He finally does find him and, seemingly, kills him. Whatever the case, Connery feels very tired in this scene when it comes to his line delivery.

 

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Following this exacted revenge, Bond is tapped on to impersonate a diamond smuggler. From this job, he encounters a strange cast of characters, including Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) and the unfortunately named Plenty O’Toole (Lana Wood), as well as the robotic Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith). Both Bond girls don’t fare well in the acting department, delivering lines with little grace. And the Wint-Kidd henchman team is the strangest the Bond series has seen thus far.

 

Diamonds Are Forever stumbles a lot.  The performances aren’t particularly noteworthy. The narrative isn’t very exciting. To its benefit, the script doesn’t quip as much as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but there is still a lot of camp. There are some good action stunts and a wonderful car chase through the streets of Las Vegas, but overall Diamonds Are Forever leaves something to be desired.

 

What is perhaps most disappointing is the lack of a strong villain. Blofeld, the quintessential Bond villain, is the subject of most of the camp and is simply incompetent in this film. The use of body doubles and voice box modifiers is downright silly. Not to mention the fact that he has the perfect opportunity to finish Bond off, and he opts instead to send Bond on an elaborate journey to a different, far more impractical death.

 

Connery’s performance isn’t totally phoned in, but he seems checked out for large portions. At times, he carries himself in the usual Bond way. Unfortunately, this is most evident in scenes like the one in which he is essentially drowning two female assailants. You can tell from the first scene, where most of his dialogue is done ADR, that Connery was on his way out.

 

Diamonds Are Forever lacks the good brand of hoop-la that the best Connery Bond outings have. When we get the usual Bond scenes–chase scenes or hand-to-hand combat scenes–they look great, save for the obnoxious space rover-ATV chase that is as clunky as can be. But these visual spectacles are few and far between. And the narrative thread that holds it all together does not make up for this lack of spectacle. Indeed, the plot is needlessly overdeveloped and ultimately indecipherable.

 

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The Post-Script

As entranced as I was by Putter Smith and Bruce Glover as the most standout Bond villain henchmen in the series, they can’t save this movie. Connery’s lack of conviction, the high amounts of camp, the imperceptibility of the rather lackluster plot, and the lack of a strong villain hamper this film considerably. Overall, I can’t recommend this movie to anyone who isn’t absolutely in love with the Connery Bond films.

 

Diamonds Are Forever: C-

 

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Diamonds Are Forever is currently available to rent/buy on Amazon Video here.

 

Have you seen Diamonds Are Forever? If so, what did you think? What’s your favorite Sean Connery Bond film? Least favorite? Let me know in the comments!

 

  • Diamonds Are Forever: C-
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: B+
  • Casino Royale (1967): D+
  • You Only Live Twice: C+
  • Thunderball: C-
  • Goldfinger: A-
  • From Russia With Love: A-
  • Dr. No: B

 

—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)

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