Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Bond's Jewels are in a Tiffany Case
Good morning, gentlemen. ACME pollution inspection. We're cleaning up the world, we thought this was a suitable starting point - James
"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" wasn't a bad Bond movie but as the first of the official franchise not to feature Sean Connery it didn't quite work. So with Connery lured back to be Britain's top agent for "Diamonds Are Forever" and several of the crew who were behind "Goldfinger" you would expect that it was back to winning ways. But sadly "Diamonds Are Forever" was another not bad Bond movie but nowhere near as good as the first 3 movies. From a contrived and over the top storyline to bad guys not being evil enough the only things really going for the 7th official Bond movie is Connery and the wonderful Shirley Bassey opening song.
Having returned from his own private mission to kill Blofield for the murder of him wife James Bond (Sean Connery - Shalako) returns to work to be assigned a seemingly routine and dull case of diamond smuggling. Masquerading as diamond smuggler Peter Franks he heads to Holland to start delving into who is behind this smuggling and in doing so hooking up with the sexy Tiffany Case (Jill St. John). But Bond needs to watch his back as two assassins Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) seem to be killing anyone involved in the diamond smuggling and when he finally discovers who is behind the corruption he is in for a huge surprise.
"Diamonds Are Forever" actually starts well with Bond going after Blofied, not just because he is an evil genius but in a continuation of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" he wants revenge for the murder of his wife. And the actual set up of Bond masquerading as a diamond smuggler to work out why multi-millionaire Willard Whyte is buying up vast quantities of the jewels is also solid. But then it becomes strangely boring and not so much confusing but messy as it struggles to keep hold of your attention. And that is not the only issue because as this storyline plays out it becomes seriously convoluted as Bond discovers who really is behind the diamond smuggling and more importantly why.
Now in later Bond movies a convoluted and outrageous storyline wouldn't have been an issue but with Connery and several of the behind the scenes team back you expected more. It doesn't help that whilst the action during the story is entertaining it also borders on being silly. A car chase scene which includes a moon buggy or another one on 2 wheels evading inept police is just a little too comical. And that is nothing to how Bond eventually defeats the bad guys which is so weak you wonder how anyone could come up with such a cheesy idea. I suppose for those who just watch a Bond movie for wit, action and sexy girls won't mind the silliness but for those like me who want storylines with more realism than fantasy will struggle.
In many ways the saving grace, the one thing which keeps "Diamonds Are Forever" entertaining is the return Sean Connery, and whilst he looks a little heavier than in his previous Bond outings it's good to see him back, especially when you learn that Burt Reynolds and Adam West were considered for the role. To be honest this isn't Connery at his best and whilst we get the obligatory scenes of him in a tux or flirting with a woman or three the suaveness of Bond seems to be lacking. Maybe Connery found the story as daft as I do because there are times when he seems to be struggling to contain a laugh. And to be honest whilst Jill St. John is attractive as the terribly named Tiffany Case and Lana Turner is sexy as Plenty O'Toole there is little else to be impressed by especially Charles Gray who is just not evil enough as Blofield.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "Diamonds Are Forever" is still not a bad Bond movie it most certainly is nowhere near as good as the early ones. It's saving grace is the returning Sean Connery who whilst not up to his usual standards manages to make the contrived and messy storyline work, well at least until the serious ridiculous final action which is simply weak.
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