Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Diamonds Are Forever is the 7th James Bond film and the last in the Blofeld saga since James finally catches up with the slippery Russian to put him away. There are many things wrong with this movie but nothing bothered me more than the Bond girl Tiffany Case (Jill St. John). You have Bond girls who are helpful, and you have Bond girls who are merely arm candy for our spy. Tiffany Case presents herself as a really dumb Bond girl who isn’t exactly as helpful as she wishes to be, hell most of the time she is in the way. Uniquely for Bond, she is one of the only girls that he sleeps with multiple times in one movie, and she is his sole female companion throughout the 3 hrs of film. Though to be fair to miss Chase, the equally annoying gay duo (not a slur, they actually were together) of Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) and Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) was pretty hard to stomach, though the means of their eventual demise made it all worthwhile to withstand.
When MI6 catches word that diamonds are being smuggled and horded from South Africa to depress prices, they send James Bond to investigate. Going undercover as Peter Franks – a diamond smuggler, in order to see what is behind it, James meets his contact Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) to pickup some diamonds. After being accosted by the real Franks in front of Case, Bond murders him and decides to smuggle the diamonds in his coffin. Acting as if the coffin holds his brother’s fallen body, James ships it overseas so that when it is cremated he could recover the diamonds within the urn to continue business. Teaming up with the CIA and a reluctantly friendly Tiffany Case, this event starts a series of adventures involving the diamonds and some fake ones that James had switched when he first met Tiffany.
During the investigation Bond discovers that Ernst Blofeld (Charles Gray) is behind it all. Commandeering the headquarters of reclusive Vegas millionaire Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean), Blofeld is not stocking the diamonds to horde prices but is instead using them in a deadly satellite laser for attacking targets from outer space. With Tiffany Case in hand, Bond sets out to stop Blofeld who is quite adept at hiding behind look-alikes and millionaires. Although Blofeld is dangerously good at being evil, James must also look out for his two assassins named Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint who are after the diamonds themselves.
This movie has it’s share of Bond elements starting with an awesome intro song by Dame Shirley Bassey. As stated before, the Bond Girl Tiffany Chase is a permanent figure in Bond’s adventure from the beginning and he uses a few gadgets like a piercing grappling gun and a parachuting balloon. The stunts are mediocre but there is one memorable scene where the police chase Bond all over the Las Vegas strip resulting in him havng to go on two wheels to squeeze between a trailer and a wall. All of these things are neat but a downside to the craziness are the scenes where James rides a moon buggy (for absolutely no reason). He is also kept alive quite conveniently all 3 times that he is captured by Ernst Blofeld. I couldn’t figure out why this was, since James is more than intent on killing Blofeld, shooting one body double and drowning another in mud. Still old Blofeld has a soft spot for James and never even tries to kill him. Very, very strange indeed.
If you are out to try a James Bond movie you should consider skipping this one. Outside of the awesome intro song and a few leggy scenes with Jill St. John’s Tiffany Case, you aren’t missing much, as this felt pieced together and wrong. Sean Connery was paid a boatload of money to return in this movie as James Bond and he is one of the only good things about it. Older, confident and ever the charming male cheauvanist, he deosn’t seem to have ever left the James Bond family – but as the original Bond, could we ask for anyone better?
Bond-o-meter Score (ranges from 1-10)
James Bond/Story (5): Typical Bond twists, Blofeld AGAIN and more space-aged gadgetry. We’ve seen it before but it isn’t all bad.
Bond Girl – Tiffany Case (5): Sexy redhead with killer legs but annoying to a fault and dumb… no thanks.
Bond Toys (4): Aside from a grappling hook and Q rigging slot machines, there isn’t the classic car, trick watch or shoes. How boring!
The Villain (7): Ahh Blofeld is a great villain. Slippery, intelligent and cool as a cucumber. He was very likeable, too bad his two idiotic henchmen killed it for me.
Spicy Rating (6): Not a horrible James Bond movie but a good James Bond movie needs more than the spy being likeable to work. This movie felt a mess, not the best Bond by any means.