#96 Diamonds Are Forever
After tracking down and killing Blofeld (Charles Gray) for the murder of his wife, Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to Amsterdam to look into a diamond smuggling ring. There he meets the beautiful Tiffany Case (Jill St. John), while posing as a smuggler, and has to help her get the cargo through customs to Las Vegas for the reclusive Willard White (Jimmy Dean).
DAF marks the return of, and final official appearance of, Sean Connery in the role of James Bond. After George Lazenby left after a single film there was initially a search for the new Bond. The producers even went so far as to sign on John Gavin, most famous for playing Janet Leigh’s boyfriend Sam Loomis in Hitchcock’s Psycho, but the heads of United Artists were set on Connery returning to the role stating money was no object. Connery returned for a single performance provided United Artists would back two future movies of his choice and paid him 1.2 million dollars (15.9 million in today’s money). They did and so he returned.
You can tell Connery wasn’t really here for the role this time around. He was proficient enough but the luster he had for the character was gone and he seemed to be purely going through the motions. He was also looking rather old in the part by this point. It was beginning to look a little weird that he was getting all the women he was.
It’s also probable he didn’t watch On Her Majesty’s Secret Service because the last scene we see of that is a heart broken Bond holding his dead wife. This film begins with him killing Blofeld for this but it just looks like any standard mission up until that point. He was playing Bond the same way he always did but there should have been more to the act of killing Blofeld than just “ha i finally got you” with his cheeky grin and a one liner. It doesn’t fit properly.
Jill St John is the first American Bond girl. Some found her character annoying, and there is definitely a lack of elegance which had come to be synonymous with the main leading lady, but personally I think she worked well enough for the setting. Also the scene in which she is naked on the bed covered by the white animal skin might be one of the most sexy poses in the series since Andress emerged from the sea and Shirley Eaton lounged on the bed.
The villains are lacking this time around. Blofeld was a lot more menacing in both of his other installments. Charles Gray just came off as a little foppish in my mind. He definitely had the intelligence of the character down but it was all just a little too camp. Also Mr Wint (Bruce Glover), Mr Kidd (Putter Smith), Bambi (Lola Larson) and Thumper (Trina Parks) were all really stupid characters and never felt intimidating.
The setting was a little bit of a let down this time as well. Las Vegas may have seemed exotic at the time but now it just looks kinda skeezy. A film ago we were in the Alps, and before that, Japan and the Bahamas. The entire thing just felt a little weak.
Finally, the moon buggy chase might have been the passing of the torch for the series. Connery, and even Lazenby’s, movies were spy dramas, with a couple of gadgets thrown in, but they were always supposed to be taken somewhat seriously. The Roger Moore era Bond films were more comedies that happened to have some cool action in them. Others might say the jetpack in Thunderball or Little Nelly in YOLT is where it began to favour this but for me it was the moon buggy in this film.
More interesting than OHMSS for me but definitely the weakest of Connery’s films. 2/5