James Bond's mission is to find out who has been smuggling diamonds, which are not re-appearing. He adopts another identity in the form of Peter Franks. He joins up with Tiffany Case, and acts as if he is smuggling the diamonds, but everyone is hungry for these diamonds. He also has to avoid Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, the dangerous couple who does not leave anyone in their way. Ernst Stavro Blofeld isn't out of the question. He may have changed his looks, but is he linked with the heist? And if he is, can Bond finally defeat his ultimate enemy.
Directed by: Guy Hamilton
. Starring: Sean Connery
, Jill St. John
, Charles Gray
, Lana Wood
, Jimmy Dean
, Bruce Cabot
, Putter Smith
, Bruce Glover
, Norman Burton
, Joseph Fürst
, Bernard Lee
, Desmond Llewelyn
, Leonard Barr
. Music by: John Barry
After George Lazenby left the franchise, possibly jumping before he was pushed, there was much speculation about who would play the role in the next Bond film. In the end, however, Sean Connery was persuaded to return for a sixth outing as 007, although he does not seem to have enjoyed the experience. He is alleged to have stated that he would "never again" play James Bond- hence the title of the unofficial Bond film from twelve years later in which he played the role for the seventh and final time.
James Bond is ordered by his boss, M, to investigate a diamond smuggling ring. M suspects that stolen diamonds are being stockpiled to depress the market, but the truth is far more sinister. SPECTRE, the international terrorist organisation featured in a number of earlier Bond movies, wants to diamonds to power an enormous satellite-mounted laser weapon with which they hope to hold the world's governments to ransom. (This plot was, essentially, to be reused in a later Bond film, "Die Another Day"). This was, in fact, the last film in the official series to feature SPECTRE, for reasons connected with the settlement of a lawsuit about the film rights to Ian Fleming's novels.
As in the two previous Bonds, "You Only Live Twice" and "OHMSS", the main villain is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE. Blofeld was played by a different actor in each film, Donald Pleasance, Telly Savalas and here Charles Gray, who had played a Bond ally in "You Only Live Twice". Savalas had played the character as a crude American gangster, despite his rather incongruous obsession with proving himself a European Count, but Gray's interpretation is closer to Pleasance's, suave, superficially gentlemanly and cat-loving, but sinister. Both Pleasance and Gray give Blofeld an upper-class British accent, although according to Fleming he is half-Greek, half-Polish.
The main "Bond Girl" here is Jill St. John's Tiffany Case. (Jill was both the first American and the first red-headed Bond Girl). Like a number of Bond heroines, Tiffany is originally an associate of the villains who switches sides, possibly when she realises that Blofeld has a nasty habit of killing off his own accomplices, presumably in order to cover his tracks. I know that Jill has come in for some criticism, but Tiffany is one of my favourite Bond Girls. Tough, feisty and resourceful, she was presumably created to be as different as possible from the doomed, tragic Tracy in "OHMSS".
A strong villain and a strong heroine are normally two important factors in the success of any Bond film. Yet despite my liking for both Gray and St. John, my view is that "Diamonds Are Forever" is far from the best of the series. Bringing back Connery was probably not the best idea that Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli ever had, because, although he is certainly an improvement on the inert Lazenby, this is his weakest performance in the series. He seems to have been more fixated on his million-and-a-quarter dollar fee than he was with playing his part, and looks bored and disillusioned.
Some of the minor members of the cast are not really up to scratch; Lana Wood, sister of the more famous and more talented Natalie, shows just why she never went on to become a major star like her elder sibling. (Her character's name, Plenty O'Toole, must count as the second-most contrived moniker for a Bond Girl after Pussy Galore). Naming two ruthless female assassins "Bambi" and "Thumper" may have been intended as irony, but their names seem to be unfortunately, and doubtless unintentionally, appropriate; Lola Larson and Trina Parks come across as no more threatening than the lovable Disney cartoon characters whose names they bear. The gay hit men Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd may have seemed amusing in 1971, but in 2013 they just seem embarrassing. (At least, they were gay in Fleming's novel; in the movie, to keep the censors happy, their homosexuality is implied but never expressly stated).
The plot has some similarities with that of "Goldfinger"- the two films also had the same director, Guy Hamilton- but is a bafflingly complex one, far more complex than it needs to be, and is often difficult to follow. Although short sequences near the beginning are set in South Africa or Amsterdam, the film's main location, Las Vegas, lacks the glamorous exoticism often associated with Bond movies. Apart from an exciting car chase through the streets of Vegas there are few thrilling action sequences, and the final scenes (set on an oil rig) are less spectacular than many Bond finales. Gray, St John and Shirley Bassey's great theme song mean that "Diamonds Are Forever" gets one star more than its lacklustre predecessor, but for me it will never be one of the Bond classics, certainly not in the same class as "Goldfinger" or "You Only Live Twice".
Review by James Hitchcock from the Internet Movie Database.