Diamonds Are Forever (Guy Hamilton, 1971, UK)

                Coming from the excellent On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds are Forever feels like a bit of a letdown. This is the case in spite of Sean Connery’s return to the role (for a record $1.25 million salary at the time). Diamonds signaled a shift in tone for the Bond films, elevating them to a level of camp that would become the norm during the Roger Moore era. The Bond films would begin to enter self-referential territory at this point, and weirdness and wackiness became very prominent. Diamonds is also strangely laid back compared to many of its predecessors, with Connery appearing a bit jaded overall. There is only one major chase sequence, and there is a stark lack of action.

               Diamonds transplants much of the exotic locales of the previous films to Las Vegas, and perhaps loses something in the process. The film is by far the most American of the franchise up to this point, with Jill St. John making an appearance as Tiffany Case – the first American Bond girl. Connery definitely feels like here is in the film for a paycheck, delivering lines without much enthusiasm. While there are some interesting baddies – the duo of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd – they are underused, and much attention goes toward Charles Gray’s Blofeld.

               The moon buggy chase across the desert has to be one of the silliest scenes in the Bond franchise. There are also graphics here, particularly in the nuclear detonation scene, which seem quite poor even for 1971. Diamonds is definitely one of the weirdest Bond films, and hasn’t aged particularly well. However, there is something charming about that weirdness, and it is certainly not the worst film in the franchise. It is great to see Las Vegas in the 1970s as we bid farewell to Connery.

6/10

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