Following the departure of George Lazenby following OHMSS. Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman decided to take the Bond franchise into a new direction. Initially the new Bond was to be an American. John Gavin of Psycho fame was at one point the favorite to become the next 007 along with Batman star Adam West and considering the tone of this movie Adam West would of fit quite well. United Artists wanted Sean Connery to return to the role he left 4 years earlier. United Artists insisted that money was no object and Connery at the time received 1.25 Million to return to the role which at the time was the highest fee an actor had received for a film. Also as part of the deal United Artists would back any two film projects Connery had interest in. Diamonds Are Forever was intended to recapture the feeling of Goldfinger. The film originally was meant to involve Goldfingers twin brother but the idea was dropped in favor of the diamond smuggling angle. Guy Hamilton was brought back to direct the film to keep in favor of the Goldfinger vibe. Much like Goldfinger the film takes place mostly in the US this time Las Vegas. The film involves Bond continuing his trail on Ernst Stavro Blofeld who plans to use Diamonds to build a laser.
The Plot: The film begins with Bond on Blofelds trail. Its not established bu hinted that Bond is after revenge for Blofeld killing Tracy at the endof OHMSS. Once again we get a build up to the reveal of Bond but unlike the reveal to Connery in Dr No this one is just weak. Bond finds
Blofeldat a facility where copies of Blofeld are being made through cosmetic surgery. Bond kills a fake Blofeld when the Real Blofeld appears with 2 guards. Bond disposes of the two guards and then kills Blofeld by straping him to a medical bed and pushing it into super hot mud.
The film then shows assassins Mr Wint and Mr Kidd kill several Diamond smugglers. Wint and Kidd are hinted as to being homosexual but its never confirmed or mentioned in the film. Kidd and Wint are portrayed by Putter Smith and Bruce Glover. M sends Bond to investigate the smuggling ring and travels to Amsterdam. Bond takes the identify of smuggler Peter Franks and meets with Tiffany Case played by Jill St John. Upon a meeting with Case the real Peter Franks shows up. Bond and Franks have a very good fight scene in an elevator which leads to the death of Franks with Bond switching their ID to continue his charade.
Case and Bond smuggle the diamonds from Amsterdam to Las Vegas in the dead body of Franks. Upon his arrival in Vegas Bond meets with
Felix Leiter once again portrayed by another actor Norman Burton who like the past 2 actors to take on the role is not that memorable or special. Bond then travels to the funeral home that the body of Franks is at and is encountered by Kidd and Wint who knock Bond out and place him in a coffin ready for cremation. Bond awakens is tapped with no way out until the machine is stopped by Shady Tree a fellow diamond smuggle who informs Bond that the diamonds in Franks’ body were fakes.
Bond heads to the Whyte Hotel owned by billionaire Willard Whyte a take off of Howard Hughes. Shady Tree works a stand up comedian routine there. Tree is killed by Wint and Kidd. Bond takes into some gambling and meets Plenty O’Toole who is one of them annoying useless Bond girls who are used in the series to be sacrificial lambs. Bond and O’Toole take to Bonds room where gang members are waiting and throw O’Toole out of the window. Bond then spends the night with Tiffany Case who plans to take the diamonds for herself. Bond tells Case to retrieve the Diamonds for herself at the Circus Circus casino.
Case takes the diamonds from the casino and then hands them off to the next smuggler. After finding out that Plenty O’Toole in place of Case pressumably by Wint and Kidd, Case changes her mind as her and Bond take after Bert Saxby another Diamond smuggler. Bond sneaks into Saxbys car as Case provides a distraction. Bond is taken to a resarch facility owned by Willard Whyte. Bond takes the identydy of a worker and discovers that the diamonds are being used to built a satelite. After the real worker shows Bonds cover is blown. Bond then makes his escape in a moon buggy stolen from a set of the moon I guess playing into the talk of the 1969 Moon Landing being staged in a studio.
Upon returning to the White House Bond ascends to the top floor penthouse occupied by Whyte. Upon entering the penthouse Bond is encountered by 2 Blofelds who use a electronic device to disguise their voice to sound like the real Willard Whyte. Bond kills one of the Blofelds and it is another fake. Bond is knocked out by gas in an elevator and is taken by Wint an Kidd to a pipeline and placed in there. Bond awakes and makes an escape. Bond uses a similar device to disguise his voice provided by Q to pose as Bert Saxby on a call to Blofeld. Bond goes to rescue Whyte who is being held captive in one of his homes. Whyte being portrayed by Jimmy Dean.
Whyte and Bond head to the lab and find that the satellite is being used for a laser with the help of the Diamonds. Blofeld plans to use the laser
to blow up nuclear weapons and then have people bid for nuclear power. Case is captured by Wint and Kidd and taken to Blofeld. Bond and Whyte discover that Blofelds base of action is an oil ring in Baja.
Bond plans to change the satellites master tape with an ordinary cassette tape but by a mix up with Case the CIA begin an aerial assault. Blofeld attempts an escape through a mini sub but Bond uses a crane to crash the sub through the oil rig causing the rig to blow up.
The film ends with Bond and Case on a cruise heading for England. WInt and Kidd try one more time to eliminate Bond by a hidden Bomb in a cake. Bond finally disposes of the two assassins as the film ends.
Thoughts: This is the first true example of a bad Bond film. Many people may hate on OHMSS but that is a really good film while this is a joke. The premiss of making a campy Bond film while in Vegas does not work. I think this would work during the Roger Moore era because his Bond would be more suited to this camp but it does not work for Connery. This film also provides one of the first bad Bond girls. While its fun to look at Jill St John in her bikini on the oil rig shes just not a good Bond girl. Shes not the worst of the series but shes near the bottom of the list. The one real highlight of the film is the car chase through the Vegas strip. The stunt were Bond drives the car through the ally is one of the great Bond stunts. Wint and Kidd are forgettable henchmen. Though remembered for their psudo homosexual relationship they add very little to the film. Overall this is just a bad movie that really doesn’t fit into the Bond series at all. Its like that bastard film of the franchise.
Connery: It is clear despite his big payday Connery has little to no interest in this movie at all and I dont blame him. Connery left the role due to little character development in 1967 and missed the film which added the development. Connery returns and his just playing the same old character. This would be the final appearnce for Connery in the official series produced by EON. Its sad to thin this would be it for him and Bond having to leave on such a let down of a film but I wasn’t likely he would return for the next Bond film.
Verdict: This is one of the worst Bond films made its just not a good movie and has few highlights.
Sean Connery as James Bond
Charles Gray as Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Jill St John as Tiffany Case
Jimmy Dean as Willard Whyte
Putter Smith as Mr Kidd
Bruce Glover as Mr Wint
Lana Wood as Plenty O’Toole
Bernard Lee as M
Lois Maxwell as Miss Monneypenny
Desmond Llywellyn as Q
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced by Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman