page contents

Select Page

Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Diamonds Are Forever is a 1971 British spy film and the seventh in the James Bond series to be produced by Eon Productions. It is the sixth and final Eon film to star Sean Connery, who returned to the role as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond, for the first time since You Only Live Twice (1967), having declined to reprise the role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

The film is based on Ian Fleming’s 1956 novel of the same name, and is the second of four James Bond films directed by Guy Hamilton. The story has Bond impersonating a diamond smuggler to infiltrate a smuggling ring, and soon uncovering a plot by his old nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld to use the diamonds to build a space-based laser weapon. Bond has to battle his nemesis for one last time, to stop the smuggling and stall Blofeld’s plan of destroying Washington, D.C., and extorting the world with nuclear supremacy.

After George Lazenby left the series, producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli tested other actors, but studio United Artists wanted Sean Connery back, paying a then-record $1.25 million salary for him to return. The producers were inspired by Goldfinger; as with that film, Guy Hamilton was hired to direct, and Shirley Bassey performs vocals on the title theme song. Locations included Las Vegas, California, Amsterdam and Lufthansa’s hangar in Germany. Diamonds Are Forever was a commercial success, but received criticism for its humorous camp tone. The film marked the final appearance of the SPECTRE organization (though not by name) in Eon’s Bond films until the 2015 film of the same name.

Image result for The New York Times logo


A Benign Bond:007 Stars in ‘Diamonds Are Forever’

Published: December 18, 1971

“Diamonds Are Forever,” the eighth James Bond movie, the seventh to be produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and the sixth to star Sean Connery, is a nostalgic journey down memory lane—by jet, by helicopter, by hearse, by moon machine, and by bare foot across deep-pile rugs to king-sized beds in hotel rooms as big as Nevada.
A lot of things have changed since “You Only Live Twice” (1967), the last real Bond adventure, but 007 has remained a steadfast agent for the military-industrial complex, a friend to the C.I.A. and a triumphant sexist. It’s enough to make one weepy with gratitude. I mean, not everything must be mutable.
“Diamonds Are Forever” is also great, absurd fun, not only because it recalls the moods and manners of the sixties (which, being over, now seem safely comprehensible), but also because all of the people connected with the movie obviously know what they are up to.
This includes Mr. Connery, who must reconcile himself to the fact that nothing becomes him as much as the character he wanted to leave; Guy Hamilton, the director, whose “Goldfinger” was the best of the earlier Bonds; Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz, who know exactly when a screenplay should make sense and when it’s a waste of time, and Maurice Bender, the designer of the main titles that so brilliantly reflect the make-belive violence, vulgarity and humor of the film that follows.
The story, which may or may not have much to do with Ian Fleming’s novel published here in 1956, begins as a conventional diamond smuggling caper but quickly evolves into another one of the positively immortal Blofeld’s schemes to dominate the world, this time by something that I can only describe as a death-ray-carrying, diamond-encrusted sputnik.
The locales shift from London to South Africa to Amsterdam, before more or less settling down in Las Vegas, which, with its disposable facades, its arbitrary payoffs, its magnificent assortment of available women, and its implication that this is civilization’s end, is the perfect setting for the kind of doomsdays that always threaten Bond’s world.
In addition to several Blofelds (all played by Charles Gray), the characters include a nice little old lady named Mrs. Whistler, who teaches school to South Africans when she is not smuggling diamonds to Europe; two gentle gunmen, who are fond of their jobs (and in love with each other); a mysterious Las Vegas millionaire named Willard Whyte (played by Jimmy Dean); a couple of butch beauties named Thumper and Bambi, and Lana Wood and Jill St. John, as the two principal women in James’s life.
The movie’s momentum is such that one never has much time to react to its lack of reason, only to its sensations of speed and narrow escape, and to the splendor of its crazy gadgets and décor. It may be that I’ve become jaded, or that I’ve forgotten the details of all but the last (and worst) Bond film (“On His Majesty’s Secret Service,” which featured a vivid sequence in which a man got chopped up by the blades of a snow-removal machine), but “Diamonds Are Forever” does seem comparatively benign. I’d almost call it a movie to play hookey for.
It opened yesterday at the DeMille and other theaters around town.

My Review


Connery looks terrible and the movie falters right out of the gate A podgy, balding actor doing a bad impersonation of Sean Connery stars in this movie that seems confused between wanting to be a more serious James Bond picture and a more jokey seventies entry. What could (and should) have been a great tale of Bond avenging the murder of his wife with 007 tracking Blofeld around the world is instead turned into a wacked out amusement park ride. Flat setpieces (only the elevator fight with Franks gives any real excitement), loosely drawn characters, a ho-hum plot and the worst Felix Leiter of the series mean that this 1971 film fails on so many levels to serve as a swan song for Connery (no wonder he returned 12 years later for the far superior Never Say Never Again). This movie really is going nowhere fast. Little do we care if 007 carries out his assignment or if the world survives the machinations of Blofeld. With Bond being chased by a couple of gay assassins and Blofeld prancing around dressed as an old lady the camp element becomes so pervasive that one almost expects Charles Gray to jump on a desk and start singing that number from `The Rocky Horror Picture Show.' One of the major failings of this movie is Connery himself - he looks simply terrible (and in fact appeared much healthier and effective in Never Say Never Again). He also seems universally bored with the proceedings (as he probably was) and his monotone delivery of several lines produces not awe at his acting ability but yawns at just how uninteresting and boring the story is. Overall a flat entry that does nothing for the audience. The climax aboard the oil rig must surely rank as one of the worst and least exciting of the series (and this from someone who loves the fight in the monastery in For Your Eyes Only). My least favorite Connery 007 movie.

Bond girl Appeal

About The Author


Born on the English-Scottish border I emigrated to the US after graduating college in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in 2007. I have served in the U.S. military and my past positions include as an Assistant Managing Editor of The Washington Post Company, a technical writer working on technical documentation for both a construction company and a large government contractor, a graphic designer creating graphics in support of government contract proposals, and as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy. which included being assigned as the official writer for the Navy and DoD on the assumption ceremony of a new Secretary of the Navy. I am currently a Web Services Writer for a large government contractor in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Recent Reviews




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!