James Bond goes undercover to trace a diamond-smuggling
pipeline to its ultimate destination. He discovers an old
enemy stockpiling gems for use in a deadly laser satellite...
early 1970s witnessed an Americanisation of the Bond movies.
This is often attributed to the influence of director Guy
Hamilton or to the series' new American co-writer Tom Mankiewicz,
but the truth is that these individuals were only part of
a deliberate policy decision to appeal to the US market. In
fact, the producers even cast an American actor, John Gavin,
to take over as Bond, before Connery was coaxed back into
the role. So keen were they to revive the massive popular
appeal that the Bond franchise had generated in the mid-1960s,
that they endeavoured to pull together as many elements as
possible from the formula that had made Goldfinger
so successful in 1964. An early draft of the script even brought
back Gert Frobe as Auric Goldfinger's twin brother (perhaps
having changed his name by deed poll to Diamondthumb)! These
and other fascinating facts are included in the documentary
features on this DVD - they reveal that, with regard to undermining
the British-ness of James Bond, he got off lightly with Diamonds
Las Vegas setting provides many memorable ingredients, including
the wonderfully tacky Slumber funeral service; the Howard
Hughes-style recluse, Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean), who is abducted
without anyone ever noticing; and the trend-setting smash-'em-up
car chase. The wholesale destruction of police cars would
become a staple ingredient of many a subsequent Bond film,
as would the presence of an overweight American sheriff. Charles
Gray also makes an excellent contribution, bringing style
and refined wit to the role of Blofeld.
aspects of the movie prove disappointing, however, particularly
where it glosses over the events of On Her Majesty's Secret
Service, as though the production team wished to forget
Lazenby's movie and its tragic climax. Diamonds Are Forever
opens with Bond seeking out and apparently killing Blofeld,
but there is never much of a sense, either in the script or
in Connery's performance, that Bond is particularly embittered
or grief-stricken. Later on, Bernard Lee's M comments that,
"The least we can expect from you now is a little plain, solid
work," which seems extremely callous under the circumstances.
Similarly, the request made by Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) for
Bond to bring her "A diamond... in a ring" from Amsterdam
is not the sort of thing one would say to a man who has recently
lost his wife.
DVD's extra features include four deleted scenes. One of these
explains how Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood) ends up at the residence
of Tiffany Case (played by a feisty Jill St John), but two
of the others, including an appearance by Sammy Davis Jr,
are blighted by such stilted acting that one is grateful they
were cut in the first place!
distinctly rough diamond, but exquisitely presented.