My James Bond Retrospective: Diamonds Are Forever.

After George Lazenby had just one crack at playing the famed Agent 007, he called it quits, believing that James Bond would be obsolete after the 1960s were over. In hindsight, he was wrong, and he readily admits these days that he was mistaken to leave the franchise.

While the producers searched for a new actor for 007, they called on the man who had originated the film rendition of the famed secret agent: Sean Connery. And so, on December 14, 1971, Diamonds Are Forever found its way into theaters.1971_diamonds-are-forever

From the start, Diamonds Are Forever came across to me like a joke. The film was tasteless, classless and constantly put Bond in some of the most ridiculous situations. The acting is suspect at best, and the settings are some of the least interesting so far in the series. Vegas? Really?

The plot is almost impossible to follow, and the story is entirely too convoluted to understand. Jill St. John plays Tiffany Case, the most bizarre and poorly executed Bond girl to date. She’s vapid and annoying, and I found myself really wishing she weren’t the primary Bond girl of the film.

The film starts out with Bond searching for Blofeld and killing him in a weird and unexplained scene where it appears someone is undergoing some clay-applying procedure that would produce a Blofeld-lookalike. Unfortunately (or fortunately, given the film), Blofeld is portrayed by Charles Gray instead of Telly Savalas. It’s a terribly odd casting choice, given the fact that he had previously played Henderson in You Only Live Twice, which was Connery’s most recent outing as Bond.

I’m quite bothered by this film, so I’m choosing not to give it a thorough review. I have very few positive things to say about this film. Overall, the acting is amateurish, the plot is unintelligible, scenarios are outlandish (which wouldn’t be so bad, were it not for the inability of the actors to sell the suspension of disbelief), the Bond girls are annoying, the villain is weak, the henchmen are completely strange and off-putting, and the chase sequences are poorly paced (not to mention poorly edited; how did they make such a crucial mistake?). Perhaps the only thing I enjoyed about this film is that the editing was an improvement over previous Bond films (with the exception of the car chase scene in Vegas).

However, I think the worst thing about this film is that it completely ignores the life-changing events that Bond experiences in the last film. It’s as though Tracy never existed, and to me, that’s an unforgivable move.

After You Only Live Twice, Saltzman and Broccoli delivered a much needed change to the franchise with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unfortunately, they returned to an old formula that didn’t take Bond very seriously. Change is needed yet again…

Up next, Live and Let Die.

(Click here to go back to the list.)

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