johnlink ranks DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971)

Until now, it has never been an issue to watch these Bond flicks with no regard for order. But having not seen YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, it seems that this last Bond movie of the original Connery Six is slightly disjointed. That said, I’ve seen enough early Bond and enough Austin Powers to know the gig. This marks the fifth Connery Bond I’ve ranked on these pages, missing only the aforementioned original (which I have not seen) and the 1980s revisit.

Diamonds_are_Forever_-_Kidd_alight

I watched DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971) on 6.21.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER is, by far, the oddest and most inconsistent of the Sean Connery Bond flicks. The formula is somewhat followed. Bond has an early film adventure, Bond beds women, Bond gets a task, Bond almost dies, Bond wins, Bonds sleeps with someone again.

Yet, how we get there is certainly new. The pre-credit sequence proves a red herring (in a good way), seemingly wrapping up an old story line which comes back. When Bond gets his assignment, things are odd. M (Bernard Lee) seems annoyed by Bond’s antics. He wants nothing to do with him. Bond himself seems bored with his job. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) is present, but not in the way that he shows Bond what to do and then Bond does it. In a nice twist, Bond has the gadgets, but we never see their introduction, only the execution. The idea that he always has the right tool for the job still exists, but using them becomes a surprise.

That works. So does a rooftop climb which is executed and immediately thwarted.  Unfortunately, there is much that does not work. A short list:

The opening is misogynistic (with Bond sexually assaulting a woman because he can) and surprisingly violent.

Bond is annoyed with a girl he meets at a casino, but is willing to sleep with her because the movie is due for such a scene.

We are privy to a brutally slow and tedious chase, accompanied by terrible music, as Bond makes a getaway in a lunar vehicle chased by three-wheelers and cars that crash too easily. This chase scene is born from a produced moment which seems to suggest that the American lunar landing was faked.

Sean Connery gets beat up by two females named (because we need to reference decades old Disney movies) Bambi and Thumper. Connery must have been ready to quit Bond as this scene was being filmed.

More than once, Bond gets knocked out by people who would, in previous movies, be easily detected. This includes a faceless henchman.

Bond escapes ‘the brig’ by opening a door and leaving.

The final scene is a terrible payoff because…

One other thing this movie does well is give us two spectacular bad guys in Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) and Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover). Never mind that these two are villainous, it would seem, in part due to their homosexuality. Despite that decades old stereotype, these two work as subversive and funny villains. That they get such an afterthought of a final scene is a terrible disservice.

The Bond girls are forgettable, even if there are far fewer of them (which is a good thing). As a villain, Blofeld (Charles Gray) does not manage to pay off an entire franchise worth of set up. His lack of impact wastes the promise of films past.

There is much to complain about with this movie because it is imperfect. That said, I abandoned MOONRAKER last month because I got tired of it and never went back to finish it. Even an imperfect Connery Bond film is still a film which gives enough entertainment to be worthwhile. DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER is a movie which gets far too silly. It has some smart ideas but drowns them in dumb ones. It’s a movie worth seeing, but not one in the list of the great Bond films by any means.

SCORES

FILM: 4; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 4

4+7+6+4+0=21

FINAL SCORE: 5.25 out of 10

 

 

 

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~ by johnlink00 on June 22, 2014.

2 Responses to “johnlink ranks DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971)”

  1. It’s funny, I liked Moonraker 100% more than this one. It’s so ineffectual, and you can tell that Connery is totally over it!

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