Diamonds Are Forever (1971) / Action-Adventure

MPAA Rated: PG for violence, brief nudity, mild language, and innundo
Running Time: 120 min.

Cast: Sean Connery, Charles gray, Jill St. John, Jimmy Dean, Lana Wood, Bruce Cabot, Bruce Glover, Putter Smith, Norman Burton, Joseoph Furst, bernard lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Leonard Barr, Lois Maxwell, Sid Haig, Valerie Perrine (cameo)
Director: Guy Hamilton
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz (based on the novel by Ian Fleming)

After a one film hiatus, Sean Connery (Thunderball, Goldfinger) comes back to the role that made him famous, as he was made an offer he couldn't refuse - he would become the highest paid actor to date up to that point.  His exorbitant fee did come at a heavy price for the film, as his salary cut into the budget for sets, costumes and special effects, and it does occasionally show.  Unfortunately, Connery came back for what ended up being a very routine outing, not as interesting as the one he skipped, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  However, the fans, most of whom had rejected seeing George Lazenby in the role, didn't mind seeing Connery where he belonged again, and utilizing his ceaseless charisma and physical imposition, he saves this flawed episode from certain mediocrity.

The prologue depicts James Bond finally getting the upper hand on his archenemy, Blofeld (Gray, Shock Treatment), or so he thinks at the time. Of course, Blofeld isn't quite a goner, as he has been looking into cloning himself to make himself more elusive, and indeed he has.  Meanwhile, Bond is sent off to Amsterdam on a seemingly unrelated affair involving a smuggling ring involving diamonds.  Bond assumes an alias, Peter Franks, and a new identity as an interested party in the smuggling operation.  While there, he hooks up with the mysterious but beautiful Tiffany Case (St. John, Tony Rome), finally heading off to Las Vegas, where he begins to discover that the ultimate aim of the operation is far more nefarious than just diamond theft.

Bloated, gaudy, and convoluted, Diamonds Are Forever would go down as an average Bond outing, with an aging Connery's appearance as the biggest attraction to the project.  The plot is difficult to follow, but there are still a bevy of distractions, mostly in the form of sexy women, solid stunt work, and an overriding sense of tongue-in-cheek humor.  Jill St. John and Lana Wood (Grayeagle, Speedtrap) provide good eye candy, but they are very unmemorable as Bond Girls go.  Bambi and Thumper, who only have one scene, leave an infinitely more lasting impression.

Diamonds Are Forever plays far more like an action comedy than a full-fledged adventure, and even the direst of confrontations is laced with a light and glitzy touch.  It is entertaining, but it's also too silly to really be engaged by, so its primarily recommended for those that like less substantive Bond films.  Diamonds Are Forever isn't the worst Bond film, but for a Connery entry, it's one of the weakest. After this, Connery would go back into his retirement from the Bond world, only to resurface in the unofficial entry, Never Say Never Again. 
 

Qwipster's rating:

2005 Vince Leo