Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
July 9, 2015 4:09 AM - Subscribe

A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an extortion plot headed by his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

This is the 7th James Bond film adventure.

The Wikipedia entry.
ShrunkenCinema.com reviews Diamonds Are Forever.
The James Bonding podcast (Matt Mira, Matt Gourley and guest Doug Benson) covers Diamonds Are Forever.

Some Top Critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes:

Jay Cocks, TIME Magazine: "Bond looks better than ever, partly because Sean Connery has returned to play him."

Variety: "Diamonds Are Forever doesn't carry the same quality or flair as its many predecessors."

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader: "Assorted ladies, a few quick lines, and one good chase, making for a mediocre entry in the series."

Time Out: "A wry and exhilarating bit of entertainment."

Vincen Canby, New York Times: "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 d├ęcor."

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: "
We see different movies for different reasons, and Diamonds Are Forever is great at doing the things we see a James Bond movie for."
posted by doctornecessiter (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Apparently this is unpopular, but I love this movie. All the earlier Bond movies are camp, but this is the first one that fully embraces the campiness. It's goofy, it's fun, and it's not under any pretenses. The fight and chase scenes in On Her Majesty's Secret Service are bad attempts at good action movie fight and chase scenes; the ones in Diamonds are Forever are stupid on purpose and it elevates them to greatness.

I agree that the Evil Gays thing it's got going is offensive and tiresome, but in-universe, I like to handwave it away by saying that basically it is a miracle Wint and Kidd found each other because they are clearly very happy together and I don't think there is anyone else on this planet who could love either of them.
posted by capricorn at 5:09 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


that moon buggy chase though
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:54 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The first time I tried to watch this, I got up to the point where Bond is roughing up the guy while asking where Blofeld is, and they show a close-up of the guy's face...His mouth is wide open, an expression that doesn't suggest that he's speaking, as they overdub him saying, "Cai-Cai-..Cairo!" I thought, "Wow, they really do not give a shit about making this one any good at all, do they?" and I turned it off. (That, by the way, was about 20-30 seconds into the movie.)

I finally watched it all the way through a couple of years ago, and found it pretty dreadful for this series, but watchable. But this week I watched it again, this time with a group of people ready to have as good a time as possible with it, and I have to admit that we all got pretty into the utter camp of it. It's a cartoon.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:14 AM on July 9, 2015


When Film Critic Hulk did his (lengthy, hard to read because it's all-caps) James Bond retrospective last year, he just rips into director Guy Hamilton. Goldfinger aside, Hulk singles him out as the worst Bond director, and notes all of his homophobic, sexist, racist, and generally misanthropic tendencies. Goldfinger was an outlier, and as Hamilton gains more control over the franchise, the movies become more and more offensive, and just plain bad.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:17 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think this was the first Bond film I ever saw; I remember my older brother making sure we could have the TV to watch it and him filling me in on Bond ahead of the movie. I was probably like 10 or 11; maybe 12. I do know what really caught my attention was the fight in the elevator and then the first scene with Ms. Case who was more undressed than any woman I had seen in a movie to that point (or maybe not; it might just be that the early throes of puberty is the exact right moment to be introduced to Mr. Bond and his universe, because it sure made an impression). Anyways, I remember enjoying it because it had guns and girls and gadgets. Again, puberty.

It wasn't until I watched it again years later that I noted the really, really problematic issues with Wint and Kidd (I like the characters - they take such a professional delight in their job), but it comes across very poorly to a more mature audience in terms of the stereotypes. And the rest of the movie just felt flat.

Ah, Mr. Bond. It's never as good as the first time, don't you find?
posted by nubs at 7:27 AM on July 9, 2015


that moon buggy chase though

This is a movie with a character named "Plenty O'Toole" in it. Of course there's going to be a ridiculous moon buggy chase. I enjoyed the internal camp movie logic of that chase, because the moon buggy is designed for the lunar surface so it fares better in the desert than any of the cars.
posted by capricorn at 8:20 AM on July 9, 2015


Isn't this the one that cuts to Jimmy Dean in Las Vegas playing a multi-millionaire? The first time I watched it (airing on TV) I thought someone had flipped the channel.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:30 AM on July 9, 2015


Isn't this the one that cuts to Jimmy Dean in Las Vegas playing a multi-millionaire? The first time I watched it (airing on TV) I thought someone had flipped the channel.

It is indeed, and if you've ever wanted to see Jimmy Dean as a honky-tonk Howard Hughes and hollering at people, this is the (and possibly the only) movie for you.
posted by Copronymus at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Vegas section of this movie just slays me with laughter. It's trying to loft Vegas into the Monte Carlo stratosphere, but manages to make it seem a thousand times worse than it is.

"James Bond! He's elegant. Suave. High-class. He likes gambling."
"Hey, let's take Bond to Vegas!"
"Vegas is classy in 1971?"
"Dude, have you seen Circus Circus?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:37 AM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


This was the first Bond film I saw in a theater. My friend and I were really excited to get to see it without parents. Even at that young age, we came away horribly underwhelmed. Connery was about the same age as our fathers and, frankly, kind of looked like them, too. He certainly wasn't the lean action figure of yore, that's for sure.

And, Jimmy Dean? Good lord.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:38 AM on July 9, 2015


I found myself fascinated by Blofeld's Vegas lair. You can sort of see it here. OK, so there's glass and steel everywhere, that's par for the Bond-villain-lair course, but what is that tapestry-looking thing on the wall? Why does it look like a Byzantine mosaic? Did he just hack an actual mosaic off of a wall in Ravenna? Why does he have a medieval drinking horn on his desk? Can't his bonkers interior designer settle on a single medieval aesthetic instead of throwing together random stuff from different periods and regions?

I mean, I actually kind of like the modern/medieval thing he's doing (I don't know if I'd want to work in that room, but it's certainly striking), and I think it works for Blofeld, but it's pretty weird.
posted by Copronymus at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Before I'd seen this, way back in the 80s and early 90s when my earliest Bonds were Moores, my perception just from whatever Bond fandom culture I'd been exposed to was that On Her Majesty's Secret Service was bad to the point of not even really counting as official film series canon, and that this one was really good. I didn't know the order that they were released, or the behind-the-scenes drama of Connery leaving and then returning...I just knew that Dr. No was the first one, and I had adopted this notion that From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever were the Connery ones that fans seemed to like the most. Of course this was from the point of view of a pre-teen, so who knows what individual's opinion I heard that I may have inflated to be the accepted truth. Imagine my shock when I actually watched it.

But there will always be an audience for just about every level on the seriousness-campiness spectrum for these, that's the brilliance of this series. In fact now that I've confirmed that I can more or less meet Diamonds Are Forever on its stupid level even though so little of it is what I want from a Bond movie, I think that leaves only two titles remaining that I really have serious trouble appreciating. We'll see how they play for me later this fall, I'm anxious to get them over with.
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:18 AM on July 9, 2015


OK, I haven't seen this for years and years, but is there a bit in the casino where an elephant is playing a slot machine, wins with three elephants in a row, and then trumpets happily in triumph? I'm worried I've inserted something from a fever dream into my memory of the film.
posted by sobarel at 11:44 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK, I haven't seen this for years and years, but is there a bit in the casino where an elephant is playing a slot machine, wins with three elephants in a row, and then trumpets happily in triumph? I'm worried I've inserted something from a fever dream into my memory of the film.

Yep, that happened in this. For reference: if you're watching the movies in order back-to-back, it happens probably less than an hour after Bond's beloved wife is tragically murdered in cold blood.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:48 AM on July 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I found myself fascinated by Blofeld's Vegas lair. You can sort of see it here.

It looks like that scene is a stage set designed by Ken Adam, but inspired by the real Elrod House used in the later scenes.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:07 PM on July 9, 2015


I actually like the campy Bond grandeur, so I actually enjoy this if only for Bambi and Thumper.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:00 PM on July 9, 2015


The aesthetic of Blofeld's lair in Vegas is not his own but Willard Whyte's. Blofeld is after all only squatting in Whyte's penthouse. So I expect the production design is meant to reflect the eclectic tastes of a wacky billionaire, not a criminal mastermind.

Bond (after shooting a man in in the desert): Saxby...
Whyte: Burt Saxby?
Bond: yes.
Whyte: Tell him he's fired.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:50 PM on July 9, 2015


It's on the telly now. I just made the depressing discovery that Connery was almost ten years younger than me when they made it. They, perhaps understandably and not reprehensibly, cut the bit where he tries to strangle the woman with her own bra, so the pre-credits sequence makes even less sense than it did.

Good song, though.
posted by Grangousier at 1:13 PM on July 10, 2015


They should probably skipped Guy Hamilton and gone all the way to Robert Fuest.

In their sheer strangeness, I'm not sure that Wynt and Kidd really count as gay stereotypes at all, apart from the hand-holding, which comes across more as joi de vivre. Were they the original enigmatic pair of wisecracking killers? (c.f. Breughel and Mahler, and Croup and Valdemar).

Intercutting between them and the tedious briefing session does make them look a lot more fun than Bond.
posted by Grangousier at 1:26 PM on July 10, 2015


"Miss Case seems quite attractive... for a lady."

Oh, all right then. They're still odd, though.
posted by Grangousier at 1:35 PM on July 10, 2015


In their sheer strangeness, I'm not sure that Wynt and Kidd really count as gay stereotypes at all, apart from the hand-holding, which comes across more as joi de vivre.

Unfortunately, there are a few other homophobic elements in their portrayal. First, you have Bond recognizing them because one of them wears an especially florid cologne, which Bond refers to as the sort of thing "a cheap tart" would wear; there's their exchange on the plan midway through the movie in which Putter Smith points out that Jill St. John's character "is quite attractive," gets a nasty glare from Bruce Glover, and then quickly adds, "For a lady, that is;" and finally there's Bruce Glover's high-pitched squeal and weird smiling expression when Bond yanks Glover's arms through Glover's legs in their final scene.
posted by kewb at 5:51 AM on July 13, 2015


What, no mention of the satellite being controlled by a tape deck?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 2:45 PM on October 28, 2015


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