Rewatching the James Bond films chronologically. When I was kid in history class, they always taught us that the progression was first Connery, then Lazenby, then Moore. But no, after Lazenby we get Connery for another go-around! Diamonds Are Forever, and so is Sir Sean.
Bond blurb: Bond seeks revenge against Blofeld, and is then assigned to diamond-smuggling case, following the stolen diamonds from Holland to Las Vegas to Baha California. There, he finds a still-alive Blofeld posing as a reclusive billionaire, with a plot involving a deadly laser satellite.
Bond background: Bond is on a rampage, out to destroy Blofeld. His wedding to Tracy in the previous film isn’t mentioned, but when you’re watching these movies in order, that’s clearly the reason for Bond’s bloodlust. Later, Bond is taken by surprise by super-tough henchwomen Bambi and Thumper, even though they’re clearly up to no good. This shows that sexy ladies continue to be his “blind spot.”
Bond baddies: Blofeld is back, now played by Charles Grey of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. They use plastic surgery as an excuse for why he looks different (and has hair). The real stars of the show, however, are murderous henchmen Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint. Where on Earth did they find these two guys? The internet informs me that I’m supposed to be offended by them being gay stereotypes, but they’re way too offbeat and quirky for that. It’s like they’re from another planet. (My fellow Neil Gaiman fans will certainly be reminded of Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, but research shows that Wint/Kidd and Croup/Vandermar were both inspired by the hangmen in the 1823 novel Quentin Durward.)
Bond babes: First there’s femme fatale Tiffany Case, who has this running gag about constantly changing her outfit and hairstyle. Then Bond meets Plenty O’Toole. Bond girls sometimes have a reputation of being airheads, and I’m guessing Plenty is the reason for that. Tiffany eventually comes around, though, and becomes a good girl by the end.
Bond best brains: There’s a nifty fingerprint-reading device, outwitted by equally-nifty fake fingerprints. Later, Bond finds his inner Batman when he breaks into a high-rise penthouse with a miniature grappling hook gun! A plot point has to do with voice-changing technology, somehow done with oversized computer circuits. There’s also a funny bit where Q uses a gadget to give him a jackpot at the slots every time.
Bond bash-ups: There’s a great down-and-dirty fistfight in an elevator. The fake moon set inside the baddies’ HQ leads to a chase in which Bond makes his escape across the Nevada desert in a moon rover, pursued by guys on three-wheelers. It’s awesome in its silliness. This leads straight into a nighttime car chase down the Vegas strip, with tons of amazing practical stunts. The big finale takes place on an oil platform, another massive set piece with explosions and fights galore.
Bond baggage: Now it’s 1971. Setting the movie in Vegas recalls the popularity of the “Rat Pack,” as does a glimpse inside Bond’s wallet, revealing him to be a member of the Playboy Club. Man had walked on the moon a couple of times by now, hence the above-mentioned “fake moon” bit.
Bond bewilderment: While at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, we get a scene involving a woman who magically transforms into a gorilla. We see this happen in a special effects sequence, and then the movie continues on as if it never happened. Huh? What?
Bond babble: This one gets a bad rep from Bond fans, but it’s so quirky and goofy that I can’t help but love it. Yes, it’s a total cartoon, but it has a real charm to it. It’s a nice bookend to You Only Live Twice, as it follows several of the same beats, has the same type of humor, and Blofeld’s M.O. is consistent in each one. Diamonds Are Forever might not be a good movie in a classic film-theory-and-criticism way, but it’s a fun movie. In this case, that’s enough.
Next: The high cost of inflation.
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