Starring: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood
The last and campiest of Connery’s Bond films, Eon should have accepted his retirement, but wooed him back with a then astronomical salary to squeeze out this last ditch effort before turning to Roger Moore to continue the series. Bond discovers an operation producing Blofeld lookalikes and kills what he thinks is the real Blofeld, as well as a stand in. M later sends Bond to track down a ring of diamond smugglers. He locates his contact in Amsterdam, Tiffany Case, and the two smuggle a shipment of diamonds to Los Angeles where Bond secretly rendezvous with CIA agent Felix Leiter. Bond is almost killed by assassins Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, but he has fooled them all by hiding the real diamonds and shipping the fakes. Bond discovers Blofeld is behind the smuggling ring, intending to create a massive laser satellite out of the diamonds. Bond searches for his base of operations, determined to destroy him once and for all.
Connery is obviously tired of the franchise here, dragging himself through the action scenes. He even gets his ass kicked by two scantily clad ladies, Bambi and Thumper. A lot of the action sequences are downright silly, namely a ridiculous moonbuggy chase in the desert. We unfortunately have the third actor in a row to play Blofeld. Charles Grey has his moments, but is an odd, sort of prissy version of Blofeld and the absurdly complicated plot is yet his next attempt to take over the world. Fortunately this is the last appearance of Blofeld or SPECTRE, allowing later entries to move away from the now tired formula. The second credits song from Shirley Bassey and the return of director Guy Hamilton makes it seem like Eon was trying to recreate Goldfinger’s magic. If that was the case, they absolutely failed.
Though full of flaws, this comic book-like entry in the Bond series certainly has its moments. The almost surreal, over the top Las Vegas setting prevents the film from taking itself too seriously, as do Bond girls like sarcastic diamond smuggler Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) and the stupidly named Plenty O’Toole. There is a nice car chase across Vegas and an unexpected elevator battle. The real reason to see this film are the two assassins, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, comic, but also incredibly creepy. They succeed as two of the best villains in the entire series. Pay particular attention to Mr. Wint, who is played by Bruce Glover, father to the equally wonderful and weird Crispin Glover.
“If at first you don't succeed, Mr. Kidd? Try, try again, Mr. Wint.”
There are several DVD editions of Diamonds Are Forever. I’m reviewing the two disc Ultimate Edition, which is also included in volume 1 of the Ultimate Edition box set. There’s also a lovely Blu-ray, which includes most of the special features in the Ultimate Edition. There’s a nice audio commentary from several members of the cast and crew, interviews, deleted footage, behind the scenes, trailers and more. The best two features are the documentary "Inside Diamonds Are Forever," narrated by the wonderful Patrick Macnee (The Avengers) and another, lengthier documentary, "Cubby Broccoli: The Man Behind Bond."