Saturday, April 3, 2010

Diamonds are forever, even if Bond isn't

Another review from when James Bond movies were entertaining.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Starring: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Jimmy Dean, Charles Gray, Bruce Glover, and Putter Smith
Director: Guy Hamilton

British secret agent James Bond (Connery) impersonates an international diamond smuggler to figure out why a reclusive American business magnate (Dean) is acquiring large amount of diamonds. He soon discovers that his old nemesis Ernst Blofeld (Gray) is lurking in the background.

"Diamonds Are Forever" is another of my favorite Bond movie. It's perhaps the quirkiest of the series, with a level of flip humor that rises almost to the level of some of the later Roger Moore films,and of the series' goofiest chase scenes that sees Bond escaping a research lab in a moon buggy while being pursued by security guards in sedans and on pocket-bikes; yet, the film has a dark center, where a creepy pair of assassins stalking Bond at every turn (the flamboyantly gay couple of Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, played with great flair by Glover and Smith) and evil mastermind Blofeld can easily commandeer the resources of a financial empire and the United States government in order to threaten the world.

The film also features one of the most likable Bond Girls ever. The almost-never fully clad Tiffany Case (St. John) brings her considerable assets to film with a twinkle of comic relief--and nothing is more amusing and fun to look at than the outfit she shows up in at one point after being told to put on some more clothes.

Much has been written about the film being homophobic, because it features a pair of pyschopathic, flamingly gay--and so polite that they are every etiquette coach's dream--characters. I think this says more about a pathological hysteria present in the ultra-PC crowd than anything that's actually on screen in "Diamonds Are Forever." Having gay villains in a film is homophobic? Does Blofeld admiring Tiffany Case's ass mean the movie-makers fear straight people, too? No, it doesn't. What it means is that some critics are idiots who probably need therapy.

Another strong element of the film its score. It doesn't have the lasting presence that the "Goldfinger" and "From Russia With Love" music had on the series--themes from which keep popping up for the next decade or more, including this one--but John Barry turns in another excellent effort. The theme song is one of the best so far in the entire series, and Barry incorporates the very hummable tune into several different sequences, and sometimes in very creative ways.

A very enjoyable entry in the Bond series that I think gets unfairly dumped on.

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