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Diamonds Are Forever

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Diamonds Are Forever

Starring: Sean Connery, Jill St. John
Director: Guy Hamilton
Rated: PG
RunTime: 119 Minutes
Release Date: December 1971
Genres: 007, Action, Suspense


*Also starring: Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean, Bruce Cabot, Desmond Llewelyn, Bernard Lee, Bruce Glover, Putter Smith



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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
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Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

After killing SPECTRE's Ernst Blofeld in the opening scene of 1971's DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, James Bond objects to being called into a case as simple as diamond smuggling. But there will be much more at stake. SPECTRE plans nothing less than an international auction amongst rival nations with nuclear supremacy going to the highest bidder.

The Bond films keep changing the actors who play Blofeld. This time it is Charles Gray replacing Telly Savalas, who in turn came after the much better Donald Pleasence. Although the series's other principal actors, Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny, Desmond Llewelyn as Q and Bernard Lee as M, had long duration runs, Bond's archrival Blofeld, SPECTRE's #1, is played by frequently changing actors.

(The Bond film's usual dramatic opening credits are much more prosaic this time with various shots of twirling and glistening diamonds plus a few mundane dancers -- a big disappointment for those of us fond of its normal high energy and visually attractive beginnings.)

After the disastrous George Lazenby, Sean Connery, definitely the best Bond ever, comes back again to act his signature role of James Bond. But his heart does not seem in it anymore, and his acting quality in the Bond movies decreases dramatically after THUNDERBALL.

Jill St. John, playing a ditzy blonde, brunette and redhead named Tiffany Case, shows lots of cleavage and gives just the right reading of her role as a diamond smuggler and Bond companion.

Lana Wood plays the small part of Plenty O'Toole -- love those Bond film names so full of sexual innuendo. Plenty is another of Bond's love interests in the movie.

Easily the most bizarre and out-of-place characters are Putter Smith as Mr. Kidd and Bruce Glover as his sidekick Mr. Wint. They follow the diamond smuggling chain and kill off the operatives after the diamonds have been passed along. Looking and acting like a couple of pseudo-country bumpkins, they seem to have wandered by accident from the adjoining sound stage into the filming of this movie.

As a Howard Hughes type recluse named Willard Whyte, Jimmy Dean gives an unusual performance that would have been better cast if the role had been given to a crotchety, older actor. The Las Vegas hotel where he lives is named the Whyte House with Ian Fleming's usual flourish for names.

CIA agent Felix Leiter, this time acted by Norman Burton, does not wear the standard issue, dark spook glasses from previous Bond flicks. They never make any sense, but I miss them anyway since they were so deliciously hokey.

Technology this time includes transparent fake fingerprints so Bond can impersonate a diamond smuggler without being suspected. Another gadget changes your voice to sound exactly like someone else's. For once Q gets to use his own materials when he tries out a tiny transmitter that allows him to beat the slot machines in Las Vegas.

The movie does have its frivolity, especially in the chase scenes. One race of great, silly fun has Bond in a stolen lunar vehicle being chased by cars and dirt bikes across a moon-like Nevada desert. As the cars bite the dust, their doors and frames fly off as the moon craft speeds away in front of them.

In a night-time chase scene Bond drives a fire-engine red Mustang through the neon-lit streets of Las Vegas with a half dozen cop cars in hot pursuit. The technique for his escape down a narrow alleyway, smaller than his car, is a classic.

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER runs 2:00. It is rated PG for a half dozen mild profanities, cartoonish violence and sexual innuendo and would be fine for kids around nine and up.

My son Jeffrey, almost 9, complained about the picture's cuss words. He liked the movie but said his favorite of the first 7 Bond films is still THUNDERBALL. He hated the two stupid characters in this one, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint.

Copyright 1998 Steve Rhodes

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