- Mr. Wint: "The scorpion."
- Mr. Kidd: "One of nature's finest killers, Mr. Wint."
- Mr. Wint: "One is never too old to learn from a master, Mr. Kidd."
- ―Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd.
Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh film in the EON Productions film franchise, produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. It was released in 1971. The film stars Sean Connery as James Bond in the actor's sixth and final official film appearance as the spy. Connery would later portray Bond again for the seventh and last time in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again,12 years later in 1983, and lend his voice for the character in the 2005 video game adaptation of From Russia with Love.
In the film, a diamond smuggling investigation leads 007 to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an extortion plot headed by his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Relatively little of the original novel survives the adaptation to film, though many characters from the original book, plus the idea of Tiffany being a diamond smuggler, are retained, so it isn't a complete "rewrite."
The movie begins with Bond's worldwide pursuit of the head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld in revenge for the murder of his wife, Tracy Bond, with the implied permission of MI6, at the end of the previous adventure, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (unusually, however, there is no reference to the death of Tracy in the screenplay). In a secret underground lair, Blofeld is with a team of surgeons, demanding that they hurry up with a plastic surgery procedure. Later, his surgeons take one of his henchmen and place him in a bath of liquefied mud. They smother mud over his face and they leave the room and tell another surgeon, who is entering the room, to leave the temperature stable. We then see an unconscious surgeon whose body has been hidden in a bush. Upon entering the room, the surgeon pulls off his surgical mask and clothing, revealing himself as Bond, who has now infiltrated the lair. As Bond looks around the room, the test subject lying in the mud sees Bond and he slowly draws a pistol, which was covered in mud. Bond turns around suddenly, seeing the drawn pistol.
The test subject sits upright, preparing to shoot Bond as he scrambles towards the mud bath. Bond runs towards the mud bath and pulls on a cord which is linked to a huge tank containing more liquefied mud which is directly above the test subject. As the cord is pulled, Bond ducks by the mud bath as a stream of mud is dropped from the tank onto the test subject, who struggles to get out of the mud. He splutters but is unable to escape as the mud suffocates him but just before he sinks under the mud, he grunts. Bond stands up by the mud bath. He pulls his sleeve up and places it in the mud, searching for the test subject. He pulls the head of the submerged corpse above the surface of the mud, but it's still covered in mud. He finds a pistol that produces a jet of water and uses this to wash the mud off the corpse's face. Once it is washed off, he realises the person he killed isn't Blofeld, but a handsome young man. He lets go of the body and lets it sink under the mud, just as Blofeld arrives with two armed guards. Bond overpowers the guards and then manages to tie Blofeld to an operating table which he pushes into a huge lake of steaming mud. "Welcome to Hell, Blofeld," he quips.
Meanwhile, huge quantities of South African diamonds are being stolen but have not been sold on the market. Suspecting that the stones are being stockpiled to depress prices, M orders Bond to assume the identity of a professional diamond smuggler called Peter Franks to infiltrate the smuggling operation and find out who the stockpilers are.
With the help of fellow smuggler Tiffany Case, and amidst the bright lights of Las Vegas, he uncovers a plot by Blofeld (who didn't die in the cave; Bond had killed another duplicate instead) to create a laser satellite capable of destroying any target on Earth. He uses this weapon to selectively destroy nuclear installations in America, Russia, and China, holding the world to ransom in an international auction, with nuclear supremacy going to the highest bidder.
A notable part of the plot of the movie involves Blofeld's use of the industrial properties of a recluse Nevada multimillionaire by the name of Willard Whyte, the character being a thinly veiled version of Howard Hughes.
The film features a very unusual couple of henchmen: Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. There is a strong suggestion that they are involved in more than just a professional relationship; they appear to be homosexual, although the film never explicitly makes that clear. Throughout the film, they use several interesting ways of assassinating their victims, from the use of a scorpion to kill a South African dentist, tying the feet of Plenty O'Toole to a metal plate and drowning her in a swimming pool, and attempting to incinerate James Bond alive in a crematorium furnace.
Perhaps due to legal wrangling over the rights to Blofeld and SPECTRE, no direct reference to the criminal organization's name is made in the script this time around.
Cast & characters
- Directed by: Guy Hamilton
- Written by: Ian Fleming
- Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz
- Produced by: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman
- Composed by: John Barry
- Cinematography by: Ted Moore
- Production design by: Ken Adam
- Set decoration by: Peter Lamont
- Main article: Diamonds Are Forever (soundtrack)
Vehicles & gadgets
- Pocket snap trap — A small gadget hidden in a pocket to give a person performing an unwanted search on the wielder a painful surprise that would provide a critical distraction for the wielder to exploit for an attack.
- 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 — Tiffany Case picks up Bond after eluding some henchmen.
- Aston Martin DBS — Bond does not actually drive it, but Q can be seen (while on the phone with Bond) in front of an Aston Martin DBS that's apparently being upgraded.
- Moon buggy — Used by Bond to escape from the laboratory.
- Fake Fingerprint — Bond uses a fake fingerprint that clings to his thumb to trick Tiffany Case into believing he is Peter Franks.
- Slot Machine Ring — Q created a ring that when used ensures a jackpot at the slot machines every time.
- Grappling braces — When Bond rides on top of the elevator to the suite of Willard Whyte he uses for the last leg of this trip the rappelling cord built into his braces. (A similar gadget is the belt used in GoldenEye.) Bond uses a special gun to fire the pitons needed to rappel, and later demonstrates that this can also be a deadly weapon.
- Las Vegas
- Baja California
- According to the 'making of' documentary on the DVD, the series producers originally intended Diamonds Are Forever as an extensive reboot of the Bond franchise to appeal to an American audience. Although this didn't happen, the Bond films of the 1970s, up to and including Moonraker would all feature either American settings or significant appearances by American characters.
- In the first scenes, the man that is being attacked by Bond speaks without moving his mouth in any way, suggesting that the voice over was dubbed on top after recording, or the man in question wasn't intended to have any lines.
- No reference is made to Tracy Bond at all throughout the film, despite her death immediately prior being such an important moment in Bond's life. In fact, owing the film's opening scene taking place in Japan, it has been suggested by some that Diamonds Are Forever is actually intended as a direct sequel to You Only Live Twice, completely ignoring the events of On her Majesty's Secret Service. However, the presence of Bond's Aston Martin DBS in Q's lab appears to contradict this theory. Fans would have to wait until The Spy Who Loved Me for the first post-OHMSS reference to Tracy.
- John Gavin, an American actor, was originally cast as Bond. However, the producers were unhappy with this decision due to their experience with the similarly unknown George Lazenby in the previous film, and when Sean Connery made it known that he would be interested in returning, Gavin's contract was quietly bought out.
- When first approached about resuming the role of Bond, Sean Connery half-jokingly demanded the astronomical fee of £2m ($4m or over $20m in 2005) and a production deal. Both demands were met and Connery used part of the fee to establish a charity to help deprived children in Edinburgh.
- It was originally proposed for the previous film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, to end before it does in its book form. The film would end with Bond and Tracy driving off after their wedding, and then the already-filmed sequence of Bond and Tracy pulling over, only to be shot at by Blofeld and Irma Bunt would provide the pre-title sequence for Diamonds Are Forever. The idea was dropped prior to the theatrical release of OHMSS, possibly because George Lazenby had yet to commit to any more films. As a different actor ultimately played Blofeld in Diamonds, this prevented a major continuity issue.
- As was the case with OHMSS, an actor very different from his predecessor was cast as Blofeld. This is in keeping with how Fleming depicted Blofeld in his novels as frequently changing his appearance and even demeanor. The fact his scheming includes using plastic surgery to create doubles of himself further explains his change of appearance (which, among other things, included restoring his earlobes that had been removed as part of his scheme in OHMSS). The film avoids the question of whether the real Blofeld is apparently killed by Bond at the end or another double; when a Blofeld-like character (assumed to be the original) appears in the opening sequence of For Your Eyes Only, his poor physical condition would suggest he is the same individual seen in this film.
- Albert R. Broccoli claimed to have literally dreamed up the plot for this film. A close friend of Howard Hughes, Broccoli dreamed that Hughes had been replaced by an imposter.
- The exterior for the Whyte House Hotel is the Las Vegas Hilton (then called the Las Vegas International Hotel).
- The Lufthansa flight that carries Bond and Tiffany, Wint and Kidd from Frankfurt to Los Angeles was LH450. To the present day (2019) this same flight number and route is still operated by Lufthansa.
- Connery's final scene to be filmed - his last in an official EON produced Bond film - was the crematorium sequence. Somewhat fittingly, it was shot on Friday 13th, 1971.
- Two villains in the Cartoon Network's animated series Codename: Kids Next Door, Mr. Fibb and Mr. Wink, are spoofs of Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint.
- Sammy Davis Jr.'s brief cameo appearance was cut from the theatrical release. It would later be restored on the DVD.
- Scenes also cut from the theatrical release include Plenty O' Toole sneaking back into Bond's hotel room and searching through Tiffany Case's purse, and Plenty breaking into Tiffany's house.
- The climax of the film was changed several times during pre-production. Early drafts included a boat chase on Lake Mead that ended with Blofeld getting trapped above Hoover Dam. When the climax was relocated to an oil rig, producers planned to have scuba divers leap from the attacking helicopters (explaining the presence of frogmen on the movie's poster) and plant mines on the rig's legs to destroy it, but this too was scrapped. Originally the oil rig finale also had Blofeld escape from the rig in his mini submarine, pursued by Bond who would hang from a weather balloon. Bond would eventually catch up to his nemesis in a salt mine where the two would finally fight to the death, with Blofeld falling into a rock crusher. The elimination of this entire sequence, and indeed of any death scene for Blofeld, leaves a major plothole in the film, as Blofeld simply disappears without explanation. A subsequent legal dispute ensured his death would not be seen until For Your Eyes Only.
- The woman in the bikini named "Marie", who was in the beginning of the film who Bond "convinced" to give up the location of Blofeld was Denise Perrier, Miss World 1953.
- The man who drowns in the mudbath was played by stuntman Max Latimer. The mud was actually bucketloads of mashed potatoes. Latimer had to hold his breath as he submerged under the substance each time. As the studio lamps were very hot, the mashed potato mixture started to cook due to the filming taking a long time, by the end of which it started to smell horrible.
- The Jay Sarno, owner of the circus seen in this film insisted that he be allowed to display the scene featuring the Zambora attraction, in exchange for letting them use his circus as a set. He also plays a minor role in the film.
- Beginning with Diamonds are Forever and ending with Octopussy the franchise would alternate from film to film between being scored by John Barry or other composers.
|James Bond films|
Dr. No (1962) • From Russia with Love (1963) • Goldfinger (1964) • Thunderball (1965) • You Only Live Twice (1967) • Diamonds are Forever (1971)
| George Lazenby |
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Live and Let Die (1973) • The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) • Moonraker (1979) • For Your Eyes Only (1981) • Octopussy (1983) • A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987) • Licence to Kill (1989)
GoldenEye (1995) • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) • The World Is Not Enough (1999) • Die Another Day (2002)
Casino Royale (2006) • Quantum of Solace (2008) • Skyfall (2012) • Spectre (2015) • No Time To Die (2020)
Casino Royale (1954) • Casino Royale (1967) • Never Say Never Again (1983)