Sunday, 14 February 2016

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

"I was just walking my rat and I seem to have lost my way..."

This film really has no right to be as brilliant as it is. On paper it's worryingly retro even at the time, with not only the bringing back of Sean Connery, which seems desperate, but even getting Shirley Bassey to do the theme tune. And there's that boggling thought of why on earth a British agent is working in the USA, where both the CIA and FBI exist. Plus, it's suddenly the '70s, and the fashions are suddenly rubbish. And yes, against the odds, for the third film in a row we have a work of absolute brilliance?

How do they manage it? Well, the script is superb, a never-ending series of brilliant set pieces. Connery is brilliant, too. Oh, at 41 he suddenly looks much older than he should, certainly too old for the part, and you can't believe it's only been four years since You Only Live Twice. But he's still Connery.

Then we have the splendid Messrs Wint and Kidd, however godawful the cut of their suits. We have the splendid Jill St John. We have Charles Gray, fresh from a bit part in You Only Live Twice, as a fine Blofeld, albeit with a puzzlingly full head of hair.

Oh, and the great Sid Haig is in it somewhere, although I'm buggered if I know where. Joseph Furst is in it, fellow '60s Doctor Who fans. We get Vegas, lots of the Nevada desert, Bond in a moon buggy, an epic car chase with American cop cars (something the Bond films had to do!) and more of the now traditional space stuff by Blofeld. It's also nice to see the character of Q being used as outright comic relief, cheating at Vegas with gadgets. It suits the character perfectly and Desmond Llewelyn is brilliant.

Surely Blofeld is really dead? And surely this run of quality can't last? But for this film, at least, the series is in rude health.

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