DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

Yes, Batman, I will return Robin for... one million dollars! (1971)
With Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Reviewed by JL

     After sitting out ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE two years previously, Sean Connery was lured back (mainly by a hefty paycheck) for one more go-round as James Bond.  In his return to the role, he invests Bond with more fun and energy than in any film since GOLDFINGER, but the surrounding production can't match the quality of Connery's performance.  DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER also proves that the corny, pun-laden humor that marked (or marred) the Roger Moore era arrived one film before Roger Moore.  The film has a few memorable scenes, including an above-average car chase, but it's the cheapest-looking of the Bond films with the most ho-hum storyline.  Although Connery would return to the role of Bond once more in 1983, this was his last time in an "official" Bond film made by EON Productions, and it's too bad the greatest of all Bonds wasn't given a more worthy send-off. 3 - JL


     After the near-perfection of ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, it is a shame the series didn't follow up with an equally good film in which Bond exacts revenge on Ernst Stavro Blofeld for what he did in the closing moments of the previous film.  There was an opportunity to make one of the most intense and meaningful Bond stories, and they chucked it all away.  I suppose the disappointment all around with ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE at the time precluded the producers from making another more-adult followup, but time has shown OHMSS to be the much more appealing film than this cartoonish mess. Connery is still the best Bond and Charles Gray is excellent as a rather dapper Blofeld, but as hard as they try, they cannot save DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER from being a big, silly self-parody of the whole Bond franchise. Entertaining, yes, but far from essential. 3 - JB

007 Page    Prev. Film: On Her Majesty's Secret Service    Next Film: Live and Let Die
The Secret Vortex

HOW TO TALK LIKE A BOND VILLAIN

"Such a pity. All that time and energy wasted, simply to provide you with one mock, heroic moment."


WHAT I DID WAS FOR KING AND COUNTRY

Sean    After the fifth James Bond film, You Only Live Twice(1967), Sean Connery, who had grown tired of the character and the films, handed in his resignation.  Unknown Australian model George Lazenby was chosen to star as Bond in the next film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but after that film, Lazenby quit the role.  For the next film, Diamonds Are Forever, the world, and the producers, wanted Connery back.  He agreed to play 007 once again only after demanding and receiving a goodly amount of money, which he used to establish a fund for Scottish artists. Despite being a far lesser film than On Her Majesty's Secret Service (now considered one of the best of the series), Diamonds Are Forever was a huge hit.  Still, Connery had enough and stepped down once again, telling the world that he would never play Bond again. Roger Moore took over the role in 1973's Live and Let Die, giving movie-goers the enjoyably schizophrenic experience of seeing three different James Bonds in the space of three separate films.

    It took a while for Connery to shake the public's pereception of him.  James Bond was a massive global phenomenon, Connery one of the most famous figures in the world, and for many, Sean Connery and James Bond were simply the same person.  Yet he remained undaunted, plugging away through many fine and varied films of the seventies including The Anderson Tapes (1971), Zardoz, Murder on the Orient Express (both 1974), The Wind and The Lion, The Man Who Would Be King (both 1975) and A Bridge Too Far (1979).  He was delighted to take part in Terry Gilliam's 1981 fantasy romp Time Bandits, whose script called for a character like "Sean Connery - or someone of equal but cheaper stature".  

    By 1983, Connery was far enough removed from his golden James Bond days to feel comfortable enough to step back into the role for the indendent Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again, a film whose title that jokingly referred back to his vow to never play the superspy again.  Though not a great film, Never Say Never Again did well at the box office, and gave movie fans the treat of  getting to see two Bond films in the same year, the other being that year's official Bond film Octopussy with Roger Moore.

    It was as if Connery had to play Bond one more time just to shake off the role for good, because after Never Say Never Again, Connery began to score some of his greatest successes.  He won a BAFTA award for his work in The Name of the Rose (1986) and his only Academy Award in 1987 for his role as officer Jim Malone, mentor to Kevin Costner's Elliot Ness in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables ("They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He shends one of yours to the hospital, you shend one of his to the morgue. That'sh the Chicago way!").  He was brilliantly cast against type as Indiana Jones's tame and timid bookworm of a father in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989) and scored another hit as a defecting Russian submarine captain in The Hunt for Red October (1990). By the end of the 1980s, the James Bond films had settled back into their proper place in Connery's history as the early films - very good, memorable and starmaking eary films - of what was now a hugely successful and rich film career.  

    Connery continued to act for the next decade and a half, but after by 2003's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, he had grown tired of the movie business and eventually retired from acting.  In 2005, he got to "play" James Bond one more time, lending his voice to a video game version of From Russia With Love. 

    In the year 2000, Sean Connery was knighted, becoming Connery... Sir Sean Connery.