Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

With "Diamonds Are Forever", Sean Connery returns as James Bond and Guy Hamilton (of "Goldfinger" fame) returns to direct this film about smuggling and...of domination.
Number One aka Blofeld is still on the loose, having been running from James Bond for several years, still trying to find someway to conquer the world—for what reason? Ruling the world just doesn't sound that appealing to me, yet this is the sole goal of Blofeld.
Seemingly operating outside of SPECTRE, Blofeld appears to get his just desserts by being spa-treated to death in the first few minutes of the film. With the dramatic turns and heavy sexual implications of the prior Bond movie ("On Her Majesty's Secret Service") completely ditched, "Diamonds Are Forever" can reclaim being mindlessly fun and goofy.
Bond is put on a smuggling case, much like he was in "Goldfinger", but this time he has to find out where gobs of diamonds go when they vanish.
We are introduced to John Barry's incredible score, which is just jazzy enough to make the transition back to stupid fun seamless. Ted Moore again comes back as the cinematographer, his style is almost unmistakable.
"Diamonds Are Forever" has a very strong start, unashamedly and somewhat bitterly reintroducing Connery as Bond...I guess I'm the only one who liked George Lazenby as Bond.
But the series has grown a bit since the sixth movie in the franchise smashed all the stereotypes. Falling back a little in its evolution, "Diamonds Are Forever" still enjoys the idea of Bond as the quintessential man's man. Yet in this movie, he doesn't have to have sex with every single woman he comes across—one scene has him strangling a woman with her own bra to get her to talk to him, so the sexual violence is indeed back in full force.
We get introduced to a dangerous duo, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, who are the most curious installment in the Bond franchise. They are obviously a force to be reckoned with, bumping off person after person in order to ensure that the secret of the diamonds remains intact. In previous movies, the bad guys' sexuality has been hinted goes back as early as "From Russia with Love", where the bad woman was obviously a lesbian. In "Goldfinger", the character of Pussy Galore was most likely homosexual, but gets "won over" by Bond's persistence and charm. Yet in both these situations, there is speculation. In "Diamonds Are Forever", it's completely blatant that Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint are lovers. They hold hands, make slight innuendoes, and are never seen apart from each other. Plus there's the line: "She's very attractive, for a woman, I mean."
Anyways, Bond does get pushed to the limits as the diamonds start passing through way too many hands to keep up. I would argue that "Diamonds Are Forever" has some of the most nail-biting scenes of the series thus-far.
Sometimes the special effects don't quite deliver like they have in the past few movies; but Guy Hamilton uses great set pieces to enhance his story. The huge budget probably went mostly into the sets.
Disjointed and obviously non-sensical, "Diamonds Are Forever" brings a layer of huge entertainment back to the series. It starts too strong and finished too weak, but is solid all the way through.
This movie is also the last appearance of Sean Connery as Bond in the official franchise.

Score: ★★★

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