Bond in Review: Diamonds Are Forever Part II

Bond and M visit Sir Donald, a man who is concerned about diamond smuggling. This is somewhat similar to the scene at the treasury from Goldfinger, complete with 007 seeming slightly bored, M reprimanding him a bit, and Bond showing off how much he knows about Sherri (However, as M notes he knows very little about Diamonds, much like he only knows Gold “When he sees it”). We learn a bit more about his showdown with Blofeld, hinting that is perhaps another of those unofficial ‘you’re on leave’ missions. Although you’d think tracking down the man who tried to hold the world to ransom once again would be official MI6 business.

 

We quickly cut to South Africa, which despite the voiceover about security in the mines being “airtight” we see a miner smuggle a diamond through his teeth, later recovered by the dentist for a generous compensation. The dentist then meets with one of the film’s highlights, hitmen mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. Wint is played by Bruce Glover, who is the father of Crispin Glover, an actor who is perhaps best known for “Back to the Future” but also for the “Charlies Angels” “Alice and Wonderland” and for his oddball eccentricities both off and on the screen.

Given Bruce’s acting here it’s not hard to see to see where that came from.

Mr.Kidd is played by Putter Smith, who is actually a musician who has had smaller acting roles. It’s a bit clear that he’s the more inexperienced of the two, but they’re still both fun characters. They’re pretty much not quite the regular Bond henchman type-in more ways than one. They’re a double act of sorts, even finishing each other’s jokes. Glover in particular seems to be having a lot of fun with the part. I especially like how he uses a campy voice when he tells one of the smugglers that the dentist was “Bitten by the bug” (In fact, Wint’s deadly scorpion).

The two hitman are playing the part of diamond smugglers, but are really just taking care of the ‘chain’, stockpiling the diamonds for themselves for reasons that will become clear later in the film, although M suspects it’s just for economic reasons. So Bond is set to infiltrate the ring, posing as smuggler Peter Franks, who is quickly captured by MI6 to make the cover work.

….and now we have the very awkward exchange between Moneypenny and Bond as she gives him his phony credentials.

 

 
Bond:What can I bring you back from Holland?
Moneypenny:A diamond?In a ring?
Bond: Would you settle for a tulip?
Moneypenny:Yes!

Connery’s reaction, which I can’t seem to find an image of, is pretty priceless, as if he knew that the joke was tasteless.

When Bond arrives in Holland, we’re introduced to Tiffany Chase (Jill St. John) the primary Bond girl of the movie. Although she initially comes off as a kind of cool, professional character, this pretty much evaporates when she arrives in Vegas.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wint and Kidd kill off another one of the smugglers-an old teacher named Mrs. Whistler, by throwing her in the Amster river. They then sickly photograph the scene, saying that they’ll get the photos to her students, who will be ‘thrilled’.

 

However, Bond’s mission is soon jeopardized by the escape of the real Peter Franks, as Bond discovers on a phonecall with Q, where we get a neat cameo of the Aston Martin DBS being loaded with missiles. However, the car doesn’t show up in any other scenes in the movie, and the later vehicular chase scenes are well, quite different to put it lightly as I’ll write up later.

Bond-lurking in a corner ¬†pretending to be making out by hugging himself (It’s a bit weird) confronts the real Franks by posing as another resident of the building-a Hollander with pretty bad English. “You are English? I speak English. Who is your floor?”

Unfortunately, Bond’s attempt to knock him out gets screwed up when he accidentally elbows the glass in the elevator, alerting Franks. What follows is a pretty cool fight in a confined space, with Bond trying not to get shot, stabbed with glass, or lose his head. However, it isn’t the elevator that does Franks in….

….but Bond’s use of a fire extinguisher to blind him once the elevator lets out, causing him to fall three floors to his death.

007 quickly works in a way to make his cover work even better, by swapping his own ID with that of Franks, causing the shocked Tiffany to remark “You’ve just killed James Bond!” to which Bond remarks “Is that who it is? Just goes to prove nobody’s indestructible.” It’s sort of an odd trend at this point in the film’s history, that Bond-a supposedly “secret” agent-seems to be fairly well known. Then again, Tiffany is a criminal (Like Hai Fat is when Bond brags about himself when posing as Scaramanga in “Man with The Golden Gun”) and he’s probably well known to criminals, I suppose.

We get a funny bit where “Franks” says “This just proves nobody’s indestructible”, a sort of little in-joke about Bond becoming a sort of superhero at this point in the series-heck, he’s even called “Superman” close to the ending of the film. While the films at time dealt with big, villanous plots-particularly “Thunderball”-the Bond series was starting to veer into more unbelievable territory and self-parody, something that would reach it’s peak with “Moonraker”, but would be scaled back and forth a few times over the remaining films.

Next, Bond goes to Vegas.

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