And now the camp really starts to amp up, as we’re introduced to CIRCUS CIRCUS!! This is an actual Vegas resort and casino, and founded by Jay Sarno (Who also founded Caeser’s palace). Sarno himself makes a weird cameo in the film as one of the presenters of a side show, featuring a transforming woman called “Zambora”-a distraction that Tiffany uses to evade the CIA agents led by Felix who are tailing her-allowing her to leave with the real diamonds and blow off meeting with Bond.
Bond however quickly catches up to her at her Vegas residence, and we’re given the somewhat disturbing image of Plenty drowned due to being tied to a cement block in the pool-although somewhat ironic given that she was saved by a pool at the Whyte House when the mobsters threw her out. She’s a victim of Witt and Kidd, and it’s sort of a plot hole that would’ve made more sense with a deleted scene that was cut from the movie.
Basically how it happened is that after being thrown into the first pool, Plenty returned to the hotel room only to find Tiffany with Bond. Angry and jealous, she took Tiffany’s card from her jacket and went to confront her, only to see Wint and Kidd there instead, who were plotting to kill Tiffany (Since they knew what Tiffany looked like, it’s kind of odd that they killed Plenty anyway, but I guess they had to silence her).
Bond explains that all the Diamond smugglers have been mysteriously killed off, and that she’d be next, and Tiffany realizes that “Peter Franks” isn’t who he says he is. She agrees to help him for now.
We get a bit of an extremely goofy scene with the diamonds being recovered by Dr. Leo Metz, and Tiffany holding up traffic at a gas station so Bond can sneak into Metz’s car. We also get the bizzare line “Keep honking on that tooter, Charlie, or you’ll get a punch in the mouth!” It’s not exactly the sharp wit of some Bond films, but it’s a bit better than some of the more bizarre quips, insults and innuendos of the series (Such as “I’ll buy you a delicatessen in stainless steel!” )
Bond, hiding in Metz’s car, arrives at Whyte technologies, where he is quickly confronted with a scientist, not about clearance or anything, but about his lack of “radiation shields”
Bond quickly adopts the scientist’s name and job-Klaus Hergeishimer (but without knocking him out or anything), and we get a funny scene where Bond does some intel-gathering under the cover of checking for radiation shields, and notices a somewhat strange-looking frame for something, and Metz on the phone with “Willard Whyte”. Unfortunately, his cover is blown as soon as he leaves, with the real Klaus showing up for the same purpose. I will say this-despite looking a bit weird and old in this film, Sean still has some good comedic timing, and seems somewhat more interested in the material here than his kind of sleepwalking in “You Only Live Twice”. There’s really hardly dramatic meat here for Sean, as there were in a lot of his earlier films, but he seems to be embracing the more camp aspects of the character which of course would be expanded with Roger Moore.
….and speaking of camp-and a bit about Moore-we get Bond on the moon-although not really. It’s just some testing area or something. This is intended to be a bit of a joke about the moon landing hoax theory, which was especially relevant at the time since we were still going to the moon.
Of course, space isn’t exactly new territory for Bond. “Dr.No” involved the launch of suborbital rockets being tampered with, “You Only Live Twice” had SPECTRE kidnapping space capsules, this film of course has some space stuff coming up, and of course Bond would go into space in “Moonraker”, complete with lasers, orbital space station etc. Even after Moonraker, “Goldeneye” and “Die Another Day” would continue to use the idea of space weaponry.
….and now we have perhaps the goofiest chase scene in all of Bond, as Bond drives the wacky moon buggy through the deserts of Nevada, somehow outmaneuvering a group of ATVs, cars and policemen despite the vehicle being slow and awkward.
The Bond series of course has a lot of these “Jump the shark” moments, but the series’s longevity I think has allowed it some recovery from these kinds of things.
Thankfully, it’s followed by a much better chase, as Bond tries to evade police in a Mustang. Although it starts the trend of “Keystone cop” moments in Bond films which would return in the next film “Live and Let Die” to a degree in “Man with the Golden Gun” and finally in Roger Moore’s “A view to a Kill”, we do get this stunt with the Mustang, although due to a continuity error-the car righting itself on the wrong side at the end of the shot-and it would’ve been difficult to redo, we get a weird shot of Connery and Jill St. John “re-tipping” the car on the other side somehow in a narrow alley. It’s one of the odder stunts in the series, but still kind of cool.
Back at the bridal suite in the hotel, Tiffany has figured out Bond is really Bond, but she’s kind of worried about the whole “being a diamond smuggler” bit getting her tossed in jail. She tells the exasperated Felix that she’s “cooperating” while lying on a fish tank bed. How do those things even work? I wonder if this is just Ken Adam’s production design, or if these things really exist. Seems like a bit of a hazard!
Bond decides to pay “Willard Whyte” a visit to confront him about what he’s up to, using an elevator and later some mountaineering (The elevator, once again, stops short of crushing Bond). However, once he reaches Whyte’s office, he gets a nasty surprise….his old nemesis, Blofeld, is still alive!
….and there’s two of him!