Bond in Review: Diamonds Are Forever Part IV

Blofeld’s back, and once again is using body doubles. Bond quickly learns that Blofeld has been impersonating the real Willard Whyte with voice changing technology, who is Blofeld’s hostage. Bond however quickly spots Blofeld’s cat and frightens it, causing it to jump into the lap of one of the Blofelds, who Bond quickly shoots with his piton gun. But, it turns out that cat has a double too (Makes you wonder if the cat at the beginning of the film was really Blofeld’s real cat either. Maybe he’s always had multiple cats?) and that was the wrong Blofeld. Oops.

 

Blofeld asks Bond to leave at gunpoint in the elevator, where he’s quickly knocked out by gas and taken to the desert by Wint and Kidd, who attempt to bury him by putting him in a pipeline under construction. Wint however breaks his aftershave on Bond’s body, which will give Bond a vital clue later in the film.

Bond wakes up, and remarks to a nearby rat, that one of them smells like a tart handkerchief-but it’s him (due to the aftershave). Bond quickly escapes from the pipe, saying to some confused construction workers “I was just walking my rat and I seem to have lost my way”. Although the film has pretty much dealt in absurd humor-especially in the scenes before this one-this one was a pretty good chuckle.

 

Using Blofeld’s own voice trick against him and posing as Bert Saxby thanks to Q. We once again get the whole Bond is a well-known superhero kind of thing, although in this case it’s a bit funny since it’s basically Bond puffing himself up a bit, even saying he’s a genius. Bond’s able to figure out the real Whyte’s location, and then we meet Bambi and Thumper.

No, not those ones-the latest in a line of beautiful but very deadly Blofeld henchwomen. In this case, they’re extremely athletic, and  Bond finds himself considerably overpowered physically by the two girls with a series of grabs and kicks. They even try to crush him with their legs, sort of making them a proto-Xenia Onatopp but with less of a sadistic edge.

 

Bond is finally able to overpower them when they throw him into the pool, where their gymnastics aren’t quite as effective.

What a view(artist 0r0ch1)

As Felix and the others arrive, the girls give up Whyte’s location, and we’re introduced to Whyte, who is played by none other than Jimmy Dean!

 

Yes, that Jimmy Dean you might’ve seen in the grocery store.

 

Of course Jimmy-apart from Whyte-was known as a singer and television host back then, in addition to an actor.

After avoiding a ‘fired’ Bert Saxby, we then return to Tiffany, who is watching Q do some highly questionable cheating on the slot machines with an RPM controller. Tiffany says she hopes Q will put in a good word for her, since she’s two steps from the slammer. Kind of funny, because with Q doing what he’s doing he’s fairly close himself.

However, she notices something odd about a woman with a white cat quickly leaving the casino, and she is thrown into a cab with “her”. It’s actually Blofeld (forced to drop the Willard Whyte persona as the real one is out) in a weird disguise, making this another one of the film’s camp moments.

 

 

However, despite losing the Whyte resources, Blofeld’s plan is about to reach fruition, as Bond and Whyte soon discover-as a satellite, using the diamonds as a refactor-deploys-and starts to shoot deadly lasers at missiles and submarines. It’s worth noting that this scene uses a similar score to the capsule scenes from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, although the next Bond space adventure, MOONRAKER, would use an original composition.

 

Speaking of recurring themes, diamonds and laser satellites would play a role in DIE ANOTHER DAY as well, with the ICARUS weapon. Although in that case, the laser doesn’t seem to have been powered by the diamonds, but funded by them.

Speaking of weird fashion btw, I think this is one of the worst suits Bond’s ever worn. Oh and look, it’s Shane Rimmer again!

and yes, I am counting this. At least it kind of served a purpose.

 

 

 

Apparentally Blofeld’s goal this time is a ransom, similar to his scheme in THUNDERBALL. As the trail’s gone cold, Bond walks around a miniature of Whyte’s empire, but when he mentions “Baja”, Whyte notes that’s not one of his holdings…leading Bond to an oil rig, where’s he quickly captured by Blofeld’s may be SPECTRE, may be not henchmen….and we see Tiffany lounging, apparently having joined the bad guys again.

We learn from Blofeld that he’s using tapes to control the satellite, and we get some silliness with Bond switching the tapes, and Tiffany messing around with them. There’s even a sort of reference to Bond being “superman” here, something not far off considering the plot at this point.

 

Bond eventually manages to free a balloon giving Felix and Whyte the “go” to attack the oil rig. What follows is a largely unimpressive battle. An oil rig doesn’t really have quite the coolness of say, the volcano base in You Only Live Twice or even Piz Gloria in On Her Majesty’s secret service. Some poor effects don’t help either. Bond pretty much doesn’t do much fighting this time either, mainly just using a crane to knock Blofeld’s getaway sub into the control room, disabling the satellite and presumably leaving Blofeld badly wounded yet again, where we’ll next see him in “For Your Eyes Only” ten years later.

Next we get Bond and Tiffany on a cruise, and this actually fits with part of the novel. She seems to be almost proposing to him (First Moneypenny, now her? What’s the deal with trying to ignore OHMSS?), but then Mr. Wint and Kidd arrive with what looks like a nice cake and some wine. Gotta love the face Wint makes when he’s about to use the corkscrew.

But Bond’s able to figure out that these aren’t real room service when they don’t know their wines and Bond recognizes the aftershave. The two killers then try to kill Bond with a garrote and flaming sashlik (although earlier they planned on using an explosive device). Tiffany just kind freaks out and cowers.Bond uses their ‘meal’ against them, using the wine to spread the flame from the Sashlik onto Mr kidd, and using the “bombe suprise” cake on Wint, tying it between his legs, with another hilarious expression.

After that, we learn Tiffany’s question, how they heck are they going to get the Diamonds back from space? Although that really doesn’t seem like the question she was framing earlier.

 

“Diamonds” unfortunately is one of the weaker Bonds for me. Connery has visibly aged and seems a bit bored (although some of the line delivery is pretty funny), the film, outside of the Vegas casinos, is somewhat visually bland especially after the last two films (and seems to be mainly an advertisement for Vegas). It’s got some funny moments here and there, but it really lacks the “spy thriller” aspect of Bond, instead going for a comic book kind of plot. While Bond films of course even at this point featured over-the-top villains and schemes, this one seems almost too simple, especially once the purpose of the diamonds is revealed to be simply a superweapon. The silliness of course would continue with Roger Moore, but at least the coming films felt a bit more fresh and had more interesting locations such as Jamaica and Hong Kong, although Moore’s portrayal still needed some work. Much of the action, sets and effects don’t feel nearly as fantastic as the earlier films. The camp humor doesn’t help either-while humor in Bond of course was in the earlier films, it seemed to be driven more by wit, style and innuendo rather than silly hi-jinks like Bond driving a moon buggy

 

 

 

 

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