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After On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Lazenby announced that he would not be continuing as James Bond (even though the studio offered him a seven film contract) and the studio was left to search for a lead actor once again. Though many were screen tested, the studio informed the producers that they wanted Sean Connery back in the role and that “money was no object” to get him. Upon being offered the role, Connery demanded a fee of 1.25 million pounds (an almost unheard of sum) before he would agree to it (and the studio paid up!!). It was made clear though, that Connery would only reprise the role this one time.
Diamonds are Forever is, to be honest, my least favorite of the Connery Bond films. Though the plot sounds interesting enough (Blofeld is stealing diamonds for yet another evil scheme and Bond must stop him), something about the story just doesn’t “click.” It’s hard to explain why I don’t like it, except to say: Watch Dr. No (1962) and this film back to back (but make sure you watch Dr. No first) and you’ll see the extreme difference in style. Whereas Connery started by playing the role of Bond completely “straight” (i.e. in a serious manner); Diamonds are Forever started the trend of adding some “camp” (that is, going deliberately over the top, poking fun at oneself, etc.) To that end, Diamonds are Forever possesses an aesthetic similar to that of the Roger Moore Bond films (though admittedly it took a movie or two for him to get into full swing).
Property of Eon Productions
As far the music goes, the producers wanted very much to evoke the feeling of Goldfinger (the most successful Bond film to that point) and that is partially why Shirley Bassey was brought in to perform the title song. Bassey’s voice is certainly beautiful. In Goldfinger, Bassey showed off the power of her voice; now she gets the opportunity to display the opposite end of the vocal spectrum: how smooth and delicate her voice can be. The sequence follows a white Persian cat (presumably Blofeld’s) with a diamond collar, as it weaves in and out of various women who are all wearing stunning pieces of diamond jewelry. There are also close-up shots of the precious gems.
As before, John Barry composed the score for this film, and I believe he did a good job. I’m simply not a fan of the camp element in this film, because I don’t feel Sean Connery was suited to that style. On a side note, in the scene when M greets Bond, note how he welcomes Bond back from his “vacation.” That’s a subtle mention to the fact that Connery was not present in the previous film.
Credit to Art of the Title
Next time: enter, Roger Moore as 007 in Live and Let Die (1973)
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