After the critical mauling that George Lazenby and the series had suffered after On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the James Bond franchise looked back to the original Bond Sean Connery to bring a steady performance and right a potentially sinking ship. Diamonds are Forever took Bond back to the formula that had served it so well in the 1960s and gave the producers time to select a new Bond to properly take over from Connery.
MI6 operative James Bond (Connery) is sent to investigate a complex diamond smuggling plot that has links to SPECTRE and Bond’s long-time nemisis Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray). Hunted by the sinister duo of Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr Kidd (Putter Smith) bond must follow the trail to its source along with Plenty O’Toole (Lana Wood) to stop the diamonds from falling into the wrong hands.
Diamonds are Forever must have seemed like a good idea on paper. The returning Connery bring back credibility to the lead character sadly lost under the mishandling by predecessor Lazenby, while continuing to have Blofeld act as his enemy would link back to past glories. What was actually produced is one of the least effective, overly camp, non-sensical James Bond films of all time.
Suffering from a script as ridiculous as You Only Live Twice but without any of the fun, Diamonds are Forever is a joke of a spy film. The plot is silly, which is rarely a problem for the franchise, but in this case combining it with woeful villains Wint and Kidd, who wouldn’t be out of place in a pantomime and a Bond girl who is as feckless as any in the series and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Connery is at least solid, and by this period in his career knew the character inside and out. The action scenes are also fairly impressive, including the memorable moon buggy chase, but outside of these there is little to recommend the film.
Not the worst film in the series, but close, Diamonds are Forever firmly placed the slick, stylish 1960s behind it and set the scene for the oncoming camp-fuelled storm that would be the Roger Moore era.