Diamonds Are Forever

 Release Details - Credits - Music - Cast - Notes

release details
Date of release: 30 December 1971 (UK), 17 December 1971 (US)
Running time: 119 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35 : 1
Classification: PG (UK), PG (US)

Alternative titles: Diamond Fever (Germany & Sweden), A Diamond Cascade (Italy), Diamonds For Eternity (Spain & Portugal).

Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Produced by: Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman
Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz
Associate producer: Stanley Sopel
Production designed by: Ken Adam
Director of photography: Michael Reed BSC
Editors: John W Holmes ACE and Bert Bates
Special effects: Whitey McMahon and Leslie Hillman
Visual effects: Albert Whitlock and Wally Veevers
Main title designed by: Maurice Binder

Music composed, conducted and arranged by: John Barry

Main theme: "Diamonds Are Forever"
Sung by: Shirley Bassey
Lyrics by: Don Black
Highest chart position: 38 (UK)

Musical notes: The secondary Bond theme "007" is heard during the climatic oil rig sequences; it was previously heard in From Russia With Love, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice.

James Bond: Sean Connery
Tiffany Case: Jill St John
Ernst Stavro Blofeld: Charles Gray
Plenty O'Toole: Lana Wood
Willard Whyte: Jimmy Dean
Alburt R "Burt" Saxby: Bruce Cabot
Mr Kidd: Putter Smith
Mr Wint: Bruce Glover
Felix Leiter: Norman Burton
Professor Dr Metz: Joseph Furst
M: Bernard Lee
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Shady Tree: Leonard Blair
Miss Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Mrs Whistler: Margaret Lacey
Peter Franks: Joe Robinson
Doctor (Blofeld's Plastic Surgeon): David de Keyser
Sir Donald Munger: Laurence Naismith
Morton Slumber: David Bauer

Bambi: Donna Garratt
Thumper: Trina Parks
Klaus Hergersheimer: Ed Bishop
Gangsters: Marc Lawrence, Sid Haig, Michael Valente
Tom: Shane Rimmer
Airline Representative: John Abineri
Helicopter Pilot: Raymond Baker
Doorman at Tropicana: Nicky Blair
Barker: Larry Blake
Maxie: Ed Call
Aides to Metz: Constantin de Goguel, Janos Kurucz
Boy at Circus Circus: Gary Dubin
Welfare Worker: Catherine Deeney
Immigration Officer: Clifford Earl
Sir Donald's Secretary: Mark Elwes
Houseboy: Brinsley Forde
Vandenburg Launch Director: David Healy
Agent: Karl Held
Controller (Moon Crater): Bill Hutchinson
Guard (Moon Crater): Frank Mann
Fake Blofeld: Max Latimer
Maxwell: Burt Metcalf
Man in Fez: Frank Olegario
Marie: Denise Perrier
Dentist (Dr Tynan): Henry Rowland
Vandenburg Aide: Gordon Ruttan
Blofeld Agent: George Lane Cooper
Crane Operator: Dick Crockett
Announcer at Circus Circus: Don Messick
Gunman: Johnny Miller
Shady Tree's Acorn: Valerie Perrine
Sideshow Barker: Jay Sarno
Whyte Technologies Gate Guard: Tom Steele
Craps Dealer: EJ "Tex" Young

The gunbarrel: With the return of Sean Connery as Bond, the gunbarrel sequence again reuses the footage first seen in Thunderball and as such becomes the swansong of Bond's gunbarrel hat. The music features the first use of an electric guitar since Thunderball.

Using the title: The plot of the film concerns diamonds but the script resists the temptation to make use of the title.

The novel approach: Diamonds Are Forever establishes a trend that would be followed throughout the seventies by only using minimal amounts of Fleming material. This film at least uses Fleming as a starting point (Bond infiltrating a diamond smuggling pipeline using the identity of Peter Franks), before departing on its own flights of fantasy. Some character names (Tiffany Case, Shady Tree, Wint and Kidd) and settings (Las Vegas) are also taken from the novel. The final sequence, Bond fighting Wint and Kidd on a luxury liner, is also similar to the final part of the book.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: The movie features very few scenes featuring the Secret Service with Bond being briefed at Sir Donald Munger's residency. Moneypenny only appears when she meets with Bond when he leaves for Amsterdam. There is a brief scene in Q Branch, and Q himself later travels to Las Vegas (which seems a little extravagant when it is simply to operate a voice box device). In a rare piece of personnel information about Bond's colleagues it is revealed that Q has children (he mentions that he built a voice box to entertain them the previous Christmas). M refuses Sir Donald's offer of sherry on doctor's orders.

Locations: The movie opens with a swift travelogue, opening in Japan (at least that's the implications of Bond's fight with the ninja) before moving to Cairo in Egypt and ultimately to Blofeld's headquarters in South America. After Bond's briefing in London there are sequences in South Africa (although Bond doesn't visit there), a British ferry port and Amsterdam, before a move across the Atlantic. Bond arrives in the USA at Los Angeles before travelling to Nevada, with much of the rest of the film taking place in and around Las Vegas. Blofeld's oil rig headquarters is off Baja in California. Finally, an ocean liner sailing from the USA to Britain.

The villain: Blofeld returns as the major villain for the third consecutive movie following yet another change of appearance and mannerisms (for instance, it is difficult to imagine the Telly Savalas version appearing in drag!). Blofeld now sounds British, although he probably isn't since he refers to Britain as Bond's "pitiful little island". He claims not to be a scientist, which seems to contradict what we learnt in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Blofeld has retained his love of white cats, but SPECTRE is not mentioned. Instead, Blofeld is making use of the empire of the reclusive millionaire Willard Whyte. Indeed, the script cleverly leads the viewer into believing that Whyte is the villain. Blofeld's plan this time involves the construction of a space bourne laser system with which he blackmails the world. The main component of the laser is a large number of diamonds which must be smuggled into the USA. The device is constructed by Professor Dr Metz, the world's leading expert on laser refraction and a noted pacifist who is tricked into believing that he is working towards world peace. As a security measure, Blofeld has used plastic surgery in order to create at least two doubles of himself.
Diamonds Are Forever features the last proper appearance of Blofeld in the EON series of movies. He attempts to escape from his oil rig in a submarine but Bond gains control of the crane that it is suspended from and gives Blofeld a rough ride. His fate was presumably left open deliberately in order to allow the character to return. However, he never did and it is disappointing that such a major recurring villain gets such a unconclusive fate. However, see also For Your Eyes Only...
Amongst Blofeld's employees are a pair of hitmen called Wint and Kidd. Mr Kidd is the one who wears glasses and has a moustache; Mr Wint is cleanshaven and wears a pungent aftershave. It's implied that they are homosexual (they are seen holding hands and Kidd mentions that Tiffany Case "seems quite attractive...for a lady"), an aspect of their characters which is underplayed compared with their literary counterparts. Wint and Kidd are disposed of by Bond somewhere in the Atlantic (Mr Kidd is set on fire and Wint is blown up).

The girl: Tiffany Case is an American who lives in Amsterdam and is part of the diamond smuggling pipeline. She gained her name since she was born on the first floor of Tiffanys (the jewellers in New York) when her mother was looking for a wedding ring.

Bond's conquests: Diamonds Are Forever is unique since Bond only gets to sleep with one woman during the course of the movie - namely Tiffany Case (although on several occasions). He almost gets lucky with Plenty O'Toole, but they are interrupted by the presence of a number of gangsters in Bond's room.

Gadgets: A nasty finger trap that Bond wears in his gun holster to trick anyone who tries to disarm him; peel-off fake fingerpints (Tiffany has a fingerprint scanner); Blofeld's voice synthesiser that allows him to immitate Willard Whyte (a miniature version is implanted in his doubles), which Bond and Q copy; Bond's piton gun. While in Las Vegas Q takes the opporunity to try out his "electro-magnetic RPM controller", a device worn as a ring that allows its user to win on fruit machines (it apparently causes the rotation of the cylinders in the machine to stutter). During the scene in Q Branch a number of large rockets are being loaded into Bond's Aston Martin.

Recurring characters: Blofeld, as discussed under the villain section above. Felix Leiter returns for the first time since Thunderball. Norman Burton becomes the fourth actor to play the CIA agent.

Continuity: The movie opens with Bond being very keen to find and kill Blofeld. Although Tracy is not mentioned it is credible that he wants revenge for the events of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. That said, Bond displays a curious lack of emotion later when he discovers that Blofeld is still alive.

Oscars: G McCallum, J Mitchell and A Overton were nominated for the 1971 Sound award, but were beaten by Gordon K McCullum and Gordon Hildyard for Fiddler On The Roof.

Cuts: The final version of the movie omitted a number of filmed scenes, as now featured on the DVD release. Two of these are relatively minor scenes in Las Vegas - a cameo from entertainer Sammy Davis Jnr as Bond enters the casino and a sequence of Bond dining with Plenty O'Toole. However, a more crucial cut concerns a scene that explains how Plenty is found dead at Tiffany Case's house when they have never met. The cut scene shows Plenty returning to Bond's room after being dispatched through the window; she sees Bond and Tiffany together and leaves, taking note of Tiffany's address from an item in her handbag. Although not included on the DVD, this apparently lead into another scene at Tiffany's house where she is killed by Wint and Kidd in a case of mistaken identity (which is a little odd, since they know what Tiffany looks like from observing her on the plane previously).

I didn't catch the name?: We see Sean Connery for the first time as he introduces himself to Marie on the beach - "My name's Bond...James Bond".

Vodka Martinis: None consumed; instead Bond is seen drinking sherry, champagne and claret.

Gambling: Bond wins $65,000 on the craps table in Las Vegas. Part of the CIA plan to get the diamonds to Tiffany involves her playing blackjack.

Bond bits: In order to infiltrate the smuggling pipeline, Bond takes the identity of a professional smuggler called Peter Franks. While exploring Whyte Tectronics he pretends to be another real person, Klaus Hergersheimer of G Section. Bond and Tiffany pose as Mr and Mrs Jones when they stay at The Whyte House. In a novel move, Bond is seen to enjoy a surpising notoriety amongst the criminal community - Tiffany is impressed that "Franks" has killed "James Bond". Bond is an expert on sherry but doesn't know much about diamonds. He also knows a good tailor in Hong Kong and is a member of the Playboy club and casino. It is implied that he has never been to South Africa.

Other trivia: G Section of Whyte Tectronics is concerned with checking radiation shields. Klaus Hergersheimer has worked there for three years. The American Presidential News Secretariat is called John Fenner.

Anything else?: Some of the dialogue in the scene between Bond and Sir Donald clearly refers to Connery's absence from the series ("You've been on holiday, I understand?").

The Bond Film Informant was compiled by Matthew Newton. © Copyright MJ Newton. No part of this site may be reproduced without permission unless otherwise stated.

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