Diamonds Are Forever

Mr. Wint glowers, Tiffany Case ogles, James Bond calls his agent.

WHO IS JAMES BOND?  James Bond is a smug, balding, doughy, middle-aged swinger, missing only the velour shirt and the gold medallion to complete the picture.  The only piece of identification he carries is his Playboy Club card.  However, it seems he also works for some kind of British spy agency (“British Intelligence,” he burrs, late in the movie, to an American billionaire).  By the time the titles begin, he has killed the man he’s been battling with for four movies now, Ernst Blofeld.  Bond tracks down Blofeld via a brilliant, time-honored method of detection, punching people in the face.  He punches, to be precise, an Asian man, an Egyptian man, and a skinny French woman.  Once upon a time, James Bond would seduce a woman in order to get information from her; now he’d just as soon strangle her with her bikini top and then punch her in the face.  Once the epitome of cool, Bond has become a smirking, exasperated, reactionary crank, and before this movie is over he will defend his straight-white-male Britishness from simpering gay assassins, Italian gangsters, a Jewish comedian, a bi-racial team of female martial artists, redneck doofus cops, an egghead peacenik and a cross-dressing supervillain.  All in a rollicking, “just kidding” tone.  In this, he starts to resemble less the Bond of old and more the then-emerging pole-star of aging straight-white-maleness, defending his turf in a changing era, Archie Bunker.

WHAT DOES THE BAD GUY WANT?  Blofeld, now with hair (the better to battle the ever-balding Bond, I suppose), has a plan to take over the world.  Well, at least he’s recovered his ambition after On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where he was planning to hold the world hostage until it gave him a title.  After faking his death (at the hands of James Bond), Blofeld goes to Las Vegas, kidnaps reclusive, eccentric Texas billionaire Willard Whyte (easy peasy), takes over his aerospace empire, uses his team of engineers (and a ringer) to design and build a satellite with a big laser-beam on it capable of, yes, destroying the world.  Once he has demonstrated the awesome power of this satellite, the world will simply turn over all the power to him.  Because that’s how the world is.

When is this nefarious scheme revealed?  I’m glad you asked.  An hour and thirty-four minutes into the movie, that’s when.

ABOUT THIS DIAMOND-SMUGGLING RING: Here’s how it seems it’s supposed to work: poor, black South African mine-workers steal diamonds from their mine.  They cheerfully hand them over to a dentist, who hands them over to a guy in a helicopter, who hands them over to a little-old-lady schoolteacher, who takes them to Amsterdam and hands them over to comely young Tiffany Case, who hands them over to some guy, who travels to Los Angeles and hands them over to the director of a funeral home and his Jewish comedian friend (it’s a well-known fact that Jewish comedians make the best diamond smugglers), who hands them over to, I guess, this Willard Whyte fella, who could afford to buy them retail.  The simpering gay assassins follow this trail every step of the way, killing everyone who comes in contact with the diamonds.

Now then: Bond inserts himself into this ring, killing the “some guy” to whom Tiffany Case hands over the diamonds and taking his place.  He hides the diamonds in the dead man’s intestines (digestive humor accounts for at least half the jokes in Diamonds Are Forever) and flies with the body to Los Angeles, posing as the dead man’s brother.  In this particular cutthroat diamond-smuggling ring, no one seems to notice or care that their courier is dead and accompanied by a man they’ve never seen before.

WHAT DOES JAMES BOND ACTUALLY DO TO SAVE THE WORLD?  Once he has “killed” Blofeld before the titles, Bond is bored and resentful when he is asked to investigate a mere diamond-smuggling ring.  Why is he investigating a diamond-smuggling ring?  Because it’s important to the South African diamond-mine people of course, who apparently hold considerable influence with British Intelligence.  Well, if it’s important to South African diamond-mine owners, it’s important to James Bond — anything to help out some fellow privileged, wealthy , powerful racists.

Anyhow, Bond shrugs his shoulders and gamely investigates the diamond-smuggling ring, which leads him first to Amsterdam and then to exotic, mysterious Los Angeles, and then to gaudy, trashy, depressing Casino-era Las Vegas (honestly, I kept waiting for Bond to run into Nicky Santoro — now that would have been a movie!).  It seems that the diamond-smuggling ring leads to the penthouse of Howard Hughes-like billionaire Willard Whyte (although it seems counter-intuitive that a billionaire would need to smuggle diamonds — why not just buy them?), but once Bond gets to Whyte’s penthouse, he is surprised to find that Whyte is not Whyte but is, in fact, Blofeld — that guy he hatesQuel coincidence!  Blofeld employs his simpering gay assassins to kill Bond by shooting him strangling him running him over with a car putting him inside some kind of pipe.  This brilliant, devious scheme somehow fails and Bond manages to free the kidnapped eccentric billionaire (who, being straight, white and wealthy, obviously can’t be all bad) from his vicious, beautiful, bi-racial, bikini-clad captors, make his way to Blofeld’s oil-rig HQ, and blow shit up before Blofeld can do too much damage.

HELPFUL ANIMALS: I’ve lost track of how many Felix Leiters this is so far, but this one is crankier and less remarkable than ever.  High-ranking CIA agent?  He doesn’t seem to have the qualifications of a local police detective.  He’s disorganized and powerless.  There’s a scene where he and his team are staking out Circus Circus, and all I could think is that Casino‘s Ace Rothstein would eat this guy for lunch.

WOMEN: Bond seems to be through with them.  The first one he meets he strangles and then punches in the face, another gets tossed out a window and into a swimming pool (and then, for no particular reason, winds up dead in another swimming pool).  He has sex only with dizzy nudist gold-digger Tiffany Case, and even then can’t keep from carping at her, calling her a “stupid twit” in a moment of anger.  He’s gotten angry with civilian birds before, but the insults seem to be a new, unpleasant wrinkle.

HOW COOL IS THE BAD GUY?  Not cool at all!  In fact, the narrative demands that he start out uncool, giving him not one but two uncool deaths before the titles even begin.  From there, the relatively cool Blofeld of You Only Live Twice is systematically reduced in stature — he is made to imitate a shallow Texas drawl, flee a Las Vegas hotel dressed as a woman, and dangle helplessly from a crane, until he ends his life as an angry, blustering red-faced clown.  In fact, one of the primary dubious achievements of Diamonds Are Forever is turning it’s antagonist into what we have come to recognize as a “Bond Villain,” a vain, silly man with no real plan other than “arching” Bond.  When Bond finally gets into Willard Whyte’s penthouse and finds Blofeld there, Blofeld is, literally, doing nothing but sitting there waiting for Bond to show up.  Think of that — he’s got a satellite to build and launch, he’s got an oil-rig space center off Baja California teeming with what must be a thousand last-minute crises, but tonight he’s got nothing better to do than sit in Willard Whyte’s penthouse waiting for Bond to show up.  With his double (oh yeah, there’s a whole pointless, go-nowhere subplot about Blofeld manufacturing doubles of himself).  And his cat.  And his cat’s double.  And what if, by chance, Bond did not show up, I wonder?  Would Blofeld have waited there all night?  Would he have canceled his satellite launch?  Would he have delegated the running of his space center to an underling?  “I can’t make it to the world-blowing-up ceremony, Bond hasn’t shown up yet!”

At one point in Act III, Bond asks Blofeld a question about his operation and Blofeld sighs and says “Science was never my strong suit.”  This from a man who, two movies ago, figured out a way to design and build a secret aerospace program inside a hollowed-out volcano.  What, I wonder, is Blofeld’s strong suit, besides the high-collared tunic he’s been wearing since 1963?

Charles Gray plays Blofeld this time, exposing the meagre all-around cheapness of the production.  Gray played helpful animal Henderson in You Only Live Twice (which goes unremarked upon) and would later stake his claim to camp immortality as the no-necked narrator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which, frankly, is a better use of his talents.

The second villains, the simpering gay assassins, as you may have guessed, I have very little patience for.  I don’t know if it’s just the performance of Bruce Glover, who plays Mr. Wint, the more simpering of the two, or if it’s the haircut of Putter Smith, who plays Mr. Kidd, the more clown-like of the two, but these two get my hackles up.  Perhaps I’m overly sensitive to negative portrayals of gays in movies (and their “humorous,” brutal deaths), but these two offend in a way that, say, Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love does not.  Rosa Klebb indicated her homosexuality exactly once (just in case we didn’t “get” it from her haircut and mannish demeanor) and then got on with the business of being a power-mad killer.  Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd remind us in every scene they’re in that they are, in case we forgot, homosexual men.  We are plotting to kill a man, says Mr. Wint, and then spritzes himself with cologne (which smells, we are told later by Bond, like “a tart’s hankerchief”*), closing his eyes and swooning with the sensation.  We have just blown up a man in a helicopter, says Mr. Kidd, let’s walk off hand in hand.  For we are, as you know, homosexuals, and that fact is always uppermost in our minds.  Mr. Wint dies when Bond literally shoves a bomb up his ass; Mr. Wint, we see by the look on his face, is conflicted by this experience, because on the one hand he knows he’s about to die, but you know, on the other hand, he greatly enjoys having things jammed up his ass.  Because he is a homosexual man, and that’s how they are.

Putter Smith, I have learned without surprise, is not an actor, but a musician someone connected to the production saw onstage in a band and thought would make a perfect Bond Villain.  Which he would, if Bond habitually fought hapless clowns, which I’m afraid he will continue to do for a long, long while.

(*It occurs to me now that the cologne might actually be named A Tart’s Hankerchief, and Bond is merely demonstrating his expertise in identifying perfumes, much as he is able to identify fine wines.)

Slightly more cool are Bambi and Thumper, the limber, bi-racial, bikini-clad assassins guarding the kidnapped billionaire.  They are ridiculous, of course, but they do bring a cheerfully electric energy to the movie, especially Thumper, who really seems to be happy to be there, and one is sad to see them brought low by the blandly brutalizing Bond.

NOTES: The reader may have deduced by this point that Diamonds are Forever is a comedy.  The central twist, where Bond discovers, after an hour of detective work, that the object of his search just happens to be, by utter coincidence, his arch enemy, pretty much defines the comedic (as opposed to dramatic) approach to narrative.  It is certainly better appreciated if it is viewed as a comedy.  I don’t mind Bond becoming a comedian, but I wish he would be a generous, light-hearted comedian instead of the bored, smirking thug he is here (I am told that the producers briefly considered casting Burt Reynolds as Bond for this movie, and it’s not hard to imagine him playing some of the scenes as written).

There has been a lot of carping in this space about the “Moore Bonds” and how they ruined the franchise.  That may be so, but the Moore Bonds, I’m afraid, begin here with Diamonds Are Forever.  Everything in Diamonds Are Forever points to taking the piss out of James Bond and his formula, from the silly moon-buggy chase through the desert to the ever-decreasing menace of its antagonists to the rushed, who-cares sloppiness of its climactic battle.

More than the negative portrayal of gays, I’m concerned about the brutalization of women in Diamonds Are Forever.  The director, in the DVD commentary, notes how proud he is of the opening-sequence scene where Bond deftly removes a woman’s bikini top and then strangles her with it.  It was very important for the film’s success, he explains, to receive a “U” certificate from the British censors, and this is how they did it — by having Bond strangle a woman instead of seducing her.  Sex with a woman?  We don’t want kids seeing that.  Strangling a woman?  Punching her in the face?  Throwing one out a window?  Drowning one two three in a pool?  Perfectly acceptable family entertainment.

And, as long as I’m citing petty liberal grievances, I must note that Blofeld’s cat is brutalized again, this time during the title sequence, where it is made to angrily yowl,repeatedly, for no apparent reason.

Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, in addition to being repellent stereotypes, are also terrible assassins.  They meet the diamond-smuggling dentist out in the desert, intending to kill him, and choose a scorpion they happen to find on the spot to accomplish that task.  What kind of assassin is that?  Where is the planning?  What is Blofeld paying them for?  And of course they pick the largest, darkest scorpion known to humankind, when even a schoolchild knows that the big black ones are actually the least deadly ones.  Later, as noted above, they try to kill Bond by placing him, unconscious, into a pipe, which is then laid into the ground, at least twelve hours later, by a construction crew who luckily does not notice the tuxedo-clad Scot in their pipe.

Tiffany Case is flabbergasted when she realizes she is working with James Bond.  Why?  Well, he is, apparently, world-famous, as all  truly successful espionage agents are.  This is another example of the reflexive, winking comedy that informs the tone of Diamonds Are Forever, and which does a great deal to deflate whatever narrative tension inherent in the drama.

Sean Connery here stops sounding like James Bond and starts sounding like Sean Connery.  Which is fine — who doesn’t like Sean Connery’s accent? — but jars when the movie is viewed too close to his other Bond efforts.

The Howard Hughes-ian Willard Whyte is played by country singer Jimmie Dean, who, it pains me to say, does not remotely begin to suggest  the daring, peculiar, brilliant, aging, paranoid, OCD-afflicted Howard Hughes.  Hughes, I have learned, was a great fan of the Bond movies and generously offered the use of all Las Vegas (which he owned at the time) for Diamonds Are Forever; I wonder if, after seeing the result, he came to regret his decision.

Diamonds Are Forever holds a special place in my memories because it was the first “new” Bond movie I was aware of.  I had seen Goldfinger on television, so I knew who Bond was, and I was even aware that it was somehow special that Sean Connery was back playing Bond (his salary, a then-astronomical $1.25 million, plus 10% of the gross, had made outraged headlines).  I clearly remember the commercials contantly playing on TV, emphasizing a stunt where Bond tips a car over on its side to drive through a narrow alley.  1971 witnessed the beginnings of the burgeoning car-crash-movie genre, and I remember my older brother being oh so excited by this new Bond movie and its exciting, special car stunt (I was ten and too young to see something as “adult” as Diamonds Are Forever.  Ha!).  That stunt now goes by in a ho-hum matter of seconds and seems utterly unworthy of note.

In the middle of Act II, Blofeld turns the tables on Bond and orders him out of his penthouse at the point of a revolver.  And I thought “wait a minute, Bond can take on a volcano full of bad guys, why is he acquiescing to a guy with a revolver?”  But then I realized that, having punched through the stratosphere with You Only Live Twice, there was, in 1971, no place for Bond to go but to comedy.  Bond and Blofeld are play-acting now, just kidding, players on a stage who do what’s expected of them for the entertainment of adolescents and their aging fathers.  Diamonds Are Forever is the point where Bond Movies turn from being thrillers to being pageants, if not pantos.

The production, I should note, is quite substandard, especially for a Bond movie.  The photography is unremarkable, the lighting high-key and punishing (the better to indicate comedy, I suppose), the supporting players obvious and shrill, the special effects hurried and wan.  Perhaps this comes from its lower-than-usual budget (most of which got soaked up by Connery’s salary), perhaps it comes from moving production from England to Hollywood, perhaps it comes from choosing crass, ugly Las Vegas as its prime location.  By the time Bond has a car chase up and down Fremont Street (and then up again, because Fremont Street, let’s face it, isn’t that long), outwitting a redneck sheriff and his bumbling cops, he stops being a class act and starts anticipating nothing less than Smokey and the Bandit.

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35 Responses to “Diamonds Are Forever”
  1. teamwak says:

    Awwwww! Well I cant say I didnt expect that! I respect you analogy, Todd. Somethings viewed with modern eyes really show some of the bigotry of the time they were made. I see Prop-cat could of been used here aswell 🙂

    However, Diamonds has a place in my heart, no matter how cheesy it is. Perhaps it is something to do with being a ten year old boy. This is what I found cool when ten:
    1. Multiple Blofelds
    2. Death by Mud!
    3. Tiffany. I always found her hot (Rwoarrr), and doesnt Bond make a reference to hair colour, with him saying that as long as collars and cuffs match reference. Ten year olds always find references to ladies *cough cough* hair colour rememberable!
    4. Death by crematorium
    5. Stuck in a pipe with an electrical welding machine
    6. Moonlanding base, and moon buggy chase
    7. Vegas, baby!
    8. Climbs up the outside of the elevator of the hotel
    9. Willard Whyte and Bambi and Thumper (Rwoarrr)
    10. Laser and Oil Rig
    11. Showing too much cheek (Tiffney in a bikini)

    All the sexism and misogyny was lost on me when I was that age. I just thought Bond was cooler than ever before.

    PS. When you tear Moonraker a new one, I will be right behind you!

    • Todd says:

      This is what I found cool when ten

      I also thought of this while watching Diamonds Are Forever, because there are many cool things about the movie, many of which you list here. The problem, dramatically, is that the makers of Diamonds do not supply cool plot-points demanded by the narrative, rather they shape the narrative to serve the inclusion of the cool plot-points. Many of which are, admittedly, cool on their own, but which serve to weaken the narrative spine of the adventure.

      • teamwak says:

        I suppose its like a paint-by-numbers Bond. Sexy women – check, over the top villain with cat – check. Fast cars – check, glib quips and crazy deaths – check.

        It perhaps illustrates how Hollywood is able to produce movies that we self respecting adults are convinced will never work, but they then make millions! There is a big chunk of audience who will gladly pay to see anything as long as it has the requisite tits and bangs in the right place.

        I think the audience has granted Bond license that other movies do not get, to still be sucessful even if the story is not tight, as long as Bond is Bond in all the right places.

        I do know that I really disliked Brosnans last one, with the silly invisible car and surfing tsunamis. They even dusted off the Bond, old faithful Giant Laser for that one. Casino Royale was a breathe of fresh air.

        I probably wouldnt have enjoyed Diamonds as much if I had watched it when I was older.

  2. planettom says:

    I always remember Jill St. John as the truly scrumptious femme fatale who managed to get Batman to dance the Batusi in the very first Adam West episode (Video). Later, she sneaks into the Batcave, disguised as Robin, and, when discovered, falls into the Bat Nuclear Reactor to her death. As Batman says sadly, “What a way to Go-Go!”

  3. And, I think, in the performance of Bruce Glover as Mr. Wint (let alone his face at the top of your page), we can see the great influence he would have on the work of his son Crispin. Explains a few things, maybe, about the younger Glover’s actorial choices.

    • Todd says:

      I had no idea that Bruce Glover was Crispin’s father. Live and learn. Now I know why he was cast as the villain in Charlie’s Angels over James Urbaniak.

      • ghostgecko says:

        Well, when your character is called “The Creepy Thin Man” you don’t have a huge amount of choice for actors, I reckon. I did crack me up to learn much, much later that James was up for the part, too. Short list!

  4. eronanke says:

    The book is, like a lot of Bond films, much better.
    Tiffany Case, a sad reclusive woman who deals at a Casino run by a gang which only serves to protect her from men, all of whom she destests because she had been gang-raped early in puberty.

    Then, of course, Ian Fleming turns her into a love-sick dove halfway through the book, and it’s ruined. But so it goes with Mr Fleming; fabulous set up, bad delivery when it comes to female characters.
    ESPECIALLY Honey Rider and Tiffany Case. There should be a law!

    • Todd says:

      I started reading the books in order of publication a while back. I got as far as half-way through Live and Let Die before other matters impressed themselves upon me. Maybe one day I’ll get back to them. It’s fun to read them and see where the movies completely ignore their source material, and then sometimes are oddly faithful to it, but never where you expect them to be.

      • eronanke says:

        True. Sometimes I get a little frustrated that, canon-wise, Live and Let Die is before Dr. No, but I can let that go. However, taking and ruining several books by making hodge-podge movies out of them makes me sad. Like Moonraker, for example.

        • Todd says:

          And then other times I’ll be watching a movie like Die Another Day and, out of nowhere, they’ll whip out a plot-point from the novel Moonraker or something and I’ll be like “Wow, well I guess they read these books after all.” The whole Bond thing is a weird and mysterious place, starting with the original concept, which has been around so long and has such a place in our worldwide cultural psyche that it’s hard to remember that the character is actually a fantasy created by a single individual, bearing absolutely no relationship to the real-life world of international espionage, but, like the gangsters in The Godfather, shaping everyone’s notions of what that life is like.

          • eronanke says:

            It’s true; there’s no way to reign him in now. He’s part of us, culturally speaking.
            I think that’s why there can be such a crazy divide between those who like Daniel Craig and those who don’t; Bond has been with us so long we feel we *know* him.
            I mean, at least I have, since about 5 when my father and I watched Dr. No together. Very formative of my own opinion of men and of the world, and I certainly don’t feel in a bad way!

    • greyaenigma says:

      I believe there is a law. It states that all female romantic interests, no matter how badass they may have been introduced as (28 Days Later, the Costner Robin Hood, Dragonslayer, et al), must all become helpless by the second or third act.

      The few exceptions only prove the rule. Even if I can’t think of any right now.

      (Todd, I’d love to see you review Dragonslayer. Unless you hate it.)

      • Todd says:

        I confess unfamiliarity with Dragonslayer.

        • greyaenigma says:

          It is notable for starring both the Supreme Being and Darth Sidious.

          Mostly it’s a movie I loved as a kid (for it was on cable a great many times) and when I picked up the DVD a few years back, I was pleasantly suprised by how much it had going for it.

  5. moroccomole says:

    I give this movie two things:

    1. Decent theme song sung by Shirley Bassey.
    2. The joke where Tiffany Case says she got her name for being born at the famous jewelry store, and Bond replying that it was a good thing it didn’t happen at Van Cleef and Arpels.

    But otherwise, yes, it sucks.

  6. Mr. Alcott, what did you think of the two “unofficial” Bond movies, the 1967 Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again?

    • Todd says:

      I haven’t seen them in a long time, but Casino Royale I remember as the sprawling mess that drove a stake through the “big producer” picture and Never Say Never Again as a lumbering bore. But I could be wrong.

      • Anonymous says:

        What is a “big producer” picture?

        • craigjclark says:

          Charles K. Feldman, who produced Casino Royale, was the kind of producer who gathered up the biggest stars — frequently from around the world — and put them in extravagant movies in the hopes of attracting the widest possible audience. His previous effort in this vein was What’s New Pussycat?, which shares many of the same stars and similarly fails to hold up. At least that one had the purity of Woody Allen’s vision (it was his first screenplay) and a single director behind it. Casino Royale had a veritable army of screenwriters and directors, both credited and uncredited.

        • Todd says:

          Before Easy Rider came out and screwed up everyone’s idea of what made a movie popular, “big producers” ruled in Hollywood, dating back to visionaries like Cecil B. DeMille and David O. Selznick, going through Europeans like Carlo Ponti and Dino DeLaurentiis, and including latter-day folks like Hal B. Wallis and Harry Saltzman (who produced the Bond movies). Big Producers were show people who seemed to have an unerring sense of what people wanted to see, until suddenly they didn’t. After Easy Rider, great power was handed over to directors like Francis Coppolla and Roman Polanski, who seemed to have a more direct connection to what audiences wanted. Charles Feldman, who was the “big producer” on Casino Royale, could get a huge movie made on his say-so, but it was bloated, directionless, poorly-disciplined productions like Casino Royale that showed audiences that the old production methods weren’t working any more.

          There’s more to it than that, of course, but that’s the thumbnail version. The big-director era lasted from about Easy Rider to Raging Bull, after which the studios were taken over by corporations and it was discovered that, in fact, marketing people know best about what audiences want to see. But that is perhaps a topic for another time.

  7. seamusd says:

    Yes, yes, who could forget “the simpering gay assassins” and Bond’s pink stubby, all in one, homophobic romp!

  8. gdh says:

    In the middle of Act II, Blofeld turns the tables on Bond and orders him out of his penthouse at the point of a revolver. And I thought “wait a minute, Bond can take on a volcano full of bad guys, why is he acquiescing to a guy with a revolver?”

    It’s the “inverse threat law of bad guy efficacy”. The more bad guys the hero has to fight at once, the less threatening each of them is. It’s especially true with ninjas. 100 ninjas = 10 ninjas = 1 ninja. It takes exactly as long to defeat 100 ninjas as it does to defeat 1 ninja. The fewer bad guys there are, the more powerful they are. So a one-on-one confrontation with the boss will always be just as challenging and life-threatening as taking on 100 of his hapless henchmen.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where do stormtroopers fit into this?

      • Todd says:

        My five-year-old son hasn’t done the calculations on stormtroopers yet, but he recently figured out that it would take about a thousand million billion battle-droids to kill one Jedi.

  9. curt_holman says:


    “That stunt now goes by in a ho-hum matter of seconds and seems utterly unworthy of note.”

    That’s actually one of the the things I most remember about the film, because it contains a continuity error: Bond flips the car onto one side going on the alley, and comes out on the other side. I looked it up on IMDB “goofs” to see if I remembered it correctly, and found this:

    Incorrectly regarded as goofs: …sort of. During the Las Vegas car chase scene, Bond’s car ends up riding on two wheels in order to pass through a narrow alley. When the car emerges at the other end of the alley it is balancing on the opposite pair of wheels. The producers spotted this error before release, however, and inserted a quick shot to indicate that, for some reason, Bond flips the car onto its other wheels. There must have been an opening somewhere in the alley.”

    If there is a “clarifying shot,” it doesn’t do the job, because I remember this as looking like a total mistake.

    • Todd says:

      Re: Car-tipping

      The IMDb is wrong. There is no clarifying shot. What there is is an interior of the car with Bond and Tiffany “leaning the other way” before we cut back to the total continuity error. There is no explanation for how the car flips from one side to the other. It’s a handsome shot, but apparently the script supervisor had a cold that day and the stunt driver didn’t think to mention it.

  10. ndgmtlcd says:

    Sean Connery in this film reminds me of Sean Connery in _A Fine Madness_ (1966) where he is also a woman-abusing brute.

  11. craigjclark says:

    From what I can recall, during the fight scene at the very end Mr. Kidd catches on fire — so quite literally, he becomes a flaming homosexual. I wonder if that was the screenwriter’s idea of a joke…

  12. *Healthy applause!*

    That was perfect, except you failed to mention that he traded his Aston Martin for a Ford (albeit one that could swap which two wheels it was riding on as it threaded its way through a very narrow alley…)

    • Todd says:

      Re: *Healthy applause!*

      That was standard on the ’71 Cougar.

      • Re: *Healthy applause!*

        I didn’t know that about that car…

        I hope you don’t mind that I added you – I am self-teaching myself film studies and you have provided some classic ideas on demolition film critique…can’t wait to have time to read my fav “The Spy Who Loved Me”…

        • Todd says:

          Re: *Healthy applause!*

          Feel free to add away.

          I’m not sure what you mean by “demolition film critique,” I try not to tear stuff down just because I don’t like it. What I have is a fairly standard approach to plot and character that I’ve learned through decades of writing drama, which I find a useful tool for understanding why a narrative does or does not work. My purpose is not derogatory but investigative. That’s not to say that a joyless, tasteless mess like Diamonds Are Forever can’t be addressed for what it is.

          • Re: *Healthy applause!*

            On the contrary, it is good to look at things from another point of view – I am sure that you and I both like this film, yet it is good to look at it from another point of view.

            I am not sure ‘demolition’ is the right word….actually it is…
            There are 3 sorts of critique – one is more or less supportive and encourages you to see it (will have to check film studies book I was reading last night for term..), one highlights its faults and can be funny and one is evaluative (balances both pros and cons)

            As a big fan, it is great to hear those thoughts that we have when we are watching it for the umpteenth time put into an essay…and we laugh because we know that film makers are trying to pull the wool over the eye about gender and cultural stereotypes that they are perpetrating…

          • Re: *Healthy applause!* (Take two…)

            I was reading Bennett, Hickman & Wall (Film Studies: The Essential Resource)the night before sent me the link to this page, as we have a running joke about the two henchman where one starts a phrase and the other finishes it…ANYWAY…I thought I would share what they say about film critique…

            “It is often difficult to deal with the sheer volume of material with discretion and discrimination. One way to sift through the mountain of material is to recognise that different reviews and reviewers have different kinds of agenda. Put simply they derive from different kinds of relationship between the critic and the work. Three common versions are listed and exemplified below, which probably cover 90 per cent of all reviews. We have labelled them:
            – The appreciation
            – The demolition
            – The evaluation

            ….In the appreciation, to some extent, the critic tends to disappear and the film is allowed to take over. However, as film criticism itself is part of the entertainment industry, there is bound to be a market for the clever put-down, and the bigger the star or film-maker, the harder the fall (and goes on to give an example with Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate as ‘an unqualified disaster’, comparing it to a four-hour walking tour of one’s own living room’.

            To be honest, I appreciate what I can learn from reading your blog, as it appears you are doing what I can only dream to be doing outside of the hours of being a teacher…if only I would stop saying “If only… “

            I did not mean to say it was derogatory. I was trying to suggest that to address the faults of an institution such as James Bond is something I have not come across and it would be something I think all Bond fans would enjoy – as much as we like our two hour rollercoaster ride, something in most of us agrees that Bond slapping a girl, making a witty quip after he has killed somebody or the like OR some of the wool that is pulled over our eyes by the writers and directors – is wrong.

            Nobody has really articulated it before and that is what makes reading it such a pleasure. And you have all the others one that I have not read yet, and it is like a game to guess what you will highlight – after all, your average Bond fan has probably seen many of the films at least half a dozen times and knows the character and plot BUT has not questioned it like you have.

            So (phew), again, well done!