Issues: ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is the most objectionable James Bond image… Or is it all?

By now most of you have seen There’s no time to die, the final film in the Bond series to feature Daniel Craig as a British agent with a license to kill. And, after seeing the movie, you know that its producers took every conceivable story element to make sure you know that this is Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007. Damn, for most of the movie, he’s not even 007.

At the end of There’s no time to die, a title appeared saying “James Bond will be back.” Yes, yes, of course he will, as long as there is money to generate from the character. But how? And in what form? Social media, a hydra-headed entity that allows for the near-endless amplification of all opinions, no matter how far-fetched, has an opinion; Filmmakers in turn have their own opinions. The idea of ​​a female James Bond was floated. Daniel Craig, in an interview, quite gently expressed his opinion that a female character like Bond, rather than Bond himself, might be more suitable. (And really There’s no time to die there is a female agent codenamed 007, as Bond seems to have retired in this scenario). there would be no marketing pull of a 100% female James Bond. And, in fact, Eon tried to create something of a Bond “equivalent” to Blake Lively, in the 2020 film. Rhythm part, based on the first novel in the series about a female spy. Not a bad movie at all. And a total box office disaster. So I guess they’re right. However, I’m not sure that doing what they suggest will have the results they envision.

As Goodfellas proved that much of the pull of gangster movies involved an indirect thrill of transgression, so Bond movies also served, or some would say sloppy. , for the least socially constructive wish-fulfilling fantasies. man. Let’s go back to the first movie that became the Eon franchise, 1962 Doctor no?. Sean Connery’s Bond is fit, perfectly dressed, a successful gambler who can get attractive women into bed with him without raising an eyebrow (okay, he raised an eyebrow), and have a license to kill. We don’t really think about that too much in movies where mayhem and murder are common, but the license to kill is a big deal. Like William Munny of Clint Eastwood says in Not forgiven, “It’s a damn thing, killing a man.”

In real life, in the United States today, it can be an open question as to whether a person even needs a murder license to get away with murder at the very least. But don’t mind that. The whole point is that, regardless of the fact that Bond’s efforts are in the service of the King (or Queen) and Country, he embodies a perverse illusion. He was originally a Problem Person.

Which leads to the question: Which Bond movie is the most problematic?

Photo: Everett Collection

In my book, it’s been a long time Diamonds are eternal. A little plot: Connery left the Bond series after 1967 You only live twice. In it, talking about problems, there is a scene where Bond goes “under” to play the role of a Japanese man, doing makeup and hair. 1969 About His Majesty’s secret service introduced Australian George Lazenby as Bond, and for many years Lazenby was a popular late-night figure, signifying The Bond Who Failed, Service is now recognized as the most cracked part in the series. And it is paid considerable and almost persistent homage in There’s no time to die, right down to the music section under the attribution section. In any case, the film was initially disappointing in terms of box office revenue, the producers wanted to stick with Lazenby but he himself did not re-enlist. Apparently on the advice of his agent. Who gave bad advice.

So producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman drew Connery back. Adapting their fourth Bond novel, from as far back as 1956, they added brilliant screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz to reinforce the believable sense of structure of conventional screenwriter Richard Maibaum. And yes, Tom is from that family, son of Joseph. Tom himself once commented, “There’s something so terrifying about writing a screenplay when you have Mankiewicz’s last name. You say to yourself, ‘Oh, that’s great, whatever I write, it’s definitely not any All about New Year’s Eve, is it.” Action comedies have become Markiewicz’s niche.

Directed by Guy Hamilton, Diamond – celebrate its 50th anniversary this month – do a big reset from Service. This James Bond doesn’t cry or wail. He was first depicted in the ruthless pursuit of the main antagonist Blofeld. Who’s here is played by Charles Gray, who, to confuse connoisseurs of the cinematic universe, plays a friendly (and doomed) liaison for Bond in You only live twice.

Bond was so watched that he nearly strangled a woman with her bikini top, which he almost won over her. This is just a little eye-opener. One of the main characteristics of Connery’s Bond is his sadism. Will return Doctor no?, when he tells Anthony Dawson’s character “You’ve got your six” – as in the scenes – before plugging the guy’s head. But the bikini collar strangulation takes sadism to a degree that’s a bit hard to say, to say the least.

And it’s the stickiness that, in the final analysis, makes Diamond Bond film with the least pleasant aftertaste. James Bond in Vegas may look like a good idea on paper, but the supposed avatar of lavishness in the Vulgarity Capital of the World is an awkward fit. (In the book, the Vegas interlude is just that, an in-between; in the film, Bond spends most of his time there.) When the most striking aspect of a movie is the theme tunes played by Shirley -Bassey sung it, you know you’ve got another kind of mess going on.

The cast is definitely interesting. Bruce Cabot from King Kong is one of the bad guys. Natalie Wood’s sister, whom lovers may remember as a child Natalie Wood in Seeker, playing party girl Plenty O’Toole (in case you think the name Pussy Galore is hard to hear), and mine, she’s grown. Gangster movie celebrity Mark Lawrence plays a Nobel Prize-winning poet. No, he plays the world’s worst hearse driver. Valerie Perrine and the future Elvira Cassandra Peterson plays a prostitute. And Bruce Glover, Crispin’s father, plays one half of the gay assassin duo, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd.

These characters, derived from Fleming’s book, are arguably the most objectionable characters in Bond rule. Gay killers, even duos of gay killers, are not uncommon in the genre and even they aren’t always portrayed objectively/sterically – look Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman in the wonderful 1955 movie Great combination for an unusually layered (though not necessarily sympathetic) conception. And truth be told, Wint and Kidd here are more silly than offensive. Glover’s Wint constantly sprays herself with perfume, while Kidd likes to make dry comments, such as “I have to say Miss Case looks pretty appealing. For a lady. ”

Kidd is played by Putter Smith. Not an actor, but a jazz bassist Guy Hamilton met at an LA jazz club when Smith joined the rhythms for none other than Thelonious Monk. After his movie debut, he made a comeback as a jazz bassist, appearing in only two more pictures.

Prior to Diamond, homosexuality exists only in the Bond world among highly disciplined women, as in the aforementioned Pussy Galore. And that’s how male idols like it. Whoever knows. In this movie, when Lana Wood’s character introduced herself, it was originally her name. “I’m Plenty,” she said, and Connery looked at her decor and said, “Of course you are.” She elaborated further with “Plenty O’Toole,” to which Connery replied, “Probably named after your father.” Huh! Gender fluidity in Bond, that will be my next point. At any rate, when poor Miss O’Toole was dumbfounded at the bottom of Jill St. John (St. John is the aforementioned Ms. Cass, Tiffany’s case, oy), the camera still shines on her enormous fortune, revealed in the see-through clothing view. Basically, invite the viewer into a corpse. A fake corpse, yes. But come on.

It is aspects like these that make Michael Weldon, in the Encyclopedia of Psychological Films, talk about Diamond, “That’s the worst.” He went on to note that “Everything leads up to the hot dog king Jimmy Dean.” And yes, that is absolutely correct. For all its bad qualities, Diamond there are weird underground lines that make it never boring, at least. In one scene, Charles Gray’s Blofeld runs around in pretty bad drag. If Rocky Horror Picture Show the generation that’s seen Gray in this state, they probably won’t scream “asshole” when he shows up in Rocky Horror as “The School Critic”.

Veteran reviewer Glenn Kenny reviews new releases on, the New York Times, and for seniors, AARP magazine. He blogs, very occasionally, at Some come running and tweets, mostly jest, at @glenn__kenny. He is the author of the acclaimed 2020 book Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas, published by Hanover Square Press.

Where to go live? Diamonds are eternal Issues: ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is the most objectionable James Bond image… Or is it all?


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