Diamonds Are Forever
29. You’ve just killed James Bond
Bond is impersonating Peter Franks who is part of a diamond smuggling chain. When the actual Peter Franks arrives on the scene, they have an intense fight in a lift. Unlike many other Bond fights, this one takes place in a confined space which adds tension. After Bond has dispatched Franks, he switches wallets (hence identities), so when Tiffany checks she gasps “My God, you’ve just killed James Bond”.
30. Slumber inc
Another tense moment. Having fallen foul of creepy assassins Wint and Kidd, Bond is locked in a coffin and sent on his way to be cremated alive. Once again, John Barry provides some wonderfully atmospheric music to add tension, Bond seemingly has no chance of escape. There is a sense of claustrophobia running through this film (including a later scene where Bond gets buried alive). Thankfully in this scene he is a dirty double-crossing limey with phony diamonds, so outside forces intervene to save him at the 11th hour. Phew!
31. Plenty O’Toole
Whilst Bond is fluttering away his “free” money at the casino, he catches a buxom lady’s eye (played by Natalie Wood’s sister Lana). She introduces herself leaning whilst over the table. “Hi, I’m Plenty”. “But of course you are” notices Bond. Ordinarily that would be enough, but it goes one step further: “Plenty O’Toole” she explains. “Named after your father perhaps?” muses Bond. Ahem!
32. The wrong pussy.
In a dizzying scene, Bond scales the heights of the Willard Whyte building to try and find out who the reclusive Willard Whyte really is (a character who is part based on Broccoli’s real life pal Howard Hughes). However it is Blofeld pretending to be Willard Whyte. And there is two of them! Bond isn’t sure which one to dispatch, so he kicks the white cat to see which of its masters it runs back towards. With only one shot, he dispatches this Blofeld. Seconds later another cat with a diamond collar appears. The real Blofeld announces “Right idea Mr Bond”. Bond retorts “but the wrong pussy”.
33. Bambi and Thumper
Awww, cute. Disney characters in a Bond film. These two ladies are guarding the real Willard Whyte, and have great delight beating Bond about. Thankfully our man James is a bit more adept when in a swimming pool with the ladies, so ultimately manages to overpower them.
Other great scenes:
“There’s something I’d like you to get off your chest”, The main titles, following the diamond smuggling trail from South Africa, “so long as the collars and cuffs match”, Ms Case being attractive “for a lady”, “I didn’t know there was a pool down there”, the legendary Klaus Hergersheimer, the surreal Moon-buggy chase, Bond smells a rat, the rather beautiful way Blofeld’s laser is unveiled and the score accompanying it and Le Boom Surprise!
One of the biggest sins of Diamonds in my opinion is that it criminally seems to ignores the rather significant ending of the last film in a satisfying manner. One suspects that if George Lazenby stayed on that Diamonds would have been an entirely different proposal. Something about this entry feels sleazy and unglamorous. Norman Burton makes for possibly the worst Felix Leiter in the series and the oil rig assault was completely lack-lustre to say the least. Bond is looking a bit portly in his toupee and snazzy pink tie. Blofeld on the other hand is in drag. “Look what the cat dragged” in he quips. Not good!
Live and Let Die
34. The Lovers
Clairvoyant tarot reading Solitaire played by the lovely Jane Seymour knows what is on the cards in her future. She will fall in love! The problem being losing her virginity also results in her losing her gift. Bond gets her to place her faith in the cards. When she draws “The Lovers” again, she succumbs to Bond’s charms only for the audience to learn that the deck was stacked slightly in his favour. All of the cards were “The Lovers”. Smooth!
35. Trespassers will be eaten
The Crocodile Farm is perhaps my favourite scene in the movie. The sign saying “Trespassers will be eaten” is genuine. Bond is left marooned on an island with hungry crocs circling him. Seizing his moment (and perhaps also inspiring the game Frogger), Bond jumps across the backs of several crocs to safety. The stunt was performed by a guy named Ross Kananga, whose name would later be used as the film’s main villain.
36. Jumping ship
The film boasts a spectacular boat chase which lasts around 16 minutes. The most memorable stunt is when the boats seemingly fly over the road/cars/heads of others such as redneck Sherriff J.W.Pepper. “What the F..” asks J.W. before his dialogue is quickly edited. The stunt entered the Guinness book of records for the longest jump (completely unintentionally) – 110 feet.
37. Baron Samedi.
You can’t kill death. Is there anything more unnerving or surreal than seeing Baron Samedi sitting on the end of the train in the final shot of the film laughing maniacally? Thought not.
Other great scenes:
“Who’s funeral is it? Yours” + the subsequent dance, Miss Caruso, “It’s like following a cue ball”, “Names is for tombstones baby”, “I certainly wouldn’t have killed you before”, hand-gliding (new at the time), lovers lesson number 3, the bus chase, the airport/hanger chase, Bond/Solitaire getting interrogated by Mr Big/Kananga, the train fight.
Q is referenced but not seen sadly. The way Kananga pops at the end like a balloon is rather embarrassing (right down to the sound-effects), especially considering it destroys any of the menace which was built up before-hand.
The Man With The Golden Gun
38. Forever hold your piece
After obtaining one of Scaramanga’s golden bullets (by swallowing it accidentally during an altercation), Bond manages to traces the bullet to a weapon maker from Macau called Lazar. Quite why they didn’t try to trace it via the 007 bullet sent to MI6 earlier in the film – goodness only knows. Anyway, Lazar is obviously a man of confidentiality, so Bond has to threaten him in order to get him talking. He aims one of custom-made rifles at the man’s groin. “Speak or forever hold your piece” he warns. For some reason it doesn’t take Lazar long to sing to Bond’s tune.
39. The bridge jump
This is clearly the stunt highlight of the film. A rickety old bridge which has collapsed in the middle over a river. You’d think looking at the bridge that driving the car across (and rolling it 360 degrees in the process no less) would be completely impossible. But they did it for real, in one take! It’s just a shame they had to add that slide-whistle sound-effect and J.W.Pepper!
40. The duel/Scaramanga’s fun house
Scaramanga and Bond face off in duel, which lead to his fun house (which is seen in the pre-title sequence). This is clearly where the production designer Peter Murton had the most fun. It is like a deranged fun house like you’d find at a fair-ground. Roger Moore playing Bond wastes his bullets left right and centre. Christopher Lee only needs one. It’s a fun face-off even if we all know the ultimate outcome. Originally Scaramanga was less gentlemanly. There were scenes filmed where it is revealed he has more than his claimed “one bullet”. A brief snippet of this can be seen in some of the older trailers, but it was ultimately removed.
Other great scenes:
Any scene featuring Phuket (Scaramanga’s island) is of course visually stunning and this film turned it into a tourist destination overnight. The pre-title sequence is fun (nice to see Mark Lawrence returning as a gangster type), M’s line about who would want to kill 007, the assassination outside the Bottom’s up club, the Queen Elizabeth wreckage base, chew mee, third nipples, gristly-land, Bond at Karate school (before the girls appear), plus Christopher Lee chatting to Bond at the kickboxing match after assassinating his mistress and again later at the dinner table where things turn a bit more ugly.
The scene where Bond threatens to break Andrea’s arm belongs in a Connery movie rather than a Moore one, and it just doesn’t work. Some may argue Nick Nack is annoying. Britt Ekland is pretty inept and annoying also. J.W. Pepper is back and definitely more annoying. One thing which particular sticks out in my mind is the car with wings. Strangely this film has a rather rushed feel about it.
Part 5 coming soon: The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker
Images (C) 1971/1973/1974 Danjaq/EON.