Bond-a-Thond #7: ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971)

For the next 22 weeks, MTV Movies Blog will be running what we call the Bond-a-Thond. Every Wednesday we’re taking a look back at a single (official) Bond film, giving you the vitals and seeing how it holds up, right up until the release of “Skyfall” on November 9. Feel free to watch along with us and share your thoughts or just kick back and enjoy the Bond.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Plot: Bond is hot on the trail of a diamond smuggling operation that MI6 suspects is attempting to flood the market with stockpiled jems.

Title Meaning: A rather literal reference to the stones at the center of the plot

Bond: Sean Connery returns to the role to make his final appearance in an EON-produced Bond movie.

Villain: Ernst Stavro Blofeld makes his final appearance in the series with that name. He’ll show up in “For Your Eyes Only,” but goes unnamed because of legal disagreements.

Bond Girl: Tiffany Case, a diamond smuggler, played by Jill St. John, the first American Bond girl.

“Bond, James Bond” Occurrences: 1

Martinis: 0

Card Games: 0

Cigarettes Smoked: 0

Explosions: 20

Tuxes Worn: 3

Kills By Bond: 7

Most Creative Kill: In the pre-credit sequence, Bond happens upon a stockpile of plastic surgery-enhanced Blofeld duplicates. Thinking he has the criminal mastermind within reach, 007 dumps one copy into a vat of molten rubber.

Gadgets: Bond uses a nifty grappling hook gun to scale the Whyte House hotel.

Mental State of Miss Moneypenny: In cognito

Sexual Partners: 1 (Tiffany Case)

Most Unrealistic Moments: There’s a chase involving motorized tricycles and a moon buggy.

Most “Bond” Moments: Finally having Blofeld in his clutches, Bond toys with his nemesis, swinging his mini-submarine from a crane, eventually crashing it into the satellite control room.

Sign of the Times: Please refer to the picture below.

Place in Bond History: “Ok, for real this time, you guys,” Sean Connery says. After walking away from the franchise, the original Bond returned thanks to an outrageous payday and George Lazenby’s commitment phobia. “Diamonds Are Forever” marks Connery’s final Bond film under the EON shingle. He would later appear in an official series entry, “Never Say Never Again.”

Review: Roger Ebert had it right in his original review of “Diamonds Are Forever.” “The point in a Bond adventure is the moment, the surface, what’s happening now. The less time wasted on plot, the better,” he said in his 3-star review. “Diamonds Are Forever” makes no mistakes about what kind of movie it is. It’s a Bond movie through and through, removing any signs of the macabre turn of events at the end of the previous entry, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

While Connery looks too gray and shabby for the Bond we used to know, the mannerisms and sharp wit work like reflexes for the man who originated the role, and even a surprisingly effective turn from Lazenby can’t stand up to the original.

The action brings a new level of sophistication to Bond’s usual taste for destruction. The car chase on the Vegas strip shows off the best stunt driving in the series to dates, and there are enough clever set pieces to make the two-hour run-time blow by like a moon buggy in the Neveda desert.

As far as the story goes, “Diamonds Are Forever” marks the exact moment Blofeld outstays his welcome. His duplicate’s dive into the molten rubber delights momentarily, but the glow fades once you realize there is no way he’s gone for good. But as Ebert said, who really cares about story?

The Bond-a-Thond will return next week in “Live And Let Die.”

What do you think of “Diamonds Are Forever”? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!