Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Rating: ***
Director: Guy Hamilton
Production Design: Ken Adam
Cast: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Jimmy Dean

Sean Connery returns as James Bond for the last time, not counting the dreadful "Never Say Never Again" (1983). Desperately trying to salvage the franchise from the disappointing performance of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), the producers brought in veteran Bond director Guy Hamilton and production designer Ken Adam, and even had Shirley Bassey sing the theme song. The film starts where "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" left off, with an obsessed James Bond aggressively tracking down Blofeld to get revenge for the death of his wife. And it looks like he succeeds - or does he? A bunch of diamonds have been stolen by SPECTRE for use in a satellite weapon and Agent 007 has to stop their wicked schemes. He hooks up with fiery air-head Jill St. John and races through the streets of Las Vegas in a way-cool 1971 Mustang. Blofeld (Charles Gray) shows up again later in the film in yet ANOTHER totally different persona as a snotty upper crust Brit. Talk about inconsistancy! All the big budget action and mayhem you'd expect from a Bond film, but it also introduced those wacky 1970's sensibilities that would plague the majority of the Roger Moore films up through 1979's "Moonraker." This brand of silliness is most apparent with the inclusion of a pair of psychotic homosexual assassins named Mr. Kidd and Mr. Went. With effects becoming more costly to pull off, this was also the first Bond film to incorporate cheesy explosion composites instead of actually blowing up real helicopters.