This seventh James Bond outing sees the return of Sean Connery reprising his role as 007 after George Lazenby’s single attempt in the excellent On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sean Connery may have created the role and popularly being proclaimed even till today, as the best Bond ever, but, honestly, he was simply terrible in this one. He looked older, tired and a bit worn out this time around. Even his usual sexist remarks and advances to the women seem toned down. Apart from a disappointing Bond, the whole movie also seemed to be show a strain in trying to maintain the high expectations of the franchise. There is less creative gadgets to show off, a rather mild car chase scene which seems to be going round and round the same neon lighted streets of Las Vegas, and a female lead Tiffany Case played by Jill St. John that is as dumb as they come. Poor Jill St John was clearly exploited as she had to appear topless, or wearing her underwear or half naked clothing in every scene she appears. This is definitely several steps backwards after what Diana Rigg achieved with her classy Countess Tracy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Even Shirley Bessey’s rendition of the theme song sounded less punchy than her earlier contribution with the Goldfinger title song.
One thing that remained consistent throughout the series so far, is the villain, Blofeld, head of the global terrorist organisation SPECTRA. He seems to be always involved in every mission 007 has had so far, even when he was seemingly killed off in the opening gambit. The annoying thing is that we have had three different actors portraying Blofeld so far. Donald Pleasence was the first to play him and he was by far my favourite. In fact his interpretation and version of Blofeld was the one that the Austin Powers spoof series so hilariously and successfully parodied. Telly Savalas’ turn as Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was too serious and simply no fun. However, I have to say that Charles Gray’s portrayal of Blofeld is by far the worst. Gone is the bald head, and scar on the face. Here he has a full head of greying hair, and even managed to make duplicates of himself through some sort of facial plastic surgery done on unknown number of his henchmen. This provided the perfect lazy excuse for how him can be “killed” and yet appear again multiple times. The only consistent characteristic is his pet white pussy which like him, continues to survive in whatever situation they are in. Charles Gray’s Blofeld is the least menacing of the lot and a bit of an idiot I may add as displayed by his behaviour during his escape.
All in, Sean Connery probably did himself an injustice by coming back for this “one more time” before he left the franchise again, because Diamonds Are Forever, is in my opinion, the worst Bond movie in the series so far. Certainly not something I think he would want to be remembered. A bit of a pity seeing that this actually ushers in the new decade of the 1970’s, leaving behind the heavily male chauvinistic and smoking culture of the 1960’s. History will show Sean Connery returning to his Bond role yet one last time in the unofficial entry Never Say Never Again 12 years later in 1983. Meanwhile we can look forward to a yet another new Bond in the next mission Live and Let Die!