While investigating mysterious activities in the world diamond market, 007 discovers that his evil nemesis Blofeld is stock-piling the gems to use in his deadly laser satellite. With the help of beautiful smuggler Tiffany Case, Bond sets out to stop the madman - as the fate of the world hangs in the balance!
After the minor debacle of George Lazenby’s momentary tenure as 007, the Bond producers offered Connery a hefty paycheck to return to the fold for one last hurrah. The result, while never losing Bond’s populist streak (it was another big hit), reveals more cracks than it ought. Connery ageing quickly, his hairline indeterminately assisted, doesn’t fully recapture the swagger of his halcyon adventures.
The plot, one of Ian Fleming’s better, is effectively unusual for its first half — a genuine piece of global policing for the British agent as he traces the diamond-studded clues from Amsterdam to Las Vegas (this remains the most Americanised of all the films), but here it founders with the re-appearance of Charles Gray, the third and least of the actors to play Blofeld. He’s too smug and comic, with none of the deep freeze of Donald Pleasance. The big finale, wastefully spilling about an oilrig off the Californian coast, is a washout compared to the glorious, Ken Adams-designed uber-bases we were accustomed to.
Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, Bond’s guiding lights, were furiously trying to recapture the glory of Goldfinger, Bond’s high-water mark, corralling its director Guy Hamilton, writer Richard Maibaum and Welsh diva Shirley Bassey for a second opportunity to roll her tonsils around a theme song (a good one). But it feels distant, an echo of the elegance and restraint of Goldfinger, with too much emphasis on action (a dumb moonbuggy chase through the Nevada desert is a limp effort) and acute violence (Bambi and Thumper, two sexy acrobats, beat seven bells out of poor 007 in a scene that slips dangerously outside of the fantasy milieu).
Only, the cool frisson in having Bond play the gaudy tables of Vegas, a reverse of the lavish world of Monte Carlo; Jill St John’s sassy redhead and the camp duo of henchman, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint (Putter Smith and Bruce Glover), assassins with a horribly leery modus operandi, stand the test of time. The main-man Connery, is evidently back against his better judgement and no amount of John Barry scoring, and fierce pyrotechnics could finally reignite the lustre of his heyday.
Connery has a ball with great stunts, snappy dialogue and a bevy of typically Bondish beauties.