Monday, September 3, 2012

50th Anniversary Bond Rewatch "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971)

As a fan of the popcorn, guilty pleasure, mindless entertainment aspect of the Bond series of films, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the films with the company of my brain. Maybe there is more to be found than escapism. Maybe some of the culture and thinking of the past 50 years has left its imprint…

The short answer for this entry in the series is: you really can’t bring your brain along. There was a mad scramble of desperation when Lazenby left-the-series/was-let-go and they ended up backtracking. Not only did they go back to Connery, but they tried to go back to the “Goldfinger” approach. (Actually, up until this point in the series there has been surprisingly little consistency for a franchise the way the bounce from tongue-in-cheek to serious spy to humor to adventure…) However, since this is the early seventies and not the mid-sixties, they fail.

In that sense this entry does reflect the times, or at least the way the times always seem to be in early seventies cinema. Dirty, cheap, and lifeless. All of the excitement of the sixties rebellion had worn off and the culture seems to be following Bond through the motions. He kills, even in avenging the love of his life, with no register of human emotion. He beds women but doesn’t even pretend to find it alluring. He resolves plots, but hardly the stuff that brings anyone to the edge of their seats.

The generation of the sixties had succeeded in setting the culture on the path of knocking down institutions and traditions, but they hadn’t thought about the changes they wanted to put in their place or even why they wanted to knock them down in the first place.

We were primed for a new Bond where everything would be played as a joke.

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