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Well, That Was DAFt

April 18, 2003

DAF = Diamonds Are Forever, the 1971 return/final hurrah for Sean Connery in the official EON Bond film franchise, for the afjb-impaired. And I still think he should have left it alone at YOLT (You Only Live Twice), or preferrably Thunderball, arguably his strongest Bond effort.

Understand; After George Lazenby was very poorly promoted and received in the Bond role of 1969’s OHMSS, EON and MGM felt it prudent to sack a lot of people and spend however much money Sean wanted in order to get him to come back. He did it for a huge chunk of change, and donated it to one of his pet charities in Scotland. So he did the film, and was quite good in it.

The movie itself though, looked like an overlong episode of the Rockford Files. I think I preferred it better with James Garner in the role.

Add to that my longstanding dislike of Shirley Bassey’s voice, my continued inability to find anyone else in the cast of DAF who sounded even slightly inspired in their performances (Lois Maxwell was stunning in that little uniform). No, I did NOT think the character of Tiffany Case was breath-taking or interesting in any way.

And the music was mostly irritating, except for that one bit of theme they played as Bond was breaking into the Whyte House (great scene; one of my faves in the film).

So there. Capsule report on DAF.

I think Sean redeemed himself nicely in NSNA, even though that too was a flawed production, and not an ‘official’ Bond film. I also think he was the perfect model of my version of James Bond in the role of John Mason in The Rock. See it if you haven’t already.

Now, the old adage ‘if you can’t say anything nice…’ should apply here, so I will go on record as saying that a fair bit of the soundtrack was good, Ken Adam’s set and prop designs look better and better to me with each veiwing, and as I have said on a number of occasions, any scene where it was just Sean alone or in a scene with someone who had virtually no speaking role, it was a great scene indeed. And the fight in the lift in Amsterdam with Peter Franks, though shot a little flatly, was a great bit of action sequence. You can really get into it, because it doesn’t feel particularly rehearsed. Sean’s moves look potent enough to hurt a man.

All in all, it was Sean and nobody else who really carried the film, although the regulars (M, Q and Moneypenny) were spot on. Leiter was a little annoying, but pretty good, if a little wooden. Even Jimmy Dean was amusing. And Charles Gray, though not my pick for Blofeld on any occasion, still managed to be quite amusing and calculating, if a bit hard to be intimidated by.

But it was a terribly film, with wooden acting, generic car chases, lame slapstick, dodgy effects, crummy locations, and really painfully stereotypical casting (gangsters and generic agents and generic rent-a-guns and a pair of ridiculously effeminate henchmen and ludicrously miscast eye candy… although, at least Bambi and Thumper seemed dangerous for the first half of their scene… sorta like the Replicant girls in Blade Runner).

It will be quite a little while before I put this one on again.

L o L,
ready for the next bit… AVTAK
(wish me luck)

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