The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
With Blofeld dead Bond is brought on to a diamond smuggling case by M (Bernard Lee). An African mining facility is having difficulty with diamonds being smuggled out. In the desert Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) and Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) wait for the smuggled diamond to arrive. After killing the dentist who was bringing the diamonds the two henchmen kill the helicopter pilot who was suppose to deliever the diamonds some where else. They then deliver the diamonds to an old lady who is to take them to Amersterdam.
Bond follows the string of deaths and takes on the guise of a diamond dealer that MI6 captures so that Bond can take his identity.. There he meets the diamond dealers contact Tiffany Case (Jill St. John). There she tells him that his job is to smuggle the diamonds into Los Angeles. Later in his hotel Q tells Bond over the phone that the diamond dealer escaped and was heading his way. Bond rushes to Case’s apartment and kills the diamond dealer. Case searches the dealers body and finds Bond’s identification on the dealer mistaking the dealer for secret agent James Bond. She tells Bond that they have to get the diamonds out of the country now.
Using the dead body Bond hides the diamonds in the casket and flies to Los Angeles. On the plane Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint watch Bond and Case’s movements carefully. Landing in L.A. Felix Leiter contacts Bond and tells him that the smugglers are already there to pick up the coffin and Bond. Bond goes with the smugglers to the funeral home where Bond is knocked Kidd and Wint and placed in the crematorium. With the diamonds gone the funeral director takes Bond out of the furnace just in time demanding where the diamonds have gone.
Bond and Plenty O'Toole
Bond escapes the funeral home and follows one of the smugglers to a casino owned by Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean). Back stage Wint and Kidd get to the smuggler first and kill him leaving Bond to discover the body. At the craps table Bond gets the attention of “Mr. Whyte” and Plenty O’Toole (Lana Wood). Going up to his room Bond runs into the smugglers who through O’Toole out the window and then leave. Bond enters his bedroom and finds Ms. Case waiting on his bed asking him where the diamonds are.
The body in Ms. Case's pool
Case and Bond make a deal to split the diamonds. Case convinces Bond to let her get the diamonds at a casino circus. At the cirucs Leiter keeps a close eye on her as she recieves the diamonds in a stuffed dog. Realizing she is being followed Case escapes. Leiter tells Bond that she got away with the diamonds. Case shows back up at her home where Bond is already waiting for her. After complaining about the dead body in her pool Bond reveals that he is an agent and demands to know where Case has hidden the diamonds.
At the airport Bond watches a serviceman take the stuffed dog out of a locker. Bond sneaks onto the van that the dog is loaded on to which carries him to Willard Whyte’s government contracted testing facility. There he sees the diamonds being installed into a satellite. Being discovered Bond steals a moon vehicle and escapes with the help of Ms. Case.
Which is the real Blofeld?
That night Bond checks into one of Whyte’s rooms. Sneaking around the outside of the building Bond climbs up to Whyte’s penthouse. There he finds twin Blofelds that have been masquarding themselves as Whyte to control the real Willard Whyte’s empire. Hoping to kill the real Blofeld Bond murders the fake Blofeld who takes a cassette tape locks it in his safe and forces Bond to enter an elevator that gases Bond. Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint take Bond drive him to a construction site to die.
Bond again escapes and with the help of Q (Desmond Llewelyn) convinces Blofeld to reveal the location of the kidnapped Willard Whyte. After a fight with Bambi and Thumper Bond saves Whyte while Blofeld moves up his time table. Back at Whyte’s testing facility they discover that Blofeld has sent up a satillate with a laser that can take out an entire state or any single target. The call comes from Washington that Blofeld is holding the entire world ransom. Whyte points out that he doesn’t own any oil rigs in Baha revealing Blofelds location.
Bond arrives at the oil rig
Bond is dropped off near the rig and brought on board. There he finds that Ms. Case has joined up with Blofeld. With him Bond brings a phony tape that he wishes to switch with the real tape that controls the laser satillite however Blofeld finds it and takes it from Bond. Ms. Case switches sides again and gives the fake tape back to Bond. In the control room Bond switches the tapes and gives the real one to Ms. Case who mistakenly switches the real one back into the control room.
With only minutes to spare to save Washington Blofelds oil rig is assaulted by the American government. Attempting to escape in a personal submarine Blofeld is stopped by Bond who takes control of the crane that is lifting Blofelds sub. Using the sub like a wrecking ball Bond destroys the control center stopping the laser from going off.
After the battle Bond and Ms. Case take a vacation on a cruise but are followed by Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint. Disguised as servers the henchmen are found out by Bond and are blown up by their own bomb.
The first incarnation of the script had a brand new villain that harckened back to Goldfinger, Auric Goldfinger’s twin brother. A decision to overhaul the script was made very quickly. It was Broccoli that came up with the idea of making a Howard Hughes type character and having him kidnapped by Blofeld. Tom Mankiewicz was brought into to flesh out the idea.
Other problems was that it was thought that Bond was too upper class to appeal to audiences and that James Bond should now be an American. Adam West was considered for the role but was undercontract with the Batman show so was unavailable. The producers and director went to America and began testing actors for the new Bond which included John Gavin who actually signed a contract to play James Bond. From there it was decided to shoot the entire film in Hollywood instead of Pinewood studios.
However United Artists had a different idea and wanted to bring back Sean Connery. Broccoli and Saltzman were reluctant since Connery no longer wanted to play the role nor could they afford his price tag. Eventually the studio’s convinced the producers other wise and the offer for a record sum and a two picture deal was given to Connery through his good friend Ursula Andress. For a week Connery thought about it and said that he would do it. Even though Gavin would no longer play the part Broccoli insisted that Gavin be payed in full which was a request granted.
With Connery back on board the actor turned his eye toward the script. Even though Connery never focused on his own role he had many concerns about other characters that were to be int he film.
Guy Hamilton directing Putter Smith
With the cast ready to go and Connery happy filming began on April 5th 1971 with Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint in the desert. The next week director Guy Hamilton wanted to shut down the entire Vegas Strip to shoot the main car chase. This proved to be a easier task than anyone could have imagined. Howard Hughes was a fan of the Bond films and at the time was living in the penthouse of the Desert Inn. When producer Broccoli started asking about shutting down the strip to shoot the scene a message from Hughes was received that the Bond film had the strip to themselves.
The rest of the shoot goes fairly smoothly except for the car stunt that was to take place in London. The first part of the stunt was filmed on a back lot but when the stunt was not able to be duplicated in Vegas a french stunt team had to be brought in to pull it off. They pulled it off but had the car on the wrong two wheels. By the time any of the filmmakers realized this it was too late so all that could be done was film the actors in a stationary car and move the camera in a way to simulate the car switching between the two sets of wheels.
With the help of legendary stuntman Bob Simmons Guy Hamilton decided to create a visually interesting fight in an elevator. The idea was to put to large men in a very enclosed space so that they couldn’t actually swing at each other. They designed the elevator so that it could be easily destroyed and put back together on a set.
Although Diamonds Are Forever was nominated for a technical Oscar and received some critical praise the campy tone of the film was to hard for many to overlook. Many consider the film to be one of the worst Bond films and too silly to be taken seriously.