|Category||Bond||Menu Animation and Audio
Audio Commentary - Guy Hamilton (Director) et al
Featurette - Inside Diamonds Are Forever (30:37)
Featurette - Cubby Broccoli: The Man Behind Bond (41:20)
Fox Home Video
Jill St. John
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono,
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 256 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Diamonds Are Forever begins with James Bond (Sean Connery) tracking Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray) to a remote, typically Bond hideaway and (seemingly) killing him by drowning him in a heated mudbath. After this introductory sequence, we return to MI6 headquarters, where Bond is briefed on his new mission: to investigate a diamond-smuggling ring. To this end, Bond travels to America, where a rich casino owner is suspected to be behind the operation. When that mastermind turns out to be none other than Blofeld himself, Bond becomes driven to unravel Blofeld's plans and avenge the murder of his wife, a sad event that closed the previous film. Personally, I think killing off the best Bond woman the series has ever had was a big mistake, but that's how the novel went. Along the way, we meet some distinctly ordinary Bond women in the form of Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) and Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood). The new grand scheme from Blofeld revolves around a satellite laser (not aimed at Bond's groin this time), a floating fortress, and this uncanny habit of putting Bond in cells that have holes in them. In other words, the Bond producers have simply dumped all of the emotion that made On Her Majesty's Secret Service the best Bond film ever and pulled out all of the stops.
Diamonds Are Forever is held by many, including a certain character from Trainspotting, to be the weakest entry in the Connery Bond films, or even the entire Bond saga. I personally believe the episodes containing Roger Moore to be a collective slump for the series, but one must bear in mind that I am only a casual viewer. Overall, I enjoyed Diamonds Are Forever, but not nearly as much as On Her Majesty's Secret Service or GoldenEye, largely because of some glaring factual errors in the story (scorpions don't kill that quickly) and an unsatisfying climax. Still, fanatics will be more than happy with this film and its presentation on DVD.
The transfer is as sharp as the film is ever going to get, barring the creation of a whole new interpositive. The shadow detail is average, but acceptable for a film of this age, especially considering that most of the film takes place in well-lit locations. There was no low-level noise, but film grain was a slight problem at times.
The colours are rendered well in this transfer, with the myriad shades all represented perfectly without any evidence of bleeding or misregistration. However, the overall scheme is somewhat on the dull side, with the sets and the photographic processes resulting in a picture that looks somewhat dull and grey, especially in comparison to the beautiful mountainsides in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. This is no fault of the transfer, however, so it is not worth deducting points for.
MPEG artefacts were not noted during the main feature, although the compression ratio seems to be tighter than usual for a Bond film, with the bit rate hovering around five megabits a second, and at times falling as low as three and a half megabits. In spite of this, the compression is as transparent as you can reasonably expect for a twenty-nine year old film. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some minor aliasing from time to time, but this artefact was infrequent and never too severe. Film artefacts are a slight problem in this transfer, with some sizeable black flecks appearing on the screen every now and again. Small white flecks were more constant, but both types of film artefact were at an acceptable level for a twenty-nine year old picture. Some very ugly yellow-brown blotches, probably dirt on the source material, can be seen at 79:39.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place between Chapters 28 and 29, at 97:21. Although this layer change is noticeable, it is not disruptive to the overall flow of the film.
The audio transfer contains two soundtracks: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, and a commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, both with the slightly higher bitrate of 256 kilobits per second. The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times, with a slight limit posed from time to time by Sean Connery's accent. His pronunciation of the word "pussy", a major reason why I indulged in Goldfinger, is one of the many reasons why Scottish accents are the best kind one can possibly have. A brief audio dropout exists during the scene in which Bond narrowly avoids being cremated alive, with total silence apparent for a second at 31:59. Other than this one minor problem, there were no clicks, pops, or any other audio dropouts in the soundtrack. There are no audio sync problems relating to the transfer, but there were one or two moments when some sloppy ADR work became apparent.
The score music is credited to John Barry, who is considered to be the best score composer the Bond franchise has ever had. Myself, I say one Bond score is as good as another, with the exception of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, where the improved plot gave the score more of a basis for development. This particular score left little impression upon me, but it matched the onscreen action well, and was never distracting or annoying. You'd just have to be a fan in the extreme sense of the word to want to indulge in this score music without the accompanying film.
Being that this is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix, there was no surround channel activity or stereo separation in the soundtrack. Some will probably lament the lack of a 5.1 or Pro-Logic remix, but since this was the way that the film was presented in theatres, it's good enough for me.
The subwoofer had a nice time supporting redirected low-frequency information, in spite of not being specifically called upon to do so.
The video quality is good, although there are a few too many film artefacts.
The audio quality is good, considering the limitations of the source material.
The extras are comprehensive.
|DVD||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|