Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Lesson # 007 - Close Quarter Combat
Interviews-Cast-Sean Connery 1971 - The BBC Interview
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Alternative Angle Scenes, Satellite Test Reel
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Explosion Tests, Oil Rig Attack
Featurette-007, Women, Aliies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Diamonds Are Forever
Biographies-Crew-Cubby Broccoli - The Man Behind Bond
|Year Of Production||1971|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Guy Hamilton|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Jill St. John
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Diamonds Are Forever marks the 7th film in the United Artists franchise and the last time that Sean Connery was issued with a licence to kill from Cubby Broccoli.
After an exciting opening sequence in which Bond exacts revenge on Blofeld (or does he?), 007 traces diamond smugglers from London to Amsterdam to Las Vegas to an oil rig out in the middle of the ocean. But why is MI6 chasing diamond smugglers? Because it ultimately leads to a diabolical plot to uproot the world order by Blofeld of course! Apparently the producers wanted to step away from the darker issues in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and have the series return to the Goldfinger style of Bond, a Shirley Bassey theme, exciting car chases, beautiful women, some fantastic one-liners and a cracking fight scene in a elevator. What more could you want?
The love interest this time around is the gorgeous Jill St John, playing diamond smuggling Tiffany Case. Bond impersonates a diamond smuggler and takes her to the US where they promptly arrive in Las Vegas to deliver their smuggled bounty. The typical Bond formula is to have the bad girl switch allegiances and swoon "Oh James" by the end of the movie. Miss Case is no different and is certainly a worthy Bond girl.
Interesting additions to the villains are Mr Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr Kidd (Putter Smith) as the homosexual double assassin act. Surely that was controversial in 1971? Anyway, they make for a fun and inventive pair that greatly up the body count in this film. Blofeld is played by Charles Gray. He does an admirable job but is not exactly the most intimidating nemesis for Bond to face.
There's no doubting that as much fun as Diamonds Are Forever is, it's easily the weakest link in the Connery-Lazenby-Connery chain. Connery almost looks bored in some scenes, with a 'been there done that' look on his face. He simply doesn't have the energy in this film like he did in earlier incarnations.
Nonetheless, it's still a lot of fun for a night in with 007, Tiffany Case, Bambi and Thumper, and how can you not like a movie with a girl called Plenty O'Toole?
Lowry deserve every cent they got for the restoration of these films. This is a great transfer for a film that is 35 years old. However, I wasn't as impressed with this transfer as I was with OHMSS. There are one or two problems that bothered me but it is still a very good transfer.
Diamonds Are Forever has been transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.
Overall the image was good, but it wasn't as clear as OHMSS. I wonder if the problem was with the original film stock. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't look bad, but Diamonds Are Forever is not as stand out impressive as the previous film in the series.
The picture is still pretty clear - for examples of how clear it is check out the great scenery at 18:00, 38:24 and 40:11. As good as some scenes look, there are still many that look softer than they should be.
Black levels are good and shadow detail is accurate.
Some other reviews of these new editions have mentioned reddish skin hues, and unfortunately this film does have instances where the colouring is too strong and skin tones too reddish. Perhaps it was the Las Vegas heat, but I doubt it. Does HD restoration expose the unnatural caking of makeup that actors have to go through? I remember reading a year or so ago how makeup techniques are changing to incorporate HD.
There are no film artefacts present at all. Thankfully there is no grain either.
Four English subtitle streams are available, two of which accompany the audio commentaries. They are quite accurate to the dialogue and easy to read.
The default audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), with the alternative being DTS 5.1. Like the previous review I did for the Ultimate Edition of OHMSS, I couldn't detect any substantial difference between them.
Unfortunately the original mono soundtrack is not on the disc. That said however, the tracks are generally front heavy tracks and quite conservative in the surround mix.
The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand. Syncing was correct.
The music was fantastic. John Barry's theme song sounded great and Shirley Bassey's title track is a beloved classic that'll get you into the mood for a Bond film as soon as you hear it..
There were a few moments when the surrounds were utilised, especially in the car chase around Las Vegas.
The subwoofer wasn't used much, but I didn't miss it.
There were no click or pop issues.
|Surround Channel Use|
Fantastic menus! Some of the most polished I have ever seen.
Commentary with Guy Hamilton and other cast/crew. This is not technically a commentary because it consists of snippets of interviews and discussions from various sources. Surely Sean Connery and Jill St John could have been recruited for a commentary?
Old, brief feature on the fighting in the film featuring director Guy Hamilton. Quite interesting.
Very interesting. He describes OHMSS thusly: "the lack of success of the previous one meant I could come in now on a better wicket." Enjoyable interview, but way too brief. On that note - why was there no retrospective footage of Connery?
Satellite test scenes - the early days of fx.
Narrated by Patrick Macnee, this featurette shows the development and production of Diamonds Are Forever. Originally, Auric Goldfinger's evil twin was supposed to be the baddie, and an American actor was signed to play Bond - luckily, they got Connery back! The producers wanted a more American film, hence it was set primarily in Las Vegas. This was also on the previous release.
Oil rig attack sequence
The weirdest scene included Sammy Davis Jr in a bit part. Plenty O'Toole is featured in two scenes, one at dinner time and again after she is thrown from the window when she returns to the hotel room.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Get the R4 - it's PAL and the release looks to be identical across international markets.
Overall, a weaker Bond but a fun one.
The video is very good.
The audio is good too.
The special features are a lot of fun too. A Connery commentary would seal the deal.
|DVD||Marantz DV4300, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Sony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||DB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub|