heard on the wire

When love’s gone, they’ll lustre on

Diamonds are Forever

I have an abnormal affection for Diamonds Are Forever, the seventh movie in the Bond franchise. Rotten Tomatoes ranks it sixteenth among the 24 genuine 007 films, which would be less upsetting if it weren’t lower than Quantum of Solace; I put it at number one.

I’m not alone.

…the genius (intentional or otherwise) of Diamonds Are Forever is in the way it takes its lead from Connery’s bruised, jaundiced performance. … Diamonds … matches the star’s tone and tempo quite beautifully.

Here is a Bond film in which the old glamour has lost its sparkle and the resolute hero has lost his way. It’s jaded, uncertain and disillusioned. It’s vicious, mordant, at times blackly comic. It’s oddly brilliant, the best of the bunch: the perfect bleary Bond film for an imperfect bleary western world.¹

The movie ends with a whimper masquerading as a bang in a ridiculous scene involving the brilliantly comic assassins and an exploding cake, Bond having put an end to a diamond smuggling operation that began in a South African mine.

The Broken Family Band :: Diamonds in the Mine

Audio MP3

 

That cover of a Leonard Cohen comes from a session that the Broken Family Band recorded for Radio One in 2005. As so often the case with session recordings, it has an energy lacking in the version on the Balls LP released the following year. That energy gives it a five-star rating, which means we’re due for another Five, four, three, two post.

Four stars could have been Langhorne Slim’s Diamonds and Gold, but I’ve played that gem (!) before, so instead to Jamaica and the roots reggae harmonies of Tabby, Bunny and Judge.

Mighty Diamonds :: Have a Little Mercy

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From one kind of grass to another: born in Sneedville, Tennessee, the “king of bluegrass” was,

famous as a dangerously unpredictable but highly entertaining stage presence. He freely acknowledged his problems with drinking and volatile mood swings, which kept him from realising his lifelong dream of joining the Grand Ole Opry.²

As ringing an endorsement as you could hope for.

Jimmy Martin :: Oceans of Diamonds

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Three stars might have been Cinerama’s version of Diamonds are Forever. Instead we have to settle for the two-star original, which is probably a little harsh on Ms Bassey and, for the finest of all Bond films, the finest of all Bond themes.

Shirley Bassey :: Diamonds are Forever

Diamonds are Forever :: trailer


Poster from The James Bond 007 Dossier

¹ Guardian | Xan Brooks |My favourite Bond film: Diamonds Are Forever
² Wikipedia | Jimmy Martin

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