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SEAN CONNERY BOND SIX 'DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER' FOR SID HAIG

Marc Lawrence and Sid Haig bring in the dead for Bond YEAR: 1971
Far from top shelf Sean Connery/James Bond, it's definitely the weirdest: a comeback after one-timer George Lazenby's ON OUR MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE and an intentional first of two comeback/farewells (NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN later on) for the man still considered the best 007 ever. Only here he seems older than his next replacement, Roger Moore, two years his senior. And he's going through the motions but it's a pretty good time, for a while...

Bond finales can often drag during the inevitable point of no return, facing off at the main villain's lair where a big bombastic fight ensues and the mysteries have all been revealed. In this case it's old reliable cat-lapped Bloefeld (forever dated by Austin Powers). But the best scenes had occurred during the initial climb with various near-death situations ranging from an edgy elevator fight to a romp throughout Las Vegas in its sparse, seedy, early-1970's heyday...

Michael Valente, Sean Connery, Sid Haig and Marc Lawrence
And the reason for this DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER review is character-actor Sid Haig's recent death. Here he's one of three thugs along with classic heavy Marc Lawrence, who'd return as another goon in the intro of Moore's second venture, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN...

As an employee of a mob funeral outfit, Haig uses a deliberate old school New York gangster voice, saying "Brudda" for "Brother" on the drive to their mortuary where a fan-favorite sequence has Bond almost incinerated in a casket. But what really makes DIAMONDS shine are the lovely Bond girls. The first is Jill St. John, perfectly aged so not to be obnoxiously young, and yet she's one of the cutest/sexiest dames in the franchise. She tags along with Bond like a kissing cousin rather than the dame he yearns to inevitably shag (which he does of course): that's usually left to the secondary Bond girl earlier on...

Sean Connery and the lightning hardhat men SCORE: ***1/2
Enter hot, lusty and busty Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole, who does very little except getting thrown out a Vegas hotel window, safely into the swimming pool, and a little later found cemented under the pool of Jill St. John, whose more respectfully named Tiffany Case winds up predictably kidnapped. But by this time the game's basically over despite thirty minutes left on the clock. And while Connery sleepwalks through this affable, dapper ride, he's more laidback than lazy...

The latter goes to a pair of bizarre assassins that... while taking part in a genuinely vicious string of murders connected to diamonds stolen from an African mine... are perhaps the lamest killers in Bond cinema history. Joker-faced Bruce Glover would have fared better alone; his character's real life musician "life partner" Putter Smith resembles a sleepy, bald-headed sheepdog whose acting is so atrocious, even his walk is deliberate and awkward. But no matter who surrounds him, it's cool seeing Sean Connery's Bond in the 1970's. And perhaps he's really not trying because he simply didn't need to.
Sig Haig as Slumber Inc Attendant/Assassin in Diamonds are Forever
Sig Haig, Lana Wood and Marc Lawrence in Diamonds are Forever
A lovely Jill St. John sees a dead Bond girl in her pool in Diamonds are Forever
Sean Connery and Jill St. John in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
Mr. Liberace's body was quickly returned to the morgue for...
Bruce Glover and Putter Smith make deadly gay henchmen in Diamonds are Forever
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