First movie in my newly repainted & rearranged living room! I have been busy the last couple of weeks. When it’s done, finally, finally done and berugged (I need a new rug. Rugs are much harder to find than I thought plus they’re expensive, dude, so expensive) there will be pictures and you will weep with envy and joy for the sheer beauty of it. That will be when I finally get the damn knickknacks sorted and the rest of the art hung. But for now suffice it to say that it’s painted, and the color is – wait for it – ….silver bullet. Yes. Silver bullet! It looks much better than it sounds although let’s face it, it sounds awesome. And there’s an ………accent wall. Which is green. An accent wall! It belongs in a heavy Rizzoli coffee table book, my new living room. They could call it Mid 20th Century Small Vaguely Ranchesque Southern Houses for the Working Classes. With accent walls.
However! Onward and upward to Bond! I didn’t live blog this one because that’s gotten old, besides it’s too context free to be entertaining. Instead I took 5 pages of handwritten notes. Five. Pages. Let that sink in for a moment. Sometimes I concern myself. I felt so scholarly that I pretended I was writing a thesis on James Bond. I could when I’m done with this project – The Bond Lens: Class, Gender, Race and Explosions in the 20th and early 21st Centuries. But! Let’s get to the movie! No thesis tonight, just spoilers: like Pussy, galore.
We start right out with Bond – Sean Connery again, in his last appearance as Bond, which is a pity, because through the whole movie it feels as if he’s finally gotten comfortable with the character – crashing through a Japanese house wall. He’s searching for Blofeld – remember Blofeld? He’s the Teutonic evil dude with the white Persian – and his search takes him around the globe in quick succession, including a rather nasty bit where he strangles a girl with her own bikini top. Eventually he tracks Blofeld down in a sort of combination plastic surgery clinic and mud spa (yeah, okay, surgery patients in 1971 were always dropped in huge vats of goop, why the hell not?) and after a brisk fight, Blofeld is dead. OR IS HE?
Cue the titles. The song is by Shirley Bassey and it’s – not bad! Really not terrible. Like, you can see that if it was 1971 and you were sitting in a dark Holiday Inn sort of lounge bar, you could even enjoy listening to it as you wept silent tears into your scotch.
And here’s Bond proving he’s cool by guessing shit about sherry in some upper class yob’s fancy fucking drawing room (that just happens to be painted the SAME GREEN AS MY NEW ACCENT WALL DID I MENTION MY NEW GREEN ACCENT WALL?) and they’re discussing South African diamond mines. My note here says “oh fuck if they start defending the SA diamond mines I might have to OH FUCK WINT AND KIDD I REMEMBER THEM THEY ARE SCARY!” and yes, enter two really memorable Bond villains, the psychopathic duo Wint and Kidd. One of them looks like someone, some totally well known 70s comedic figure, but I can never remember who. Anyway they are scary! They scared small me over and over, because I realized on seeing them that I have seen this movie like a million times. It must have been on TV a lot. Like, a LOT.
OK! Then there’s a bunch of stuff proving that Wint & Kidd are bad dudes and something, something, stolen diamonds have to get to the USA. Moneypenny has a cameo in a British border patrol uniform and eventually Bond ends up in the Amsterdam apartment of an American diamond smuggling chick (Jill St. John! Didn’t she go on to become a real movie star?) in her underwear. You know, like you do. Cue the slow mellow jazz. She has a whole fingerprint ID kit in her bathroom that’s pretty fucking nifty – it’s a Polaroid and a microfilm reader, I think – but Bond has fortunately gotten fake fingerprints in so his diamond smuggling cover is not blown. Phew. Then there’s an elevator fight with a lot of broken glass.
Bond is off to Las Vegas with a casket. There’s an A-frame funeral chapel with a lot of abstract orange stained glass – SO 70s! – and Bond nearly, but not quite, gets cremated. Off to a casino and enter another girl, Plenty O’Toole, who says when confronted with naked Bond, “There’s a lot more to you than I expected.” Groan. But this movie is actually really tight and stylish and the slapstick bits are well executed. Plenty gets thrown out a window, which doesn’t kill her but does foreshadow her demise (obligatory dead girl bingo square!) and Tiffany Case, aka the Amsterdam girl, is back. They go to Circus Circus and there’s a brief elephant vignette! This made me happy as did a moving Hertz neon sign somewhere in Las Vegas.
Then there are a bunch of car chase sequences including one with the moon rover because, in a casual aside, Bond crashes the set where they’re faking the moon landing. This is less stylish than previous Bonds, either because it’s the US and we just aren’t stylish or because all the cars look like more like beaters than super cool antiques. The line, apparently, is thin. The whole thing is like a Dukes of Hazzard episode, in fact I made a note that this is probably what inspired the show. But they get away and then are off to the worlds most amazingly tacky beautiful hotel suite WITH A LAWN JOCKEY and they have sex on a BED MADE OF AQUARIUMS. Not exactly cozy, OK, but 10 out of 10 for style.
Bond does some fancy aerial work that made me dizzy and ends up in Howard Hughes
Wilfrid Wood, crazy billionaire,’s private penthouse. It’s, surprise, Blofeld with a voice changer and a big round floor map. No, wait, there are two Blofelds. He’s been cloning himself, or, well, getting doubles with plastic surgery (now that’s a job description) and, while he’s at it, cat doubles too. Bond gets knocked out, but instead of just shooting him, Blofeld gets Wint & Kidd in and they drive out through a part of the desert that just lifts up (I love this. I loved this as a kid. Movable fake landscape big enough to drive a car through!) and dump him inexplicably in a big pipe. Of course he’s totally fine, although in his next scene he’s wearing a white suit and a short wide pink tie, so is he really fine?
That would be the scene where he meets Bambi and Thumper, who are supermodels who kill. They are quite awesome but Bond beats them and finally we discover that the whole point of stealing all the diamonds was to put them on a satellite array which produces a city killing death laser. Of course it does.
The laser is controlled, naturally, by one cassette tape on an oil rig. Bond parachutes in; Blofeld yet again resists the urge to just kill him and instead locks him up in a storage closet full of old paint tins and an escape hatch. There’s a big battle, the tape gets switched back and forth, Tiffany Case runs around in a bikini and Blofeld gets to say “PREPARE MY BATHYSPHERE!” which is a sentence I too hope to utter some beautiful day. Now Blofeld is finally dead . . . OR IS HE?
In the last scene Bond and Tiffany Case are sailing away in a huge ocean liner. Wint and Kidd reappear and are summarily disposed of and that, my friends, is that. This is a good movie. I mean I really liked it. It more or less made sense, the acting was as good as it gets for Bond, the gadgets were cool but not over the top (there is a scene where Q hits the jackpot on every slot machine!) and generally, it’s a really nice Bond flick. I give it an A. Goodbye Sean! Next stop, Roger Moore.