Friday, May 22, 2015

Diamonds Are Forever (1971) | Music

I kind of want to rag on the Diamonds Are Forever title sequence like I have most of the rest of the movie, but there are some cool things about it. Maurice Binder's not being innovative - he's found his formula by now and all he has to do is riff on it - but he's still Maurice Binder and he does some fun stuff.

The last shot of the cold open is of Blofeld's angry, apparently orphaned cat, so Binder transforms the animal's eye into a diamond. The rest of the sequence is close-ups of diamond jewelry being worn by women, with some obligatory silhouettes thrown in. In amongst the women and the jewelry though, he also puts the cat, either spoiling or reassuring that Blofeld is still going to be a big part of the show.

For the theme song, John Barry re-teamed with Don Black who'd partnered with him on the Thunderball rush job. They wrote a breakup song that incorporates the movie's title (I always love that formula), but even better is the music itself. He brought back Shirley Bassey to sing it and between her sultrily boisterous voice, some big stingers from the horn section, and a slinky guitar riff, the song is one of my favorites in the whole series.

Barry's back to using the Bond Theme sparingly in Diamonds, but he does it well, always at key moments. It first comes into play when we finally see Sean Connery's face in the cold open, getting us excited about the return of the familiar Bond. The next time it shows up is when Bond is crossing the Channel in the hovercraft, starting his mission. And finally, it appears again when he arrives at Willard Whyte's summer house, his first huge break in the case.

Barry also brings back the 007 Theme he introduced in From Russia With Love. That's what's playing over the movie's finale once Bond gets control of Blofeld's bathosub, the majestic music making it obvious that Bond's now going to be victorious.

Top Ten Theme Songs

1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
2. Diamonds Are Forever 
3. You Only Live Twice
4. From Russia With Love (John Barry instrumental version)
5. Dr No
6. Thunderball
7. Goldfinger
8. From Russia With Love (Matt Monro vocal version)
9. TBD
10. TBD

Top Ten Title Sequences

1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
2. Dr No
3. Thunderball
4. Goldfinger
5. From Russia With Love
6. Diamonds Are Forever
7. You Only Live Twice
8. TBD
9. TBD
10. TBD

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