Thursday, May 21, 2015

Diamonds Are Forever (1971) | Women

Jill St John is really charming as Tiffany Case, but she's a much different character than the one Fleming wrote. In the novel, Case is a tough, but damaged woman who relates to the also tough, also damaged Bond. In the movie, she's still tough and all-business on the surface, but that's a cover for incompetence, not pain. St John's Tiffany is all bravado that fails her when the pressure really gets going.

She's interesting for a while, agreeing to double-cross her bosses and abscond with the diamonds alongside Bond. St John plays it cool and there's no telling at first whose side she's really on. As it turns out, she's playing Bond and stays loyal to her hidden bosses until it becomes apparent that they're trying to kill her.

Once she's on Bond's side though, she doesn't make sense anymore. She has opportunities to take off and escape prison, but she inexplicably sticks around; I guess hoping that Bond will use some influence to drop the charges against her. That works out for her in the end, but it's a super risky play. The impression I get is that she's pretty tough when she has the hierarchy of the smuggling ring backing her up, but she has no idea what to do or how to survive on her own. So she trades in the smugglers for Bond and hopes for the best.

I mentioned in a previous post that Diamonds Are Forever sets the tone for the Roger Moore era and that's evident in Tiffany Case. She's the prototype of the smart/tough woman who suddenly turns dumb partway through the movie, though in her case she was always pretty dumb and just covered it well for a while.

The other major woman in Diamonds is Plenty O'Toole, played by Lana Wood. She's barely even a character and does nothing but bounce between high rollers in the casino. We know nothing more about her than that. Is she a prostitute? Just a gold-digger? Is there some kind of sad backstory that explains why she's ended up here? No idea. The movie doesn't care.

It also doesn't care to explain how she ends up dead in Tiffany's swimming pool, mistaken for Tiffany. Bond says that Plenty went to Tiffany's place to look for the smuggler, but why would Plenty do that? Does she know Tiffany? Who cares? Not this film.

Neither Plenty nor Tiffany crack my Top 10.

My Favorite Bond Women

1. Tracy Bond (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
2. Paula Caplan (Thunderball)
3. Tatiana Romanova (From Russia With Love)
4. Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)
5. Domino Derval (Thunderball)
6. Honey Rider (Dr. No)
7. Sylvia Trench (Dr. No and From Russia With Love)
8. Aki (You Only Live Twice)
9. Pussy Galore (Goldfinger)
10. Tilly Masterson (Goldfinger)

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