|BlogalongaBond: Diamonds are Forever (1971)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Sunday, 17 July 2011 09:02|
BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 in November 2012.
Ah, the 1970s. The decade when Bond lost its way. Bringing back Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton and the familiar (i.e. old) face of Sean Connery, EON did a complete U-turn away from the daring notes of On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Instead of character and gritty violence, they ramped up the jokes - but these aren't good jokes we're talking about. These are the kind that your drunk aunt tells at a wedding, which you can just about tolerate until she starts joy-riding a moon buggy across Vegas.
Yes, Diamonds are Forever is the film that sees 007 become boring, the one-liners become unbearable, and Blofeld become a woman. Then, halfway through, it turns out the film isn't about diamonds anyway; it's about a giant laser in space. (They could have at least given it a title that made sense, like Lasers Are Forever.) The glitzy garbage is almost enjoyable on a trashy level, but it's best summed up 15 minutes in, when Bond hides from an enemy by pretending to make love to himself in a dark alley. This is what Britain's top spy has come to. It almost makes you look forward to the arrival of Roger Moore. If, you know, it wasn't Roger Moore.
Naturally, this shiny pile of neon-covered bilge comes with two of the most laughable villains of the entire Bond series: Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. Bizarrely, these two hitmen are never seen taking instructions from anyone - the closest they get to an employee seems to be providing regular business for Morton Slumber's funeral parlour, which is a front for Blofeld's diamond smuggling ring.
With this ludicrous subplot in mind, I wasn't surprised to discover this pamphlet in the box of my special edition Diamonds Are Forever DVD...
How to Run a Funeral Home
Have Stupid Names
Morton Slumber? Albert Wint? Charles Kidd? These are silly names to begin with, even if you are a fan of kitsch 1970s camp. So make sure you address each other by your formal titles. Yes, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd still sound silly, but at least they're not quite as silly as Putter Smith, the name of the jazz musician who played Mr. Kidd. Besides, this a funeral business - if you're not polite and formal, people will never let you near their dead relatives.
Have Stupid Hair
No-one likes to think that their funeral is being handled by a bunch of slick con artists. Heck, they might even suspect you of being assassins or diamond smugglers. Throw them off the scent by growing a shaggy hairstyle and topping it off with a giant moustache. Then, try growing extra hair out of the middle of your forehead. Pull that look off and no-one will question your claims of spending all day in a room with corpses.
Quote Meaningless Proverbs. Constantly.
People love to hear comforting words when they grieve, so only talk in proverbs that are vaguely relevant to the situation. For helicopter accidents, try: "If God had meant man to fly, he would have given him wings." To really come across as sympathetic, say everything in the style of a Vegas double act and finish each other's sentences. "If at first you don't succeed, Mr Wint..." "... Try and try again, Mr Kidd." Yeah, that'll never get annoying.
Wear Stupid Clothes
It's the hair principle again; look stupid and no-one will ever find you threatening. Get wardrobe guru Elsa Fennell to provide you with some brightly coloured stripy shirts and paisley ties to look serious around the workplace. For very formal occasions, a flat cap will cover up your bald patch and make you look even more professional. (If your funeral parlour colleagues do wear black suits and tie, make sure they contrast it with colourful language and bad jokes. Just to keep the tone consistent.)
Lose People's Ashes
No-one likes getting covered in dust. Especially the dust of dead people. Do the decent thing: instead of giving people the ashes of their deceased loved ones, just hand them an urn full of diamonds. You can bet they'll come back for repeat business after a bit of white ice comes their way.
Assault the Bereaved
If your victims - erm, customers - don't come to you, then go out and get them. A mourning relative standing alone in the memorial garden? Clobber him over the head with something heavy and Bob's your uncle. (And Crispin Glover's dad is your henchman. No really, Crispin Glover's dad is your henchman - Bruce Glover plays Mr. Wint.)
Burn Them Alive
Now you've got your victim - erm, customer - ready, there's no nicer way to greet them than burning them alive. Preferably in a nice, pretty coffin. Be sure to play the funeral parlour's pre-recorded organ music at the same time for a suitably macabre sense of absurd threat. Just don't expect any dramatic tension. Ever.
Wear Lots of Aftershave
Spray yourself with aftershave at all times. This will make you seem manly, dangerous and attractive. Onlookers will be amazed at the depth of character hinted at by such a simple, repeated gesture. It may suggest that you have bad hygiene or an unfortunate case of body odour. Or it may just imply that you're desperate for attention from your male colleagues.
Whenever you complete your work for the day, relax by holding hands. Stroll off into the sunset while you're at it. That's what all the best mortuaries do, especially those with gay hitmen on the payroll. If you're concerned that people won't approve of your intimacy, relax: it's the 1970s. Everything's cool. Even misogyny and casual racism. If it still worries you, try saying ultra-butch things to the men around you, such as: "She's attractive... for a woman."
Failing all else, burn the original copies of Ian Fleming's novel, which makes Wint and Kidd's homosexuality pretty clear. Not least because they're members of The Spangled Mob - the gayest sounding organisation since SPECTRE.
But there's one thing that will ensure your funeral parlour is a success:
Spend Absolutely No Time in the Funeral Parlour Whatsoever. (Apart from When You're Burning People Alive.)
Why would you want to be at work anyway when you could be on a boat baking a cake?
Follow the simple steps above, and your funeral parlour will be the most respectable house of death around. But it'll make for one rubbish film.