Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Guy Hamilton
Bond, James Bond: Sean Connery
Arch Rival: Ernst Blofeld (Charles Gray)
Bond Girl: Tiffany Case (Jill St. John)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

This issue takes Bond in search of revenge for the murder of Teresa in the previous film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Incidentally, he must also bust a diamond smuggling case that seems to take the world towards a diamond crisis. For this, Bond heads towards Amsterdam, disguises as Peter Franks, a notorious smuggler and allies with another one, Tiffany Case . Meanwhile, two thugs, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, presumably Blofeld’s assistants, carryout a series of murders of smugglers across the world. As Bond “mines” into the case with the help of Case, he comes to know of Blofeld’s comeback and his persisting plans to take over the world. Bond sets out to destroy Blofeld’s diamond-based laser satellite that he intends to use to burn out world nations. But there is a catch, Blofeld has created multiple copies of himself… and his cat’s.

Sean Connery reprises the role of James Bond after a single film break and for the last time. This would also be the end of Ernst Blofeld – Bond’s longest surviving nemesis, played by as many as three different actors. More humourous than the preceding Connery films, Diamonds are forever presents almost all the characteristics of a typical Bond film – over the top car chases, over-the-edge spying, femme fatales and of course, the only-possible-in-a-Bond-film plans to rule the world.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Peter R. Hunt
Bond, James Bond: George Lazenby
Arch Rival: Ernst Blofeld (Telly Savalas)
Bond Girl: Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

It is time for a change in Bond as Connery steps down from the prestigious pedestal to make way for George Lazenby. As Bond is enjoying his stay in Portugal he is kidnapped by Draco’s men. Marc-Ange Draco, is the chief of European organization Unione Corse and has a daughter Tracy Teresa, with whom Bond is already acquainted with. Draco asks Bond to marry his daughter in exchange for valuable information about the whereabouts of Ernst Blofeld. Bond agrees and subsequently travels to Bern with Teresa where He learns that Blofeld has set up a research laboratory on the hills of the Alps. He also comes to know that Blofeld is holding about a dozen women and brainwashing them into spreading his bio-chemical weapons all over the world.  Bond disguises as a professor and enters the institute and tires to bust Blofeld’s plans. He succeeds in destroying the lab and marrying Teresa, but Blofeld’s still alive.

Most atypical Bond so far, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is chattier and mellower than all the other films in the series. Though his only film as Bond, George Lazenby does well to be remembered by fans. Bond manages to even get involved in a conjugal relationship taking the “unBondness” of the film to the maximum. Sandwiched between two typically Bond Connery films, Lazenby’s quiet venture is a much needed hiatus from the monotony and also a refreshing point for the films to follow.

You Only Live Twice (1967)
Lewis Gilbert
Bond, James Bond: Sean Connery
Arch Rival: Ernst Blofeld (Donald Pleasence)
Bond Girl: Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama)

You Only Live Twice (1967)

You Only Live Twice (1967)

The next installment in the series would be You Only Love Twice, the first Bond film shot in Asia. The film kicks off with strange events in space as a mysterious contraption seems to be swallowing both the American and the Soviet spaceships. Before both the countries pin the blame on each other and jump into another world war, British government asks Bond carry out his investigations in Japan, where they suspect is the hideout of the spacecraft. Bond arrives in the oriental country where he is aided by the local force lead by Tiger Tanaka. He finds out that a local chemical company is shipping rocket chemicals surreptitiously into an unknown area. For this, Bond disguises himself as a Japanese even rigging up a fake marriage with Tanaka’s protégé Kissy Suzuki. Bond sets out on his gyrocopter to find the place, in vain. Finally, with the help of Kissy, Bond finds the secret lair where the craft is and successfully infiltrates it. He meets the Number one of SPECTRE aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld!

If Thunderball was deep inside the water, You Only Live Twice goes aerial. The plot is kept simple and would form the basis of another Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). You Only Live Twice, to an extent, makes up for the heavy blow dealt to the series by its predecessor Thunderball (1965). Blofeld (more famous as Dr. Evil in Austin Powers series!) makes his first appearance after indirectly threatening in previous three films.