Monday, April 4, 2016

For The Love Of Diamonds: Celebrating The 60th Anniversary of Ian Fleming's James Bond Thriller, 'Diamonds Are Forever'

I've enjoyed reading and rereading Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever over the years.

I love that the story takes place in America and deals with diamond smuggling, fixed horse races, crooked casino gambling and murder. I also love that James Bond goes up against American gangsters.

I was disappointed in the 1971 film based on the novel. It was good to see Sean Connery back as Bond after a one-film absence, but I thought the film was a silly spoof and they left out some of the best scenes from the novel.

I'd like to see the Bond film producers remake the film as a true thriller and remain faithful to Fleming's novel.

With the novel celebrating a its 60th anniversary, Tom Cull at offers a look back at Fleming's novel.

“Bond put down the piece of quartz and gazed again into the heart of the diamond. Now he could understand the passion that diamonds had inspired through the centuries, the almost sexual love they aroused among those who handled them and cut them and traded in them. It was domination by a beauty so pure that it held a kind of truth, a divine authority before which all other material things turned, like the bit of quartz, to clay. In these few minutes Bond understood the myth of diamonds, and he knew that he would never forget what he had suddenly seen inside the heart of this stone…” 
Ian Fleming said this of Diamonds Are Forever in an interview with the Daily Express in 1956:
“I’ve put everything into this except the kitchen sink. Can you think of a plot about a kitchen sink for the next one? Otherwise I am lost.”
And indeed he did. Whereas some of his books relied heavily on his imagination, this vastly under-rated fourth novel published 60 years ago in 1956, required lots of first-hand research and travel.
Fleming’s twin love of travel and ‘things’ were indulged to their fullest potential in this novel. The central plot revolved around diamond smuggling – a hot topic at the time – and like many, he was enchanted by their lustre, permanence and chatoyance:
“When jewels have chatoyance the colour in the lustre changes with movement in the light, and the colour of this girl’s eyes seemed to vary between a light grey and a deep grey-blue.” (Diamonds Are Forever, 1956)
He was also fascinated in the power and allure of these jewels that could provoke people, even of good standing, to smuggle them. 
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can read Andrew Lycett's biography of Ian Fleming to learn more about the man who created James Bond.

And you can read my Crime Beat column on Ian Fleming via the below link:

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