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“The One and Only… meets The Man With No Name”
Sean Connery's return as 007 was announced in March of 1971 and shooting on Diamonds Are Forever began the following month. In the interim there were three re-releases of Connery's earlier Bond films utilising the tag-line “The One And Only!” - as if to erase the existence of George Lazenby from the public's memory forever.  Although made in 1964, A Fistful of Dollars, the first of Sergio Leone’s so-called ‘spaghetti westerns’, was not screened in London until May 1967, when it received less than rave reviews and a very limited release. After its success in the US and its sequel For A Few Dollars More (1965) [not released in London until October 1967], United Artists decided to re-release the two together on a double-bill at the London Pavilion in April 1969, and later also paired them with two James Bond films. Although advertised as a double-bill and posters were printed (basically the two double-crown posters for each film with additional text), cinemagoers had to be over 18 years of age to see the Clint Eastwood films as they were given an ‘X’ certificate when first classified by the British Board of Film Censors. Prior to July 1, 1970 cinemagoers had to be aged 16 or over in order to be admitted to an ‘X’ certificate film. A new category ‘AA’ was introduced on the same day restricting entry to those films for anyone under 14 years of age. This classification was abolished in 1982 when the BBFC overhauled all of its ratings in the wake of the videotape home entertainment boom, and was replaced by the more easily understood ‘15’ certificate.

You Only Live Twice/A Fistful of Dollars London Pavilion 1971

You Only Live Twice went out with A Fistful of Dollars and played for three weeks at the London Pavilion from Thursday May 6, 1971 (and provincially until the end of the year); whilst Goldfinger was paired with For A Few Dollars More and screened at the London Pavilion for three weeks from Thursday June 24, 1971 (also playing simultaneously in Scotland) before moving to the rest of the UK from mid-August until the end of the year.

Goldfinger/For A Few Dollars More - London Pavilion 1971

Some provincial cinemas chose to play the double-bills in the evenings only, pairing the Bond film in afternoon performances with either The Magnificent Seven (1960), or its sequel Return of the Seven (1966) - both of which were classified as an ‘A’ certificate thereby allowing children under 16 to attend unaccompanied by an adult. A third combination of Dr. No/The Good, The Bad and The Ugly also played in Dublin during the same period, and again in June 1972. A further double-bill of From Russia With Love and Hang ‘Em High (a 1968 western also starring Clint Eastwood) played in provincial cinemas in late 1971 and early 1972, and although released across London was not screened in the West End.

Goldfinger/For A Few Dollars More - London Pavilion 1971

Diamonds Are Forever newspaer advertisement

“The One and Only… James Bond is Back!”
Diamonds Are Forever
opened at the Odeon Leicester Square on December 30, 1971 and was the only James Bond film ever not to have a premiere in London. The film was first released in West Germany on December 14, 1971 and in the United States four days later. Sean Connery had attended the London press screening on December 29th bringing Roger Moore as his guest, fuelling speculation that he would be cast as the next James Bond. Connery later attended the Gala Scottish Premiere that was held at the Odeon Theatre, Clerk Street, Edinburgh on Friday January 14, 1972. The premiere was held in aid of the Scottish International Education Trust, which Sean Connery had founded in 1971 using the $1.25-million fee he received for returning as James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever.

Diamonds Are Forever Odeon Leicester Square December 1971
Diamonds Are Forever release dates 1971/72

Diamonds Are Forever once again broke box-office records at the Odeon Leicester Square, taking almost £35,000 in its first week. Although it had played in several key cities in January/February, Diamonds Are Forever then went on general release across the UK from March 26, 1972 when the majority of its audience would see it. The trade announcement (pictured above) in Cinema TV Today (formerly Kine Weekly, soon to become Screen International) showed that Diamonds Are Forever would open at the London Pavilion on February 24, 1972 but this was not actually the case. In its place distributor United Artists initiated a season of Sean Connery's five previous James Bond films which played for four weeks until Sunday March 26, 1972.

1972 James Bond Season London Pavilion

Dr. No opened the season and played each week on Thursday and Friday; Thunderball screened on Saturday and Sunday, From Russia With Love on Monday, You Only Live Twice on Tuesday and Goldfinger on Wednesday. Each film was shown three times each day with an additional late-night screening of Thunderball on Saturdays at 11.00pm. Diamonds Are Forever then transferred to the London Pavilion from Monday, March 27, 1972 after finishing its 12-week engagement at the Odeon Leicester Square on March 25. Diamonds Are Forever ended its 9-week run at the London Pavilion on Wednesday May 31, 1972 but was still on general release across the UK until October. The Gala Royal, Tottenham Court Road also screened Diamonds Are Forever for 20 weeks from May 14 to September 30, 1972. Diamonds Are Forever had therefore played continuously in London's West End for a staggering nine months!

Diamonds Are Forever London Pavilion 1972

ABOVE: Double-crown advance posters appeared on London buses to advertise the opening of Diamonds Are Forever at the Odeon Leicester Square in December 1971. (main picture & below) Diamonds Are Forever at the London Pavilion in April 1972.

Diamonds Are Forever at the London Pavilion in 1972.

Sean Connery's James Bond films could then be seen in various combinations across the UK before the release of Roger Moore's debut as 007 in Live And Let Die, but only one of these double-bills played in the West End. From Russia With Love was paired with Diamonds Are Forever at the London Pavilion for three weeks from Thursday May 31, 1973 and finished its exclusive engagement just two weeks before the opening of Live And Let Die at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Diamonds Are Forever/From Russia With Love London Pavilion 1973

The double-bill later screened provincially from November 1973 after Live And Let Die had finished its West End release, this time accompanied by a new quad-crown double-bill poster. This was not created for the London Pavilion engagement which utilised the 1971 Diamonds Are Forever quad-crown poster, and the 1965 From Russia With Love re-issue version. The National Screen Service produced quad-crown posters for many of these revivals, and also made composite advert blocks available to newspapers for other combinations of films that did not have a corresponding poster.


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