MENAHEM GOLAN’S DIAMONDS — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Out of all of the directorial efforts from former Cannon Films head honcho Menahem Golan that I’ve seen thus far, Diamonds is easily the best. This movie is exceedingly entertaining. The music by Roy Budd (The Wild Geese, Get Carter) is absolutely sensational, all 1974 funkadelic and ear-popping, and the cast is as amazing as it is eclectic – Robert Shaw, Richard Roundtree, Shelly Winters, and Barbara Seagull (aka Barbara Hershey) in her extra-hot early years. Shot in Tel Aviv and centering around a brazen diamond heist, Shaw turned in a dual performance as twin brothers who go up against one another over a massive cache of diamonds which are stashed away in a supposedly impenetrable vault, with results that are wildly fun to observe. Golan and co-screenwriter David Paulsen borrowed heavily from other popular heist films of the time, while peppering the script with some witty lines and a few nice action sequences. Seagull/Hershey, as one might expect from her work in this era, wasn’t afraid to disrobe, and it can never be discounted just how beautiful she was back in the 70’s – the camera REALLY loved her. Contains sharp early work from cinematographer Adam Greenberg (Terminator 2, Ghost) and editor Dov Hoenig (Heat, The Fugitive, Manhunter). Co-produced, as one might imagine, by Yoram Globus. Again – I must reiterate – the musical score by Budd in this film is extraordinary. Released in some corners of the world as Diamond Shaft, despite having no relation to Roundtree’s previous success. Currently available on DVD or as a streaming option via Amazon video.

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