Sheldon Times: The Early Days

In 1972, the 1971 film “Diamonds are Forever” reached North Shields, England. I saw it, at the Classic Cinema, Monkseaton. It was my chosen birthday present that year, from my parents. The next week, I got into a discussion with Sheldon about the film, in the playground of our primary school. We discussed the opening sequence, at some length. We were 7 years old. I clearly remember his specific, articulate and passionate engagement with the film. It was the first film debate I recall having in my life. That conversation is burned crystal clear into my memory. And it wouldn’t be our last…

5 thoughts on “Sheldon Times: The Early Days”

  1. John,
    I’ve always had a passionate engagement with DIAMONDS. I’m intrigued to know Sheldon’s thoughts on the pre title sequence and the film as a whole back then.

  2. I don’t remember discussing the title sequence, but I do remember that my parents and I entered the film midway through (you could do that then with continuous performances!) and after a while I could never remember what sequence went where…

  3. That’s it (referring to Sheldon’s memories). We talked about the differences between seeing a movie from the start, and coming in halfway through. I was astonished by the depiction of the villain drowning in the green bath of goo, pushed into there by the hero, as the first experience delivered to me, from this film. It was such a scary depiction of death, it hung in my mind for weeks. And it was the first event in the story, it was the first thing the hero did. And I had 2 hours in front of me… what would he do next? Sheldon saw the film from later on, and didn’t have that chronological response. That was the discussion. It was about film chronology, and the effects that may or may not be generated by seeing a movie from that start, or from later on in the story. The passion he delivered in our playground discussion came from listening to Sheldon judging the relative effects of a person seeing the opening scene of a film first, against another person seeing the film, from a different point in the narrative. We were reflecting on the variations of the responses audiences can experience, when entering into a movie at different narrative junctures. You know how it is, when you’re 7 years old 🙂

  4. When I began collecting the Bond films on video ITV edits were a real nuisance. I got the official tapes in 1985 but I still tried to keep an eye on broadcasts after then just to see what was cut. Would you be able to clarify something I’ve seen elsewhere that the messy edits to the “stabbing” moments in the pre titles sequences, and the shot of the man on fire in the final sequence , neither of which I’ve ever seen uncut on ITV were accurate representations of the BBFC cuts the film had at the cinema? I always assumed the appalling cuts to the lift fight were simply because the scene was already almost incomprehensible with the 2.35:1 image cut in half to 4:3

  5. The two sequences you mention in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER were edited at the insistence of the IBA due to the relatively early time slot chosen for its TV premiere (6.45pm on Christmas Day 1978). It’s probable that the cuts were not reinstated for subsequent transmissions, even at a later hour.

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