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Live and Let Die

1973 James Bond Movie starring Roger Moore

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The Adventures of That Honky Cue Ball Bond!

  • Aug 1, 2009
Rating:
+3
When I first got into Bond movies in the late 90's one of the movies caught my eye, Live and Let Die.  Reading about the movie from professional critics I hear it was silly and was the decline of Bond with Roger Moore stepping into the role for the first time.  Reading from others I was stunned to read how "racist" the movie was!  WHAT?!  A RACIST Bond movie?!  I was almost afraid to rent the damn thing now, let alone own it.  I did rent it and I found that other then the two remarks in the title directed at Bond, there is nothing racist in this movie short of the film being a product of it's time.  Furthermore while I didn't think the move was great when I saw it 10 years ago it certainly wasn't boring and a strange thing happened, after it was done...I watched it again and before I took it back to the store the next day I watched it once more.  How could such a silly movie be so much fun?  I think I answered my own question.

The movie got initally lambasted for A: Not have Connery as Bond and B: trading in the world domination stories for Bond going after drug lords.  Time has porved it one of the better Moore movies and far better then it was initially recieved and it's certainly become a favorite among Bond fans.

The story has Bond being called into action when British Secret Servicemen are going missing and Dr. Kananga the leader of an island nation of San Monique is under suspicition for the dissapearnaces.  Bond goes from Harlem to San Monique in the Carribean to follow his trail and learns of a major heroin operation going on in an attempt to monopolize the US drug market.  Tarot cards, crocodiles, speed boats and voodoo fill out the movie.  This is the first and only Bond movie to deal with occult and it definetely sets it apart and gives the movie a flavor that other Bond movies don't have which is unique.

The story has some small script problems with not explaining very clearly that Kanaga has convinced his citizens that the land he's growing the heroin on is cursed by voodoo preists so that they don't tresspass or that Baron Samedi is in fact a regular man and not the zombie man that is implied.  The movie is also dated with it's characters dressed up in 70's pimp clothes, big Cadaliacs and even Bond has bell bottoms at one point.  Having the cool speedboat chase is great but it's just chasing.  No shooting at boats and very little in the way of traps set up for the boats, it's just chasing.  Chasing and shouting by a redneck Sherrif named Pepper who has a couple of good lines and at first doesn't have much to do with the story but when you realize that this dumb white hick provides a balance to the evil black gangsters, he has some resonance.

Roger Moore does a real good job here.  While he was never what you'd call a tough Bond, he plays humor very well, has a smooth feel and an uncomplicated manner.  He's closer to the book Bond then Connery was in these regards.  Jane Seymour is one of my favorite Bond girls.  Looking very virginal as her character is supposed to be and very lovely with important ties to the villian.  Even though she is the biggest damsel in a Bond movie, very few Bond movies had it's Bond girl as integral.  

Yaphet Kotto makes a swave villian in the movie.  Very mild mannered and with a cool temperment and I don't think any other villain came so loaded with henchman.  the rotund Whisper, hook handed Teehee, creepy Baron Samedi and hood Adam among other goons in the wings.  Kotto shares a very important place in movie history with Natalie Portman from Episode III: "Worst Death Ever."

This was also the first movie without John Barry as the composer and instead had George Martin with a very loose sounding easy music track and Paul McCartney singing the infamous title track.  The opening titles with it's fire and skulls is also unique.

Very high on action, high on humor and high on the exotic locales.  Live and Let Die is great entertainment and it doesn't take itself very seriously and for most of Moores tenure as Bond, that was kinda the point.  Pull out the bean bag and turn the lava lamp on while you watch.
The wicked Baron Samedei watches Bond Bond takes aim from the shadows Jane Seymour as Solitaire the tarot reader Bond eludes Kananga's gunmen via speedboats Yaphet Kotto as Dr. Kananga Bond and Solitaire in Kananga's clutches

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August 02, 2009
I got such a crush on Jane Seymour when I saw this film. Roger Moore may be one of the weakest Bonds IMHO but the speed boat scenes are definitely classic! Great review! What was the one with the Lotus sportscar that became a mini-sub?
August 02, 2009
Jane Seymour was/is beautiful, but espeically here. I like Roger Moore a lot. The movie with the Lotus Esprit is The Spy Who Loved Me. I've written about that too. Need to add some stills to the write up.
 
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More Live and Let Die (film) reviews
review by . October 10, 2010
posted in Bond, James Bond
Hamilton Pulsar 'P2 2900' LED digital watch
Ever since I was a young boy I have always been enamored by fine watches.  So, ever since I was a kid, one of the alluring elements of Bond movies for me was to observe which types of watches were being used, especially by Bond.  As I matured I found that I share many of Bond’s predilections for enjoying the “finest” things life has to offer.  I think a fine watch is part of the character makeup for depicting Bond as a suave and “smooth operator.”  …
review by . October 10, 2010
posted in Bond, James Bond
1973 'Live and Let Die' Rolex 'Magnetized' Submariner Wristwatch with buzzsaw
Ever since I was a young boy I have always been enamored by fine watches.  So, ever since I was a kid, one of the alluring elements of Bond movies for me was to observe which types of watches were being used, especially by Bond.  As I matured I found that I share many of Bond’s predilections for enjoying the “finest” things life has to offer.  I think a fine watch is part of the character makeup for depicting Bond as a suave and “smooth operator.”  …
Quick Tip by . May 12, 2010
posted in Bond, James Bond
Bond on the tail of an island leader using voodoo and heroin to take over the drug trade in America. Short on some sense but long on fun.
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John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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Live and Let Die (1973) is the eighth spy film in the James Bond series, and the first to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Although the producers had wanted Sean Connery to return after his role in the previous Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, he declined, sparking a search for a new actor to play James Bond. Roger Moore was selected for the lead role.

The film is adapted from the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. In the film, a Harlem drug lord known as Mr. Big plans to distribute two tons of heroin free so as to put rival drug barons out of business. Mr. Big, however, turns out to be the disguised alter ego of Dr. Kananga, a corrupt Caribbean Dictator, who rules San Monique, the fictional island where the heroin poppies are secretly farmed. Bond is investigating the death of three British agents, leading him to Kananga, where he is soon trapped in a world of gangsters and voodoo as he fights to put a stop to the drug baron's scheme.

Live and Let Die was released during the height of the blaxploitation era, and many blaxploitation archetypes and cliché are depicted such as afro hairstyles, derogatory racial epithets ("honky"), black gangsters, and "pimpmobiles". It departs from the former plots of the James Bond films about megalomaniac super-villains, and instead focuses on drug trafficking, depicted primarily in blaxploitation films. Moreover, it is set ...

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