Live and Let Die (1973)

Well it was nice to see you again Connery but we only needed you for one film. Now we have a new guy, the suave, sophisticated dandy that is Roger Moore. The film coincides with the Blaxpotation era, not the last time the Bond franchise jumps on the bandwagon, and so it revolves around Harlem drug dealing.

The plot, as previously mentioned is simple. Bond investigates the deaths of three British agents and finds himself sifting through the murky underworld of the Caribbean drug industry. Bond must thwart the plans of Mr Big/Dr Kananga (played by Yaphet Kotto) to flood the heroine market and his henchmen Tee Hee (played by Julius Harris) and Baron Samedi (played by Geoffrey Holder). Along the way Bond tries his hand at wooing tarot card reader Solitaire (played by Jane Seymour) and Rosie Carver (played by Gloria Hendry).

Live and Let die is an adequate Bond film. It moves away, if only temporarily, from the whole megalomaniac villain concept and more to realistic enemies and I don’t like this. Kananga is charismatic enough and I do like his scheme in this film but it still has aspects of the old film villains. The henchmen are more memorable than Kananga. Tee Hee has his pincer arm and Baron Samedi is a little haunting. The ending scene with him on the front of Bond’s train is chilling especially considering he was killed moments before. All the acting is good, especially from Roger Moore and Jane Seymour, who is actually quite attractive by Bond girl comparisons. Moore has a difficult job on this film. Firstly he has to live up to fan expectations and seeing as the last guy they got was Sean Connery, it cannot have been easy. Secondly his first film is basically a ploy to make money from the blaxploitation genre. Thankfully Moore is a good actor and the writing does a lot to help him. There is one character who is like Marmite for most fans. Sherrif J.W Pepper. Either you think he’s funny or you think he’s annoying. Personally I like him. He’s an idiot but I still think he can be funny. He brightens up an otherwise mediocre film.  Finally the theme tune by Paul McCartney and Wings is great. Live and Let die is by far one of the best Bond songs. The background of the flaming skull is awesome and it is probably one of the best things about the film.

An adequate film. Not really fair that Moore should have to make his Bond debut in such an ok-ish film.



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