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Bond: Live and Let Die

Nov. 3, 2008by:

After returning for DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, Sean Connery once again left the franchise to seek other opportunities. Producers Albert R. Broccoli, and Harry Saltzman- not wanting a repeat of the George Lazenby debacle, decided to hire an established star to take over the franchise. They offered the role to Roger Moore, who had been on the shortlist to play Bond twice before. Moore, whod become a household name after his stint on THE SAINT TV show, was about as far away from Sean Connery as the producers could get, and they attempted to tailor the new film to his strengths, by toning down the violence and upping the humor quotient. Was the resulting film a success?

LIVE AND LET DIE

PLOT: Bond heads off to New Orleans to investigate the disappearance of two MI6 agents that were monitoring the activities of Dr. Kananga, the dictator of a small Caribbean island, San Monique.

REVIEW: Let me get one thing out of the way before I launch into my review. I like Roger Moore- a lot. I dont understand why so many people have a problem with him. Sure- hes no Connery, but nobody is, and to his credit, he never tried to imitate his predecessor.

That said, it took Moore a couple of films to find his groove, and LIVE AND LET DIE- his first Bond film, is not a particularly great installment of the series. Of the entire series, its also probably the single most dated film. In 1973, it was probably considered quite risqu to make all of the villains in the film black- but nowadays it seems a little, shall we say, racially insensitive. I dont want to sound too P.C here- but let me explain. The book the film was based on had black villains, but it also had a black heroine in the form of Solitaire, the tarot card reader that Bond hooks up with.

Originally, Solitaire in the film was supposed to be played by an African American actress, but at the last minute the producers chickened out and got Jane Seymour, who was all wrong for the part, to play the role. Bond did get a minor African American love interest, in the form of the duplicitous CIA agent Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry), but really the roles should have been reversed.

Political correctness aside, the film has a lot of other flaws. The film is really campy at times, with the inclusion of Southern hick sheriff J.W Pepper (Clifton James- who was so popular he came back for the next film). Back then, you couldnt set a film in the south without including that stock character- and Pepper is funny, but he belongs in a Burt Reynolds good ol boy flick, not in Bond! The film also has the single worst death scene Ive ever seen in a film, which involves a villain seemingly turning into a balloon!

BOND

Like I stated earlier in the article, Moore had not found his groove yet- and he comes off as way too aristocratic and well bred to be playing a bad-ass super spy. Hes not awful, but nowhere near as good as hed be in his best films.

VILLAIN

Yaphet Kotto is one of the few really memorable things about the film, as his Dr. Kananga is a truly menacing character. Kotto is actually quite believable as a super-villain.

BOND GIRL

Jane Seymour as Solitaire. Like I wrote earlier- Seymour is totally miscast. Cute as a button though.

BOND MUSIC: The Paul McCartney & Wings theme song is a classic, and easily the best thing about the film. Its also the only theme song I can think of thats really had a life outside the series, and isnt too closely associated with the franchise. I also like the rock-fueled score by George Martin. This is only the second film in the series not scored by John Barry, but Martin- while different, contributes a very energetic soundtrack that drives the action along.

BODY COUNT: 8

NUMBER OF WOMEN BOND SLEEPS WITH: In an attempt to make Moore seems as studly as Connery, the producers made sure to give Bond three sexual conquests- including a deflowering.

BEST ONE- LINER: Solitaire: [Kananga has just died from the gas pellet shoved in his mouth] Where's Kananga?
Bond: He always did have an inflated opinion of himself.

BEST DOUBLE ENTENDRE: [as Bond unzips Miss Caruso's dress with the magnet in his watch]
Miss Caruso: Such a delicate touch.
James Bond: Sheer magnetism, darling.

BEST GADGET: One of the few films in which Q doesnt make an appearance, Bond nonetheless gets a handy magnetic watch from M- who, along with Moneypenny, pays an early morning call to Bond at his flat- where, or course, hes entertaining a beautiful woman.

RECEPTION: LIVE AND LET DIE was actually an extremely successful film, reportedly grossing $161,000,000 worldwide (more than DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER), with $35 million in the U.S- assuring Moores continued involvement with the series.

GRADE: 6/10- not one of the better Bonds, but still entertaining in its own way.

Previous reviews: DR. NO

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

GOLDFINGER

THUNDERBALL

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

Source: JoBlo.com

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2:24PM on 11/12/2008
How could you not mention Baron Samedi, arguably the only good part of this Bond film (well, along with Kananga). I hate Roger Moore and the practically spoof Bond films he captained. Way too much goofy humor, not enough cold-blooded killing. So far away from Ian Fleming's vision.
How could you not mention Baron Samedi, arguably the only good part of this Bond film (well, along with Kananga). I hate Roger Moore and the practically spoof Bond films he captained. Way too much goofy humor, not enough cold-blooded killing. So far away from Ian Fleming's vision.
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6:47AM on 11/04/2008

Theme

"Its also the only theme song I can think of thats really had a life outside the series, and isnt too closely associated with the franchise."

What about We Have All The Time In The World?
"Its also the only theme song I can think of thats really had a life outside the series, and isnt too closely associated with the franchise."

What about We Have All The Time In The World?
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6:33AM on 11/04/2008

love it!

This is my favourite Bond movie, probably because its the first I saw but still, Moore is great in the lead, Kotto is a decent villian and Seymour is the hottest Bond girl ever. Assistant baddie Tee-Hee is awesome and the movie's got some really good action scenes.

9/10
This is my favourite Bond movie, probably because its the first I saw but still, Moore is great in the lead, Kotto is a decent villian and Seymour is the hottest Bond girl ever. Assistant baddie Tee-Hee is awesome and the movie's got some really good action scenes.

9/10
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9:03PM on 11/03/2008
This is actually my favorite roger Moore Bond its the only one of his that is in my top ten it wasnt as campy and goofy as his other installments I just dont enjoy most of his as much as I do the other guys Bonds. That is a great one liner by the way.
This is actually my favorite roger Moore Bond its the only one of his that is in my top ten it wasnt as campy and goofy as his other installments I just dont enjoy most of his as much as I do the other guys Bonds. That is a great one liner by the way.
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6:58PM on 11/03/2008

JANE SEYMOUR

WAS HOT !!!
Wished I was Bond , in charge of deflowering this virgin babe.

This movie grossed "$161,000 worldwide " ??? ... was that it??

WAS HOT !!!
Wished I was Bond , in charge of deflowering this virgin babe.

This movie grossed "$161,000 worldwide " ??? ... was that it??

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5:50PM on 11/03/2008
I really liked this one, Sheriff JW Pepper was fucking hilarious and Baron Samedi is one of the coolest looking bond villains ever.

7/10
I really liked this one, Sheriff JW Pepper was fucking hilarious and Baron Samedi is one of the coolest looking bond villains ever.

7/10
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11:40AM on 11/03/2008

moore was still ...

feeling it out

jane seymour is stil hot

but in all a silly film 6/10
feeling it out

jane seymour is stil hot

but in all a silly film 6/10
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10:34AM on 11/03/2008
One of the only Moore Bonds I really like. Its campy and goofy, but its still a hell of a lot of fun.
One of the only Moore Bonds I really like. Its campy and goofy, but its still a hell of a lot of fun.
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9:55AM on 11/03/2008
As a kid living in Spain, this was the first Bond film that I ever saw. Not as good as some of Moore's later films but still very enjoyable.

7.5/10
As a kid living in Spain, this was the first Bond film that I ever saw. Not as good as some of Moore's later films but still very enjoyable.

7.5/10
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9:00AM on 11/03/2008
I agree that this is not one of the better Bonds, and it is definitely one of the most dated. However, it's a perfectly watchable film for the most part, and Yaphet Kotto made a great villain.

6.5/10
I agree that this is not one of the better Bonds, and it is definitely one of the most dated. However, it's a perfectly watchable film for the most part, and Yaphet Kotto made a great villain.

6.5/10
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