Live and Let Die

James Bond (Roger Moore) is sent to investigate the murder of three British MI6 agents, all of whom have been killed within 24 hours. He discovers the victims were all separately investigating the operations of Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), the dictator of a small Caribbean island, San Monique who works closely with a Mr Big a crime boss in New York.  Upon visiting San Monique, Bond determines that Kananga is producing tons of heroin and is protecting the poppy fields by exploiting locals’ fear of voodoo and the occult with the mysterious baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder). The mysterious and beautiful Voodoo Witch Solitaire (Jane Seymour) who can see the future is used as a pawn in Kananga’s plans which is to eventually dump two tons of heroin into the streets of America free of charge therefore increasing the number of addicts. Caught up in a web of crime, deceit and jazzing music Bond must uncover the secret and expose Kananga and Mr Bigs’ plans before an epidemic of addicts swarm the streets of America.

Based on the 1954 novel “Live and Let Die” by Ian Fleming and is the second of the James Bond novels.  Roger Moore steps into the role of James Bond and brings a quintessential Englishness to the proceedings, stepping away from the Americanised Bond which was Diamonds are Forever. Sean played bond dark and ruthless however Rodger brings a more debonair English gentleman and decides to give an edge that bond does not enjoy killing, an element that will reoccur and be reinforced in later bond movies. The James Bond formula is well established 8 movies in but Live and let die does introduce a few new elements which help play about with that standard Bond cut out. The producers begin to push the boundaries of sex and violence introducing drugs as part of the story arch and the one time villain rather than SPECTRE agents.  Live and Let Die has a lot of Blaxploitation influences, it features a predominantly black cast, we see the first black Bong girl () and the first black villain. I am unsure if I should be saying African- American or not so please correct me if I am being unknowingly offensive.  Jane Seymour’s psychic tarot-card-reader Solitaire couldn’t be any sexier and she is up there in my top ten Bond girls. She plays the part with a sensuality and a virgin innocence, which somewhat unbalances the character as we do not at first know exactly how to take her. Live and let die has one of my favourite theme songs of the series “Live and Let Die” with lyrics from Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by Paul McCartney and Wings.

Why did I choose this movie, I have been looking forward to the Rodger Moore era, they are the bonds that I remember most as a child and Live and Let Die was a Bond that scared me a lot when I was a kid. The creepy Voodoo, snakes, Baron Samedi and those creepy scarecrows all just freaked me out as a kid!  The movie is a lot more comedic with Bonds witty quips and one of my favourite ever secondary characters Sheriff Pepper (Clifton James).  I will never be able to watch this movie without thinking about my friend Kyle who loved the character as much as I did, we would always quote Sheriff Pepper’s immortal likes  “Secret Agent…ON WHO’S SIDE!”  Live and Let Die has a lot more sexual innuendos, a lot less Q and the baffling about normally done in M’s office is instead done at Bonds house.  Live and Let Die marks a turning point in the series making a fresh start with a fresh bond and I for one really do enjoy this movie, it is such an easy watch ….James Bond will return in The Man with the Golden Gun.


My Rating: C+
Format: DVD
I Own This Movie
Artwork by: The Minimal Bond


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