Live and Let Die (1973)

liveandletdie_1973_poster
Live and Let Die (1973)
  • Time: 119 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Crime
  • Director: Guy Hamilton
  • Cast: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour

Storyline:

Several British agents have been murdered and James Bond is sent to New Orleans, to investigate these mysterious deaths. Mr. Big comes to his knowledge, who is self-producing heroin. Along his journeys he meets Tee Hee who has a claw for a hand, Baron Samedi the voodoo master and Solitaire and her tarot cards. Bond must travel deep inside New Orleans, through marshy grass and on water as he completes his mission.

One comment

  • Roger Moore is surprisingly adept in his first run as legendary super-spy James Bond. While failed replacement George Lazenby may have better looked the part, Moore’s understanding of the nuances and intangibles that define the character are dead-on. He feels cocksure, smooth and cunning, albeit not quite as deadpan as Sean Connery, and that makes him quite easy to swallow as the new leading man. Unfortunately, his first outing is not among the character’s best. Overwhelmed with trendy stereotypes from the blaxploitation era, those connections seem mismatched and strained, as if the series is trying too hard to be fresh and contemporary at its own expense. Far too many outlandish characters crowd the screen, too, from the body-painted voodoo lord Baron Samedi to the gimmicky, iron-clawed henchman Tee Hee Johnson (who, naturally, giggles in every single scene). We’ve got a tarot card-reading virgin dubbed Solitaire, a soft-spoken behemoth named Whisper, an overzealous hayseed sheriff plucked straight from The Dukes of Hazzard and a villainous mastermind who specializes in Mission: Impossible-styled makeup effects. It’s too much, a wash of color so rich that the picture turns grey. Bond’s wacky gizmos are sadly downplayed (poor Q doesn’t even get to show his face), while the plot seemingly exists only to transition Moore from one drawn-out chase to the next. I’m still not entirely sure where Mr. Big’s endgame was meant to carry him. Even the classic McCartney theme song, which I love on its own merit, is a bad fit for the series. An effective opening statement for Roger Moore’s validity in the role, it’s otherwise a groan-worthy batch of bad ideas and missed connections.

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