Live and Let Die
release year: 1973
genre: James Bond
viewing setting: home Bluray 1/17/19 and 12/15/12 and home laserdisc 12/8/99
synopsis: Three agents working on inter-related cases have been killed, and Bond is assigned to find out why.
impressions: Not a bad debut for Roger Moore, but it wasn't a world-saving situation. There was never a sense of large-scale menace, simply danger to Bond himself. The villain here - Mr. Kananga - was just a heroin dealer implementing his plan. Of note in this movie: well-coordinated gangster armies in both New York and New Orleans, the 7-Up commerical guy, more cursing than in previous Bond movies, New Orleans, lots of Impalas on the road, snake in bathroom, Rosie Carver aka the worst CIA agent ever trained, voodoo, fortunetelling, henchman with metal hook for hand, crocodile farm, sharks, annoying redneck cop J.W. Pepper.
acting: Roger Moore turned in a good enough performance, but he obviously wasn't completely comfortable in the role. He did bring his own style to it, quipping one-liners and smoking cigars. Yaphet Kotto was a menacing, if simple, villain. Jane Seymour played a good, innocent girl. The J.W. Pepper character was over-the-top and irritating, and detracted from the movie. CIA ally Felix Leiter was played by David Hedison, who was the sub's captain in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea TV series.
chase scenes: 1 bus/cars, 1 plane-on-airfield, 1 good long boat chase through the rivers of Louisiana
mass fight at end: none
neat gadgets: magnetic watch w/saw, tiny pressurized air pellet
confirmed Bond kills: 6
confirmed Bond seductions: 3 (with multiple times for one of them)
obnoxious female names: Rosie Carver, Solitaire
defining Bond moments:
- very forward, just walks in and does what he wants (voodoo shop, bars, Solitaire's table)
- calmly puts on aftershave after killing snake in bathroom
- prepares for danger with cigar clamped in mouth
- doesn't bother to tell Rosie about the dead snake in the bathroom
- uses a fake tarot deck of "lover" cards in order to get Solitaire into bed
- uses chunks of raw meat to make a trail to lead alligator into the drug lab
- tosses deck of cards to distract henchman
Solitaire: (to Bond, who just drew the "Fool" card) "You have found yourself."
Bond: (after being rescued from goons) "Harry Strutter, CIA. Where were you when I didn't need you?"
Bond: (after Rosie sees a tiny hat w/feather and screams) "Why, it's just a hat, darling, belonging to a small-headed man of limited means who lost a fight to a chicken."
Rosie: (staring at Bond's gun in her face) "But you can't...you wouldn't...not after what we've just done!"
Bond: "I certainly wouldn't have killed you before."
Bond: (in answer to Solitaire's request for an encore before he leaves) "Of course - there's no sense in going off half-cocked."
Bond: (in Kananga's headquarters) "Ah! An underground monorail. Connected to the last refuge of a scoundrel, no doubt."
Bond: "Thank you for sharing all of that, Mr. Kananga, but I'm sure there must be a simpler way of drowning someone."
Felix: "I just don't see why you want to travel this way. I mean, what the hell can the two of you do on a train for sixteen hours?"
Bond: (to Solitaire) "Say goodbye to Felix, darling."
final word: Not a bad first effort, but not great either.
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