Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die (1973)

The Cast Roger Moore (James Bond), Jane Seymour (Solitaire), David Hedison (Felix Leiter) Geoffrey Holder (Baron Samedi), Yaphet Kotto (Mr.Big/Kananga)

The Supporting Cast Bernard Lee (“M”), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Julius W. Harris (Tee Hee), Gloria Hendry (Rosie Carver), Clifton James (Sheriff J.W. Pepper), Lounge Singer (Shirley Bassey)

Credits Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; Directed by Guy Hamilton; Screenplay by Tom Mankiewicz; Music by George Martin; Title Song performed by Paul McCartney and Wings; Title Song lyrics written by Paul McCartney and Wings; Titles by Maurice Binder;

Mission: Avenge the death of three British secret agents and stop the dumping of whole sale heroin on the market.

Locations covered: San Monique (Jamaica); New Orleans; New York City; London

Release Dates: U.S June 27th, 1973

Box Office: $126.4 million worldwide ($481,636,643.01 in 1998 dollars)

Best Lines: Bond to Teehee: “Butterhook.”
Sheriff J.W. Pepper: “What are you boy, some kind of doomsday machine?”

Music Notes: Live and Let Die, performed by Paul McCartney and Wings charted as high as #2 on the American Billboard Top 100 singles.

Review by Michael Kersey

Live and Let Die was Roger Moore`s first of seven Bond films and helped reverse the effort of the past 4 years which saw a lull in the box office returns.

The plot finds Bond trying to find a connection between the murder of three British agents: one in New York, one in San Monique, and one in New Orleans. The common denominator is that all three were investigating Doctor Kananga, the leader of the tiny island of San Monique. He`s in New York to address the United Nations, and Bond is sent there to team up with CIA Agent Felix Leiter.

Bond receives a traditional New York welcome: his chauffeur is murdered. Bond gets the license plate of the suspicious car involved in the tragedy and tracks it down to a Fillet of Soul restaurant in uptown Harlem. Of course Bond, a dapper, white British agent, sticks out in an all black establishment. No sooner has he taken a seat in the restaurant than the booth does a 180 and Bond is soon face to face with Mr. Big, the notorious Harlem gangster. Mr. Big is uninterested in who Bond is; “names is for tombstones baby” he tells Bond.

Before Bond is “wasted”, he meets up with fortune teller Solitaire, whose cards inadvertently reveal that they will become lovers. Bond manages to escape his captors and heads to San Monique to uncover Kanaga`s connection to Mr. Big. There, “Mrs.Bond” joins him in his bungalow. “Mrs.Bond” is actually CIA agent Rosie Carver, whose ineptitude exposes her duplicity. She`s playing for both sides and is betraying Bond all the way to Kananga.

Rosie`s duplicity ends up killing her, and Bond moves on, this time setting up a clandestine meeting with Solitaire. Bond convinces her to leave Kananga and together they escape the island of San Monique, discovering poppy fields all the way. Of course this doesn`t sit well with Kananga or Mr. Big, who snatches her back in New Orleans. Bond must then return to San Monique, save Solitaire and destroy the poppy fields before Kananga has a chance to dump tons of free heroin on the black market.

Kananga/Mr.Big are great villains. Scary, intimidating and well played by Kotto. By his side is an assortment of interesting henchmen. There`s the silent but deadly “Whisper”, hook-handed Tee Hee, and the mysterious Baron Samedi.

Jane Seymour is alluring, and provocative as Solitaire; a perfect casting choice. Clifton James is hilarious, though some could argue inappropriate for a Bond film, as racist, bigoted small town Sheriff J.W.Pepper.

The soundtrack is good, and the title song by Paul McCartney and Wings is not only a Bond classic, but it remains a favorite of non-007 fans to this day, and gets heavy rotation on rock radio stations. The title sequence is impressive as well with Maurice Binder making good use of flames, and skeletons; themes and images that would later be woven throughout the film.

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