Tag Archives: Live And Let Die

interview: How Gloria Got Her Groove Back (gloria Hendry’s Story)

Before I first met Gloria Hendry at the Bond Collectors Weekend, which took place in New Orleans over the weekend of September 29 through October 1, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d heard the words “strong” and “feisty” in conjunction with her name, but by the time the weekend was over, I would need to add the words “articulate”, “passionate”, “outspoken” and “inspiring” to this article.

On a Sunday morning, overlooking the grand Mississippi with its tramp steamers and paddleboats and with some light jazz tunes breezily playing in the background, a packed meeting room of 75 to 100 guests sipped on champagne and dined on sautéed duck, seasoned lamb, crawfish, crabs, shrimp etoufee, grilled salmon, jambalaya, a wide assortment of meats and cheeses, pasta salads and a host of different desserts while listening to Gloria Hendry explain a bit about herself, who she was, why she was here and how she came to be an actress. When the champagne brunch concluded several hours later, Mrs. Hendry had received three standing ovations, was literally moved to tears by the warm reception, and posed for dozens of pictures and autographed countless photographs and books. It was the perfect ending to a weekend of official festivities. But the path that took Mrs. Hendry to that point wasn’t always perfect, and she was honest and open about the difficulties she’s had to overcome in order to be the strong and passionate woman she is today.

That Mrs. Hendry didn’t fall through the cracks of society is a testament to her fortitude and strong character. Lesser people raised in similar circumstances would have succumbed to the temptations of drugs or street crime. Mrs. Hendry had certainly seen it happen to her friends and neighbors growing up.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Mrs. Hendry has both Seminole and Chinese blood in her heritage. In an unflinching manner she related to the audience the struggles her family had gone through. Her Grandfather was a sharecropper, and her great-aunt was a slave, or “mandingo” (a slave purposefully used to breed more slaves for future use on the plantations). She came from a strong, conservative, strict family that didn’t care for her rebellious, headstrong ways when she was a child. When her mother would drop her off at church, Gloria would wait for her to leave, then sneak out a back door and go do her own thing.

In a community where girls had babies as young as 12 or 13, Gloria remained a virgin until she was 18. The guys in the neighborhood often only wanted one thing from the other girls, and Gloria had to learn how to fight like a boy from other boys. Walking like a dude didn’t hurt, because it helped her send out a message that she wasn’t one to be messed with. Today, she can curl 900lbs with her legs and 45lbs with her arms. She remains an avid gym enthusiast.

She eventually left Florida and moved to Newark, New Jersey to work as a legal secretary with the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Despite the fact that the area was more cosmopolitan and progressive thinking in the late 60’s/early 70’s, she still had to contend with bomb scares and the occasional racist remarks. She dared to dream, but even some of her own people told her that she could never hope to be anything more than a legal secretary for a law firm because of the color of her skin.

Her first big screen appearance was the 1968 film For Love of Ivy with Sidney Poitier and Abbey Lincoln. That lead to her receiving the coveted position of Playboy Bunny. Not only did she pose for Playboy, she also worked as a Bunny in the clubs and performed a variety of musical revues. The work with Playboy came as a surprise, since she fully expected to be turned down because of her race.

While she was working as a Playboy Bunny, she also juggled a music and modeling career. She was the first black female to do commercial or print endorsements of such products as After Six Tuxedos, Planters Peanuts and Viceroy Cigarettes. She also had a record deal with Singers Studios International, but the effort failed to launch her career in the way in which she would have liked. This was okay with her, because she was making very good money between her modeling, Bunny and endorsement jobs. The money she made allowed to her to travel around the world to such places as Europe and Jamaica. Back in those days, because she dressed nice, was young, single, attractive and financially independent, she was often presumed to be a prostitute.

She took her friends suggestions to move out to California and within a week of arriving had gotten herself an agent. She was soon cast in BLACK CAESAR and later was in HIT MAN with future Felix Leiter star Bernie Casey. She got the role in BLACK CEASAR because she was willing to do the nudity that the role required. As a Playboy Bunny, being nude was not necessarily an obstacle for her, but for other black actresses, it was downright impossible. Black actresses, as a general rule, did not do nudity because it was deemed as a reminder of the past when black slaves, both male and female, would be completely stripped down so that their masters could get a good look at the kind of stock they were attempting to purchase. Not only would Gloria have to change the minds of white people, but she`d also have to break down barriers from within her own community.

Gloria picked up a few more film roles in the early 70`s and found that herself landing right in the middle of the “Blaxploitation” film period; she would soon become a diva of the genre, alongside Foxy Brown’s Pam Grier. “Blaxploitation” is a term often used to refer to the sudden surge of black talent both in front of and behind the camera, sometimes with mixed results. Some of the films were quality pictures, while others were made on a small budget, with one take and most actors and actresses doing their own stunts. Soon, motion pictures featuring all black casts were being made, crossing over to mainstream audiences (i.e. white) and making money. While some film historians prefer to call that period “blaxploitation”, Gloria likes to call it the “Black Renaissance”. She’s more right than she may know. For while Live and Let Die is unfairly pegged as a blaxploitation Bond film, it is also worth noting that had this renaissance not come about, Live and Let Die may very well have never been made. For years the producers refused to bother with the book, citing its black villains and racial overtones as too touchy to deal with. When the black renaissance began, it gave the producers a fresh opportunity to take another look at Ian Fleming’s book and attempt to make a film out of it.

As knowledgeable readers of this website and Bond fans know Diana Ross was under serious consideration to play the role of Solitaire, the role of a white, female fortuneteller written by Ian Fleming. The producers felt that if any black female celebrity could pull this off and make it acceptable to white audiences, it had to be the enormously popular soul singer. Tom Manciwiecz, the writer, lobbied hard on behalf of the effort, but the studio was concerned that a new James Bond and a black leading lady may be too much, too soon. So, a compromise was reached. The role of double-dealing, CIA operative Rosie Carver would go to a black actress. Gloria had to pay her own way to audition for the role of Rosie Carver (which is standard practice in the industry), a role she fully expected not to get. But she did.

Soon, worldwide the headlines were playing up the fact that James Bond would be married to a black woman in the next film. The attention paid to Gloria was enormous and in some areas of the world she was receiving co-billing with Roger Moore. The newspapers in Jamaica, under the mistaken belief that Mrs. Hendry was native, proudly declared on the front pages: “JAMAICAN GIRL COMES HOME”. The media frenzy was on. But at the same time, in some parts of the world and the United States, Mrs. Hendry was not accepted as being a legitimate Bond Girl. Her image was removed from publicity materials in South Africa, her love scene deleted and in some places, her name was taken out of the credits and off the poster. The fame was truly a double-edged sword. She dined with the President of Jamaica, was treated like royalty by Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli, and even fell in love. Yes, Gloria got her groove back in Jamaica.

But there was also an almost apologetic feel from the cast towards Gloria that she at first didn’t fully quite understand. Because Bond’s world had almost always been white, Gloria had never kept up with the films, nor the casting decisions that went into them. Going into the film, she was unaware that a black actress (Diana Ross) had been considered and then turned down for the role. People felt that they had to remedy that situation by being extra nice to Mrs. Hendry. The producers even flew Mrs. Hendry’s mother down to Jamaica first class for Christmas.

Mrs. Hendry had more to offer the audience than simply a retelling of her Bond experience. She also took the time to explain the rise and fall of the “Black Renaissance” period. I was curious as to what created the black film movement from a time in which there was no representation, to a time when blacks actors were prominent on screen, only to see it all fall apart by the mid to late 1970s. Mrs. Hendry was a victim, but not a casualty, of the implosion that occurred among the black film industry. The films of that genre were noted for their sex, nudity, violence, drug use and profanity and leading black organizations, such as the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), were not pleased with the images that those films were providing America. They began to interfere with the creative process, and demanded that the studios not release these films without first screening the films to the organizations or at least allowing the NAACP or the SCLC to approve the scripts. In addition, the NAACP and the SCLC wanted to be paid to approve what the black community could write and film. The ensuing result was that the black film movement imploded on itself and the damage trickled down to Mrs. Hendry as well as countless other actors and actresses for whom previously opened doors suddenly became tightly shut. That might have been the final chapter for many people, but Mrs. Hendry seems to be able to survive and even thrive in spite of adversity. She’s not a woman to be pushed around. She’s a strong-headed, independent, articulate speaker and her candor is refreshing.

She`s even modest about her own contribution to the world of James Bond. Halle Berry and Thandie Newton can thank Mrs. Hendry for breaking down the interracial barriers that allowed them to star as love interests for Kurt Russell in EXECUTIVE DECISION or Tom Cruise in MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE-2. In 2000, these interracial relationships are a non-issue for most moviegoers, but it took the hard work and determination of Mrs. Hendry in 1973 for black actresses to enjoy the freedoms they do today.

Mrs. Hendry lives in metro-Los Angeles with her husband and is currently writing a book about her experiences. She appeared at our Bond Weekend III.

interview: Gloria Hendry – Rosie Carver

Gloria Hendry is one of the most lovely women I’ve ever had the chance to meet. Recently she took a large amount of time from her busy schedule to answer some of my questions. Gloria’s a lady who is not only beautiful but incredibly intelligent as you will see in the following interview. I hope you enjoy it.

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am the eldest of two girls. We were born in Florida. My family members are from Georgia, Alabama and Florida. My people are Seminole Indian, African, Creek Indian, Irish, Chinese and something else and range in color from deep chocolate to café ‘ole. Since America symbolizes the melting pot of the world, my family members are true Americans.

My mother left Florida to join my grandmother and grandfather in Jersey City, New Jersey, when I was about 2 years old and my sister around a year old. We lived with them until I was about 7 years old. From the age of 7 until 18, my sister and I lived with my mother and her companion in Newark, New Jersey until I graduated from high school. Throughout elementary school, I maintained excellent grades and played the violin in the All-City Orchestra and performed for radio, and various academic events.

During my high school years, my grades were average and my educational training consisted of Gregg shorthand, typing and various clerical skills to prepare me for my occupation as a Secretary. After graduation, I attended Essex College of Business for Law for a Legal Secretary position. All through school, I excelled in sports of all kinds: basketball, touch football, baseball, volley ball, sprinting, fence climbing, bicycling, swimming, gymnastics, Latin dancing, jumping rope, roller skating which continued into my adulthood, tennis, snow and water skiing, distant running, weight lifting, ballet, roller blading, ice skating and Karate.

You were the first African American Bond girl (Unless you count Thumper from Diamonds Are Forever) and at the time it wasn’t socially acceptable for a white man to be with a black women (or a black man for the matter ) do you think that your role in the film helped make the interracial situation more acceptable to audiences?

I remember Harry Saltzman talking seriously to me about racism. He expressed that it was a shame that we still had racism. He said that everyone should marry another race so no one could say they were one race or the other and this would stamp out racism. He suggested to me that I should marry a Caucasian.

As a black woman with a white co-star in the 1970’s did you ever receive any negative feedback from the audiences?

A fan told me that in certain sections of Live and Let Die, where Roger and I were kissing by the lake was cut out. My photograph and name were splattered throughout the world in various newspapers, magazines and billboards with positive comments associating me with Live and Let Die. For a number of years thereafter, people called upon me to make special appearances and/or to give my endorsement for various causes.

If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that I had starred in Live and Let Die. After being associated in advertising all over the world and going from one publicity event to another for Live and Let Die, I found after time had passed my name was no longer associated with the film. Nor was I named or called upon when there was mention or request of the 007 James Bond Ladies. I never knew what to think of that.

How did you get the role of Rosie Carver?

I received a phone call from my manager, Lloyd Kolmar, in New York City, who said, “I need you back in New York to audition for “Live and Let Die,” the James Bond movie. I said I don’t have a chance in the world. They want large breasted women, not me. Besides, I’m not White. My manager said, “They want to see you. Don’t you understand? You have to fly back on your own dime.” I had to think about that. After a couple of days in numbers crunching, I called him back and said exasperated, OKAY! Where is the audition? Lloyd gave me Harry Saltzman’s office address in New York City and the time and date for me to appear. I caught the next flight out. I still had my New York apartment. So, I said to myself, I’m going to put on my best clothes. It was November 1972.

When I walked into Harry Saltzman’s office, I saw this regal, strong, sophisticated, deep, dark set eyes, white-haired man, quietly sitting there. As I entered, he stood up. He said nothing, just gestured for me to sit down and so did he. And in the next moment, he asked me how was my flight here from Los Angeles. I told him. Then, he said, How soon can you fly out to New Orleans to meet the director, Guy Hamilton, and Roger Moore? We can book you on the next flight. If you would like. I said, without thinking, Okay! So before I knew it, Mr. Saltzman made arrangements with his secretary. He had a car waiting for me.

So, off I went to the airport on the next flight out. At the airport in Louisiana, a driver met me with a sign holding up my name and picked me up in a large Mercedes limousine and took me to the French Quarter where someone from the “Live and Let Die” production greeted me. I met with the director, Guy Hamilton, and Roger Moore, The Saint. I was very nervous. We talked, laughed and ate. It was like a dream come true. But, I knew not to take any of this seriously. Then, they took me to the movie set to watch them continue to film “Live and Let Die.” They were most gracious and asked if I wanted to stay for the weekend. I said, No, no thank you. I would like to return to New York on the next available flight. That evening they said, We will call me later to let me know. I returned to New York City and stopped at my apartment again and got a few things, then, hopped the next available flight to Los Angeles, California. About a week had passed, I received a telephone call from my manager, Lloyd, “YOU GOT IT!

Tell us about you relationship with Roger Moore. In his James Bond Diary he refers to you as “Gloria Ass” which has lead some people to believe that you two didn’t have a “sparkling” relationship.

Throughout the filming of Live and Let Die, Roger Moore and Harry Saltzman were most gracious and kind to me. By the way, during our stay in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, at the Sans Souci Hotel, my room was located in between Roger and his family and Harry and his family which I had the great pleasure of meeting and often having dinner with them. In my mind, I thought they wanted to keep an eye on me and keep me safe. However, I snuck out as often as I could to hang out with the people of Jamaica. I had the fortune to fall in love with a wonderful Jamaican gentleman.

It’s also been said (by Lois “Moneypenny” Maxwell as a matter of fact) that Roger Moore didn’t like/get along with many of his female co-stars. How would you respond to that?

During the filming and stay in Jamaica, Roger shared his chauffeured driven limousine with me each workday. Whenever Roger was asked and he signed his autograph, he gave me the pen and said sign yours too (this was a first-time experience to sign my name for any fan). Each morning, around 6:00am, Roger and I shared the hotel swimming pool, half asleep, pushing dead bumblebees aside, as we swam from one end of the pool to the other, in opposite directions. I liked Roger very much. He was a true gentleman.

Tell us about locations shooting.

We filmed from November through December 1972 in Jamaica. Sometime in December, Harry asked me whom would I love to share the holiday spirit? Without any hesitation, I told him, my Mother. He said, so be it. I called my Mother at her factory job, American Aluminum, in New Jersey, requesting her to take off and join me. My Mother was thrilled. She had never been to Jamaica or for that matter ever flown first-class. Harry had my Mother flown first-class and stay with me until New Year’s Day.

How many days total were you on location shooting?

After my Mother left Jamaica, I was called in for a meeting with Harry and Guy, who said in essence, we don’t want to kill you off Madam because so many people like you. So, standby there might be a script change. A couple of days after that, Harry apologized that they had to kill me. So, we shot the scene that day. Then, I was flown ahead of everyone, as a tourist, to London, England, where someone met me at the airport. My hotel room took up the entire floor of the hotel. I had the opportunity to work at the legendary Pinewood Studios, dubbing and completing interiors. I remember Harry talking seriously to me about racism. He expressed that it was a shame that we still had racism. He said that everyone should marry another race so no one could say they were one race or the other and this would stamp out racism. He suggested to me that I should marry a Caucasian. Then, he introduced me to a very special gentleman whom he considered would be a good choice for me to marry. I went out with him a couple of times, and he told me how to dress and act. I became disinterested in an arranged marriage. However, because it was winter, I also wanted to go home.

It was always very dark and cold in London – there was never any sunshine. During my stay, I received a telephone call from a producer and was sent a script and offered a starring role in a film opposite Jim Brown, “Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off,” which I accepted.

The producers often are said to have given the best of the best to their stars. Would you agree?

Yes. They had treated me like I had starred in Live and Let Die and so much more. The only time I saw the film with the public was in New York City at the 1973 United States’ premiere with my mother and her companion, sister and I were chauffeured in a large black limousine Cadillac, a huge affair that I had never ever experienced in my whole life. I remember not knowing how to act because people were shouting my name, asking for my autograph (remembering Roger giving me the pen to sign), cameras were flashing all around me and at that moment in my life, I felt I was somebody really, really special.

My photograph and name were splattered throughout the world in various newspapers and magazines with positive comments. For a number of years thereafter, people called upon me to make special appearances and/or to give my endorsement for various causes. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that I had starred in Live and Let Die.

Everyone on the set treated me like I was starring in Live and Let Die. I had my own chair, dressing area, Roger shared his limousine with me, and personal publicity shots. The photographer followed me throughout filming both in and out of the States. One day, someone on the set came up to me and told the story that the role of Solitaire was initially written for and a Black actress was hired to play the part. While filming somewhere in New York City or New Orleans, they decided that it was too risky to have a Black Woman end up with James Bond. Therefore, the role of Rosie Carver was switched to Black and the role of Solitaire was switched to White. That is where I came in. I am known as MRS. JAMES BOND.

Tell us about working with Guy Hamilton and the others on the crew. I’ve talked with Guy Hamilton and he seems like he’d be a pleasure to work with.

Guy Hamilton was a joy to work with. He took his time. Never got upset. If the scene was not working, he would take me aside and have a conversation about the weather, then mention a thing or two about the scene. Then we would return to filming. Roger disliked retakes, so Guy handled Roger with great care and consideration, as he did all of us.

–Gloria Hendry resides in California and is currently working on an autobiography. She has appeared at Bond Weekend III.

Bond With Fans: Your New Orleans Experience!

Visit two dozen James Bond locations. Party with friends in The French Quarter. Ask questions of top 007 experts. Meet fellow Bond fans. Enjoy fabulous food and delightful drinks. Tour greater New Orleans by day and night.

Join us for “Live and Let Fans” 2018!

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Live and Let Fans!

James Bond and the Oscars

1964 Goldfinger- Winner of Best Sound Effects (Norman Wanstall )

1965 Thunderball- Winner of Best Visual Effects (John Stear)

1971 Diamonds Are Forever – Nominated for Best Sound

1973 Live And Let Die – Nominated for Best Song (Lyrics by Linda and Paul McCartney; Sung by Paul McCartney and Wings)

1977 The Spy Who Loved Me – Nominated for Best Song (Music by M. Hamlisch; Lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager; Sung by Carly Simon)

1977 The Spy Who Loved Me- Nominated for Best Score (Music by Marvin Hamlisch)

1977 The Spy Who Loved Me -Nominated for Best Art Direction/ Set Decoration (Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, Hugh Scaife)

1979 Moonraker – Nominated for Best Visual Effects (Derek Meddings; P Wilson; J. Evans)

1981 – For Your Eyes Only Nominated for Best Song (Lyrics by Mick Leeson; Music by Bill Conti; Sung by Sheena Easton)

1982 Irving G. Thalberg Lifetime Achievement Award- Albert R. Broccoli

Live and Let Die

The Hero: James Bond; The Bond Girl: Solitaire; The Villain: Mr.Big; Supporting Characters: Tee Hee, Felix Leiter, The Robber, Dexter, Quarrel, “M”, “Q”; Locations covered: Harlem NY; Tampa Bay, FL; Shark`s Bay, Jamaica

Ian Fleming picked up the pace from Casino Royale by giving us Live And Let Die, a tense, and sometimes grueling suspense thriller with more action, more villians, and more locations. In fact, it`s more of everything. And it`s easy to see why, after reading this novel, that Fleming`s books became such a phenomenen by the early 60`s.

Fleming`s best and most interesting passages seem to be when he delves into subjects he has a knowledge or passion about. Orinthology. Marine biology. The layout of Jamaica (the home of Ian Fleming). All these factors come into play and make for a riveting read.

The book starts off with the suspicion that a vast pirate fortune from centuries ago has been found, and it`s contents are being looted and sold off to finance criminal activities.

“In short” continued M, “we suspect that this Jamaican treasure is being used to finance the Soviet espionage system, or an important part of it, in America. And our suspicion becomes a certainty when I tell you who this Mr. Big is.”

Here`s where the book starts to get tricky and politically dicey:

“Mr.Big” said M, weighing his words, “is probably the most powerful Negro criminal in the world. He is…the head of the Black Widow Voodoo cult…He is also a Soviet agent…a known member of SMERSH.”

“I don`t think I`ve ever heard of a great Negro criminal before” said Bond. They don`t seem to take to big business. Pretty law abiding chaps, on the whole, I should have thought.”

As you can tell from the excerpted dialogue, Live And Let Die contains generalizations and stereotypes of Black people that were probably very common in the world 43 years ago. It also contains a great deal of words that most people wouldn`t think, use or say today. Perhaps Fleming knew something that contemporaries of his day did not. Despite using terminology that might make some people squirm, Fleming does attempt to be balanced in his own view of black people and how he presents them in his book.

Bond moves on to Harlem, where much of the gold coins looted from Bloody Morgan`s Pirate Ship in Jamaica have been turning up. But Bond is on Mr. Big`s turf, and Mr. Big gets the word out quick that 007 isn`t welcome in that part of town. Bond gets a fairly straight forward message delivered to his hotel:

THE BEATS OF YOUR OWN HEART ARE NUMBERED. I KNOW THAT NUMBER AND HAVE STARTED TO COUNT.

Maybe Bond has never had much contact with black people in his life. In his conversation with “M”, he made many generalizations and stereotypical comments, and now, on page 48, Fleming presents Bond as very uncomfortable being in an all black nightclub, and the sweat has now started to bead up on Bond`s forehead.

Bond and Felix get dropped through a trap door in the floor, and 007 comes face to face with Mr. Big and his “psychic” companion, Miss Solitaire.

Speaking of Mr. Big: “It was a great football of a head, twice the normal size and very nearly round. The skin was grey-black, taut and shining like the face of a week old corpse in the river…the eyes were extraordinarily far apart, so that one could not focus on them both, but only on one at a time. They bulged slightly, and the irises were golden around black pupils which were now wide. They were animal eyes, not human, and they seemed to blaze.”

Mr. Big brings in Solitaire to divine the truth from the questions 007 is going to be forced to answer. On page 60, Fleming explains to us how Solitaire got her name, which was a nice touch. After just a few questions, 007 gets the sense that Solitaire is lying to Mr.Big about the answers. It appears she wants to leave her master, Mr.Big, and she`s going to have Bond help her do it.

Bond manages to escape the situation, and Solitaire joins up with him on a train to get out of New York. On the train, Solitaire gives detailed information about her past, and how she fits into Mr. Big`s criminal syndicate. On their train ride down to Tampa, an all points bulletin is put out in the Negro underworld for all `eyes` to be on the lookout for 007 and Solitaire. Baldwin, the room servant on 007`s traincar, seems agitated and mighty nervous while going about his job. Bond sends Solitaire into the next room and has a talk with Baldwin.

“Got something on your mind, Baldwin?” he asked.

Yassuh. Shouldn`t be tellin` yuh this, but dere`s plenty trouble `n this train this trip. Yuh gotten yo`self a henemy `n dis train. Ah hear t`ings which Ah don` like at all. Better take dese hyah.”

He reached in his pocket and brought out two wooden window wedges. Bond took the wedges from him.

Unfortunately, most of the secondary characters such as Baldwin are portrayed as unintelligent and poorly educated. Honest and good, but poorly educated. Baldwin`s assistance for Bond helps save Bond and Solitaire`s life, but it cost`s Baldwin his. On page 112, Bond remarks “Poor Baldwin. We owe him a lot”. So, Fleming did write many of the black characters as decent, good people, but he also stereotyped their language and manner of speaking.

Bond, Felix, and Solitaire all meet up in Tampa, but it`s not long before Mr.Big`s empire finds Solitaire, kidnaps her, and lets a shark eat half of Felix Leiter`s body off. Felix lives, and a note is attached to his dumped body that read:

HE DISAGREED WITH SOMETHING THAT ATE HIM

Bond then sets off to settle the score for Felix and Solitaire. He tracks down the warehouse used to help house the shark that Leiter was fed to, and there, Fleming sets up a wonderful action sequence set amongst gunfire and exploding fish tanks.

The end result at the warehouse is in Bond`s favor, but the FBI is in a huge hurry to rush Bond out of the country, and keep what happened at the warehouse quiet so as not to offend Mr. Big. Bond takes off for Jamaica, and begins training. The routines will last a week, and are used to get Bond in shape to scuba dive up close enough to Mr.Big`s yacht, The Secatur, so as to rescue Solitaire and destroy the gold coin smuggling operation.

As I`ve said, Fleming paints quite a picture in Live And Let Die. He has a firm grasp on creating vivid imagery in the readers mind. His action sequences are tight, crisp, focused and surprisingly up to date. What Live And Let Die lacks though is any real chemistry between 007 and Solitaire. Solitaire is intermittently seen throughout the book. Her “powers” were never really expounded upon, therefore there`s not much to know about her. The dialogue between 007 and Solitaire didn’t go over too well. Much of it was either corny or incomprehensible.

Also, Mr. Big gets the short end of the stick, as far as villians go. Big gets in some choice words, and Fleming writes him as well educated and articulate, but somehow Mr. Big isn`t in the book long enough. After a brief appearance in the beginning, he doesn`t show up until the last 20 pages or so of the book.

The real chemistry actually takes place between Felix Leiter and 007. After meeting for the first time on the Casino Royale mission, 007 and Felix have become very good friends. Fleming does a great job of conveying the sense that these two are friends who are always looking out for one another`s back.

licence to kill – adaptation

License To Kill was based, in part, upon two different Fleming Novels; the novels–Live And Let Die and The Hildebrand Rarity. With most novel to film transitions, some of the most fun can be had seeing what made the final script and what did not. We`ll first take a look at The Hildebrand Rarity.

The Milton Krest character made the film, but he was drastically different than the book character. As in the book, LTK`s Krest had a drinking problem. What Krest did`nt have in LTK was his `corrector`, a whip made of sea spines. He used it, in the book, to keep his wife in line. In the film, the `corrector` is given to the newly created character of Franz Sanchez, who only uses it once. Liz Krest did`nt make the film, but instead was essentially replaced by Lupe Lamora. The WaveKrest in the book made the film and in both cases, The WaveKrest was being used searching for marine specimens as a cover for more nefarious activities. In the case of The Hildebrand Rarity, The WaveKrest was used as a tax writeoff/way to travel around the world free. In LTK, it was used to smuggle cocaine.

A whole section was taken from Live and Let Die, that had not been used for the film of that name. Mostly, this had to do with the revenge of a criminal against Felix Leiter, and how Bond reacted to it. In the book, Felix was partially fed to a great white shark and a note attached to the leftovers of his body that said “He disagreed with something that ate him”. In the book, this sequence takes place on an ocean front warehouse in Tampa/St.Petersburg, whereas in the film, it takes place in Key West.

In the book, Bond is investigating treasure smuggling by Mr. Big. In LTK, Felix and Bond investigate drug smuggling by Franz Sanchez. In LALD, the treasure was being smuggled in the bottom of aquariums that had collected sea creatures. The gold coins were buried in the silt. In LTK, the cocaine was smuggled inside the WaveKrest, and buried underneath a maggot incubator.

In The Hildebrand Rarity, Bond was aided by Fidele Barbery and in Live and Let Die, Bond was aided by Quarrel. In License To Kill, Bond is aided by Sharky who is either one of these characters in disguise. Take your pick.

Diana Ross for Solitaire

Writer Tom Mankiewicz wanted Diana Ross for the role of Solitaire in Live and Let Die. He thought it was time for a black woman in a leading role in a James Bond film and he lobbied hard for her inclusion. However, the studio declined his suggestion and went with the way the character was written in the book: a white fortune teller.

“One of the things that I wanted very much was for Solitaire to be played by a black woman. When it came time to do it (film LALD), UA was quite frightened of it for legitimate reasons from their point of view: the picture was going to be very expensive and they wondered, outside of cities like New York and London, how well that would go over with a new Bond. They`d had the experience of Her Majesty`s Secret Service. They were real careful.” [Mankiewicz is quoted in Tom Soter`s 1993 tome Bond and Beyond]

Tom Mankiewicz and Guy Hamilton both felt that having a black female lead in the role of Solitaire would “alleviate” the problems the movie would face in having all black villains. A compromise was worked out, where Bond would sleep with a black woman (Rosie Carver-played by Gloria Hendry) but Solitaire would be kept white!

A Look Back: Live and Let Die with Robert Baum

maxresdefaultFollowing Sean Connery’s return to British intelligence in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Roger Moore is the new Bond, James Bond in Live and Let Die. Note to trivia buffs: this is film number eight based on Ian Fleming’s second Bond novel and Moore is the third James Bond–following Connery, George Lazenby, and Connery again.

The man who once essayed the title role in the tv series based on Leslie Charteris’ The Saint books imbues agent 007 with a lighter touch than Connery. Moore brings a charm to the role and shows more ease in his first Bond outing than Lazenby displayed in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

When Moore is first seen (following the pre-credit sequence), he is at home in the company of a gorgeous woman. The tryst is interrupted by the early morning arrival of Bond’s boss M (Bernard Lee) and his secretary Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell). They send 007 on his way to New York for his mission. One which will involve voodoo, heroin, and a lovely fortune teller named Solitaire (Jane Seymour).

It has been noted that the producers were hoping Connery would return to the series–and not for his 1971 mission. One can only imagine how certain moments of the film might have turned out had that happened. Like a sequence in Harlem when Bond enters a restaurant which serves as a front for his adversary’s illicit operations. And everyone in the place is black. An approach which an undercover operative calls a “clever disguise.”

“Voyage to the bottom of the Sea” regular David Hedison becomes the fifth actor to play 007’s longtime ally CIA agent Felix Leiter. His rendering of the role is a far cry from the most recent Leiter (Norman Burton in Diamonds Are Forever, who seemed more like light comic relief) and makes for probably the best Leiter since Jack Lord played the agent in the first Bond adventure Dr. No (1962).

Yaphet Kotto makes for an OK villain but his claw-handed henchman Tee Hee (Julius Harris) makes for a delightful scene-stealer. Clifton James is amusing as a redneck sheriff though he comes off as being too much of a buffoon. Former Beatle Paul McCartney’s title tune certainly makes for the liveliest Bond theme song ever. Seymour is quite a stunning presence despite the fact that her accent makes her sound like a fairy tale princess. However, she does establish herself in a pantheon of such Bond beauties as Ursula Andress, Honor Blackman, Claudine Auger, and Diana Rigg.

While the film is a bit chatty, director Guy Hamilton–who also helmed 1964s Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever–keeps the narrative going at a slightly brisk pace. But hey, this is a new Bond; Hamilton is breaking Moore in, presumably saving the heavy stunt extravaganzas (though there is a jaw-dropping boat chase which includes a moment which made the Guiness Book of World Records) for later entries in the series–hopefully. Moore relies primarily on being witty and charming to get himself out of trouble than the fisticuffs frequently employed by Connery (when there was no available gadget or PPK around to do so). to extricate himself from sticky situations.