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Live and Let Die is Roger Moore's first, and strangely, they don't do the same kind of reveal in the teaser like they did with Lazenby and then Connery. He's not in the teaser at all! LALD isn't well regarded, and I understand why - tone-deaf to racial politics, a very silly death for the main villain, a slow-paced boat race (Hamilton again), and oh Lord, Sheriff Pepper, the spawn of Satan himself - but I still have a lot of affection for it. Moore makes a good Bond right out of the gate, playing the pun-rich dialog for laughs where Connery would have thrown it away (it's a lot more sexually suggestive too, which is good for lots of chuckles and groans). He's a Bond who doesn't take himself too seriously, less dangerous in some ways, but badass in his nonchalance. Then there's my favorite Bond song of all time, though I admit, its various movements don't all fit the opening sequence very well. Quarrel Jr., who gets to survive where his dad didn't. Jane Seymour as the luscious Solitaire (turning her into a nympho is another case of tone deafness, probably). Lots of neat, gimmicky villains. And I mostly like the idea that Bond is slumming it in other genres, in this case, Hammer Horror voodoo stuff (there isn't another Bond with outright MAGIC in it, is there?) and blaxploitation films (with a couple of Black Belt Jones stars - man, Jim Kelly should have been Felix Leiter in this, absence of acting ability be damned!). This is Bond as icon. Like Doctor Who, like Godzilla, we can throw every other genre at him (SF, Kung Fu, and in the Spy Who Loved Me novel, pure romance) and he survives. Not perfect by any means, but it still holds my attention, and it's possibly the Bond film I've seen the most often, by chance and by design both.
Guy Hamilton directed Live and Let Die, his third outing as director of a James Bond film. He's famous for bringing what is known as the best of all Bonds, Goldfinger. Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman are for sure looking to repeat that success with the same team but a key component is gone. Without Sean Connery, we're introduced to Roger Moore playing the crucial role of 007.
It's a low-key introduction. Instead of On Her Majesty's Secret Service that hid George Lazenby's face for as long as possible to build anticipation of his reveal or Diamonds Are Forever playing the same trick as its predecessor, Roger Moore is shown pretty much right away. With an Italian babe in his bed of course. It's an intimate introduction because we actually see Bond's house for the first time. Pretty nice digs, that's for sure.
Live and Let Die is a quieter film than previous Bond films because of its villain not seeking to rule to world with some crazy plot. No, Dr. Kananga just wants to ship a whole bunch of heroin into the US and take over the market. He does however use some fantastical help from his tarot card reader assistant so that's also something pretty different from other Bond movies. There's never been any sort of element of magic in previous movies.
Bond's mission begins by trying to find out what happened to three dead agents. It's an intriguing start and like the previous Diamonds Are Forever, James travels to several US locations. Clearly, Live and Let Die borrows a lot from blaxploitation movies which as an era began in the early 70's. What's also pretty risqué for the time is James hooking up with an African-American love interest. Definite props for pushing the envelope in this case.
Action scenes are simple but very enjoyable. This is large in part because there's no camera trickery or CGI in any of the chases. There's also a speedboat chase that's really fun and shows off some amazing stunts. What's interesting to me is that during this boat chase we actually get shown some local police intervention. Think of all the action movies you've ever seen. How many of them actually involve the police? Probably too few which doesn't make sense because these scenes last at least 10 minutes which should give the police some time to respond if it's in a large city.
Sheriff J.W. Pepper is one of these responding officers during the boat chase and he's ridiculous as he is disgusting. He's probably the most stereotypical Louisiana sheriff you could ever imagine with his tobacco chewing and calling everyone "boy." There's maybe a bit too much screen time given to him but he is pretty funny.
Roger Moore overall as James Bond is perfectly adequate. Not just anyone can be 007 and I think Moore carries himself well. He has charisma and charm to spare although he isn't as physically imposing as Sean Connery is. He gets good marks in my book for sure.
Live and Let Die has a great score composed by George Martin who hooked Paul McCartney along for the ride to do the title song. I'm a huge fan of John Barry's James Bond score but LaLD's music is a nice change. Roger Moore is successfully introduced and the action is well choreographed and executed. In all, Live and Let Die is a winner as far as Bond movies go.
Fine movie. I like Moore as Bond more than Connery in his last couple of films (after he started to say "sh" instead of "s" like he doesh now).
Agree with Larkspur, it dived into MST3K territory a few times throughout the movie, which is awesome.
Also, I don't know if it's just me, but Solitaire looks just like Rose Byrne.
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