I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for over 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!
Live and Let Die features the debut of Roger Moore as Agent 007. Rather than attempting to emulate Connery, Moore approached the role determined to add his own spin on the character. Instead of drinking martinis, he drinks bourbon. Instead of smoking cigarettes, he smokes cigars, sometimes while parasailing. Moore makes it clear that he is a new Bond.
The man played the role conservatively, acting cool and collected rather than charismatic and all-aware of his charms as did Connery. I presume that Moore will become more confident as Bond in his next outings as the spy.
Live and Let Die begins with an intriguing yet hilarious opening sequence that gathered every bit of my attention. Some British agents are killed in the most peculiar ways possible. After that sequence, the film’s opening song begins and I turn up the volume. Live and Let Die by Paul McCarney and the Wings is a fantastic Bond song, and those who made this film know it. Do you want to know how I know that they know it? I know it because the film’s score is almost entirely derived from the song. It is almost comical. Even the film’s credits are set to the song. Heck, I love the track, but to use it in every scene is just ridiculous when it comes down to it. But I’ll play along. Let’s experience the song together, performed live.
Live and Let Die is quite bizarre, as it has a supernatural edge to it. What was particularly unusual were the supposed psychic abilities of the tarot card reader, who is aptly named Solitaire. I was waiting for the method behind her supposed psychic abilities to be revealed, but I was left to believe that she truly was able to predict the future. Bond crossed a line into the supernatural realm, a realm that I would have never have thought that Bond would enter.
While there is humor in all of the chase sequences, they aren’t so campy that one cannot feel the peril that Bond is in. Yes, the top half of that double-decker bus did get clipped off by a bridge. And yes, those boats are speeding seamlessly from water to land to water. But the stunts are done well and the action is brisk, and so they were properly humorous rather than numbingly campy. I pray that this will be a consistent quality of the coming Bond films.
It is also worth mentioning that the events that transpired on the crocodile island were remarkable. The bit where Bond was marooned on the little piece of land while surrounded by the terrifying reptiles was especially thrilling. The creatures evoked a real sense of danger.
Even while stacked against all of the freakish elements in this Bond installment, Sheriff Pepper is, by far, the most outlandish. This Louisiana Sheriff chews tobacco. In addition, he is racist, incompetent, and has a brother-in-law named Billy Bob. I totally get it. Americans portray the English and virtually every other foreigner quite one-dimensionally in our cinema. Good on the Brits for punching back with an equally over-the-top interpretation of what kind of people constitute the Southern US.
I couldn’t quite get a grip on the antagonists in this film. All I took away from them was this scene, a scene that had me laughing out loud.
Anywho, Live and Let Die is a film that has me welcoming Roger Moore. The movie had a modern touch to it despite its faint layer of camp. I am interested to see some more Moore. I smell a new kind of Bond movie coming.