Review: Live and Let Die (1973)

08 - Live And Let Die (1973)

“You damn lucky you got an ear left to hear the question with! Which is, did you mess with that?”
– Mr Big

“M” (Bernard Lee) and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) make a private house call to their 007 agent James Bond (Roger Moore). He is ordered to go to New York to investigate the murders. Three MI6 agents have been murdered while they were checking out a Dr Kananga, the dictator of San Monique, a small island in the Caribbean. Kananga is in New York, too. Bond is to meet up with CIA agent Felix Leiter (David Hedison). Bond hits the ground running when his driver is assassinated on the way to Leiter.

Live and Let Die Bond and American Cops

“Hi there. Allow me to introduce myself. Bond. James Bond.”

Bond tracks leads down that identify a Mr Big (Yaphet Kotto) who is a hardcore gangster is New Orleans, the owner of a restaurant, the Fillet of Soul. Bond meets with Mr Big and his virginal tarot reader, Solitaire (Jane Seymour). Mr Big orders his people to kill Bond, who narrowly escapes with the assistance of an undercover CIA agent. Bond skips out to San Monique almost immediately where he meets up with CIA double agent Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry). It soon becomes evident to Bond that Rosie is not entirely on his side, and when she leads them to Solitaire’s home, Bond questions her.

Live and Let Die Bond and Solitair

“The cards have followed you for me. ” – Solitaire

Rosie is killed, and Bond meets with Solitaire in her home. She continues to draw the “The Lovers” card where Bond is concerned, and it frightens and confuses her. Bond seduces her, and with her virginity she loses the ability to read the cards and foresee the future. She is useless to Kananga now, and she knows that he will kill her when he finds out that she is of no worth. The lack of her gift means that to survive she will need to work with Bond.

Bond is caught again by the infamous and ruthless gangster Mr Big, who he discovers is actually Kananga in disguise. Kananga informs him that he is preying on the locals’ belief of the occult, voodoo and the inexplicable, and is using their fears to produce two tons of heroin and to protect the poppy fields. Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder) is the lead instrument he uses to incite terror. He is going to mass distribute the heroin for free at his restaurants across the States, increasing his clientele at the end of the day. He is sure that his generosity in the matter will topple other main players in the drug game seeing as they will not want to meet his game. Kananga then demands to know if Bond has slept with Solitaire. The information could have her killed, and they work together to desperately try and deceive Kananga. Bond is ultimately sentenced to be executed at the hand (yep) of Tee Hee Johnson (Julius Harris) – death by alligators and crocodiles.

Will Bond be able to escape and put a stop the nationwide distribution of the heroin? Were his lies sufficient to have Solitaire spared her life? Will Kananga just get away with murder again?

Live and Let DIe Absurd Boat Chase

A 6/10 for Live and Let Die. I was so impressed when it started, I mean New Orleans? I have always wanted to go, it fascinates me. In my mind this was a fantastic basis to start on. Then it progressed – we had different cultures, voodoo, funeral processions that were brilliantly orchestrated, awesome restaurants, the whole shebang. This reminded me so much of Thunderball. All that potential and it just didn’t pull it together well at all. It is also the first Bond film to focus on other plot lines outside of SPECTRE. Then there was the ridiculous bayou/river chase thing that went on for far too long, to be perfectly honest. My interest wandered long before it even reached the middle point of that chase. I thought the plot to be alright what with the heroin distribution and bankrupting the Mafia. Jane Seymour was so young in this film it is lunacy! This Bond was also overloaded with just plain down ridiculous things (I will start and hanker on with that damned watch of his). Just no. Great premise it could have built on, but it just went awry somewhere. Definitely not a bad one at all, but some of its potential was overlooked and lost.

6 thoughts on “Review: Live and Let Die (1973)

  1. This film is very silly. I think it seems pretty dated and goofy, yet it’s hardly Moore’s low point. I agree there are some things to like, and Yaphet Kotto is decent as the villain. This does really set the stage for Moore’s different approach to the character, which can work in the right film. Looking forward to reading what you think about some of the upcoming Moore films!


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