Guy Hamilton directs Roger Moore, Jane Seymour and Yaphet Kotto in this 007 action movie where Bond investigates a drug distributor and dodgy ambassador who share the services of a psychic virgin.
The one where Bond runs over the alligator! EON’s confidence that they have the right man to replace Connery is evident. Moore is given little fanfare in his introduction, it feels very much like business as usual rather than a forced rebranding. He in turn has no interest in aping Connery and just relaxes through the globetrotting and enforced perils in his own inimitable suave as fuck style. Almost too relaxed! The script doesn’t have any big action until the final third and then most of it is an endless speed boat chase through the bayou – more interested in gags than thrills. The passable action is the only element that lets Live And Let Die down though. Everything from the dainty innocent sexpot to the rollicking Wings theme song cooks. There is some controversy about the voodoo and blaxploitation elements. Bond has never been, and should never be, a bastion of good taste. A weak defence would be it is far less gallingly racist than Fleming’s novel. A strong counter though I found put eloquently in a Den of Geek retrospective: “Kananga, Tee Hee, and Baron Samedi are all intelligent, charming and, crucially, competent villains who are depicted as Bond’s equals.” Thanks Max Williams for making a fantastic point… Live And Let Die abandons Blofeld and gives 007 some proper memorable fresh threats to face of against. Kotto, Julius Harris and Earl Jolly Brown make for positively formidable opponents and anyone who has witnessed Geoffrey Holder’s unrestrained weirdness as Baron Samedi knows these are exactly the strong support performances that make for an outstanding Bond. The pleasing supernatural notes have never been deployed in the franchise again but they meant Moore began his tenure with an indelible explosion of cool and colour.
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