The James Bond series was a monumental series for me growing up and, as I planned on featuring one of the 20+ films in the series as a Key Movie, I just couldn’t choose. Since I can’t choose a single one, I am reviewing each and every Bond film continuing with today’s entry, Live and Let Die
Welcome to Key Movies Of My Life James Bond Edition.
Today’s Key Movie:
Roger Moore begins his decade long run as the most prolific British Spy to ever live. After investigating the deaths of key agents across the globe, Bond finds himself back in the Caribbean with a visit to New Orleans attempting to thwart Mr. Big, a Heroin Magnate who has plans to expand his distribution network in order to gain a monopoly in the drug trade.
Why this movie?
Immediately viewers will notice the tone has changed with the film having an almost more lighthearted nature to it with Moore’s Bond being a little more ready with the quips and one-liners that he will become known for as the film series continues. This film was also made at the peak of the Blaxploitation era of films and certainly cashes in on it. Some of the stereotypes and tropes of that era including the use of funk music and the use of Black Gangsters as the lead villains even a little voodoo for good measure. It is certainly a change of pace for the franchise but has some really cool segments that make up for the shear insanity of this film.
So you like this film…but is it any good?
This is possibly the strangest of the Moore Bond films (and that isn’t saying a whole lot) with some of the most memorable villains to date including Mr.Big/Kanaga, Tee Hee (with his pincer hand) and of course the iconic Voodoo priest Baron Samedi. I remember the first time I saw this film and instantly being creeped out by Baron Samadi even though he had a very small role in the overall story. Later on in life I found him to be a great character to play in the N64 game Goldeneye. Baron Samadi with the Golden Gun was absolutely one of the best combinations for me in that game.
One character that really stands out is Mr. Big’s spiritualist Solitaire. Solitaire, played by Jane Seymour plays a physic who ends up falling for Bond as most villainous Bond Girls do. The other Bond Girl in this one is CIA double Agent Rosie Carver who appears in this film not only as a key agent and ally to Bond but happens to be the first African American love interest for James Bond making this film a historic one in it’s own right. Of course, once again, she also works for Mr. Big so it seems Bond can really pick them.
One really cool addition to the film is that of Quarrel Jr, the son of the Caribbean ships captain friend of James Bond from the very first film, Dr. No. It is a cool callback to the Sean Connery days and will not be the last time we see Quarrel Junior. We also see the fifth incarnation of Felix Leiter this time played by David Hedison. For the first time in Bond History, this version will return with the next incarnation of Bond in the film Licence To Kill. Oh yes, I nearly forgot. We are also introduced to one Sheriff JW Pepper, a Louisiana police officer who we will see again…I tried to erase him from my memory…
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Bond Song in this one. Performed by none other than Paul McCartney, the song, Live and Let Die would go down as one of the most iconic Bond Themes second only to the tune Goldfinger. The irony of it, not only did Bond voice his disdain for the Beatles in the film Goldfinger but both James Bond and the Beatles had made their world debut the same year in 1963. Kind-of appropriate that one of the Beatles got a chance to perform the theme to one of Bonds films.
All in all this film is loud, obnoxious, a touch campy and absolutely fun. This is a great start to a whole new era of James Bond after the official departure of Sean Connery from the role. An Era that would bring us some of the most enjoyable moments in the series, Including one of the campiest and best (and most violent) Bond Villain deaths to date.
OK, where do I get this movie?
As usual, yet again, this is one that you can find in just about any place films are sold. Available on Bluray and digital it is one that you will need to pick up if you intend to complete your Bond collection. Then again, you could just splurge for the boxed set.
and of course, the trailer.
Late To The Game 2/21/2019
James Bond Will Return in The Man With The Golden Gun
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