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Topic: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die is the 8th film in the franchise, released in 1973, as the debut of Roger Moore.  Moore's interpretation was different than Connery, putting greater emphasing on escapism, humor and womanizing with a less emphasis on violence.  Acclaim toward this movie has varied from somewhat positive to lukewarm.

PROS:

  • Moore sets himself as a contrast to Connery's Bond with his own personal style.

  • Opts for a story on urban decay rather than world domination

  • Usually paces quite well and the action keeps flowing

  • Some really bizarre creepy horror-ish parts (tribal scene)

  • Full of over-the-top humor, but still takes on serious themes.

  • Magnetic watch, gas bullet and other gadgets

  • Dr. Kananga is smart and terrifying.  Very good villain.  Underrated.

  • Great henchmen like Tee Hee.  Baron Samedi, and the ending.  Hehehehe!

CONS:

  • Solitaire's useless after she loses her virginity (bad gender stereotype)

  • Rosie Carver was an awful character

Overall Thoughts:
Following the vein of the trendy blaxploitation films, it does have some corny moments but unlike those films, it portrays the black characters as intelligent and methodical rather than reckless.  It can get stupid in some ways, but I just love its charm and personality.  It has lots of camp, but still takes on a more realistic story than some of the Connery movies.  I really enjoy this one.

Last edited by Absolutely_Cart (19th Sep 2015 18:35)

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

The makers were very careful NOT to portray all the black characters as villains- Quarrel, Strutter.

The theme song was by Paul McCartney, not Cartney.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Barbel wrote:

The theme song was by Paul McCartney, not Cartney.

Closer, but still not 100% there. The song was by Paul McCartney and Wings, his band back then.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Barbel wrote:

The makers were very careful NOT to portray all the black characters as villains- Quarrel, Strutter.

The theme song was by Paul McCartney, not Cartney.

1. Not all blacks were villains but the villains were all black.  Some people feel like this suggests that it was a "blacks conspiring against whites" thing.  I don't find the movie hateful toward any race, but it feels like they tried (unsuccessfully) to appeal to a black audience perhaps.

2. Yeah, it was a typo.  Thanks.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

It was one of the first Bonds I watched in the cinema ( pestered my big bro to take me )
So I'll always have a soft spot for it.  ajb007/martini   it has loads of positives, great Villain and
Henchman, good characters in general. With some fantastic action sequences. The
Only down side for me is the death of Kananga, which should have been done much
Better.

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Yeah, the Beatles broke up around 1970 I think (LALD came out in 73), and it gave them each room to develop creatively as artists.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Thunderpussy wrote:

It was one of the first Bonds I watched in the cinema ( pestered my big bro to take me )
So I'll always have a soft spot for it.  ajb007/martini   it has loads of positives, great Villain and
Henchman, good characters in general. With some fantastic action sequences. The
Only down side for me is the death of Kananga, which should have been done much
Better.

Yeah, I can agree with that.  For such a major villain, the gas bullet was an easy out.  Perhaps the gas bullet scene would have worked better on a minor antagonist.  Even his pincer-handed henchman had a more significant death scene.

Kanaga was overall a good villain.  The whole situation did feel a bit Dr. No-ish but it had its own twist.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Absolutely_Cart wrote:
Barbel wrote:

The makers were very careful NOT to portray all the black characters as villains- Quarrel, Strutter.

The theme song was by Paul McCartney, not Cartney.

1. Not all blacks were villains but the villains were all black.  Some people feel like this suggests that it was a "blacks conspiring against whites" thing.  I don't find the movie hateful toward any race, but it feels like they tried (unsuccessfully) to appeal to a black audience perhaps.

2. Yeah, it was a typo.  Thanks.

Your original post reads "all the black characters are villains". That is simply not true.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Virgil37 wrote:
Barbel wrote:

The theme song was by Paul McCartney, not Cartney.

Closer, but still not 100% there. The song was by Paul McCartney and Wings, his band back then.

Not the point, Virgil.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Whenever I watch it these days (I have such a soft spot for this one), as soon as Kananga starts to expand I conjure a vision of him exploding in a geyser of blood and entrails.
That makes me feel better.

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

I think if Bond had shot him with a spear gun, causing Kananga to
Fall into his shark pool. Then said sharks could kill him, at least this
Would tie in a little better with the book.

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Barbel wrote:
Absolutely_Cart wrote:
Barbel wrote:

The makers were very careful NOT to portray all the black characters as villains- Quarrel, Strutter.

The theme song was by Paul McCartney, not Cartney.

1. Not all blacks were villains but the villains were all black.  Some people feel like this suggests that it was a "blacks conspiring against whites" thing.  I don't find the movie hateful toward any race, but it feels like they tried (unsuccessfully) to appeal to a black audience perhaps.

2. Yeah, it was a typo.  Thanks.

Your original post reads "all the black characters are villains". That is simply not true.

Fixed that error.  Thanks!

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

PROS:

* A youthful, fit looking Roger Moore. A much better actor than everybody (himself included!) thinks, he made Bond his own at the most difficult time (Lazenby had failed already). Now we take him for granted, but in 1972 he was The Saint, and Connery was Bond.
* Jane Seymour.- beautiful and very talented.
* Boat chase. Fantastic sequence.
* The escape from the crocodiles. Thrilling scene, full of suspense, very well executed (Bond uses his watch/magnet but the boat is tied).
* The voodoo background is great. Gives the movie an eerie feel.

CONS

* Bad introduction of a new Bond. It's as if after a very elaborated one for Lazenby, they said, "ok, let's just pretend he's always been Bond". He doesn't even appear in the PTS.
* PTS.- Although very original, and sets the story up nicely, it would have been better to have a proper PTS, with a Bond mini adventure, properly introducing Moore to audiences. Opening credits. Then the murders.
* Sheriff J W Pepper. I just can't stand the guy. He's not funny, just plain silly.
* Disappointing end. The fight between Kananga and Bond is ridiculous and badly edited/shot. Solitaire is there and she didn't see the fight? why did she ask "what happened to Kananga?".
* The film feels cheap at times, like a TV movie. It's as if they said, "let's see how it works with Moore".

Good movie, but definitely never one favourite of mine.

Last edited by Virgil37 (14th Dec 2014 23:59)

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Barbel wrote:
Virgil37 wrote:
Barbel wrote:

The theme song was by Paul McCartney, not Cartney.

Closer, but still not 100% there. The song was by Paul McCartney and Wings, his band back then.

Not the point, Virgil.

I know, just to be exact.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Virgil: You do make a good point.  Following up Connery was a big big thing, and Moore did that successfully.  Yeah, Moore didn't totally eclipse Connery, but he showed the world that he is worthy of being the next Bond and not just an acting replacement.

On Jane Seymour, I agree she is really attractive.  However, I try not sexually objectify female actors when assessing the film overall, so I'd say her overall character is meh.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Absolutely_Cart wrote:

On Jane Seymour, I agree she is really attractive.  However, I try not sexually objectify female actors when assessing the film overall, so I'd say her overall character is meh.

I hate to say this, but I must agree. She was given a character with very little substance. If it wasn't Jane, I would have found Solitaire quite boring.

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Since both of you have commented on JW Pepper:

The whole point of this ridiculous character is to bring a degree of balance to the film. If he was not there, then the main white characters (Bond, Leiter, Solitaire) are fairly flawless. Strutter and Quarrel balance the black characters.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Absolutely_Cart wrote:

Following up Connery was a big big thing, and Moore did that successfully

Exactly, now it's normal to use the phrase "who will be the next James Bond?".Back in 1972, that just didn't exist. Connery was Bond. Another guy had replaced him and failed, so he had to come back in DAF. It must have been quite challenging for Moore.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Barbel wrote:

Since both of you have commented on JW Pepper:

The whole point of this ridiculous character is to bring a degree of balance to the film. If he was not there, then the main white characters (Bond, Leiter, Solitaire) are fairly flawless. Strutter and Quarrel balance the black characters.

It's not so much that Pepper was ridiculous.  There's lots of ridiculous funny characters in the series.  It's more so that Pepper's comedy begins and ends in being a redneck stereotype.  I found it to be a bit try-too-hard.  Perhaps a little bit of subtlety would have gone a whole way.  But, to be fair, it would be even more offensive if he weren't white.

He would've been a good character for a scene or two, but it kept going on.  I agree with you that they needed a foil to show that not all white people are the good guys.  For the amount of screen time he has, his only role in the story is to be white and ignorant.

Last edited by Absolutely_Cart (19th Dec 2014 22:22)

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Pepper was also a stock character -- the equivalent of "the man" in a typical blaxploitation film.  He is a parody of Rod Steiger's Sheriff in In the Heat of the Night. He is drawn so extremely to offset the silliness of so much of the rest of the film.   This film took the campiness of the last one to even further extremes, in part because of the mood of the day and because Roger Moore was no Connery.  Even Felix Leiter was a jokier and more over-the-top character than we'd seen before.

Back to the film proper.  There are many positives.  Moore looks good -- ironically, he's more conservative here, at the start of the mod/disco 70s, than he would be a few years later.  He actually eases into the character rather effortlessly, despite playing a different sort of Bond than we'd seen before.  The soundtrack is pretty good, the boat chase is inspired, and Jane Seymour and Yaphet Kotto and his crew are all fine in their roles.  There are some clever lines -- the bit about the hat, for instance -- and some of the sets and fashions aren't bad.

What doesn't work? The film's cinematography has that washed out 70s look. This is the first Bond film to lack the "bigness" that Bond films had up until that point.  Sure, there are lots of locations and the implication of globetrotting, but most of the destinations neither looked unusual nor impressive, and the film obviously lacks the scope of the 60s Bonds.  Bond films start to lose their luster with this one, but then by the early 1970s, a lot of movies seemed to be getting smaller and smaller even as their budgets kept getting higher.  It's not even been a decade since Goldfinger and this film even has the same director, but they look and feel very different.  Quarrel, Jr., is a disappointment and so is his run down boat.  The third act is pretty much a letdown -- Kananga seems to operate on the cheap.  The film never meaningfully explains why Bond had anything to do with the whole affair -- was Kananga's plan to flood the U.S. with dope?  Why should the British care?  I understand several British agents were killed, but why were they working on the case in the first place?  There's a fuzziness to it all that can be sorted out if someone takes the time, but why should they have to?

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

I cannot fault a word. I can only say that as a 13 year old I bought it in its entirety.

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

I find it surprising that no-one has mentioned the scene at the very end: Baron Samdi sitting at the front of the train, ghost-like, laughing in a very sinister way. This is perhaps the strangest and  most striking ending of a Bond Movie.

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Live And Let Die is a huge favourite of mine, as well as sentimental favourite. No cons for me. Great bunch of characters, both good and bad. No problem at all with the blaxploitation/voodoo theme, it looks dated now but only adds to the charm. Some great action, I have always loved the boat chase. Very good score, terrific title song. And I was already a fan of Roger Moore before he became 007, so he's the icing on the cake.

Moore Not Less 4371 posts (2002 - 2007)       Moore Than (2012 - 2016)

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

I remember as a kid watching the milk adverts. Which added to me
Pestering my big bro to see it.   ajb007/biggrin

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: Live and Let Die

Thunderpussy wrote:

I remember as a kid watching the milk adverts. Which added to me
Pestering my big bro to see it.   ajb007/biggrin

I do not remember myself watching a milk advert at the time, only much later.

Here is a trip down memory lane for some, perhaps a first time for others?

Roger Moore James Bond 007 Live And Let Die Milk Commercial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN24I92rqVM

Moore Not Less 4371 posts (2002 - 2007)       Moore Than (2012 - 2016)