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Topic: Live And Let Die script

Hi everyone,

I was wondering something about LALD script.

First of all, I’m not a big fan of Tom Mankiewicz’s work. I think the 70s decade was the weakest one in terms of screenwriting, especially for DAF, LALD and TMWTGG, the three movies he was officially involved in (he also worked on TSWLM and MR but he wasn’t the mastermind). Perhaps some of you don’t share my opinion, and I totally respect that. But nevermind, this is not the topic of the post.

Here it comes.

In LALD, we know the three people who get killed during the PTS - Dawes in New York, Hamilton in New Orleans and Baines in San Monique - are MI6 agents, and that’s why M sends Bond to the US to find out the motive and the potential link between those murders. So far, everyting seems quite logical.

Nevertheless, there's a thing I don’t get. Why were those agents dealing with such a « local matter » ? Shouldn’t the British government focus on more serious issues than the activities of an american drug lord/Caribbean dictator ? In Fleming’s novel, Mr. Big turns out to be a member of SMERSH, which explains why Her Majesty’s Secret Service gets involved, considering the particular geopolitical context of the 50s. I know the movie was shot during Détente but I really think Mankiewicz should have found a more subtle way to justify the threat Mr. Big/Kananga.

Furthermore, the fact the three murders occur in less than 24 hours, so almost simultaneously, doesn’t help. Wouldn’t it have been more relevant to make Hamilton’s death the point of departure for this affair ? Given M says the guy was « on loan to the Americans », this could have led other MI6 operatives to investigate and get killed themselves. In that case, finally sending Bond could have worked, although I still think the initial matter remains unclear.

In LTK, the other movie of the series dealing with drug trade, everything is brillantly written and explained. M points out the fact Bond is not supposed to put his nose in Sanchez’s business because it doesn’t concern the British government. Sanchez doesn’t represent a direct threat and what happened to Felix and his wife is a private issue, nothing more. Bond is aware of that and he knows resigning from MI6 is the only way to infiltrate Sanchez’s cartel and then avenge Felix.
The funny thing is LTK contains a big reference to the novel LALD with Felix’s torture while the eponymous movie is not very faithful to it, except with the voodoo concept. 

Does anyone see my point ?

Last edited by SeanIsTheOnlyOne (14th Nov 2020 19:49)

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Re: Live And Let Die script

I do !
IMO it is Baines' death on San Monique which should focus Bond's efforts. Each murder seems to occur because the script writers need an excuse to send Bond to these locations, not for any practical need. If Baines has disappeared or turned up dead, the CIA might ask MI6 to aid an investigation - starting in New York where the President of San Monique is attending a UN conference.
Everything fits neatly into place from here on - although the funeral scenes in New Orleans might be difficult to shoe-horn in. IMO the PTS ought only to focus on one murder. Three murders only starts the story as it means to go: a repetitive chase film.

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Re: Live And Let Die script

chrisno1 wrote:

I do !
IMO it is Baines' death on San Monique which should focus Bond's efforts. Each murder seems to occur because the script writers need an excuse to send Bond to these locations, not for any practical need. If Baines has disappeared or turned up dead, the CIA might ask MI6 to aid an investigation - starting in New York where the President of San Monique is attending a UN conference.
Everything fits neatly into place from here on - although the funeral scenes in New Orleans might be difficult to shoe-horn in. IMO the PTS ought only to focus on one murder. Three murders only starts the story as it means to go: a repetitive chase film.

Yes but if you think about it, the question remains. What would Baines do on the island ? What could be the reason for his presence in San Monique ? Kananga is a dictator but his activities do not represent a direct threat, whereas in the novel, the link with SMERSH explains why Bond is sent to investigate.

Last edited by SeanIsTheOnlyOne (14th Nov 2020 17:14)