A fake Fabergé egg, and a fellow Agent's death, lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.
Several British agents have been murdered and James Bond is sent to New Orleans, to investigate these mysterious deaths. Mr. Big comes to his knowledge, who is self-producing heroin. Along his journeys he meets Tee Hee who has a claw for a hand, Baron Samedi the voodoo master and Solitaire a tarot card reader. Bond must travel to New Orleans, and deep into the Bayou.Written by
When Tee Hee bends the barrel of Bond's Walther PPK, a close-up reveals that the gun barrel has been pre-cut. See more »
[translating for Hungarian delegate]
... was so ably pointed out by the Secretary General in his opening remarks. But - and I must emphasize this point - no formula can or will ever cover each case. For instance...
[audio feed is unplugged]
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The End of Live and Let Die James Bond will return in The Man with the Golden Gun See more »
Some US TV versions also omitted Bond and Solitaire's first encounter with Baron Samedi after their escape from Kananga's island. Also omitted was Baron Samedi's landing into the coffin full of snakes after his brief battle with Bond. See more »
Live and Let Die is directed by Guy Hamilton and adapted to screenplay by Tom Mankiewicz from the novel written by Ian Fleming. It stars Roger Moore, Yaphet Koto, Jane Seymour, David Hedison, Julius W Harris, Gloria Hendry, Earl Jolly Brown, Clifton James and Geoffrey Holder. Music is scored by George Martin and cinematography by Ted Moore.
Bond 8 and 007 is assigned to investigate the recent murders of MI6 agents in New Orleans, San Monique and New York. Suspicion falls on San Monique ruler Dr Kananga, a man who has definite links to Harlem crime lord Mr Big. As 007 digs deeper he uncovers a plot to corner the world's heroin market, but halting such a plan is hindered by the presence of voodoo in his midst.
Connery was gone, for good this time, no amount of cash would entice him to don the tuxedo for a "legitimate" Bond movie again....... This meant that producers Broccoli & Saltzman would be showcasing the third actor to play James Bond in a four year period! After the fall out of the casting of Lazenby in OHMSS, it was agreed that a established actor was needed this time around. Timothy Dalton was mooted, as he was for OHMSS (he was never offered the role though until 1986), but it came down to just two actors, Roger Moore & Michael Billington. Billington would screen test for the role of 007 a few times in his life but never landed the coveted role, as a sweetener he got to play a minor character in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. So Roger Moore it was, someone the producers knew quite well and who was well in vogue after starring in The Persuaders and The Saint. He also was honoured to play the role, wanted it badly and accepted the fanaticism that went with it.
Moore's take on Bond the man was a world away from Connery, and rightly so, but Live and Let Die is not far removed from Connery's last outing, Diamonds Are Forever. In truth it's a weak script, with Mankiewicz probably under orders from above to play to Moore's strengths and keep the overt humour and cartoon escapades as a selling point. The decision to pitch Bond into a world of voodoo is a good one, and it was not, as some believe, an attempt to grasp the tails of the Blacksploitation market that had made waves in the early 70s. It's a better film than Diamonds Are forever, without doubt. The villains are memorably played, though Kananga's (Koto) demise is indicative of the daftness that would blight many Bond movies from here on in, and in Hamilton's hands the action, especially an adrenalin pumping speedboat chase, is quality entertainment. Top blunderbuss theme tune, too, from Paul McCartney & Wings. While Felix Leiter is back on good charming form in the hands of Hedison (a real life friend of Moore and it shows).
Problems elsewhere, though, stop this from being a great Bond movie. Much of the film is made up of scenes that are played purely for smiles rather than for dramatic purpose. In short a Bond movie has stopped taking itself seriously. The introduction of Sheriff Pepper (James) is pointless, the beautiful Seymour shows promise but then becomes one of "those" Bond girls who is a liability to 007 outside of the bedroom, and the film is padded out with scenes that offer nothing important to the story. Hendry's Rosie Carver is a dope and poorly written, though it gave Bond his first inter-racial "dalliance", something that the producers were nervous about behind the scenes. While there's no Q! And George Martin's score is very hit and miss.
A new actor playing Bond and many failings in the picture, could Bond still succeed? Yes indeed! Moore, in spite of not getting good page to work from and getting stick from the critics, put his own stamp on the role by looking smooth, having an excellent vocal delivery and being someone the girls wanted to bed and the boys wanted to be. The box office sang to the tune of over $160 million, over $40 million more than Diamonds Are Forever. The tag-line ran "More Action, More Excitement, More Adventure", though not entirely accurate, there was indeed an abundance of fun play and gadgets are us (Felix Lighter, priceless). Bond was set to continue coining it in for the foreseeable future, but the dye had been cast and Bond ran the risk of becoming purely a cartoon caricature..... 7/10
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