Thursday, 25 April 2013

Live and Let Fie 1973 with Roger Moore

It was in December 2012 and January2013 that I viewed all the James Bond films in sequence breaking off from reporting the experience before Live and Let Die, the eight film and the first with Roger Moore who portrayed the character tongue in cheek throughout and was in my judgement the weakest Bond performer although his first film with $7 million budget is recorded as netting $161,8 million which explains why he went to reproduce the role time and time and time again.

Although based on an Ian Fleming book the film was created in the style of the Black exploitation drug culture genre which had become fashionable at the time and there are many racial references and stereotyping which we will not see today or hopefully ever again. The film is set in Harlem, New Orleans and a fictitious Caribbean Island with Bond on the trail of a Mr Big who turns out to be a Dr Kananga dictator of the Island where he grows heroin and where he has been flooding the market with free stuff to put his rivals out of business via his chain of Filet of Soul restaurants. He has killed three agents on his trail.

Kananga ‘s virgin girlfriend, Solitaire. has the power to read tarot cards (Jane Seymour) with unerring accuracy until James gets his hands on her, that is. Bond’s female CIA contact is in fact a double agent working with the dictator and she is killed to stop her telling James the truth after he also got his hands on her.

In New Orleans Bond finds himself about to be eaten by crocodiles in the backwoods and there is a great speed boat race which also involves the local tobacco chewing Sheriff J W Pepper played by Clifton James and who is to appear in another Bond film later.

On the Caribbean island the couple, that is Bond and Solitaire have to encounter voodoo and escape from a shark tank but they outwit Kananga who explodes after a shark pellet is forced into his mouth. They still have to escape the evil designs of Kanaka’s henchman Tee Hee Johnson who has an artificial pincer hand although the film has an ambiguous ending as sitting on the front of the train is voodoo man Baron Samedi another Kananga henchman. Bond’s CIA friend Felix Leitner also has a role in the film. There are some good images , including the last but the film did not lead me to waiting eagerly to see the next or to having any WOW factor moment and only rated about 5 to 6 on my Bond rating scale.

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