Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Live and Let Die

This marks the beginning of the Roger Moore/James Bond era and one can easily argue his first was his best. This was not his fault and I'm still of the mind Moore was underrated in the role mostly due to the Connery bias and the increasingly silly scripts. Though LIVE AND LET DIE is serious and rather violent (for the time!) the funnny business starts in earnest here, especially with the introduction of the Sheriff Pepper character portrayed by Clifton James. There has been a persitant rumor the last few months the Sheriff and Pepper will be brought back in some form in the next Craig/Bond film and I will be more than interested (possibly happy) to see how they pull it off. As for Jane Seymour's Solitaire, she not have been the most striking of Bond women (she is STUNNING here) but she hands down had the best outfits in the ENTIRE series. David Hedison clocks in as Leiter, a roll he would reprise in LICENCE TO KILL (which uses aspects of Ian Fleming's LIVE AND LET DIE not used in this film) and like Pepper there is also buzz he to will be in the next Craig/Bond project. As for the depiction and stereotyping of African Americans here....well...I can see how some might be a little steamed under the collar as it's pretty extreme at points though I hardly feel it was meant to be mean spirited. When Moore walks into the bar in Harlem is one of those priceless Bond scenes one never forgets. Yaphet Kotto was fine, Julias Harris as Tee Hee great but nobody ever forgets Geoffrey Holder as baron Samedi. Of course the 7-UP commercials running back in the '70s might have had something to do with this be we don't want to go there. Also important in the Bond cinema canon as having possibly the coolest theme song (do I have to tell you it was WINGS?) though many of of the mind Shirley Bassey's GOLDFINGER is better. Kind of a moot point but at least we didn't have to listen to GUNS & ROSES destroy GOLDFINGER.


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