Countdown to Skyfall: Live and Let Die (1973)

Countdown to Skyfall: Live and Let Die (1973)

LIVE AND LET DIE (1973)

BOND: Roger Moore

DIRECTOR: Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever)

BOND GIRL(S): Jane Seymour (Solitaire)

COOL GADGETS: Watch with built-in magnet (useful for unzipping ladies' dresses) and mini-buzzsaw.

THEME SONG: "Live and Let Die," sung by Paul McCartney and Wings.  This is probably the one song I never really associate with Bond movies, just because it was such a huge hit in its own right.  Easily one of the best Bond themes.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: 007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader.

ICONIC MOMENTS: The epic, seemingly endless boat chase in and out of water; Bond escapes certain death by jumping over the backs of crocodiles.

FUN FACTS: Roger Moore is the first Bond to perform the opening gun barrel shot without a hat.

VERDICT: Moore steps rather easily into the shoes of Connery in this one.  He's still relatively young-looking and holds his own in the fight sequences.  He plays the role a bit glib, but I'm on board with Moore at this point.  If Diamonds are Forever lacked action (among other things), Live and Let Die more than makes up for it.  There are plenty of vehicle chases, with a lot of great stunt work.  The supernatural elements and the Blaxsploitation influence definitely make this one of the more unique and memorable Bond movies.  Jane Seymour is beautiful, if a bit wooden as the psychic Solitaire.  Freed from all the Blofeld nonsense of the past few Bond films, this one casts Yaphet Kotto (Alien) as the main baddie, Mr. Big, and he's a fun villain (his comeuppance is a sight to behold).  The henchmen are larger than life and entertaining in their own right.  I could have done without Louisiana Sheriff JW Pepper, a character who quickly overstays his welcome, but, overall, I dig the urban '70s vibe that Live and Let Die gives off.

GRADE: B

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