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STUDIO: FOX/MGM
MSRP: $34.98
RATED: PG
RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
Audio Commentary Featuring Sir Roger Moore

Audio Commentary Featuring Director Guy Hamilton

Audio Commentary Featuring Tom Mankiewicz

Bond 1973: The Lost Documentary

Roger Moore As James Bond

Live And Let Die Conceptual Art

007 Mission Control Interactive Guide

Inside Live And Let Die

Image Database

Theatrical Trailers, TV And Radio Spots


 


The Pitch

British secret agent fights Voodoo kingpin.

The Humans

Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, David Hedison, Clifton James, Bernard Lee and Geoffrey Holder

The Nutshell

James
Bond is back with Roger Moore’s first outing as Britain’s top spy. The major difference is that Moore played a Bond that thought he was funny. Nobody should give a fuck if a government sponsored assassin is funny. I don’t want to hear jokes when someone is getting their face caved in. I want to see sexy ladies, fast cars and the colorful villains that spit in the face of cultural sensitivity.



Sprite funded Voodoo Houngans in the ’70s. True story.



The Lowdown

Live and Let Die is a change of pace from the Connery/Lazenby era. Gone is the suave charm of Connery or the dark romantic side of Lazenby. What we receive with Roger Moore is a laid-back knock on The Saint. The music cues have been spiced up by legendary Beatles producer George Martin and we get a slightly hammy Felix Leiter in David Hedison. Where did the film go from here?



Yes, I get it. May I tap my underage escort, now? Thanks, Baretta.



Bond takes America is the name of the game for this flick. Taking cues from the Blaxploitation movement and the Richard Lester comedies of the time, Guy Hamilton crafts an unusual Bond film. It’s an espionage film that plays with race issues in the most trivial way possible. Hell, it’s kind of creepy when you take into account Kananga’s vital obsession with Solitaire’s virginity. For those of you new to the Bond game, Solitaire is the young white girl that Kananga keeps under lock and key. There’s also a powerful demonic figure named Baron Samedi that plays back and forth throughout Kananga’s San Monique hideaway. Plus, there’s Sheriff J.W. Pepper.

It’s an embarassment of junky riches, as Bond fans are given the kitchen sink approach to these new adventures. When Roger Moore shows up as the slightly dull Bond, you wonder why Hamilton is taking so much time away from the colorful characters to give to Moore. Moore’s dullness is what hurts the humor. Sure, Connery knocked back a few jokes while murdering villains. But, you liked Connery before he dropped the one-liner. Moore didn’t earn what Connery did and it came across as poor due to Moore piling it right out of the gate.



Every girl goes crazy for an Abe Vigoda man.


Yaphet Kotto is the unsung hero of this film. Playing the dual role of San Monique Prime Minister Kananga and the criminal mastermand Mr. Big, Kotto eats up the scenery. He has fun with the concept of being bad and the Fleming arrangment with Solitaire. Solitaire (Jane Seymour) is an odd character to play off a powerful black man. The character brings up all sorts of creepy sexual roles that go way beyond naming a character Pussy Galore. It turns the film into a slightly macabre fantasy about the roles of the Old World vs. the New.

I totally had a train of thought chugging along right there, but I just saw the Bond alligator farm sequence. The amount of silliness to these films brings any in-depth disserations back to reality. Can you really over-analyze a film where speed-boat chases make up a tenth of the film? It’s a bizarre amalgamation of the times it originated and the era it wants to depict.

Live and Let Die is a wonderfully odd 70s B-Movie that just happened to have Bond in it. You could take James away from the piece and see a uniquely British answer to Across 110th Street. It would be an answer picture with ten times the budget, but the exploitation quality would still be the same. Live and Let Die taught me that Bond can do dirty, but it’s only Hollywood dirty. Oh well, at least it had some Wings.



If I can’t call you Rufus, can I at least hold this Walther to your temple while we fuck?



The Package

Live and Let Die comes
to
Blu-Ray with an amazing release. You would expect as much from a killer
franchise, but leave nothing to chance when it comes to screwing the
High-Def consumer. Luckily, FOX/MGM didn’t skimp on this fan favorite.
Sure, it would’ve been nice to have the films released by individual
Bond actor or even by decade. But, you should be used to the random six
disc releases by now.

The A/V Quality is amazing, but all of these Bond releases have impressed the Holy Hell out of me. Taking advantage of Ted Moore’s cinematography, we get a cleaner source image than what was presented in Dr. No. That’s not to say that everything has improved. The lossless audio still presents issues, as you hear a thin tinny noise in the back channels while watching the film’s San Monique sequences. Hell, I even noticed a bit of haloing during the final train skirmish near the film’s conclusion. They’re quick flubs and nothing that takes away from the overall experience. But, I feel that they must be noted.

The
only beef I have is that most of the special features are direct ports
from the various Ultimate Editions that MGM and FOX have released over
the last six years. I’ve heard this cross-cut audio commentary from Guy Hamilton and others for what seems like the fourth time. The
trailers, radio, the Dairy Board Milk ad and tv spots are the same. Hell, the featurettes even
post information that feels out of wack when brought into the Daniel
Craig era. Still, that’s being kind of petty. You’d be denying yourself
quite a treat if you didn’t go out of your way to pick up this stellar
release.



Dr. Quinn before the Keach ravaged her Peach.




9.9 out of 10