Live and Let Die (1973)
Director: Guy Hamilton
James Bond: Roger Moore
Notable villain(s): Mr Big
Notable Bond girl(s): Solitaire
Guy Hamilton is back for the third time at the helm of a James Bond film (The Man with the Golden Gun would be his last) and takes Bond to New York and the small Caribbean island of San Monique.
Instead of chasing after global terrorism organisation SPECTRE, Bond’s new enemy is the ominous Mr Big, a gangster who runs a chain of ‘Fillet of Soul’ restaurants. In true James Bond style, however, all is not how it seems. Cue voodoo, a one-armed henchman and lots of poppy fields.
Live and Let Die is an enjoyable film that is packed full of action, including an overly-long speedboat chase, in my opinion. Though I am enjoying Roger Moore as 007, I don’t think Live and Let Die is one of Moore’s best performances. I can’t quite place my finger on it but it did seem that he was lacking something.
A quick look on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes reveals that The Man with the Golden Gun wasn’t that well received – 6.7 and 52% aren’t ratings to be overly proud of. However, out of the films I have seen so far in my Bondathon, The Man with the Golden Gun is currently my No 3 favourite, and that is almost entirely down to the wonderful actor that is Christopher Lee.
Taking the archetypal role, Lee shines as the dangerous Francisco Scaramanga. A high-priced assassin, his calling card is the golden bullets that he uses when he despatches his victims. His other interesting little ‘quirk’ is that he has a third nipple, something that becomes pivotal to the success of one of Bond’s missions.
The plot isn’t seamless but it is a fun story with enjoyable characters. Scaramanga’s partner in crime and manservant, Nick Nack, is certainly a very interesting character. His relationship with Scaramanga is somewhat complex, and it’s not entirely clear whether he actually wants to be part of ‘Team Scaramanga’ or not. Britt Ekland is great fun as Mary Goodnight, though she is a little too ditzy to be taken seriously while Maud Adams add some extra sparkle as Andrea Anders, the first of her three James Bond appearances.
Current order of preference: Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Man with the Golden Gun, You Only Live Twice, Dr. No, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love and, in last place, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.