|Jun 27 2023
Live fast, die young, and leave a terribly damaged corpse thanks to James Bond.
As with Shaft a few days ago, we can't add much new to the longtime assessments of 1973's Live and Let Die. We wouldn't discuss the film at all except that the posters were the work of illustration wizard Robert McGinnis. However, in light of our Shaft examination, there's an angle we can take: Live and Let Die was the first Bond movie to be clearly influenced by the diversification of Hollywood, becoming the first to include numerous black cast members in speaking roles. Since most participants in a Bond movie are there to get killed, including, often, all but one of the women he sleeps with, the rules didn't change even with the diversified cast. This leads to head villain Yaphet Kotto suffering perhaps the most brutal death in the franchise, and hottie Gloria Hendry departs for the hereafter too, which is criminal, in our view. But their participation was a landmark and gives Live and Let Die, even today, a different feel and look than the usual Bond fare.
On other fronts, Live and Let Die seems like the movie in which Bond stuntwork kicked into high gear, beginning a push that would soon extend beyond the bounds of earthly physics. The speedboat chase produced a then-world record aerial leap of 110 feet. On the acting front, newcomer Roger Moore displayed even at the outset of his Bond journey some of the cheeseball tendencies that would eventually take over his later portrayals, but it works fine. He was probably one of the best looking actors in the world in 1973, and while he doesn't have a chiseled physique, he's still everything and a free refill. We consider Live and Let Die to be one of two good Moore outings as Bond, along with The Man with the Golden Gun. It's certainly worth a watch, even if you've already seen it. And if you want to have a really fun night, watch it back-to-back with Shaft.
Live and Let DieRoger MooreYaphet KottoJayne SeymourGeoffrey HolderGloria HendryRobert McGinnisJames Bondposter artcinemamovie review