Live and Let Die



This is Roger Moore's first Bond movie, and I really have to say, when you watch the movies in order it's clear just how much of a wild departure it was. The previous movies were all stylish and elegant. They took place in elegant hotels and fancy casinos. Bond was meeting up with women who could (for the most part) take care of themselves and held their own against his charm.

Now we are dropped into Roger Moore's world. First off, you don't even see him until far into the beginning of the movie. You first get shots of NYC at the UN, then Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Next you go to San Monique in Caribbean. All are pretty gritty. Finally you get to Bond's apartment, with wood panelling and a sort of upper-middle-class feel. M waltzes in and talks about Dr. Kananga, and along comes Moneypenny. They give Bond a watch, but you never even see Q. And then they send Bond off to chase Kananga. Oh yes, Bond is seducing a fellow agent here, who sneaks into the closet.

Felix, the CIA agent, is back in the movie, helping out, since the movie is pretty much entirely in the US. Bond is a clueless wonder who goes into Harlem and is easily caught while being called a "Honky". Here he meets up with Solitaire who appears to be barely 17.

OK, down to San Monique (i.e. Jamaica) goes Bond, to an OK but not elegant bungalow there. He's met up with a female black clueless CIA agent who first holds Bond off at Bond's attempted clumsy seduction by saying "Felix told me there'd be moments like this ... if all else failed, cyanide pills ...".

She turns out to be a traitor and is killed. Bond meets Solitaire for the second time and promptly takes her to bed. Afterwards she's crying that she has lost her virginity and Bond is going "Oh so sorry, I tricked you, hope you don't mind." It all just felt VERY sleazy to me.

Then we head into the Sheriff JW Pepper scenes as the dumb fat southerner who calls the black men "boy" and is either saying "Holy SH%T" or "What the F ...". The old Bond didn't need to have all this swearing in it to keep it interesting. It ends up none of this has anything to do with big world problems or SPECTRE or any such issues of the past. All it is is a heroin dealer trying to take over the US heroin market and turn everyone into druggies.

I really wanted to like this movie. It's one of the first times that there are black characters in the Bond series which I think was a really good thing. But they turn the black CIA agent into a brainless klutz who dies and who Bond in essence says "I slept with you and now tell me everything you know." Which, come to think of it, is exactly the same thing he then says to the poor barely-adult Solitaire he takes the virginity of. The boat race in the bayou wasn't very exciting. The rampant stereotypes of jive-talking Harlem blacks and dumb-as-a-stick white southerners were equally appalling.

One interesting tidbit - watch for Quarrel Jr. He's the son of Quarrel, from Dr. No.

Drinks -

When Bond walks into the Harlem bar, he asks for 'bourbon and water please - no ice'.

When Bond is in his Bungalow with "Mrs Bond" he calls room service. "I'd like a bottle of bollinger please, slightly chilled, 2 glasses." What, he doesn't even mention a vintage??

By the river during his seduction of the CIA agent, Bond has a bottle of Dom Perignon in the background. OK at least he got SOME Dom on this adventure.

When Bond & Solitaire are captured, the two of them and Kananga all have Champagne in big (incorrect) glasses. The brand isnt' mentioned.

As the two take the train to safety, they are playing gin rummy and both have small, empty glsses of port.

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