Amph 60+ Years of James Bond 007

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ender Sai, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Diamonds are Forever is the first truly spectacular Bond film.



    ... No, I don't mean that. But it entertains me because it all comes across as this big drunken mess that got tossed in a blender set to liquify and there's something I kind of have to love about that. I certainly like it more than I like Thunderball, which I easily consider the weakest of all the Connery Bonds.

    Still, it's a testament to how utterly ridiculous this film is that it makes the first Moore film look tame by comparison.
  2. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    Die Another Day was very bad. I'll have to rewatch Diamonds tho for a better comparison.
  3. Havac Former Moderator

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    I reserve the right to change my mind as I go, but I think DAD is my own worst entry, too. DAF gets a little slack for being so old, in the middle of the era when the Bond films lost their minds and descended into camp that was at least charmingly tacky. And Connery may not care, but at least he's Connery, so he has a little presence, and there's Desmond Llewelyn to make everything better. DAD has no excuses. It's a big modern blockbuster with a huge budget, made to celebrate Bond as a global phenomenon. And it's crushingly boring, without even the charm of retro camp to save it. Brosnan is as checked-out as Connery, but the result is a total nonentity, a screen black hole. The villains appear to be acted by CGI-animated cardboard cutouts. The stunts are boring, without even the glorious WTF of a random moon buggy. It's a much bigger budget going down a much less explicable drain for even less entertainment return. DAF is a bad movie. DAD should have killed careers on the spot.
    Last edited by Havac, Mar 24, 2013
  4. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    Die Another Day is worse. And maybe The Man With The Golden One, although Christopher Lee kind of manages to save that mess all by himself.
  5. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Moonraker is way worse than either of those. I know it's kind of an "easy target" but holy cow it's practically unwatchable.
  6. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    I haven't seen Moonraker in ages. I might end up agreeing once the thread gets to it. :p
  7. Adam of Nuchtern Force Ghost

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    When it comes to terrible Bond films, nothing tops A View to a Kill.
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  8. soitscometothis Chosen One

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    Roger Moore would definitely cock an eyebrow at that title.o_O
  9. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

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    Let me get caught up here...

    First, I consider YOLT as Connery's "Moonraker". The difference is that, while Moore is his usual charming self in "Moonraker", Connery is sleepwalking. He's so tired of the role he doesn't even try. The movie's fun, though, as long as you don't think about it (like why SPECTRE only recognizes the undisguised Bond by his gun, which was already established as standard issue for MI6 and the CIA). Actually, by that standard, you could almost call this Connery's "Our Man Flint".

    OHMSS is the most underrated Bond movie. I've understood that, among many Bond fans pre-"Casino Royale", opinion was split between those who thought it would've been the best if Connery had made it, and those who thought it already was the best. Anyway, it's definitely in the top five, with the best Blofeld, and Tracy, whom I consider the only Bond heroine who's anywhere near a good match for 007. As for Lazenby, I thought he did OK as a more vulnerable Bond. And I think I agree with author Danny Peary (in his book Cult Movies 3) that it wouldn't have been as good with Connery, who played a more self-assured, invulnerable Bond who didn't seem like he could truly fall in love.

    And, as for DAF, I though Connery was better in it than in YOLT. He at least seems to be relaxed and fun, rather than in "dull surprise" mode. We also get another great Shirley Bassey theme song performance. The movie, like YOLT, is closer to Flint than Bond, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
    Last edited by Kenneth Morgan, Mar 24, 2013
  10. drg4 Force Ghost

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    Funny thing: Even Connery's bat-guano insane DAF is more entertaining than any of Moore's tepidly insane installments.

    My rankings:

    1. FRWL/OHMSS (Tie)
    2. Dr. No
    3. Goldfinger

    4. Diamonds Are Forever (As parody)
    5. Thunderball
    6. You Only Live Twice
  11. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    I enjoy the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Christopher Walken as the villain. Grace Jones in general and the Golden Gate Bridge fight.


    Also my rankings at the present.


    1. From Russia With Love
    2. Goldfinger
    3. Dr No
    4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    5. Thunderball
    6. You Only Live Twice
    7. Diamonds Are Forever
    Last edited by Point Given, Mar 24, 2013
  12. Havac Former Moderator

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    It's a funny thing; Connery has the reputation as the classic Bond, the go-to answer for the "best Bond" among the general public before Craig, at least. His movies, or at least their elements, are probably among the most remembered. But when you look at them, he's got about two great movies, one good one, a mediocre one, and two bad ones. The movies people might fill those slots with may vary, but that seems to tend to be the rough distribution of opinion here. His track record of actual classic movies isn't that robust (I'd argue that the Bond franchise's record of classics itself isn't that robust, compared to public goodwill for it). Does the fact that he was the first Bond, and he started with such a good run give his reputation a boost that glosses over the nosedive the movies took?
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  13. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    First counts for a ton - look at how many people can name George Washington when asked to name Presidents, for example - and I'm sure the fact that his first three movies are all franchise classics that can stand on their own merits (Something no other Bond, except possibly Craig depending on your opinion of QoS, has managed to accomplish) also helps a lot.
    Last edited by Ramza, Mar 24, 2013
  14. soitscometothis Chosen One

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    I think that a general audience is less sensitive to how much effort Connery puts into the role than people here. I do notice when I'm watching Dr. No or From Russia with Love that Connery's performance feels sharper, more engaged, and generally more "real" than in later installments; however, his more... relaxed attitude to the later films never mars my enjoyment of them. I'm certainly not offended by the way he doesn't seem to be straining for an Oscar, which many critics seem to be. Connery phoning it in is still more charismatic than most actors - in fact, this style of acting might be more properly termed movie-star-mode: famous actor turns up and does exactly what 90% of the audience expect and want from him, taking neither the star or the audience out of their respective comfort-zones. It's comfortable rather than exciting, but sometimes an audience wants that, which admittedly is precisely the reason why we get so many unmemorable blockbusters.

    Even the Connery's that I don't love (not counting DAF, which I don't tend to lump in with his first 5 films) have that early James Bond feel to them - though I have my reasons for not loving FRwL as much as others here, they're personal reasons which don't have anything to do with the quality of the film which is obviously very high up in the series' rankings; similarly though Thunderball puts me to sleep I still find Connery has a charisma and an edge to him even on autopilot, and the film has the classic Bond sound and style which seem to be part of the time-period, and that get lost after YOLT. I think DAF really signals the end of the old-fashioned three-piece suits, hats, and the big-band sound; after YOLT the films start chasing trends, either in fashion, music, or in films themselves. The early Connery's have a timeless quality that makes them feel classically stylish rather than dated, much like, say, North by Northwest does; it's a classy feel that's impossible to recapture, imo.
    Last edited by soitscometothis, Mar 25, 2013
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  15. Havac Former Moderator

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    Having just watched Moonraker (yes, I'm four movies ahead of the thread) I can confirm that it's terrible. But it's so hilariously, outrageously bad that it almost circles back around to being completely enjoyable as comedy. It's absolute garbage, but I'll ultimately prefer hilariously crappy over boringly crappy if I have to pick.
  16. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    I'm currently through The Man With The Golden Gun. Trying to speed up the rewatching pace!
  17. Havac Former Moderator

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    [IMG]

    Live and Let Die (1973)

    Behind the scenes

    Sean Connery once more left the role of 007 behind after Diamonds Are Forever. This time, Broccoli and Saltzman had a little more confidence replacing him, as they were finally able to get Roger Moore, whom they'd long had in mind for the role but had been doing the TV series The Saint when Connery first retired. Future Bond villain Julian Glover and future Sherlock Holmes Jeremy Brett also tested, and United Artists wanted an American, but fortunately didn't get one. Can you imagine Burt Reynolds as Bond? Or Clint Eastwood? Both were considered. Or Paul Newman . . . okay, Newman would have been better than Moore. But this time around, the producers had the man they wanted, and he was already a star, giving this new Bond a little higher profile and a little better chance coming in to fill Connery's shoes. Notably, Moore still holds the record of oldest actor cast as 007, being 45 when Live and Let Die premiered (and turning 46 later that year), four years older than Connery was at the end of his run.

    Guy Hamilton was back as director, as was DAF rewriter Tom Mankiewicz as sole scriptwriter this time, and it was decided to adapt Live and Let Die, as the presence of a black villain would be bold, and blaxploitation was then booming as a genre. It was only a very loose adaptation of the novel. The best decision made in the whole process was to get Paul McCartney to write the title song. McCartney quickly put together the classic Live and Let Die, the first rock and roll title song, and McCartney and Wings recorded it over Saltzman's objections -- he'd wanted Shirley Bassey or another black woman to record it. The song's producer, George Martin, scored the film since John Barry, who'd worked on all the previous movies, was unavailable.

    Plot

    When three British agents are killed in New York, New Orleans, and the Caribbean island nation of San Monique (the first fictional location to feature in the films), Bond is sent to figure out what's going on. Bond arrives in New York and is almost immediately nearly assassinated. He connects with Leiter and traces the attempt back to Harlem gangster Mr. Big.

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    Bond then follows the trail to San Monique, where he works with CIA agent Rosie Carver. After yet more assassination attempts, 007 figures out that Carver is a double agent, working for San Monique dictator Dr. Kananga, who is working with Mr. Big. Bond then seduces Solitaire, the fortune-teller used by Kananga, and finds out that Kananga is growing poppies across the island to produce heroin.

    Bond escapes the island and travels to New Orleans, where Mr. Big captures him and reveals that he is Kananga in disguise. He plans to flood the market with free heroin, winning more addicts and driving his competitors out of business, which will give him a lucrative monopoly. As Solitaire is no longer a virgin, she cannot read the future anymore, and Kananga send her to San Monique to be killed by his henchman Baron Samedi, and sends Bond to an alligator farm for disposal. Bond, of course, escapes, and initiates what has got to be the longest damn speedboat chase ever captured on film.

    He makes his way to San Monique and rescues Solitaire, only to get captured by Kananga. He gets captured by Kananga a lot. Bond manages not to get lowered into a shark tank, however, and kills Kananga instead. Bond ends up on a train with Solitaire, only for the henchman Tee Hee to show up. Bond kills the leftover henchman in a fight.

    Bond himself

    Roger Moore could possibly play a good James Bond. Theoretically – you can see some hints of capability. But he certainly doesn't seem inclined to. He plays Bond with a sort of glib detachment. You never get the sense that he's playing a character – someone with emotions, motivation, a personality, some depth behind the performance. Instead, he's playing a . . . figure. "James Bond" as larger-than-life symbol of suave spydom, a handsome guy who mugs his way through exaggerated adventures, but who has no actual internal life of his own. His James Bond exists to bang chicks and shoot bad guys and use gadgets and deliver one-liners throughout a movie – not to exist as a person within the movie's universe. There's no hint of the cold menace Connery gave the character, or the emotional depth Lazenby portrayed. He's just a caricature. There are some dark moments in the writing, but Moore doesn't really inhabit the moments, doesn't make Bond as threatening a figure as he should be. There was a bonus feature on the disc – Moore playing Bond before he was Bond, appearing as James Bond in a parody skit on a British sketch comedy show. I can't really detect much difference between how he played Bond there and how he played Bond here.

    [IMG]

    The acting just isn't there, and instead of the complex character the films could be exploring, we get Bond as a jokey pop-cultural figure. The approach, from Moore and from Broccoli and Saltzman, seems to have been to play to the image of the debonair superspy rather than pursue anything particularly ambitious or dramatically challenging, and that's pretty much the way it's going to be for a long while.

    How it fits into the series

    Live and Let Die solidified the slide toward camp self-parody seen in You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. Bond was recast, but that didn't provide a pivot moment for the series; instead, it just facilitated the jokey tone that Connery wasn't as suited for. This was the first of several ill-advised stabs at aping popular genres during Moore's run, and that's pretty telling -- after descending into indistinguishability from the Bond-parody/Bond-ripoff genre, Bond is now chasing trends instead of setting them.

    Also notable for the series, this is the first Bond movie without Q, and the only one without Q during Desmond Llewelyn's run. Llewelyn was in fact written out of the TV series he was then in for a few episodes to facilitate filming, only for Llewelyn to find that he'd been written out of the movie, too. A foolish decision.

    A few other series points: it has the first black Bond girl, and the series' first major profanity, which is probably worth noting – a "Holy ****!" from the old lady in the plane Bond commandeers, which I thought was actually a reasonably amusing punchline, and a drowned-out but obvious "What the ****?" from J.W. Pepper as a boat flies over his head. But this isn't a long-term trend; for all the ways that the series will push the limits of the ratings system in the sex and violence it can fit into the PG, and later PG-13 ratings, it remains comfortably well within the boundaries when it comes to swearing.

    Review

    As the start of the Roger Moore era, there are a few signs of potential in Live and Let Die, a few moments that are okay. Unfortunately, they're stuffed into a blaxploitation ripoff that's offputting, idiotically written, and too farcical to ever be involving.

    This isn't a movie where anyone involved ever particularly cares if anything makes any sense. It starts with a guy getting killed by . . . a guy hooking his headphones to a device with a plunger, and then pushing the plunger, thus . . . shooting KILLER SOUND into his ears or something. It doesn't get any better afterward, as the next victim is killed in the course of a funeral procession where a giant crowd of African-American men, women, and teenagers distract him while he's stabbed, then pick up the body and celebrate, introducing the probably-inadvertent but still ridiculously thorough and intense racism that will run throughout the movie, and making it clear that apparently, when Mr. Big has someone killed, he wants to make sure he has at least a hundred witnesses or so. This continues with our third MI6 victim, who is killed in the middle of a voodoo ritual in the fake Caribbean nation of San Monique. The villain's plot revolves around the idea that he's going to dump massive amounts of free heroin throughout the United States, destroying the competition and getting tons of people addicted, letting him make big money as soon as he holds a monopoly. The base idea, of a Caribbean tinpot dictator secretly being an American drug lord, is pretty decent, but the specifics of his plot don't hold up to thought – no one else can enter the market once he starts charging? – and the makeup job used to transform Kananga into Mr. Big is terrible. It's just good enough to not blatantly look like the glued-on mask it is – I thought it was just an incredibly weird-ass makeup job initially – but it looks unnervingly fake the whole time through, and it doesn't do nearly enough to hide the fact that it's plainly Yaphet Kotto behind it the whole time. It doesn't look like a different facial structure, just like a Botoxed, heavily made-up Kotto. Kotto's death, by turning into a balloon and blowing up when Bond shoves a gas capsule down his threat, is a whole new kind of stupid. Bond responds to a woman having checked into his hotel room as Mrs. Bond, but being out when he gets there, by checking for bugs, finding them, then shrugging, leaving his gun on the bed, and taking a bath, rather than waiting for her. This is a long way from the Bond who almost shot Sylvia Trench and left hairs over his closet. Maybe my favorite bit of "we don't even care what we're making" stupidity, though, is Felix Leiter (in yet another boring, undistinguished performance by a new actor), taking a call for Felix Leiter in the middle of the Fillet of Soul restaurant he's investigating as probably one of the enemy's drug dens. You get the feeling that if the waiter had instead called out, "Hey, anyone here with the CIA?" Felix would have raised his hand, too.

    [IMG]

    Most of the film boils down to being a collection of setpieces and gags, because the plot is never anything worth talking about, and the problem is that more of these are misses than hits. When Bond gets left in the middle of an alligator pond to die, it's an in-your-face "let's all go inside, so nobody can watch to make sure he doesn't escape our crappy death-trap, or even just enjoy watching our crappy death-trap in action" situation. Which Bond, after an initial bit of tension at the encroaching alligators that's not bad, then escapes by running on the backs of a conveniently-placed alligator bridge. That pretty much sums up the way the film seems determined to bury its little bits of decency under a torrent of crap and camp. There are some setpieces that work. The bus chase is acceptable. The airplane-on-the-ground chase works and is even clever, as the cars keep cutting Bond off from actually being able to take off, so he's zipping around on the ground, weaving around until they all crash. The action centerpiece of the film, the eight-hour boat chase, is more typical of the up-and-down movie. There are some bits of solid action in the chase, but they're buried in an interminable sequence that keeps repeating the same beats over-and-over, making them stupider and broader each time (the boats jump over a little bit of land . . . they jump over a big stretch of land and one takes out a car . . . the boats motor across an entire yard and one ends up in a swimming pool . . . the boats go across the road in the middle of the police cars . . . I never knew boats were such a reliable method of land travel), and lays gags atop gags, too many revolving around maybe the worst character in the history of the Bond franchise, Sheriff J.W. Pepper. Pepper is an abysmally-acted southern caricature of the worst, dumbest, broadest type. Just as a comic-relief character, he's sloppy, lazy, and too badly written or acted to ever manage to be funny. As an element dropped into a James Bond movie, he's even worse, a totally out-of-place attempt to ham up an action sequence. A few of the gags tossed in around him are actually acceptable – the hillbilly radio calls he ignores are okay, and the running, relatively subtly-played gag of the other officers all mistaking Kananga's black henchman for the brother-in-law Pepper keeps going on about is downright excellent – but overall, everything's buried in a dumbfoundingly awful sequence.

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    I brought up racism before, and unfortunately, the film has a problem with the way it approaches things. Some of the stuff, the simplistic treatment of the San Monique natives, with their omnipresent voodoo rituals and superstition, is run-of-the-mill exoticism that's not altogether surprising in an older, pre-PC movie. The bigger problem than that is the fact that there are a lot of black people in the movie, in the US and in San Monique, and only two of the entire number aren't in on Kananga's conspiracy. There's one black CIA agent who remains loyal, and there's Quarrel, Jr. But other than them, the entire black community – the other black CIA agent included – is complicit in Kananga's scheme. Women and children in the jazz funeral procession? In on the murder of a CIA and an MI6 agent. Every patron both in the Fillet of Soul joints? Nary a peep when Bond is captured. The big crowds at the voodoo rituals? There to help murder Kananga's enemies. The first black Bond girl ever? Traitor. Even the taxi driver Bond flags down – secretly a Kananga agent, and hooked in through what's apparently the Universal Black CB Radio Network. All the blacks are conspirators, they're all complicit, and the black community, in the world of the movie, is indistinguishable from the villain's network. Nor are there any whites on Kananga's side, other than Solitaire, whom he keeps in in a creepy state of servitude and who of course defects immediately to Bond when she gets the chance. I'm sure it's not intentional vilification, but the problem is that the movie paints with such a broad brush, and pays so little attention to what it's doing, that it sets up this ugly scenario. I get the idea, age-old, that the villain has such control over an area, such pull in a community, that he effectively dominates it, and that's what they seem to be going for, but the problem is that they decided that Kananga would effectively run not just the black underworld, but to all intents and purposes the entire black community, seemingly across the USA and in a whole other country to boot. There's no sense that there are bystanders out there who would reject Kananga or are suffering under him – when we see women and children and old men, they're all stooging for Kananga. All the black men are active operatives. It's just a really bad handling of the situation, and it can't help but leave an ugly taste in my mouth. Not to mention the whole faux-blaxploitation thing being a horrible idea in the first place; watching Tom Mankiewicz's idea of hip ghetto dialogue is like watching somebody's grandpa trying to rap. Though I would like to forever memorialize the Felix Leiter line "Get me a make on a white pimpmobile," which is even better when you realize that he's relaying Bond's account from the other end of the phone.

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    There exists some small measure of solid writing for Bond – the cold way he cons Solitaire into sleeping with him was the hard edge I expect from Bond, and the fact that it's then turned around into a sort of subtle character commentary when Bond realizes that he's inadvertently (and literally) screwed himself out of what he wanted by taking her virginity and eliminating her powers is impressive. The moment he interrogates Rosie is actually a highlight, or certainly would be if Moore played it with actual menace rather than just playing to the innuendo. Bond realizes something is wrong with her, and responds by going off to picnic and planning to interrogate her – but he has sex with her first, knowing that he's about to threaten her with violence and possibly hurt or kill her. That's dark. Then, he pulls a gun out and interrogates her, right after sex – and when she responds by saying that he wouldn't actually kill her after what they just did, he replies, "I certainly wouldn't have killed you before." That's the callous, predatory Bond so missing from Moore's performances.

    Rosie Carver is actually reasonably fun as a character – she's a CIA agent, but as a neophyte she's something less than fully competent. She's not completely a comic bungler, but her professionalism is a thin veneer over inexperience, and it creates a character who's amusing without being a total buffoon. The revelation that she's a double agent throws some more complexity on that – it's not clear whether the naive-girl component was a calculated act by a cold traitor, or if she really is an inexperienced kid caught up in Kananga's web. In either case, she's at least more complex and interesting than your average Bond girl, and of course she's notably the first black Bond girl.

    Solitaire is an odd concept – the film treats her psychic/tarot/whatever abilities as legitimate, which is an interesting way to go – and sort of weird. She appears very childish, a very young woman apparently raised under the thumb of Kananga, a virgin with very limited life experience in general and a rather naïve outlook. Bond then cons her into having sex with him, which then leaves her very upset over the loss of her powers – but hey, once it's over with, she can't enough of Bond and keeps coming back for more, so it must be okay! It falls into the rather tired pattern of one dose of 007 Junior being enough to change a woman's life, but aside from that, the role isn't that remarkable, though Jane Seymour is very good in it.

    [IMG]

    Kananga, with his alternate identity as Mr. Big, is solid in concept, but the execution isn't as great as it could be. Kotto brings some panache to the role, and I like his fixation on Solitaire. The idea of a villain obsessed with mysticism, trying to see the future and control fate, is very interesting, and his domination of Solitaire is appropriately creepy and menacing, while he's also disarmingly chummy and businesslike with Bond. But the writing for the role isn't that great, he doesn't get to do that much or have a real standout sequence, and as a result he just doesn't pop as much as he could. I do really like his collection of henchmen – it's the first time we've had a real collection of villains rather than just one villain and one main identifiable henchman, the rest all being faceless goons. It gives the villains more of a fleshed-out feel, and I like that it's not just Bond one-on-one. That's not to say that all the villains individually are great. Tee Hee's prosthetic hand is horrible – it couldn't be more blatantly a guy holding on to a fake claw – and while he's leeringly creepy in some scenes, he's nothing special. We're also stuck with him as the leftover henchman in the denouement, an endlessly recurring element the series just does not need, and the train fight they give him is trying very hard to be another Red Grant fight, and it's nowhere close. Whisper's wheezy voice on a big guy is a good effect, though he's otherwise the least memorable goon. Baron Samedi is probably the standout, a tremendously creepy witch-doctor figure, mostly silent aside from insane laughter and usually sporting unsettling facepaint. He's not in the movie all that much, but he's got great presence. The inclusion of him on the front of the train, cackling, in the final shot, after having been apparently killed, is pretty much inexplicable, though. It's not necessarily a bad kind of weird and it's an effective last shot, but it's definitely weird as hell.

    In the end, Live and Let Die doesn't work. It's dumb and campy, and not in a way that carries you along and at least works as guffawing entertainment, or at least it doesn't work as well as something like YOLT. Moore's performance as Bond is at best undistinguished, bringing neither any real seriousness, nor the winking, at-least-he's-having-fun tone he'd descend to later. I'm hard-pressed to figure out whether it or DAF is the bigger haphazard, dull disaster, but as hard as it tries with the blaxploitation vibe, it feels fundamentally by-the-numbers and toothless, and while it has a few assets, it doesn't bring much charm to carry the viewer through it.


    Rankings:
    1. From Russia with Love
    2. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    3. Dr. No
    4. Goldfinger
    5. Thunderball
    6. You Only Live Twice
    7. Diamonds Are Forever
    8. Live and Let Die
    Questions to start discussion

    1. Roger Moore as Bond: how does this performance stack up, against Moore's other performances and against Connery's and Lazenby's?
    2. The opening of the Moore era is as good a time as any to give your general opinions on his run -- how was Moore in general?
    3. LALD and race: how bad is it?
    4. Anyone want to defend this thing, or at least part(s) of it?
    5. How does the song stand up to other theme tunes?

    [IMG]
    I could not stop laughing after seeing this picture of the Kananga balloon.
    Last edited by Havac, Mar 28, 2013
  18. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    star 7
    I think he, personally, is alright; give him a competent script and you'd get some good material out of him, but he either got that somewhere between 0 and 2 times depending on your opinions on certain films. I'd rank him in For Your Eyes Only at about a middling Connery, I suppose.

    2. The opening of the Moore era is as good a time as any to give your general opinions on his run -- how was Moore in general?

    Spectacular. By which, I mean, most of these films are unsalvageable as anything other than glorified B movies with weirdly expensive budgets, and, well, I love this sort of garbage. It's my bread and butter - most of the time there's a sort of earnest idiocy about the proceedings that you don't get out of "merely bad" flicks, and the tongue's so in-cheek at points that I'm pretty sure they ripped a hole in the flesh, but I love them.

    ... Almost all of them. Moonraker excepted.

    3. LALD and race: how bad is it?

    It's pretty damn bad but that's part of the draw for me on this one - it's like a blaxploitation movie chickened out and got a white Brit to play the title role. ... That might be how I describe the movie to people now, actually.

    4. Anyone want to defend this thing, or at least part(s) of it?

    Live and Let Die is easily my favorite title song, and every goddamn second that Geoffery Holder's Baron Samedi is on screen I'm grinning like an eight year old with keys to the toy store. I'm usually watching this one just for him - his performance is cheesy, ridiculous, crisp, clean, and has no caffeine. Also that laugh is just... mesmerizing.

    5. How does the song stand up to other theme tunes?

    It's my favorite of the entire lot, so... yeah.
  19. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 27, 1999
    star 4
    Regarding "Live and Let Die" and its treatment of race, it is an improvement over the way the novel treats the subject. And I think Kananga's plot is, at least, more plausibile than, say, using a rogue spacecraft to start WW3 or using a killsat to forcibly disarm the world.

    As for Roger Moore, I find it interesting that he seemed a lot tougher as Simon Templar than as James Bond. But I still liked his 007 films, except for "View to a Kill".
  20. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Yeah, it's kind of hilarious how badly blaxploitation and Bond mix. It just feels so out of touch -- a pair of wealthy producers, one Canadian, both of whom work in the UK, got a New York Jewish scriptwriter to write a British-made spy movie starring a chummy middle-aged Englishman. This movie was designed to cash in on blaxploitation movies. Inconceivable. Maybe my favorite touch, though, is when the movie leans over to rip something off of a recent success in a third genre: Bond carries a Smith & Wesson Model 29 into San Monique -- Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum. Keep chasing those trends, Bond.

    I'll also second you on Samedi; Holder has a lot of magnetism in a silly role. It's probably pretty telling that you tend to see Samedi more often than Kanaga on promotional material -- DVD covers and such -- and I, who hadn't seen the movie since probably middle school, remembered the painted-up witch doctor guy as being the villain and had no memory of Kotto as Kananga at all.
    Last edited by Havac, Mar 28, 2013
  21. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2002
    star 8
    And here we are: we beging the Moore era where, apart from a couple of decent-to-good movies, everything is abysmal. And this is not one of the bright lights, I'm afraid.

    Excluding the, let's say, old fashioned way to treat race relations, this is a blaxplotation Bond movie and, hell: it couldn't be any whiter. A bland Bond, bland villains, bland Leiter (par for the course, of course) and a plot that gets more and more ridiculous. I can't stand the esoteric slant of this movie. Solitaire can see the future? What the hell? Samedi is implied to be the real Baron Samedi? Why is he breaking the fourth wall during the final shot of the movie? What the hell is happening here? Please make it end.


    1. From Russia with Love
    2. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    3. Goldfinger
    4. Dr. No
    5. You Only Live Twice
    6. Thunderball
    7. Diamonds Are Forever
    8. Live and Let Die
    Last edited by JoinTheSchwarz, Mar 28, 2013
  22. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2006
    star 5
    Yeah LaLD I would rank worse than Diamonds are Forever, but it's close due to Bond's quip after Kananga explodes. It's so bad it's hilarious.
    Last edited by Point Given, Mar 28, 2013
  23. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Great song (awesomely?) terrible movie.
  24. soitscometothis Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    1. Roger Moore as Bond: how does this performance stack up, against Moore's other performances and against Connery's and Lazenby's?
    He lacks both the toughness and emotional commitment of either, but he beats Lazenby in that he has a certain amount of charm and good comic timing - Lazenby couldn't sell a funny line, imo, which was a problem as the films relied more and more on humour. I think Moore is very relaxed and comfortable in the role (too relaxed and comfortable?), moulding it to his image rather than the other way around, but here we see a slightly tougher edge left over from Connery's tenure. Later on in the series he would take the role further toward the "gentleman adventurer" archetype, removing all traces of Bond's nastier side.

    2. The opening of the Moore era is as good a time as any to give your general opinions on his run -- how was Moore in general?
    He was what the general public wanted from Bond at the time. Most here are probably too young to have seen a Moore Bond at the cinema, but my mother took me to see The Spy Who Loved Me when I was a kid, and that was Bond to me. Sean Connery was the old-fashioned Bond from television - he wore very dated formal suits and hats, and he drove an old-fashioned-looking car. Moore's 007 wore modern-dress and drove a sleek-looking sports-car. He was the modern-day Bond you saw at the cinema.

    Of course as the years rolled on, old-fashioned became classic, but at the time Connery seemed very old-hat, to kids at least . I think Moore's era has aged badly, but at the time it was very popular, with the only two criticisms leveled at Moore being that a) he wasn't as good as Sean Connery, and b) by FYEO he was getting too old for the role. I remember a friend of mine complaining about Dalton not being cool enough for the role, and this was a fairly common opinion at the time - he just didn't fit the role like Moore did. But times change, and I like many here find some of the Moore films almost unwatchable now... who knows how people 20 or 30 years from now will view the respective Bond eras?

    3. LALD and race: how bad is it?
    Sweet Christmas, it's bad!

    It was the Seventies, I wish I could say it was surprising. Again, many of you guys here are too young to remember what it was like living in an era before political correctness became the norm.

    4. Anyone want to defend this thing, or at least part(s) of it?

    Just a suggestion, but if you really want to get people to speak their minds freely, I think you should consider not sounding quite so contemptuous of an opposing viewpoint in your questions. I find it a little hostile and off-putting (not wanting to sound too critical, I think you're doing a great job apart from the tone of the questions, Havac).

    So yeah, I think that for all its flaws this may be my favourite of the Moore Bonds. The cringe-factor is high, of course - the whole bungled blaxploitation vibe is so ill-judged it's surreal, and that caricature of a southern sheriff... well, I don't know what to say. Moore, too, is a bit of shock if you've just been watching Connery - he's very mannered and obviously not taking things too seriously, and he lets the audience know it early on. However, there are things that are good: for starters, this is not an attempt to revisit the Goldfinger formula - it's got it's own identity, weird and ill-judged though it may be, and I kind of think that works for it. It feels like some fever-induced nightmare that 007 is having, what with the psychic-powers, the bizarre threat of Baron Samedi,and all the characters in the film being grotesque caricatures. If Bond followed a white rabbit to the Mad Hatter's tea-party, I wouldn't have been surprised. Like Razma, I think the director pushed this thing so far out there it's almost brilliant - incredibly offensive and embarrassing at times, but yeah, I kind of admire that they didn't take any half-measures. Samedi riding the train, cackling like a mad-man, is a great way to end the experience.

    Also worth mentioning: Jane Seymour is one of the loveliest Bond girls, and though there are times when her character is a little wet, Solitaire is rather memorable; so too is the great Yaphet Kotto ( I was a big Homicide: Life on the Street fan) playing Mr. Big/ Kananga, and I love the weirdness of Baron Samedi.

    5. How does the song stand up to other theme tunes?

    It's right up there with my favourites. The fact you hear it in various forms throughout the film is really nice, imo, and helps make the movie work for me.
    Last edited by soitscometothis, Mar 28, 2013
  25. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Oh, I'm just trying to make light of the fact that I'm trashing it in the review and then asking if anyone wants to defend it. Myself, I do like the band of henchmen -- it's got solid villains. I'd argue they're the best thing going for it. I'll also agree about Jane Seymour. Beautiful woman.