Live And Let Die

 Release Details - Credits - Music - Cast - Notes

release details
Date of release: 5 July 1973 (UK), 27 June 1973
Running time: 116 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.85 : 1. Both this and the following film do not use the full Panavision format, apparently due to increased film stock costs at the time.
Classification: PG (UK), PG (US)

Alternative titles: The Dead Slave (Japan).

Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Produced by: Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli
Screenplay by: Tom Mankiewicz
Production designed by: Syd Cain GFAD
Director of photography: Ted Moore BSC
Editors: Bert Bates, Raymond Poulton GBFE and John Shirley
Special effects: Derek Meddings
Choreographer: Geoffrey Holder
Stunts co-ordinated by: Bob Simmons, Joie Chitwood, Ross Kanaga, Jerry Comeaux, Eddie Smith and Bill Bennet
Main title designed by: Maurice Binder

Music score by: George Martin

Main theme: "Live And Let Die"
Performed by: Paul McCartney and Wings
Composed by: Paul and Linda McCartney
Highest chart position: 9 (UK), 2 (US)

Musical notes: Another version of the theme song is heard within the narrative of the movie when singer BJ Arnau performs it in the Fillet of Soul restaurant in New Orleans. One part of the film's score, used for the San Monique sacrifice sequences, sounds remarkably like the crescendo from "A Day In The Life" at the end of The Beatles's "Sergant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (which was of course produced by George Martin).

James Bond: Roger Moore
Dr Kanaga/Mr Big: Yaphet Kotto
Solitaire: Jane Seymour
Sheriff JW Pepper: Clifton James
Tee Hee: Julius W Harris
Baron Samedi: Geoffrey Holder
Felix Leiter: David Hedison
Rosie Carver: Gloria Hendry
M: Bernard Lee
Miss Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Adam: Tommy Lane
Whisper: Earl Jolly Brown
Quarrel Jnr: Roy Stewart
Harold Strutter: Lon Satton
Cab Driver: Arnold Williams
Mrs Bell: Ruth Kempf
Beautiful Girl (Miss Caruso): Madeleine Smith
Dambala: Michael Ebbin
Sales Girl: Kubi Chaza
Singer: BJ Arnau

Hamilton: Robert Dix
Baines: Dennis Edwards
Hungarian Delegate: Gabor Vernon
CIA Driver (Charlie): Joie Chitwood
State Trooper (Eddie): Lance Gordon
Mr Bleeker: Stephen Hendrickson
Crab Man: Don Topping

The gunbarrel: A new Bond means new gunbarrel footage. Roger Moore does not wear a hat, unlike his predecessors, and is wearing a business suit. Instead of firing one handed, he uses the other hand in order to steady the gun. The music again uses an electric guitar.

Using the title: The title of the film is not used in any dialogue, although it is sung to Bond in the Fillet of Soul in New Orleans.

The novel approach: The movie uses only minimal material from the Fleming novel of the same name; just some of the settings and character names (Solitaire, Tee Hee and Whisper). The villain in the novel is known as Mr Big, although this Mr Big is not the prime minister of a Caribbean island wearing a rubber mask.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: In one of a number of moves to gently ease Roger Moore into his role as the new Bond, the movie features no scenes set within the Secret Service headquarters and Bond's briefing takes place at his own home, rather than in M's office. Q is absent from the film due to Desmond Llewelyn's unavailability. However the character is mentioned. M refers to Q Branch as the Special Ordnance Section. It has been reported that Bernard Lee was almost absent from the movie due to illness and Kenneth More was lined up to replace him.
The catalyst for Bond's assignment is the murder of three Secret Service agents - Dawes, who was undercover at the United Nations; Hamilton, who was on loan to the Americans in Louisiana; and Baines, who was in San Monique. There is no evidence that any of these men were Double 0 agents.

Locations: New York City; New Orleans and the surrounding Louisiana bayou; the Caribbean island of San Monique (the first fictional country that Bond visits). There's also a brief scene in the UK when Bond is briefed.

The villain: Dr Kanaga, the Prime Minister of San Monique, who leads a bizarre double life as Mr Big, an American crime lord. Kanaga's business is drugs. He grows poppies on San Monique (where the fields are protected by voodoo legend). The heroin is then processed at a plant within an alligator farm near New Orleans before being distributed through the chain of Fillet of Soul restaurants (which has branches in Harlem and New Orleans). Kanaga is planning to distribute two tons of heroin for free throughout the United States. This will have the effect of putting his competitors out of business as well as getting new users hooked. He will then be able to operate a monopoly. However, Bond gets in the way and Kanaga gets the most ridiculous death of any villain when he literally explodes
Kanaga's associates include Tee Hee, who has a mechanical arm after an encounter with an alligator called Albert, the appropriately named Whisper, and Baron Samedi, who may or may not be one of the undead.

The girl: Solitaire, a young woman with the power of second sight who is effectively a slave of Kanaga, who is able to make use of her insight for his own ends. Both Solitaire's mother and grandmother had the same power, which she only retains while remains a virgin. This element is very subtly handled and means that for once Bond's womanising is crucial to the plot. Solitaire's mother also worked for Kanaga until he "took her power from her". It's interesting that the film does embrace the supernatural by portraying Solitaire's powers as genuine.

Bond's conquests: Miss Caruso, Rosie Carver, Solitaire.

Gadgets: A watch that contains a powerful electromagnet and that can turn into a buzzsaw. In his San Monique hotel room Bond uses a transmitter hidden in a hairbrush and an electronic bug detector. Dr Kanaga has some neat surveillance devices and weaponry hidden in scarecrows and Baron Samedi uses a radio hidden in a flute. For his final mission in San Monique Bond acquires a shark gun that fires compressed air pellets.

Recurring characters: Felix Leiter returns, with David Hedison becoming the fifth version. However, uniquely he would later return to the part. In addition, the movie features a character called Quarrel. This is a legacy from Fleming's novels, where "Live and Let Die" was written before "Doctor No"; both featured Quarrel, Bond's contact in Jamaica who was killed in the later novel and the film based upon it. For the film of Live And Let Die, Roy Stewart appears as Quarrel Junior, the son of the Quarrel seen in Dr No. However, he is credited just as Quarrel and there is no reference to his father (one was cut from the script before filming).

Oscars: The theme was nominated for best song in 1973 but lost to "The Way We Were" from the film of the same name.

I didn't catch the name?: Bond's trademark introduction is one familiar element that is included in the movie. He uses it to introduce himself to Mr Big, who isn't particularly interested ("Names is for tombstones, baby").

Vodka Martinis: None. He orders a bourbon and water (no ice) at the Harlem Fillet of Soul and a bottle of Bolinger in his San Monique hotel. In the Fillet of Soul in New Orleans, Bond and Felix drink Sazerack, a popular local drink.

Gambling: None, although Bond does play gin rummy with Solitaire during the train journey at the end of the film.

Bond bits: Bond has just completed an assignment in Rome, where he met Italian agent Miss Caruso. He now smokes cigars (and very large ones too) and shares a boot maker with murdered agent Baines. He is not seen wearing a tuxedo during the film; this is another example of the way the movie deliberately avoides traditional Bond elements. Bond is somewhat nasty in his dealings with the women in the film, such as the way in which he tricks Solitaire into bed and his treatment of Rosie. We see Bond's home for the first time since Dr No although he appears to have moved since then (it was a flat there, where it is now a ground floor appartment).

Other trivia: Sheriff Pepper's brother-in-law is a state ranger called Billybob. The Fillet of Soul in New Orleans is in Docker Street.

Anything else?: Murdered agent Hamilton was possibly named after the movie's director. Dr Kanaga was named after the owner of the alligator farm seen in the film (who actually performed the stunt where Bond escapes the island by running over the alligators). According to the credits, the film "introduces" Jane Seymour. Solitaire's tarot cards have a subtle 007 design on their backs.

The Bond Film Informant was compiled by Matthew Newton. © Copyright MJ Newton. No part of this site may be reproduced without permission unless otherwise stated.

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