We are once again introduced to a new Bond in this eighth Bond outing in the form of Roger Moore. Unlike the unknown George Lazenby who had no prior acting experience and can only boast of an unimpressive count of once as the agent 007, Roger Moore was already a successful actor having earned a name for himself as another secret agent, in the TV series The Saint in the 1960’s, when he started this role. History will show that Roger Moore was popular enough to continue playing James Bond for a total of 7 Bond films which is more that what Sean Connery managed to achieve.
As far as Live And Let Die goes as a movie, I am afraid I have to say it bored me despite the bigger scale and increased complexity in the action sequences. While Roger Moore provided a fresher and younger looking Bond, he somehow lacked the confidence and sex appeal that Sean Connery seem to ooze without effort. He was also rather unconvincing in the fight scenes unlike George Lazenby who had the built and moves during the fight scenes. Roger’s delivery of multiple one liner jokes (often sexist in nature) mostly fell flat for me and cringe inducing because they felt so set-up and calculated. Good jokes are usually spontaneous and should be something unexpected.
Live And Let Die was also accused of being “blaxploitation” with its theme centering around Harlem and the black gangsters of the time. In fact it was observed that there were more black actors in this film than many other so called black movies! Nothing wrong with this of course except it felt exploitative and provided no insights into the black society of that era.
On the plus side the James Bond title theme song continues in its tradition of being a classic and Live and Let Die is no exception with its original song written by none other than Paul and Linda McCartney performed by Wings against the usual colourful opening credits sequences complete with silhouette of naked or half naked ladies! Also note worthy is the introduction of Jane Seymour as Solitaire the cards fortune teller, to the world! Her stunning looks and strong female character matches made her more memorable than that of Roger Moore’s Bond. Finally, on the plus side is the start of another franchise feature .. the elaborate chase! There is a speed boat chase sequence that has some bizarre moments, but it just seems to go on and on forever!
All in all, the memory of Live and Let Die will survive over the years because of its song, Jane Seymour, and Roger Moore’s debut in the iconic role. Sadly, at least for me, it will not be remembered fondly for anything else as it is clearly not one of my favourite Bond outings.