Live and Let Die (1973) Poster


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Ross Kananga (credited as "stunt coordinator") was the owner of the crocodile farm in which Bond escapes some hungry reptiles. Kananga did this stunt by himself wearing Roger Moore's clothes and shoes made of crocodile skin. The crocodile shoes was a fun idea of Roger Moore. It took five attempts to complete the stunt. During the fourth attempt, one of the crocodiles snapped at one of the shoes as it went by. The producers (while scouting locations) first took notice of Ross Kananga's farm from the sign out front which read: "WARNING; TRESPASSERS WILL BE EATEN." This sign can be seen in the finished film. They liked Ross Kananga so much that the movie's villain, Dr. Kananga, was named after him.
Sean Connery turned down the then astronomical sum of $5.5 million to play James Bond. Connery gave Roger Moore his personal seal of approval for inheriting his role, calling him "an ideal Bond".
The producers made a conscious decision to make Roger Moore's Bond significantly different from Sean Connery's. For example, Bond never orders a vodka martini but drinks bourbon whiskey instead; the mission briefing occurs in his flat, not the office (only the second time Bond's apartment is featured in the films after an appearance in Dr. No (1962)); Bond does not wear a hat; and he smokes cigars instead of cigarettes.
According to Yaphet Kotto, he was not allowed to to do any press for the film nor was he allowed to attend the premiere. Kotto states that the producers told him that they were afraid of the public's reaction to the villain being black.
The boat chase through the bayous was originally written in the script as just "Scene 156 - The most terrific boat chase you've ever seen". Bond's speedboat jump made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for its distance of 110 feet, a record that stood for three years. Clifton James' spontaneous character acting in that scene was kept in the final print. The second boat was not scripted to collide with the police car, but after this happened while shooting the stunt, the script was changed to accommodate it.
On his DVD audio-commentary, Roger Moore considers Live and Let Die (1973) to be his second best Bond picture after The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Roger Moore suffered an injury during the boat chase. The engine cut out and the momentum carried him into a boathouse. He cracked some of his front teeth and twisted his knee. He had to walk on a cane for days afterward, but he was still able to complete the scene because all he had to do was sit in the boat.
Ian Fleming based the Bond Girl Solitaire's name on the Jamaican Solitaire bird. Her actual full name in the novel is Simone Latrelle but this is never mentioned in this movie.
Paul McCartney's iconic theme song for the film almost wasn't used. After McCartney submitted the song, Harry Saltzman said he liked it, but wanted it to be sung by someone else, preferably a black female artist. McCartney told producers he'd only sell the song for the movie if he and his band Wings were allowed to perform it for the film. Salzman had passed on producing A Hard Day's Night (1964) and came to quip that he didn't want to turn down McCartney a second time. However, Saltzman would subsequently say that he much preferred Brenda Arnau's version of the song, also heard during the movie.
Roger Moore wrote a production diary during filming which was simply entitled "Roger Moore as James Bond 007: Live and Let Die". It was published as a paperback novel by Pan in 1973 and features a complete dossier of filming from the first to last day. It is accompanied by several pages of color stills, many taken by Moore's then-wife Luisa Mattioli. The book was never reissued and is today quite rare. In the book, Moore uses the same self-deprecating humor he has become infamous for and details numerous otherwise-unknown incidents, squabbles, milestones and production notes.
According to Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto was difficult to work with but Kotto denies this. Kotto maintains that though he may have been quiet, he was courteous to everyone on the film.
According to Paul McCartney, after the director heard the title song, complete with orchestra and all, he said "Yeah, that's good for a demo but when are you going to do the real record!"
The producers offered Clint Eastwood the role of James Bond, fresh from his success with Dirty Harry (1971). He was flattered, but declined, saying that Bond should be played by an English actor. Notably Bond uses a Smith and Wesson 44 Magnum in this film, the gun made hugely popular by the Dirty Harry movies.
The first Bond film in which 007 has a liaison with an "African black" woman, Rosie Carver, played by Gloria Hendry. This meant that when the film was released in South Africa, all Hendry's love scenes were removed because of the apartheid policies of the South African government.
This is the only James Bond movie to ever have a supernatural theme.
This is the first time in the Bond series that a rock song was used as a main title song. The Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney song charted in the USA on 7 July 1973 and peaked at the No. #2 spot where it stayed for three weeks. In the UK it debuted on 9 July 1973 and went to No. #9. McCartney paid for the orchestra used for the song from his own pocket. Rolling Stone magazine accused McCartney of selling out to the establishment when it was announced that he would be providing the theme song to this film. As it transpired, McCartney became the first artist to be nominated for a Best Song Academy Award for this title track. The soundtrack album charted in the USA on 28 July 1973 and topped at No. #17.
Roger Moore becomes the first actor to perform the gun-barrel sequence without a hat.
We see Bond's apartment for the second and (to date) final time in the series. Among the fixtures is a machine for making coffee that is treated as a gadget. Today's audiences will easily recognize it as either an espresso or cappuccino machine, which were uncommon in 1973.
Geoffrey Holder hated working with snakes. As he was playing Baron Samedi, he was called upon to handle lots of them. He was particularly against having to play the scene where his character falls into a coffin full of them. However, he was obligated to perform the scene without raising too much of a complaint because Princess Alexandra was visiting the set the day the scene was being filmed, and he didn't want to lose face in front of royalty.
The tarot cards seen on the movie's main poster were "the Devil", "Death", "the Lovers" and "Fortune". There is actually a fifth card on the poster but James Bond's torso blocks any possible name of the card. There is also actually no tarot card called "Fortune" in the set of cards used for the film. This title of the "Fortune" card is the product of a bit of artistic license. The title is basically an abridgment of the actual "Wheel of Fortune" tarot card.
At 33, Yaphet Kotto (Mr Big) is the youngest actor to play a main Bond villain.
Tenth James Bond movie and the eighth in the EON Productions official film series. First James Bond film to star Roger Moore as James Bond.
The first Bond film to be set in a fictional country. The next one to do this would be Licence to Kill (1989).
Around the time Roger Moore got the part of James Bond, his home telephone number allegedly ended in the digits 007.
Roger Moore was 45 when he made his debut as 007, making him the oldest actor to do so. The youngest was George Lazenby who made his debut at age 29.
This was the first ever James Bond movie that was seen by Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to play Bond in the official series.
The first Bond film to feature adult language. Mrs Bell, the old woman whose flying lesson is hijacked by Bond clearly utters the word "shit" (although this was dubbed out by US networks for showings on television). Sheriff Pepper also begins to say the word "fuck" but is cut off when Bond jumps over him in a speedboat. After Adam and the boatmen escape, and the deputy tells Pepper over the radio of his now-wrecked car that a woman needs him to go and shoot her rabid dog, he again goes to say "fuck" when voicing his distaste.
The Tarot cards used by Solitaire are the "Tarot of the Witches" deck and was created specifically for this movie by Fergus Hall. Their reverse side, which has the 007 numbering on a red background, cannot be seen in the "James Bond 007 Tarot Book". The tarot card "The High Priestess" was in the likeness of Jane Seymour who played Solitaire. Legal information on the cards reads "Courtesy of the Portal Gallery Limited, London, England". A duplicate set was published in Switzerland by Agmueller and Cie, distributed worldwide by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. New York. The cards in the film had a red, patterned background featuring the "007" emblem, but the commercial set is blue instead (same pattern).
Madeline Smith, who played Miss Caruso, said that additional awkwardness of a bedroom scene was created by Roger Moore's overprotective wife who was on the set during the filming. In order to establish the effect of Bond unzipping Miss Caruso's blue dress with his magnetic watch, a thin wire was attached to the zipper from the watch. A stagehand lay on the floor underneath Smith's body to pull the wire down, while Moore pretended to unzip the dress with his watch. According to Moore, it took 29 takes to get it right.
Special security was added for the shooting of the scenes in New York's Harlem District.
Both Yaphet Kotto and Julius Harris (villains "Mr. Big" and "Tee Hee" in the film, respectively) portrayed Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in different TV films in 1976, Kotto in Raid on Entebbe (1976) and Harris in Victory at Entebbe (1976).
Several scenes and lines in Mankiewicz's screenplay were dropped from the film:
  • The most noticeable loss was of an opening scene in which James Bond was to have met an old man in a garden at night. The man was to have handed over a pair of special contact lenses. They are disturbed by the approach of enemy agents and Bond tries to help the man escape by assisting him over a high wall that surrounds the garden. But too late, Bond discovers that the garden is in fact on the top of a very high building and his contact falls to his death. Actor Michael Sheard was cast as the man, but the scene was never filmed.

  • Quarrel Jr demonstrates the gas pellet gun that Bond will eventually use to kill Kananga while he and Bond are out shark fishing.

  • A dialogue reference to Quarrel's father and his encounter with Bond ["His father and I locked horns with a doctor named No several years ago"] was omitted.

  • A scene in which Kananga threatens to cut off Tee Hee's arms and feed it to the crocodiles when he harms Solitaire was also removed.

The character of Quarrel, Jr. is a direct reference to the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962) which also featured a character named Quarrel. The original novel takes place before Dr. No (in which, as in the movie version, Quarrel is killed) and features the first appearance of the character. At one stage, the Bond girl character of Honey Rider from Dr. No (1962) was considered returning in this movie but this idea was withdrawn.
Early in the production, Roger Moore was hospitalized with kidney stones. Then, Roger Moore and Jane Seymour caught dysentery while shooting in Jamaica.
Jamaica, part-time home of James Bond creator Ian Fleming was used as the filming location for the fictitious country of San Monique. It was not called Jamaica as that country had already been used as a setting for Dr. No (1962). Jamaica is also a setting in the Ian Fleming James Bond novel "The Man With the Golden Gun" and the short stories "For Your Eyes Only" and "Octopussy".
Roger Moore's mother was a great fan of silent star Richard Dix. Moore was able to get Dix's son a small part in "Live and Let Die". Robert Dix plays the agent who is murdered at his own New Orleans funeral in the pre-credits teaser. His voice is dubbed by Shane Rimmer.
Though this is the first film in which Q does not appear, the book was actually the first in the series to make reference to Q branch. The book follows directly from Casino Royale, in which Bond's hand is tattooed with a Russian character identifying him as a spy. Q (or Q branch) performs surgery on the hand to conceal the scars.
Yaphet Kotto took the role of Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big after a United Artists executive (David V. Picker) came up to him after filming of Across 110th Street (1972) wrapped. His co-star (Julius Harris) also signed on after completing the filming of Shaft's Big Score! (1972) and Super Fly (1972).
The characters of Baron Samedi and Dambala are named after two powerful Loa spirits in Voodoo religion.
Among the actors to test for the part of Bond were Julian Glover, John Gavin, Jeremy Brett, Simon Oates, John Ronane, and Michael McStay. Frontrunner was Michael Billington. United Artists wanted an American to play Bond: Burt Reynolds, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were all considered. Producer Albert R. Broccoli, however, insisted that the part should be played by a Briton and put forward Roger Moore. After Moore was chosen, Billington remained on the top of the list in the event that Moore would decline to come back for the next film. Billington ultimately played a brief villainous role in the pre-credit sequence of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Roger Moore was actively discouraged from raising his eyebrow as that was a trademark of his previous successful character, Simon Templar of The Saint (1962) fame.
All of Moore's contracts include an unlimited supply of hand-rolled Monte Cristo cigars (in one 007 movie the final bill comes to 3176.50 pounds).
"Live And Let Die" was the second James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming. It was first published in 1954. Its working title was "The Undertaker's Wind" which also provided the name of the seventeenth chapter. Story elements from the novel have also been used for the James Bond films For Your Eyes Only (1981) and Licence to Kill (1989).
This marks only the second of three times in the film series that the pre-titles sequence does not feature James Bond (with 1963's From Russia with Love (1963) being the first, as it featured an agent impersonating Bond, and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) being the third, as it features a waxwork model of Bond, and not Bond himself).
After this movie, the Felix Leiter character would not appear again in the EON Productions official series until The Living Daylights (1987), a gap of fourteen years.
The title song by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney was the first song from an EON Productions James Bond movie to be nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar). The first song to be nominated from any James Bond movie was for "The Look Of Love" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David from Casino Royale (1967)
Geoffrey Holder choreographed his own dance sequences.
CIA Agent Rosie Carver's weapon was a Custom .38 Smith & Wesson gun with corrugated 3 inch stock and no serial number.
On the set, one of the crocodiles at the Crocodile Farm was called "Old Albert" - named after one of the producers, Albert R. Broccoli.
The white "pimpmobile" is actually a Chevrolet Corvette fitted with the fiberglass molding of a Cadillac Eldorado - the vehicle was marketed as the "Corvorado" by Dunham Coach of Boonton, New Jersey. Other Dunham conversions featured in the film included a Cadillac Fleetwood and Eldorado (seen parked in front of the Fillet of Soul restaurant). Les Dunham stated that he kept possession of the Corvorado after the film was completed; it has been modified several times for appearances in other films and/or car shows. He claimed that the car was used in the film Super Fly (1972).
Bernard Lee was very ill during filming, causing the producers to consider replacing him as M with Kenneth More.
This film is only partially based on Ian Fleming's original novel. The characters, locations, sequence of some events, and even clothes in the book are present in the film. Many major plot elements were left out of this film, only be recycled in later films. The novel's climax involved Bond and Solitaire being dragged behind a speeding boat, as bait for sharks and Baracudas. This was later used in For Your Eyes Only (1981). The novel also included a scene where Felix Leiter is wounded by a shark, and Bond goes to fight in a warehouse as a result. This was later used in Licence to Kill (1989). Appropriately, David Hedison, who played Leiter in this film, became the first actor to ever return to the role, essentially playing out his character's original fate from this film.
Only James Bond movie with Roger Moore in which Felix Leiter appears. David Hedison who played Felix played the role again in Licence to Kill (1989), becoming the first actor to reprise the part.
The magnetic wristwatch is Roger Moore's personal favourite Bond gadget.
Roger Moore has a fear of snakes, just like his co-star Geoffrey Holder, who had to fall into a box full of them. As a result, they both hated shooting that scene.
In the "Live and Let Die" novel. The real name of "Mr. Big" was Buonaparte Ignace Gallia. In the film, The real name of "Mr. Big" was changed to Dr. Kananga after stunt performer Ross Kananga.
The film holds the record for the most watched film to be broadcast on British television when it was shown on ITV on January 20, 1980. It attracted 23.5 million viewers.
Roger Moore is the only Bond actor to use a two-handed pistol grip in the pre credits gun barrel sequence.
The first Bond film which does not feature Q, the head of Special Ordnance Branch. The character did appear in Dr. No (1962) but under his real name of Major Boothroyd (he wasn't played by Desmond Llewelyn in that film either). Fans demanded Llewelyn's return, and he appeared in 11 more Bond films from 1974 to 1999.
The first of two films to feature Louisiana Sheriff J.W. Pepper, played by Clifton James wearing a padded stomach to make him more rotund. He returned in the following Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).
When 007 is held captive in a chair by Tee Hee, Roger Moore's quip "Butterhook" was improvised.
The main title song "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney has been covered twice by other artists. The first was by Guns N' Roses and can be heard on their 1991 "Use Your Illusion I" album. The second was by Chrissie Hynde of the The Pretenders, the group who sang two songs for the The Living Daylights (1987) James Bond movie. This version of the "Live and Let Die" song can be heard only on the David Arnold's Bond song compilation album, "Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project".
"The James Bond 007 Tarot Book" was released to coincide with the movie. It included most of the tarot cards seen in the film, these being the Major Arcana Cards. The tagline on the book's dust-jacket read: "The only complete and authentic illustrated guide to the spreading and interpretation of the popular James Bond 007 tarot fortune-telling deck with card designs based upon Fergus Hall's unique paintings."
This is the first 007 score not to involve John Barry; former Beatles producer George Martin did the job instead. The musical crash into the main title music echoes his slide crescendo arrangement from The Beatles' track "A Day in the Life".
Gayle Hunnicutt was signed to play Solitaire, but had to pull out when she became pregnant. Diana Ross was also considered for the role.
The first Bond film to be filmed 'flat' (i.e. with spherical lenses rather than using the Panavision anamorphic widescreen process) since Goldfinger (1964).
The Royal World Premiere of Live and Let Die (1973) was held on 6th July 1973 at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, London in the presence of Princess Anne. The movie for the first time however was actually released in the USA a week prior to the official launch on 27th June 1973.
During the car / boat chase in Louisiana, the road they travel on shows the newly introduced full yellow road striping. Although still pretty rare at the time to see full yellow striping (MUDCT introduced it in late 1971), you'll notice that there are no white lines underneath. (Later scenes show that this road had just been re-surfaced, and parts have no striping at all. Hence, it was most definitely plausible to have had the full new markings present and no trace of the old ones.)
After George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Roger Moore was the third actor to play James Bond in as many films.
Roger Moore had to undertake very quick crash course in bus driving so as to be able to drive a double-decker bus for the motorbike/bus chase sequence.
Roger Moore should not have been available for the part since at the time he was committed to The Persuaders! (1971), but when the show flopped in the U.S. he was prematurely released from his contract.
The literal translations of some of this film's foreign language titles include: The Dead Slave / It Is Them To Die (Japan); Live And Leave To Die (France); Allow To Leave Alone To Die (Poland); To Live And Let Die (Norway) and With 007 You Live And Let It Die (Brazil); Agent 007, Live and Let Die (Italy).
Regular Bond voice artist Nikki Van der Zyl dubbed much of Jane Seymour's dialogue.
Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz originally wrote the main Bond girl to be African-American (with an eye on Diana Rossfor the part) but the producer told him it couldn't be done on account of some of their markets (primarily Japan and South Africa) banning all films with interracial romances.
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Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz dabbled with tarot cards to familiarize himself with the art. He took them to a party and performed tarot readings on the guests. At that party, Michael Caine and his then-girlfriend attended and he used his tarot cards to predict the two would be married. The two married and Mankiewicz said in his autobiography that for years afterward, Michael's wife, Shakira Caine, was convinced he had special powers.
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In addition to Quarrel, the character of Strangways was originally introduced in the novel 'Live and Let Die.' Like Quarrel, Strangways is later killed in Fleming's novel 'Dr. No' and in the film version of the same book Dr. No (1962).
First of two times to date that James Bond has been seen hang-gliding in the EON Productions official James Bond series. Very popular as a new sport in the 1970s, Roger Moore is the only actor to ever play James Bond and be seen hang-gliding. The second time was in Moonraker (1979).
Product placements, brand integrations and promotional tie-ins for this movie include Pan American World Airways; Rolex Watches, particularly the Rolex Submariner 5513 watch; Bell Helicopters; Cadillac; Panasonic; Bollinger Champagne, beginning its relationship with the series; Pulsar Watches, particularly the Pulsar LED watch; General Motors Corporation (GMC) and its Chevrolet Motor Division; Jim Beam Bourbon; Arcana Cards / Agmueller and Cie / Games Systems; Budget Rent-A-Car; AMF Inc.; the Harley Davidson Motor Co. Ltd; the Glastron Boat Company whilst a video-game Live and Let Die (1988) was later published by Mindscape.
Vehicles included a green blue yellow white London AEC Regent III RT type double-decker bus pursued by two 1973 Chevrolet Novas; police motorbikes; a Bell 206 JetRanger helicopter; white Coronado; a Mini Moke; Ford Galaxie/Custom police sedans; yellow New York taxis; a 1963 Chevrolet Impala convertible; a brown 1972 Chevrolet Impala sedan; many 1973 Chevrolet passenger cars including both Impala fastback "Sport Coupes" and 2 door hardtop "Custom Coupes", Caprices and base model/taxi/police package Bel Airs; a blue 1973 Chevrolet C-10 pickup truck; a Cessna 172 and Cessna 140 N77029 light aircraft; a monorail in the underground lair; Quarrel Jnr's boat; 007 commandeers a Glastron GT-150 speedboat then a Glastron Carlson CV19 Jet Boat and is pursued by Glastron V-156 Sportster, Glastron V-184 Crestflite, Glastron V-162 Futura, Glastron V-145 Fireflite and Billy-Bobs Glastron-Carlson CV21 Jet speedboats; 1972 Dunham converted Cadillac El Dorado coupe; white 1971 Cadillac Fleetwood Pimpmobile and a Les Dunham Coach Corvorado i.e. a Chevrolet Corvette with Cadillac Eldorado body panels / fiberglass molding. Most of the vehicles used throughout the movie were brand new 1973 Chevrolet full size "Passenger" cars, with a few other models sprinkled in like Novas and Malibus. Many were damaged and destroyed.
The film's CD Soundtrack sleeve notes state that the title song debuted in the US Charts on 7 July 1973 where it peaked at the No. #2 spot. It debuted in the UK Charts on 9 July 1973 and peaked at the No. #9 spot. The soundtrack album debuted on the US Charts on 28 July 1973 and peaked at the No. #17 spot.
Maurice Patchett, the stunt driver who drove the double-decker bus (doubling for Roger Moore as James Bond) in the sequence where the bus is decapitated by a low bridge, was a London bus driver in real life.
Mrs. Bell, the old woman whose flying lesson is hijacked by Bond, is named after the Bell-Helicopters that appear in eight Bond films: Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), The Living Daylights (1987), and GoldenEye (1995).
Desmond Llewelyn didn't appear in the film as Q, because Llewellyn was appearing in the TV show Follyfoot (1971).
Roger Moore recommended Madeline Smith for the part of Miss Caruso.
Arnold Williams is dubbed.


Eddie Smith:  Black Stuntmen Association founder is seen driving the speedboat which crashes during the wedding ceremony during the boat chase. He also had a brief screen presence in the blaxploitation film Truck Turner (1974) a year later.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The first Bond film in which 007 commits a political assassination, Kananga being a Prime Minister.
The character of Baron Samedi was rumored to make a return in a future Bond film, which explains his appearance on the front of the train at the end of the film.
The first line of the Ian Fleming James Bond novel "Live and Let Die" read: "There are moments of great luxury in the life of a secret agent." The last lines read: "There was open sensuality in Solitaire's eyes as she looked up at him. She smiled innocently. 'What about my back?' she said."

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