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|BlogalongaBond: Live and Let Die (1973)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Saturday, 20 August 2011 19:09|
BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 turns up in November next year.
Not content with cheesifying James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, director Guy Hamilton returned once again to take the formula established by Goldfinger to unnatural extremes with one of the worst films in the entire Bond canon: The Man with the Golden Gun.
Before that, however, he made Live and Let Die. And it was quite a lot of run really. If by fun, you mean camp, silly and obviously made in the 1970s.
How can you deduce its 1973 vintage? Well, aside from the clothes, the Paul McCartney & Wings theme song and the fact that it stars Roger Moore as 007 (before his one-liners completely took over the scripts), Live and Let Die is marked out as a product of its time by the number of Afros wandering around on set.
Of course, these Afros are attached to people. And these people are, more often than not, black. It was clearly a great step up in equality for black actors to be seen playing parts that weren't just Henchman#3 or Man who Sails Boat. With its entertaining use (or perpetuation) of blaxploitation stereotypes, you could almost say Live and Let Die was the first truly politically correct film of the decade. Which is why I wasn't surprised to find this empowering pamphlet in my special edition 007 DVD box.
Live and Let Die's Guide to Being Black
Hey bro, you wanna be a big shot movie star and stick it to the man? You gotta follow these simple steps to be a proper black mother in a Bond film.
Be a drug dealer
Man, you know all the black brothers do the drugs on the side. You ain't black unless you cutting the heroin and shipping it to the next poor mother who snorts the white stuff. Even Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) knows that. You wanna make it as a black dude in a Bond film and not do drugs? Who you think you are? Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley?
Believe in voodoo
Ain't no believing necessary - all black folk know that voodoo works. And when you know it be true, it give 007 an edge it be missing for years. Skulls, men with hats (Geoffrey Holder), women with Tarot cards (Jane Seymour), plastic snakes - once you go black magic, you never go back magic.
Be related to other black people
You know my cousin Quarrell? Well he tell me that all us black folk are related - or at least that's what the white folk figure. See a black man on a boat wearing a hat? You bet yo ass he related to Quarrel.
Have good fashion sense
Man, it's a plain fact that a black man know how to dress. You got the hair, the suit, the sideburns, the shoes and you all good to go. None of that double-breasted navy suit crap for old white folk with eyebrows. You never see a black man wear a hair piece neither.
Look like other black people
This one's a biological imperative. Even if you go all Tom Cruise and wear a mask on your face to disguise yourself as another black man, you still look the same anyway. Least I think that's what Live and Let Die was saying. I stopped watching after my third load of drugs.
Be part of a nation-wide black conspiracy
All us black people are working together - the fuzz knows that. We got men on every street corner, just waiting to watch the white folk. We so connected up we got walkie talkies coming out of our sideburns. Why else you think Sheriff J. W. Pepper (Clifton James) keep arresting us? Oh yeah, the drugs.
Drive a cab - badly
A black man can't drive. That's a fact, baby. Oh, he can drive a cab all right, but he can't drive it good. Liberate him from his yellow social prison and give him a speedboat to drive? He can't do that neither. No wonder all the main evil mothers have monorails in their caves. Now that's what I'm talking about. A motherfucking monorail, baby.
You follow these simple steps and you got yourself a guaranteed part as a black man in a Bond film. You want exotic villains, a sense of humour and something a little different for your 007 viewing? Stick to the black stereotypes and baby, it's a sure thing.