Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die ★★½

Hinting at the self-parody and camp to blossom later, Live and Let Die is, at best, an awkward first outing for Roger Moore. Already an actor who appeared grandfatherly in his forties, Moore's attempts at machismo and flirtation are uncomfortable. Coinciding with his hollow suavity is the clash of subgenres on display, as Bond, aristocratic a hero as any, is dropped into seventies Harlem and the American south for a laughable blend of espionage exploitation. The tacky production design of the era reflects the same. What truly saves the picture is the tripartite of villainy opposing Bond. Yaphet Kotto is a tragically underrated Bond villain, as menacing and confident as they come with a hint of stage presence. As well, Geoffrey Holder and Julius Harris, as Baron Samedi and Tee Hee, respectively, strike such bizarre but un-cartoony figures that they sap any attention away from Moore when onscreen.

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