Thursday, September 6, 2012

50th Anniversary Bond Rewatch "Live and Let Die" (1973)

As a fan of the popcorn, guilty pleasure, mindless entertainment aspect of the Bond series of films, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the films with the company of my brain. Maybe there is more to be found than escapism. Maybe some of the culture and thinking of the past 50 years has left its imprint…

Certainly not the best, possible candidate for the worst, “Live and Let Die” is fascinating to watch in the way that a devastating car wreck is. We are prepared to see Bond films be insensitive and culturally inappropriate by today’s standards, but this had to be uncomfortable to watch at the time even.

According to people who have read the book, the problem here is present in the source material as well. What we have here is a time capsule that shows us how far we have come in the area of race. What makes it all the more unbelievable is that we have this world-wise, international traveler spy—a man who can adapt and function anywhere in the world, but in early seventies Harlem he is a fish out of water. One gets the impression that he would be safer in the middle of the USSR than he is in black America. We are watching a cartoon.

If one can get past the Blaxsploitation imitation element in this film, there is another interesting dynamic. Bond is not just going up against ideologies and technologies; he has to face religious powers, traditional magical beliefs. Whether the magic here is real or not is never stated. Things are ambiguous enough that they could be. Either way, Bond’s own brand of magic that we have seen him employ before to “turn” female enemy agents is in effect. However, in this case the charlatan element of the sexually seductive agent is on full display. He uses Solitaire’s faith against her and makes he believe that Fate has destined them to be together.

Culturally this is an accurate picture of the times. We have seen the Bond films as a symbol of the rebellious but clueless attitude of the sixties with all of its rejection of empty institutions and traditions. Now, in the seventies we have Bond poking fun at old traditions, but not in favor of anything of value.

Everything is a joke. Even the “missions” Bond is tasked with are silly. No longer is he being tasked with saving the world, just stopping “the black man” and his drugs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

NonModernBlog written content is the copyrighted property of Jason Dietz. Header photos and photos in posts where indicated are the copyrighted property of Jason and Cheryl Dietz.
Promotional photos such as screenshots or posters and links to the trailers of reviewed content are the property of the companies that produced the original content and no copyright infringement is intended.
It is believed that the use of a limited number of such material for critical commentary and discussion qualifies as fair use under copyright law.

  © Blogger template Brownium by 2009

Back to TOP