Lobby card from the movie ‘Live and Let Die,’ starring Geoffrey Holder and Jane Seymour, 1973. (Photo by John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images)
Live and Let Die
Roger Moore’s first foray into the world of high-stakes international espionage was in 1973 in Live and Let Die. The film is adapted from the Ian Fleming novel of the same name.
In the film, a Harlem drug lord named Mr. Big threatens to give away two tons of free heroin in the inner city in an attempt to cripple rival lords. It turns out that Mr. Big is secretly a Caribbean dictator, Dr. Kananga, who rules over a fictional island called San Monique where the opium poppies are grown.
James Bond shows up investigating the deaths of three MI6 agents and gets tangled up in Kananga’s voodoo/drugs/blacksploitation schemes.
Bond is nearly killed in New York by one of Kananga/Mr. Big’s cronies, but escapes miraculously. He is Bond, after all.
He follows the trail to San Monique where he and Kananga’s tarot reader, The Female Character, have a very James Bond encounter. (He sleeps with her.) Kananga goes nuts and tries to kill Bond, but he escapes of course. Furious that Bond had sex with The Female Character, Kananga decides to sacrifice her to the voodoo gods. Meanwhile, Kananga’s heroin plan involving friend chicken restaurants (I told you these movies didn’t hold up well) progresses until Bond shows up and crashes the party.
There’s a bunch of big explosions, and Bond winds up dangling over a shark tank. He escapes, of course, and uses a gas canister to explode Dr. Kananga, which is a pretty grisly way to go if you think about it. Bond and The Female Character escape via train, and all is well that ends well.