Roger Moore's tenure as James Bond lasted from 1973 to 1985, during which time the Bond series turned more towards a comic style and Bond became more known for one-liners than for being a spy and assassin. Some of Moore's films were, on the other hand, much more balanced with regars to humour. Live And Let Die is my favourite Roger Moore James Bond film. Although much of Ian Fleming's novel is abandoned, the film still carries a Fleming-esque flavour. This is in part due to the Caribbean setting. Filmed in Fleming's beloved Jamaica, LALD is Moore's first effort as Bond and he is most convincing as Ian Fleming's secret agent. He is a little more ruthless here, and although he has some tongue in cheek dialogue, it doesn't go overboard. The only time the comic side of the picture gets out of hand is when Clifton James is on screen hamming it up as Sheriff J.W Pepper. Also the death of the villain, Kananga is very far fetched, and doesn't look convincing on screen.
The film's strongest points are probably the score and the henchmen. The score was composed by Beatles producer George Martin and really gives the film an interesting. The title song is used as the main action theme and Martin also composed some other good themes which appear regularly in the score. As much as I am a fan of John Barry, I'm not convinced that he could have done a better job than Martin on this film. In fact, I can barely imagine the picture with a more traditional Barry score.
The villain's henchmen are excellent. Tee Hee, a tall sadist armed with a mechanical hook. Baron Samedi, a voodoo priest with a wonderful sadistic laugh. Whisper, an overweight, almost mute henchman. The villain himself is Dr. Kananga, a politician who also operates as a Harlem gangster. The plot revolves around heroin, and Kananga's efforts to gain the monopoly in the heroin trade.
The DVD itself is very good. I didn't own the Special Edition, but I really like this Ultimate Edition. Although, looking at which features were present on the previous release. I'm not sure whether it would be worth buying this if you already have the previous version. But if, like me, you only had the VHS previously, this is a must buy. The library of extra features is rather good. The usual 'Making Of' documentary, narrated as always by Patrick Macnee. Also, worth looking at is the 'Bond 1973' documentary. Another behind the scenes look at LALD, but not as good as the Patrick Macnee one. Also of interest is the Bond circa 1964 piece, showing Roger Moore appearing as 007 in a 1964 TV program. It is a very nice comic piece between Bond and his Russian female counterpart, both just trying to have a holiday, but enable to shake off their suspicions about each other.
Overall, this is one of my favourite Bond films and an equally good DVD release. One thing that puzzles me though, why did they put a picture of Roger Moore in Octopussy on the label of Disc 1. He barely looks like the same person that he did in LALD, as the pic was taken a decade later. Oh well, a minor slip, but it cerainly doesn't ruin this very good DVD set. Go on, buy it. You won't regret it.