“Live and Let Die”

The second James Bond Novel. Published in April 1954. Bond is sent to The USA and Jamaica to investigate the smuggling of 17th Century gold coins (suspected of being the lost treasure of Henry Morgan)  from the British Territories to the USA by a Negro criminal “Mr Big” who has links to organized crime, voodoo cult’s and SMERSH (the Communist secret service 1st encountered in Casino Royale ) . 

On arrival in the USA James is teamed up with Felix Lieter in a joint operation with the CIA. James and Felix head to Harlem to investigate Mr Big and are naturally captured. James has his finger broken by Mr Bigs henchman TeeHee. They are subsequently released after James is vouched for by Mr Big’s fortune telling employee (Solitaire) . James fights and kills TeeHee.

Solitaire runs away from Mr Big and travels to Florida via train with James. Felix meats them in Florida. Solitaire is kidnapped from their hotel . Felix goes to investigate Mr Bigs dangerous fish importation business. James returns to the Hotel and finds Felixs blood soaked and barely alive body on the bed. He had been fed to sharks by Mr big and had lost an arm and part of one leg. Felix is taken to hospital and James heads to Jamaica.

Bond swims through shark and barracuda infested waters to the island where Mr Big is frantically loading a ship with tanks of fish. The tanks contain the cold coins in the sediment at the bottom of the tank. Bond places limpet mines on the base of the ship but is subsequently captured by Br Big.  Mr big tie bond and solitaire together to a rope and drags them behind his ship with the intent of dragging them across the reef where the would be slashed by the coral and subsequently eaten by the sharks and Barracuda.

The Limpet mines go off as the ship crosses the reef and Bond and Solitaire watch as  Mr big gets  eaten by sharks.

It was an enjoyable novel. the only parts I didn’t like was some of the dialog involving conversation between some of the Negroes. Very reminiscent of the dialog for the uneducated negro slaves in Gone with the Wind.

Now for the Movie.

The Movie was released in 1973 and was the 8th bond film. It was the 1st film to star Roger Moore and was loosely based on the novel. Solitaire was played by Jane Seymore.

There are significant differences between the film and the novel.

  • Mr Big is smuggling 2 tonnes of Heroin not gold into the USA which he then plans to distribute freely to increase the number of addicts and to undercut the existing crime cartels and drive them out of business.
  • The train trip is at the end of the film not the middle and that is where James kills TeeHee.
  • Felix is not fed to the sharks
  • the car and boat chases don’t even occur in the novel. let alone the comic relief of the sheriff.
  • Mr Big is killed by a compressed air pellet and exploding.
  • Voodoo has a much bigger influence in the movie.

There are a lot of other differences but that’s what you expect from a film adaptation. That being said the movie was entertaining and was a big box office hit.




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