Live and Let Die [Blu-Ray] Guy Hamilton

For the eighth instalment of the popular Bond franchise, the producers decided to cast veteran television actor Roger Moore, who was the original choice for Dr. No but was replaced with Sean Connery when he had scheduling conflicts. Many were concerned that the franchise was dying at this time, since the ’70s brought a new political agenda no longer fuelled by cold war and communist anxieties. As such, Bond producers decided to film Live and Let Die, which centred on the American drug trade and other culturally dominant plotlines that were popular in television at the time. The resulting film suffered from a mostly incoherent plot that existed only to connect increasingly ludicrous peril and chase sequences involving killer sharks, crocodiles, double-decker buses, motorboats and Bond’s handy magnet watch. Everything roughly follows Bond (Roger Moore) as he investigates Caribbean diplomat Mr. Big (Yaphet Kotto), a drug trade mastermind in New Orleans whose nefarious plot involves giving out free heroin to get Yanks addicted. Meanwhile, Bond takes it upon himself to bang the gong slowly with Solitaire (Jane Seymour), Big’s elaborately dressed psychic friend whose powers apparently are derived from a lack of clitoral stimulation. The Blu-Ray includes three separate audio commentaries with Roger Moore, Guy Hamilton and screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz. The latter commentary is the most informative, talking about the production, overall themes and how fantastic United Artists was, while Roger Moore’s commentary is mostly bizarre, as he does very little talking and occasionally drops such bombs as "while I was in New Orleans, I tried soft-shelled crab.” Indeed. Featurettes include "Bond: 1973,” a seriously amusing documentary with Roger Moore walking down a railroad track talking about the film, as well as "Roger Moore as James Bond,” "Inside Live and Let Die” and "On Set with Roger Moore.” (MGM)