Live and Let Die (Blu-ray) (1973)

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Released 11-Nov-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Bond 1973 : The lost Documentary
Gallery-Poster-Conceptual Art
Featurette-Rodger Moore As James Bond, Circa 1964
Featurette-007,Women, Allies, Mission Combat Manuel, Q Branch
Featurette-Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Let And Let Die
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On Set With Rodger Moore: The Funeral Parade
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On Set With Rodger Moore:Hang Gliding Lessons
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-The World Of James Bond in 1973-The Year Of Release
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 121:38
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Guy Hamilton
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Roger Moore
Yaphet Kotto
Jane Seymour
Clifton James
Julius Harris
Geoffrey Holder
David Hedison
Gloria Hendry
Bernard Lee
Lois Maxwell
Tommy Lane
Earl Jolly Brown
Roy Stewart
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music George Martin
Linda McCartney
Paul McCartney


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Live and Let Die is the funkiest jive-talking Bond film. Featuring big afros, long sideburns, huge collars, platform shoes, seedy Harlem bars, black drug lords, and white red-neck hillbilly cops, Live and Let Die drops 007 into a blaxploitation script straight out of Shaft. It's absolutely pimplicious! With the new Bond film Quantum of Solace due to open in cinemas this month, MGM and Fox will be releasing six Bond films on Blu-ray this November. Each film will feature Lowry-restored video and audio, and will allow audiences to enjoy these Bond classics in high definition for the very first time.

    With the release of Quantum of Solace there are now 22 official Bond films, and three unofficial ones - most notably the appalling Never Say Never Again (1983). Six actors have played Bond in the official films, including the rugged Sean Connery, the former Aussie soldier from Goulburn George Lazenby, the unflappably dapper Roger Moore, the debonair Pierce Brosnan, the sulky and uncharismatic Timothy Dalton, and muscular newcomer Daniel Craig.

    Live and Let Die was to mark the arrival of Roger Moore as Bond, following Sean Connery's brief return for just one film, Diamonds Are Forever. According to some recollections, Moore was approached to be the original Bond, before the role was offered to Sean Connery, and then again before the role was offered to George Lazenby. Some might say "fortunately" both times Moore was too busy to accept. As a result, Connery, with the help of original Bond Director Terence Young, was to make the role his own.

    Despite being aged 45 when he took on the role, Moore was to appear in seven Bond films over a period of 12 years. Following Live and Let Die in 1973, he went on to star in The Man With The Golden Gun in 1974, The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, Moonraker in 1979, For Your Eyes Only in 1981, Octupussy in 1983, and View To a Kill in 1985.

    When Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman hired Moore, they consciously decided to make Bond even more suave, debonair and unflappable. He is no longer a cold-blooded killer, and doesn't even look like he can handle himself in a fight. For example, when in Live and Let Die he ends up in a bar in downtown Harlem, I don't think anyone in the audience expect him to get out alive. The tough aura of invincibility was replaced by a handsome pretty-boy who was to embrace the comic elements of the character. Indeed, as Desson Howe once famously observed: "His weapon of choice was the punchline."

    The producers also decided to drop some of the Bondisms made famous by Connery. For example, in Live and Let Die, Moore's Bond never orders a vodka martini, but rather drinks bourbon whiskey; and Bond now smokes cigars, not cigarettes. As time passed, and Moore was increasingly accepted by Bond fans, some of the old Bond character traits were to return and some of the new ones were dropped.

    With the Moore era, the Bond films were to become less adult-oriented and far more tongue-in-cheek and family friendly. As a result, Bond was to gain a wider appeal, and box office takings were to improve in an increasingly difficult market.

    However, despite all these changes, or maybe because of them, the producers still wanted to infuse Live and Let Die with some of the spirit of the earlier Bond films, and thus they brought in Bond Director Guy Hamilton who had previously directed Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever, and screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, who had written the script for Diamonds Are Forever, and would later return to write the script for The Man With the Golden Gun.

    While this was the only Bond film to have the character of Q absent since he was introduced in the second movie, both Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell reprise their roles as M and Moneypenny respectively. Of note, the character of red-neck hillbilly Louisiana Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) is introduced in Live and Let Die. The Sheriff was to return in The Man With The Golden Gun. James was to build a career on playing hillbilly sheriffs in films such as Silver Streak and Superman II, as well as in television shows including The A-Team, The Fall Guy, and The Dukes of Hazzard. Also of note, in Live and Let Die David Hedison makes his debut as CIA Agent Felix Leiter. Hedison returns as Leiter in Licence To Kill, becoming the first actor to play the role more than once. With Quantum of Solace, Jeffrey Wright has become the second.

    In true blaxploitation style, the plot of Live and Let Die is not about world domination or political intrigue - instead, it's about drug smuggling. The British and US Governments have been secretly monitoring the operations of Dr. Kanaga (Yaphet Kotto), a small-time dictator of a tiny Caribbean Island called San Monique. When the secret agents involved in the operation disappear, James Bond (Roger Moore) is urgently sent to New York City, where the last agent was killed, to investigate. It so happens that Kananga is also currently in NYC visiting the UN. Bond's investigation leads him to a heroin drug lord, Mr. Big, who owns and operates a chain of restaurants in North America known as Fillet Of Soul. Along the way Bond also meets Mr. Big's virginal tarot card reading assistant, the very beautiful Solitaire (Jane Seymour).

    For more about the Bond universe and Quantum of Solace, check out the official website at www.007.com.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Live and Let Die has been released three times on DVD, including as a Special Edition, and as an Ultimate Edition. This Blu-ray shares the same source as the Ultimate Edition DVD. The original camera negatives for Live and Let Die have been imaged and digitally restored in Lowry's labs, using the John Lowry process. This process took over three years to complete for the first 20 Bond films, and the results are truly remarkable. Thus the BD's high definition transfer has been sourced not from a film print, but from Lowry's digital master, and presented in 1920 x 1080p, using AVC MPEG-4 compression.

    Live and Let Die's BD transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, in a native 16x9 frame. This is close to the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1.

    As with the Ultimate Edition DVD, overall the sharpness of the image is very good, but I did notice that some of the mid to long shots looked a little soft. For example the shot of the voodoo cabaret at 29:13. I assume this is in the source material, and I wonder if this is the work of a second unit camera team with a different lens or film stock? The black level is excellent, with true, deep blacks. The shadow detail, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. At times it was excellent but at other times it was lacking, such as during the scene in the darkened alleyway at 26:36.

    With the Lowry process, the entire film has been colour corrected. As a result, the movie has a very consistent approach to colour, and the transfer usually exhibits a very well saturated palette. At times, however, some of the colours looked a little muted. The skin tones are accurate.

    While some scenes can appear a little grainy at times, such as the opening aerial shot of New York City, or the exterior shot of the speedboat at 86:20, I assume this relates to the original film stock used. There are no problems with MPEG, Film-To-Video or Film Artefacts. Lowry's digital master is pristine and free of scratches or blemishes.

     The BD is zoned for all regions, and there are 32 subtitle streams present. The English subtitles are accurate.

    This is a BD-50 (50 GB Blu-ray disc), with the feature is divided into 32 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Originally released theatrically in the 1970s, the audio does sound a little dated, and even a bit tinny at times.

    The Ultimate Edition DVD offers three audio options: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s), and English Text Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). But the BD offers only one English audio option for the feature: dts HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. English dts-HD Lossless Master Audio can potentially support an unlimited number of surround sound channels, and down-mix to 5.1 if required. The feature is also dubbed into German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s), French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). On the BD the three excellent English Audio Commentaries included on the Ultimate Edition DVD return, encoded Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    Although there is a considerable amount of ADR, the dialogue quality and audio sync are good throughout.

    Taking a temporary break from scoring the Bond films, Oscar winning composer John Barry stepped aside to make way for Fifth Beatle George Martin to reunite with his friend, former Beatle Paul McCartney. Martin scored the film, and the theme song "Live and Let Die" was the first Bond tune to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Song. It also reached the Top 10 in most major pop charts, including the US and UK.

    As with the DVD, the BD's surround sound mix provides a nice separation across the front three speakers. The rear speakers are called upon to provide subtle ambience, but there are not the whiz-bang directional effects or panning between speakers found on some of more recent film releases. The LFE track is also limited, but the subwoofer can be noticed at times.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   The extras from the DVD Ultimate Edition and DVD Special Edition have been ported to the BD. As such, all the extras are in standard definition, and unless stated otherwise, all are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

 Floating Pop-Up Menu

    As with other BDs, the menu can be accessed while the film is playing. There is also an animated Main Menu.

De-Classified: MI6 Vault

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1:

007 Mission Control

    An interactive feature that allows the viewer to jump directly to a key scene in the film, or to a specific character, gadget, or Bond girl.

Mission Dossiers

    The featurettes from the Live And Let Die Special Edition:

Ministry Of Propaganda

    Theatrical Trailers:

    TV Trailers:

    Two Radio Spots

Interactive Image Database 

    Nine themed photographic stills galleries from 1973, presented as slide shows.

MI6 Commentary

    These are the three audio commentaries taken from the Ultimate Edition DVD:

Audio Commentary 1 - Sir Roger Moore

    Actor Roger Moore recorded screen specific audio commentaries for all seven of his Bond films. Although there are some lengthy gaps, Moore has a pleasant voice to listen to, and a fun, yet dry sense of humour. His commentary is quite personal and he discusses issues well beyond the film. For example, the film opens at the UN, and this allows him to discuss his 15 years working for the UN, as a UNICEF Good Will Ambassador. Of course there is also plenty of Bond-related anecdotes and memories, such as how he was originally approached and hired, to his recollections of cast, crew, and the film's many locations.

Audio Commentary 2  - Director Guy Hamilton

    Hosted by John Clark of the Ian Fleming Foundation, this commentary is very interesting, and packed with a lot of information and anecdotes. Interviews with a number of the cast and crew have been edited to make the commentary fairly screen specific, and each speaker is introduced by Clark. We hear from a range of people, such as Actors, Jane Seymour, and Yaphet Kotto, Art Director Syd Cain, and SFX Supervisor David Meddings. Some of these interviews were recorded on location, so the audio quality suffers at times.

Audio Commentary 3 - Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz

    Mankiewicz recalls the many script ideas he had, and to some extent, the evolution of those that ended up on the big screen. While there are some gaps, Mankiewicz seems to recall his time working on this film very well.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The BD is zoned for all regions, and in terms of content, our disc's should be identical.

Summary

   

    Live and Let Die was to mark an intentional and noticeable change in direction for the Bond movies. The films were to become far more commercial, and far less critically acclaimed. With Live and Let Die one can see the evolution toward the tongue-in-cheek high-camp action-comedies that were to be known simply as the Moore era.

    The video quality is good, considering the age of the source material.

    The audio quality is also good, considering the limited source material.

    The extras are recycled from the previous DVD release, but again they are thorough, genuine, and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSamsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)
SpeakersSamsung

Other Reviews NONE
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