Live and Let Die: Special Edition (1973)

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Released 8-Nov-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Bond Audio Commentary-Guy Hamilton (Director) et al
Featurette-Inside Live And Let Die
Featurette-Behind-The-Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Radio Spots
Gallery-Photo
Booklet
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 116:19
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Guy Hamilton
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Roger Moore
Yaphet Kotto
Jane Seymour
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music George Martin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Live and Let Die is the first James Bond film to feature Roger Moore who, based on box office success,  proved that the Bond phenomenon could live on without the presence of Sean Connery.

   In this instalment, our favourite, suave and yet lethal secret agent is sent by M (Bernard Lee) to investigate the deaths of three agents all killed in a 24 hour period. He despatches Bond to New York to investigate a possible link between the killings and the Prime Minister of the small island nation of San Monique. Bond is immediately on the trail of Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) and does indeed smell a rat. This investigation of course leads to murder, mayhem, seduction and destruction in exotic locations such as the Caribbean.

   This film features some of the best stunt work ever to grace a Bond movie. How about the boat chase through the meandering bayous of Louisiana or the related car chase? What about the light aircraft driving around the airport being chased by Kananga's henchmen? Yes, this is a top effort and Roger Moore is very good as Bond in this film. It's also d*** good fun!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD contains a good 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced video transfer although one that seems to be suffering a little from a slightly lower bit rate than some of the earlier Bond DVDs. For example Dr. No has a bit rate that averages from 4 M/bits to 7 M/bits whereas the bit rate in this transfer ranges from between 3 M/bits to 5 or sometimes 6 M/bits which I feel is just a little too low for comfort.

    This transfer is pretty sharp, especially in the closer shots, such as between 11:49 and 11:51. Shots that take in a wider vista lack a little detail but nothing that should concern as this film is, after all, over 27 years of age. Edge enhancement has been used and is noticeable at times. A couple of examples of this are at 22:29-22:53 and at 24:52-24:59. The black level in this film is excellent and scenes set at night or in shaded areas show a good level of detail.

    Colour saturation is also very good with skin tones that are quite accurate with only a slight brown appearance. The relative accuracy of the skins tones can be seen at 02:30-2:52. The level of saturation does vary ever so slightly but the effect is very subtle and likely to be missed on normal viewing.

    MPEG artefacts were not a problem in this transfer but film grain is almost always noticeable. How obvious it is varies from scene to scene but it is always there. Some of the more severe examples of visible film grain can be seen at 11:52-12:25, 13:38-13:46 and 40:18-40:26.

    I found only minor occurrences of film-to-video artefacts. Aliasing is almost non-existent, with only minor occurrences on cars. See 20:33-20:34, 20:44-20:46 and 20:58-21:01 for the most obvious examples I could find. I also noted some minor moiré effects, one at 15:13-15:26 and another at 43:47-43:49. There is also some telecine or camera wobble. I noted two occurrences, one at 76:18-76:25 and the other at 88:01-88:03. Film artefacts were quite common and at times quite obvious. The opening sequence, 00:15-00:37, is quite badly affected and other obvious examples can be seen at 11:52-12:25, 40:16-40:19, 40:48-41:09 and 59:47-59:50. The final example is particularly obvious - it is a long yellowish line, emulsion damage perhaps?

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 68:24. It is placed right when Bond's arms are clamped to the arms of a chair in Mr. Big's lair. It is quite obvious as there is a loss of audio and a noticeable pause. I didn't find the change overly disruptive but it isn't the best place to have a layer change.

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

Audio

    The audio presented on this disc is  mono but with the mono soundtrack playing through the main left and right speakers. It is quite listenable and similar to many of the other Region 4 Bond releases. The fidelity is somewhat dated but this doesn't handicap your enjoyment of the film.

    There are three audio tracks present on this disc. All are Dolby Digital 2.0 mono tracks encoded at 224 Kb/s. One is the main English track and the others are English Audio Commentaries. I listened to the main English mono track as well as the audio commentaries.

    Dialogue was always clear and audio sync was never a problem. In the quieter moments some minor hiss can be heard but it is low enough to be ignored. There were no pops, clicks or drop-outs noted.

    The score on this film is a slight departure from the earlier movies in that it is credited to George Martin who worked with the Beatles in the later part of their careers. The Beatles connection continues with the theme song which was written by Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by Paul McCartney and Wings. It is a very good score which makes use of the traditional Bond theme as well as the title song Live and Let Die. As with all Bond scores, it matches the on-screen action well but wouldn't make a great isolated track.

   Despite there being no surround activity this mono soundtrack is quite functional.

   The subwoofer slumbered through the entire film as it had nothing at all to do.

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

Extras

    There is a good collection of quality extras on this disc as well as a fair bit of stuff that could just as easily have been left out!

Featurette - Inside Live And Let Die (28:33)

    Presented in Full Frame video with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, this featurette is a documentary about the making of this particular film. It shows passages from the film, archival footage, still images and interview footage with members of the cast and crew. It is narrated by Patrick MacNee and is very good.

Audio Commentary - Guy Hamilton plus members of the cast and crew

    This audio commentary is in the same format as the other Bond films which is a collection of interview snippets introduced by a narrator. Unlike some of the other Bond commentaries, this one contains lengthy periods without any comments. It was not as interesting as the other Bond commentary that I sampled recently,  The Man With The Golden Gun.

Audio Commentary 2 - Tom Mankiewicz

    Again, frequent pauses in commentary occur but at least this commentary is screen specific. Tom Mankiewicz talks a lot about why various passages occur in the film and what he was thinking when developing this screenplay. He also talks about his experiences while working on this film. It is by no means the best commentary you are going to hear but it contains some interesting information which keeps you going through the quieter moments.

Theatrical Trailers

    Two trailers are available in this sub-menu. One is a teaser trailer and the other a more traditional, longer trailer.

    The release trailer is 16x9 enhanced with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. There are quite a few film artefacts, the colour is a little faded and the film grain is quite obvious, but nevertheless the quality is acceptable. The trailer has a run-time of 2:46.

   The teaser trailer is a full-frame presentation which is matted down to an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is again Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. Quality-wise, it isn't the best and I continue to wonder why studios will compromise the quality of the main presentation with these worthless inclusions. The main trailer is fine, leave it at that please. Its run-time is 1:42.

TV Spots

    The quality of the two TV spots presented here is ordinary. The video is quite grainy, suffers from frequent film artefacts and has faded colour. I again wonder why these are included.

Radio Spots

    There are two radio spots available for listening on this menu. They each feature Dolby Digital 2.0 sound that is easily understood should you wish to sample what is really a boring inclusion.

U.K. Milkboard Commercial

   This is a commercial which features scenes from the movie as well as behind-the-scenes footage of the cast and crew drinking, yes you guessed it, milk! It is presented full-frame and is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. The colour is quite faded and the image is overly bright as well as soft.

On The Set With Roger Moore

   This section includes two short features focussing on Roger Moore behind the scenes.

   The first is entitled Richard Dix's Number One Fan and features Roger Moore talking about the CIA agent who is stabbed in New Orleans during the opening sequence to the film. It turns out that the actor who is stabbed is Bob Dix, the son of Richard Dix,  an actor who was greatly admired by Roger Moore's mother. This feature includes footage from the film as well as black and white footage from behind the scenes. The main black and white footage is quite grainy with lots of film artefacts. It is presented full-frame and is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

   The second feature is entitled Hang Gliding Lessons and features Aussie hang gliding pioneer Bill Bennett talking about what was at that time a new sport. It also features a short section in which Bill Bennett is instructing Roger Moore on how to fly a hang glider. Film footage featuring the hang glider is also included. The video has faded colour, is grainy and is covered in film artefacts.

The Live And Let Die Gallery

    This section is broken down into the following sub-sections each of which includes a number of 16x9 enhanced still images:

Booklet

    An 8 page booklet is included which contains snippets of  information about "the new Bond", the producers, production of the film, the stunts and the theme song "Live And Let Die". The booklet also includes a section which lists the chapter stops.

R4 vs R1

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

   The Region 1 and Region 4 discs are almost  identical. The only difference is an advertisement for a Bond Sony PlayStation game on the Region 1 disc which makes the Region 4 version the winner due to the superiority of PAL.

Summary

    Live And Let Die is a very good Bond film and in my opinion a Roger Moore classic. The video transfer is a little disappointing but good enough for you to forgive its flaws. The audio is adequate all of which makes this release a good candidate for your collections.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Richardson (read my bio)
Monday, January 01, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayGrundig MW82-50/8. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSherwood 8090R
SpeakersMains and Rears: Tannoy Mercury M1. Centre: Tannoy Mercury MC. Subwoofer: Polk Audio PSW-120

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