Literary Bond III-Live And Let Die





Returning to the Bond novel and film comparisons, let’s take a look at “Live and Let Die”. The second Bond novel, it was actually the Eighth Bond movie, and Roger Moore’s first. In addition to some cosmetic changes, due to it’s placement in the film timeline other changes had to be made mainly dealing with the supporting characters of Felix Leiter (Bond CIA’s ally) and Quarrel, and some of the ‘leftover’ segments were incorporated into later Bond films.

The second James Bond novel, Live and Let Die, has Bond travelling to New York, Florida and Jamaica to uncover a network of gold coins from Henry Morgan’s cache being used by gang leader “Mr. Big” to finance SMERSH operations in America, and also uses voodoo to intimidate his henchmen and enemies. The film still starts in New York, although in this case Bond is investigating the deaths of several British agents who were looking into the activities of Mr. Big, and we’re also introduced to the mysterious Kananga, who runs an island in the Carribean (In the film, it’s revealed that Kananga is actually Mr. Big. The name actually comes from a local crocodile farmer the name used.) Big/Kananga’s voodoo connection is also made into a separate character, the mysterious Baron Samedi. Instead of gold, Kananga is smuggling drugs using his dual identities and the fear of Samedi.


In the book, the action then shifts to St. Petersburg Florida, where Bond is joined by Felix. In the film, Felix is already in the New York segment. The film uses New Orleans as a substitute (Although Bond starts on Kananga’s island, where he later returns), where Bond gets into some campy weirdness with the local police while evading Kananga’s henchmen The Florida chapter is instead, largely used in the later Bond film “License to Kill”. In both cases, Felix is captured and maimed by a shark, barely surviving (License to Kill also has Leiter’s new bride killed, a pain Bond himself knows only too well).

The final chapters of the book take place in Jamacia, where Bond is allied with fellow British agent Strangways and local fisherman Quarrel, the latter of which will join him in “Dr.No” (The book) which in some ways is a sequel to “Live”. However, as “Dr.No” was the first Bond novel adapted, and Strangways and Quarrel died in that film (and novel), Strangway’s role is largely replaced by Felix, and Quarrel is replaced by his son, Quarrel Jr.

Finally in the finale, Bond-about to be fed to sharks in the film (Perhaps inspired by what happened to Felix in the book), defeats Kananga by using one of his gadgets-an air pressure bullet that basically turns Kananga in to a human balloon-in one of the goofiest villain deaths in the series. Novel-wise though, the final confrontation has Bond and the “Bond girl” Solitaire (Who has a less supernatural aura in the novel) dragged behind a boat in an attempt to drown or cut them on the coral. The scene was instead adapted in the later Roger Moore film, For Your Eyes Only. Kananga then dies in a somewhat less goofy way.


Not the best pic of the scene, but it’s all I could really find.





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