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Puppet On a Chain (1971) VS Live and Let Die (1973)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Richard--W, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    Watching Scorpion's new DVD of this early 1970s B action thriller reminded me that Eon Productions stole the speed-boat chase for LIVE AND LET DIE.
    The speed-boat chase in LIVE AND LET DIE is longer and more elaborately produced. The stunts are bigger. EON obviously had more time to prepare it, more time to shoot it, and the money to up the ante. It's better technically. Why then isn't it as good? Because it's played for comedy. There is no sense of risk in the action. The title of the movie suggests risk and danger, but we never feel either emotion in the audience. The movie belies the title. The chase exists to get a laugh or a number of laughs.
    LIVE AND LET DIE is silly, PUPPET ON A CHAIN is serious. The story builds up to the murder of the agent's girlfriend, which is ugly, and motivates him to take extreme risks. He wants revenge and he wants it now. So far his side has been losing. He's going to get the villain no matter what. The speed-boat chase is played for drama and suspense and we're with it every splash of the way. The music by Piero Piccioni is all about suspense, too, and fits the action, whereas Paul McCartney is off doing his own thing in LIVE AND LET DIE. The choreography is almost precisely the same in both movies -- the Bond producers steal it without apology. The close confines of the canals give the action in PUPPET ON A CHAIN a claustrophobic edge that the wide-open spaces in LIVE AND LET DIE don't have.
     
  2. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    I disagree. The boat chase in Live and Let Die has its jokey moments, but it's deadly serious - the goons are out to get 007 and when they recapture him, they will kill him. Unfortunately Adam, the lead henchman falls foul of Louisiana's finest - Sheriff J W Pepper and triggers a major police operation to round up a "swampful of Black Russians driving boats to beat the damned!". There follows a series of high-speed jetboat stunts that showcases the capabilities of such high performance speedboats including a jump that set a world record of 110 feet. The chase culminates in Adam, armed with a pump action shotgun, stalking Bond in a dead-end boatyard. Bond, armed with only a bucket of paint stripper, overcomes Adam and sends him to his maker in a humungous explosion aboard a tank landing craft. Wow.
     
  3. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    If the speed-boat chase in LIVE AND LET DIE were "deadly serious' it would not have J.W. Pepper in it at all, let alone Billy Bob, who are the most condescending of stereotypes. I find both stereotypes offensive. They are not funny. It's embarrassing to watch them. If the speed-boat chase were "deadly serious" the stunts would be kept on the plausible side instead of being ridiculously over-the-top, and there would be no dry-land excursions through wedding ceremonies. If LIVE AND LET DIE were "deadly serious" it would build a thriller on the plot Ian Fleming provided, instead of going off on light-comedy tangents. Nothing in LIVE AND LET DIE is remotely serious. Every time it starts to engage us on a dramatic level, it segues into slapstick. The title makes sense in the book, in the movie it's meaningless.
    LIVE AND LET DIE needed more of what PUPPET ON A CHAIN has got. Now that the film is finally out on DVD people can get re-acquainted with this little gem from the early 1970s.
     
  4. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    You have your viewpoint, I have mine. Personally I don't rate Puppet On A Chain at all, but that's my personal taste. I don't care for Alistair MacLean pictures. Comparing Puppet On A Chain to Live and Let Die is like comparing 2001 and Star Wars - one is a serious thriller, the other is a family-oriented romp. Different pictures for different audiences.
     
  5. Rob Mac

    Rob Mac Stunt Coordinator

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    Puppet On A Chain is a classic. Live And Let Die is a joke....unfortunately, not a funny one.
     
  6. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    I watched Puppet On A Chain last night. Although I quite like some parts of Live And Let Die, I agree with Richard about the differences between the two films. I am one of those who dislike the way the James Bond franchise abandoned suspense and embraced facetiousness. Puppet On A Chain is no great classic but it's a good, well-balanced thriller . . . . and there aren't enough of them around.
     
  7. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    Glad you liked PUPPET ON A CHAIN, Paula.
    I think the point of my original post is that the boat chase is supported by the rest of the film and is therefore more effective.
    LIVE AND LET DIE steals the boat chase and choreography, but it doesn't engage us because the film is silly and devoid of suspense.
     

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