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Live And Let Die - You Know My Name

lapis molari

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Live And Let Die - You Know My Name

Moore's first movie as James Bond is both fun and annoying. The harder tone than his later outings is undercut by lame jokes, the spectacular boat chase carries on too long (didn't they learn their lesson after Thunderball's endless underwater fight?), Solitaire is a stunning Bondgirl but why must she be so naive, sheriff Pepper flat out seems to be in the wrong film, the film seems to contradict itself on Voodoo (is it real or not?), having a black Bondgirl in Rosie is great but she's stuck in perpetual incompetence, and to top it all the villain explodes like a balloon (I realized it was a balloon prop even when I first saw the film as a kid).

In short, while pretty good, the theatrical version is not my favorite Bond film. It's been on my list for several years as deserving a fanedit, by I couldn't figure out how to do it. There were so many parts I wanted to trim, but where do I stop? That changed after seeing @MusicEd921 's version. The cutlist addressed most of the parts that I'd want to tackle, but, to my subjective(!) eye, the whole had become less than the sum of its parts. This inspired me to approach this edit in a different way from any previous edit: a Goldilocks cut.

I took each part of the film I wanted to alter and made 2 versions of it: radical trims (bed's too small) and cautious trims (bed's the right size), while the theatrical original is the bed that's too big. The main points are Kananga, the sheriff, and Rosie.

1) Kananga blowing up. I first changed this to death from balloon pop to sharkbite. Seems more credible and still on-brand for a Bond story. It resulted in cutting most references to the shark-gun gas pellet (including a wonderful villain close-up when Kananga blows up a sofa), and M's amazement at the magnet in Bond's watch. In all, I lost too much runtime and too many typical Bond beats. That "bed" was too small.
live_and_let_die_-_kananga_threatens_bond_with_his_own_weapon.png


My second version has Kananga still exploding, but under water so we don't see the balloon dummy. I took the shot of the exploding balloon and chroma-keyed bits of it over the shot of the bubbling water, creating the impression that the black clothing is being exploded out of the water. In the next shot where the water calms down, I removed the rubber mask floating to the surface. I also cut Bond's "inflated" remark (I think Connery could have delivered the line successfully with his dry sarcasm, but Moore just makes it sound like a bad joke).
Is this version "just right"? I think so, but that only really became clear after I had first cut too much!

So none of this:
WK4BLJre-600x338.png


Next week I'll write the rundown on sheriff Pepper and the two versions I made of him.
 
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Dwight Fry

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Cool! This movie definitely needs a fanedit - or two. I've yet to see Ed's cut (or his Man With the Golden Gun, which is one I have long wanted to edit, in case Ed's version didn't fit my vision that is), but now I'll have two alternatives from two editors whose work I greatly enjoy. Definitely interested!
 

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After Kananga's balloon dummy, the next biggest frustration is Sheriff Pepper and the 13-minute boat race.

2) My first version removed the sheriff completely. What a sigh of relief. But that lost the iconic boat-over-car jump. To stay with the Goldilocks analogy: this porridge was too cold. There wasn't enough excitement in the chase.

My second version reduced the sheriff but kept enough to retain that boat-over-car jump. The boat race is trimmed 50% (6 minutes cut). The baddies have fewer boats. No wedding. No police cars chasing the boats. The "Boat Race" track from LaLD's soundtrack is used to extend the music (by 1 minute). We don't see the sheriff again after Bond jumps over his car.

One change that helped this version work for me, is that now Bond looks over his shoulder at the sheriff as he speeds away. Probably thinking "Who the hell was that?" and then putting the sheriff from his and our minds and moving onto the next challenge.
1678070824188.jpeg


Other, smaller, changes include:
- Bond's apartment scene plays before the opening credits (thank you @MusicEd921 , for showing this improvement).
- In NY, the dead driver loses control of the car faster (12 seconds cut).
- Improve audio transition from Kananga speeching to Bond in garage.
- Trim some of the blaxploitation language: "jukebox" is replaced with "car"; "cueball" and one "honky" are cut.
- When Baron Samedi is introduced, cut "just a performer". Made no sense that they said that. Samedi dies only once (from snakes) and stays dead. No Baron sitting on the train (he's dead after all).
- No flight student in the airplane. Bond's mention of her is cut in the subsequent scene.
- Removed short, loud pop in Left Front channel while Kananga questions Bond in chair. I cleaned up several pops and clunky audio transitions, which gives the impression that the audio editor was under intense time pressure to deliver his work. :(
- Cut Solitaire's "Where's Kananga?". I know she's inexperienced in many things, but she doesn't have to be completely dumb!
- Replaced the end-title song with an excerpt of the Beatles' "You Know My Name" and "Snakebit" from the LaLD soundtrack. A callback (call-forward?) to Chris Cornell's song in Casino Royale. The fanedit derives it's subtitle from this song.
- Edited the English subtitles to fit the fanedit.

Next week: Rosie Carver. Under-qualified double-agent and the first black Bond girl.
 
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Dwight Fry

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- Bond's apartment scene plays before the opening credits (thank you @MusicEd921 , for showing this improvement).
Having watched Ed's edit just a couple days ago, and having enjoyed it quite a lot (review pending), I must say I'm ambivalent about this change. I'm not sure if I prefer this approach or that in the original. On the one hand, it is true that it feels weird that the pre-credits scene does not feature Bond at all, but then it's also true that these pre-credits scenes are all about action and shock, so having the apartment scene there kind of makes it too long, too expository, and too calm. The only tension in it is the possibility of M discovering Miss Caruso is there, which isn't really that big of a deal, as we're at Bond's place and M is more than aware of his philandering ways. If the narrative had gone for a fake scare when Bond opens the door (think Bond punching Felix in the stomach in Thunderball before we learn it's him), the start of the scene would have made a great addition to the pre-credits, but nah, it's just M. So, I can see the argument for and against either version.

Next week: Rosie Carver. Under-qualified double-agent and the first black Bond girl.
Now this is the one major thing I'd try to do differently than Ed if I were editing this: it's a pity to lose her completely (the narrative works just as well, but she's a landmark in being, as you mention, the first black Bond girl of relevance), so I'd try to keep her in the film while toning down her cowardice and clumsiness as much as humanly possible. May I assume you'll be trying this approach?
 

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@Dwight Fry , yes Rosie remains. If keeping everything (no changes) is the "bed too big", and cutting everything (no Rosie) is the "bed too small", then the "bed just right" is one of these middle options:
a) Rosie is a double agent and she dies (premise unchanged), just trims to the bumbling and contradictory presentation (style changes). Contradiction because Kananga tells us twice how competent Rosie is, while she clearly doesn't look it. So which is accurate?
b) Rosie is a CIA agent (no double) and she dies (partial premise change). And less bumbling.
c) Rosie is a CIA agent (no double) and does not die (complete premise change). And less bumbling. This'd lose us much run time.
d) Rosie is a double agent but does not die: this one wouldn't work because there's no shot of Rosie delivering Bond to the villains.

@LastSurvivor , do you have any requests for this edit?
 

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@Dwight Fry , yes Rosie remains. If keeping everything (no changes) is the "bed too big", and cutting everything (no Rosie) is the "bed too small", then the "bed just right" is one of these middle options:
a) Rosie is a double agent and she dies (premise unchanged), just trims to the bumbling and contradictory presentation (style changes). Contradiction because Kananga tells us twice how competent Rosie is, while she clearly doesn't look it. So which is accurate?
b) Rosie is a CIA agent (no double) and she dies (partial premise change). And less bumbling.
c) Rosie is a CIA agent (no double) and does not die (complete premise change). And less bumbling. This'd lose us much run time.
d) Rosie is a double agent but does not die: this one wouldn't work because there's no shot of Rosie delivering Bond to the villains.
Guess it has to be either A or B, whichever works best (ideally I'd choose her to be just a CIA agent so we can make her a sympathetic character). If she survives and yet disappears from the plot, the character is pointless since she'd have been quite useful by staying (if not a double agent) and her entire purpose would be sleeping with Bond. So, guess she has to die any way or the other...
 

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Rosie Carver the double-agent. She's the toughest challenge to improve, because much of Rosie's screentime is connected. Change one scene and you have to change several more to keep things consistent.

My first version kept Rosie alive; as a regular agent not a double agent. To make the flow work, this sequence ran:
- No feathered hat in Rosie's room, so no reason for her to call Bond into her room. Consequence: she does not sleep with him that night.
- Bond announces he'll arrange a car, visits the shop with Tarot cards, then we go directly to Bond and Rosie driving into the hills. No mention of "It's down there", instead Bond stops the car for no reason other than to pressure Rosie into having lunch with him because he's in no hurry. Unintended consequence: this gives a nastier flavor to Bond's sex addiction, because he's clearly forcing himself on her.
- After they have sex, we cut to Kananga before Bond would have asked for answers (cut Kananga's two mentions at his desk of Rosie). After Kananga, we cut to Bond and Rosie walking to Quarrel's boat (not showing the different vehicle). The final shots of Bond and Rosie on the boat are darkened a bit to give the impression of sunset.
- Cut to Kananga, with big trims to remove mention of Rosie as double agent and of her death. Cut back to Bond on the paraglider, implying that they didn't leave the boat in between and that Rosie is therefore still on board.
bond-main.png


I liked that version as a standalone part. It made Rosie stronger and added a nasty but uncomfortably believable angle of Bond being a rapist. But after watching the edit again I realized that this loses us too much: Rosie has hardly any screentime left, we lose Solitaire standing up to Kananga because that's triggered by her mention of "the girl's death", and the overall pacing from arriving at the island to infiltrating Kananga's estate just felt too fast compared to the rest of the film. I realized that, no, I'd cut too much.

Version two, the "middle" version, runs:
- No feathered hat, and no sex the first night. Also, Rosie's double scream over the dead snake is trimmed (one scream is enough).
- When they board Quarrel's boat, Bond tells Quarrel under his breath that "I got your card" (Roger Moore's "I got" is taken The Man With The Golden Gun). This answers the question who sent Bond the Tarot card, and calls attention to Bond and Quarrel knowing something that they're not telling Rosie.
- Rosie doesn't assume Quarrel speaks no English, she doesn't explain what "to change" means.
- Her apology to Quarrel is simply "I'm sorry", without the (incorrectly) "I could've killed you." Quarrel replies "You might have killed me" instead of "even killed". More matter of fact and less of a putdown.
- In the (second) car, when Rosie says "it's down there", Bond doesn't contradict her but simply says to have lunch first. This way Rosie doesn't have to fib over getting her locations mixed up. Bond still pressures Rosie into sex, but now we know that Bond doesn't trust her: knowing that she's a "baddie" makes us feel less sympathetic for her.
- After sex, Bond confronts Rosie with the Tarot card. She sees the Voodoo mask and freaks out. Bond says nothing. Rosie says "It's a warning" (instead of "It's not an act"): she attempts to warn Bond of Kananga's trap. This removes Rosie's fear of Voodoo (and was necessary because the set up with the feathered hat the night before is cut), she is simply afraid of Kananga. The death plays out normal.
In this "middle" version, Rosie comes out stronger than in the original film. Not as strong or smart, but still an improvement. This retains several scenes including the exchange between Solitaire and Kananga, a rare moment where Solitaire stands her ground.

Version three, cut Rosie entirely, changes the pacing too much, making it obvious that something is missing. This isn't "Goldilocks".
 
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Dwight Fry

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Rosie Carver the double-agent. She's the toughest challenge to improve, because much of Rosie's screentime is connected. Change one scene and you have to change several more to keep things consistent.

My first version kept Rosie alive; as a regular agent not a double agent. To make the flow work, this sequence ran:
- No feathered hat in Rosie's room, so no reason for her to call Bond into her room. Consequence: she does not sleep with him that night.
- Bond announces he'll arrange a car, visits the shop with Tarot cards, then we go directly to Bond and Rosie driving into the hills. No mention of "It's down there", instead Bond stops the car for no reason other than to pressure Rosie into having lunch with him because he's in no hurry. Unintended consequence: this gives a nastier flavor to Bond's sex addiction, because he's clearly forcing himself on her.
- After they have sex, we cut to Kananga before Bond would have asked for answers (cut Kananga's two mentions at his desk of Rosie). After Kananga, we cut to Bond and Rosie walking to Quarrel's boat (not showing the different vehicle). The final shots of Bond and Rosie on the boat are darkened a bit to give the impression of sunset.
- Cut to Kananga, with big trims to remove mention of Rosie as double agent and of her death. Cut back to Bond on the paraglider, implying that they didn't leave the boat in between and that Rosie is therefore still on board.

I liked that version as a standalone part. It made Rosie stronger and added a nasty but uncomfortably believable angle of Bond being a rapist. But after watching the edit again I realized that this loses us too much: Rosie has hardly any screentime left, we lose Solitaire standing up to Kananga because that's triggered by her mention of "the girl's death", and the overall pacing from arriving at the island to infiltrating Kananga's estate just felt too fast compared to the rest of the film. I realized that, no, I'd cut too much.

Version two, the "middle" version, runs:
- No feathered hat, and no sex the first night. Also, Rosie's double scream over the dead snake is trimmed (one scream is enough).
- When they board Quarrel's boat, Bond tells Quarrel under his breath that "I got your card" (Roger Moore's "I got" is taken The Man With The Golden Gun). This answers the question who sent Bond the Tarot card, and calls attention to Bond and Quarrel knowing something that they're not telling Rosie.
- Rosie doesn't assume Quarrel speaks no English, she doesn't explain what "to change" means.
- Her apology to Quarrel is simply "I'm sorry", without the (incorrectly) "I could've killed you." Quarrel replies "You might have killed me" instead of "even killed". More matter of fact and less of a putdown.
- In the (second) car, when Rosie says "it's down there", Bond doesn't contradict her but simply says to have lunch first. This way Rosie doesn't have to fib over getting her locations mixed up. Bond still pressures Rosie into sex, but now we know that Bond doesn't trust her: knowing that she's a "baddie" makes the feel less
- After sex, Bond confronts Rosie with the Tarot card. She sees the Voodoo mask and freaks out. Bond says nothing. Rosie says "It's a warning" (instead of "It's not an act"): she attempts to warn Bond of Kananga's trap. This removes Rosie's fear of Voodoo (and was necessary because the set up with the feathered hat the night before is cut), she is simply afraid of Kananga. The death plays out normal.
In this "middle" version, Rosie comes out stronger than in the original film. Not as strong or smart, but still an improvement. This retains several scenes including the exchange between Solitaire and Kananga, a rare moment where Solitaire stands her ground.

Version three, cut Rosie entirely, changes the pacing too much, making it obvious that something is missing. This isn't "Goldilocks".
Version two makes the most sense, in my opinion. Love how you solved the card plot hole!
 

Bored at 3:00AM

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Really looking forward to this one. Moore has always been my favorite Bond. I love Craig and Connery, but Moore's films were such fun romps. Shaving off some of the less palatable bits of this film sounds great to me.
 

lapis molari

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Watched my draft version last night. Not in snippets to check particular transitions, but the entire movie to get the feel of the overall flow.

I need to improve 4 transitions, raise volume for 1 sentence (probably by 1dB, maybe 2dB), and restore 2 shots for clarity.

One of those transitions is at the end, where I removed Baron Samedi on the front of the train. Baron is dead, so no comeback. But..., the transition from Bond inside the train to the end credits with the flaming skull feels too sudden. Even if you don't remember the original, you feel that something is missing. Solution: replace shot of Baron on the locomotive with a similar duration shot of another Amtrak train speeding past the camera. Source: Silver Streak (1976), color corrected to change daytime into nighttime.
ss76_003.jpg


Getting close to completion! šŸ˜Š
 
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lapis molari

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The name is Done. I'm Done. šŸ˜

Finished! Only 9 minutes cut, but it makes such a difference.
The sheriff isn't chewing the scenery anymore, the airplane chase (race?) doesn't feel like Benny Hill anymore, ... the list goes on. Just watch it and enjoy!
 

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The original Teaser Trailer:

A solid fan-made Trailer. It's not perfect, but better than I'd have made it (making good trailers is hard!):
 
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