"Live and Let Die (1973)
Live and Let Die was the first appearance of Roger Moore as Bond, and
many think it to be one of the worst in the series. Sure, Roger Moore is
not Sean Connery, and his wisecracking Bond was a shock, the plot didn't
involve the KGB or a worldwide secret organization of fanatics, and there
were not many exciting gadgets. On the other hand, the art direction and
photography was superb, and there was more than a little comic relief.
Three British agents are killed, and Bond is sent to find out why. He is
soon hard on the trail of the ruler of a small Caribbean Island who growing
poppies and trying to take over the heroin trade world-wide. Jane Seymour
plays a psychic called Solitaire who is his own private fortune teller. Her
gift only lasts as long as her virginity, and Bond makes short work of
that. In the opening sequence, M visits Bond at home, and surprises him
with an Italian secret agent (Madeline Smith). She only had a short part,
but displayed great talent and appeal. Gloria Hendry plays a double agent
sent to keep Bond from discovering the poppies.
Maltin awards the dread 2.5 stars, while Berardinelli only gives 2. IMDB
readers are more generous at 6.5/10. Box office is where it really counts,
and the film grossed $126.4m worldwide, which easily made up for the $7m
budget. The title song was written by George and Linda McCartney, and was
nominated for an Oscar. With apologies to the experts, I liked this film.
||In all the years we've been doing the page, Jennifer is probably the most viewed and most requested woman. Here she is with Crudup in "Waking the Dead"
Dame Elizabeth Berkley
||On the other hand, in all the years we've been doing the page, nobody has every requested Berkley, but we keep runnimng her sorry ass anyway. Here she is in "Any Given Sunday" playing the part of a personal entertainment consultant.
Gretchen Mol (1
||Helcrom's version of "Forever Mine". In an era where nudity is exiguous, it's fantastic to see one of the most beautiful women in the world do a real honest-to-god nude scene.
||not from Helcrom, but DAI, but as long as we're on the topic of Gretchen in "Forever Mine" ...
||Two days in a row for PAL? It must be the first time ever. Well, they're always welcome. All of today's caps come from yet another Ken Russell film about a famous composer who dreamt of nuns masturbating with crucifixes. For an analysis, read Scoopy's review of "The Music Lovers" and substitute the word "Liszt" wherever it says "Tschaikovsky".
||From a German video
||from "Twixt Heaven and Earth"
|Lydia, aka Rikki
|The Insider is a photographer and filmmaker who sometimes sends us some stuff from his private collection - parties at his house, set-up shots, etc. Here's his comments. "Scoop. Been looking for these for a few months. A few years ago, Sunset Thomas found Lydia and was going to feature her in a film, but she froze up on camera, so Sunset had her stay with us for a weekend and I filmed her in some hardcore activity just so she'd become at ease with the camers."
||Of all the states in the Union, Pennsylvania may have the best names for towns. There's Blue Balls, of course, and another classic shown on this sign.
A few notes on
the America-bashing and America-defending in the past
couple days. As many of you know, I've lived in the
United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and have
spent large portions of my life in Canada (My dad lives
close to the US/Canadian border, and Toronto was a
"second home"). I have seen all nooks and
crannies of the English-speaking world.
Well, I'll leave the rest of the topics alone, but the ex-professor in me wants to offer
little perspective on the language portion of the
I love dictionaries. I own every major one, including
an unabridged OED, and use them constantly. Don't tell me
to look anything up in the OED. Looking up any word in
the Ox is not a fruitful prospect. The OED, for all of
its zillions of volumes, contains only about 86,000
words. An unabridged Random House or Webster's will top
off with more than 300,000. OED is generally useless for
any purpose other than to see a detailed history of a
word's development through the years. For that purpose,
however, it is irreplaceable, at least for the fourth of
the language it chooses to acknowledge.
Is there an American English? Yes, of course. The
spelling is different from British English. If you set
your computer for British English when you mean to write
American, it will irritate the hell out of you in a spell
check. Not just the -re and the -our endings, but in a
lot of words like aluminum and jewelry. The reason why
Americans pronounce aluminum as they do is that they
spell it that way. That also explains why the British
pronounce it their way. If America had that extra -i, the
word would be pronounced similarly to the way it is
pronounced in England.
Why does the rest of the world want to speak English?
Brainscan is right. If English were not the language of
America, it would be an unimportant language spoken by
about 100 million people plus however many speak it in
India. Period. Language dissemination is a by-product of
cultural and economic dissemination. America's movie/MTV
culture has made English cool for the young to learn, and
the fact that America dominates the world markets (for
some products, the United States represents half or more
of the world's consumption) makes English a necessity to
businessmen. As it turns out, while you may not like the
reasons, this produces a very cool ancillary benefit. You
can wander almost anywhere and be understood with
English. A Spanish guy who can speak English can go to
Sweden and experience no communication problems. Very
That all may be changing. It is clear that China will
probably be the most important country in the next stage
of the world. I suppose that may take centuries, but it
could all happen faster. Imagine if China progresses as
rapidly in the next half century as Japan has in the past
one, and China has eight times the population of Japan.
That's a lot of economic clout. So you might consider
enrolling in some night classes in Mandarin.
One of the saddest and funniest things I ever saw was
in the classified ads in Budapest, where I also lived for
a bit. When the communists fell, and the Russian army
left, there was a great desire to learn English.
Hungarians realized that they were behind the world in
that regard. The ads in the Hungarian papers all had a
familiar format - "English teachers wanted - native
speakers only - British need not apply". I didn't
make that up. They didn't specify "Americans
only", so I wonder if all Hungarians are now
wandering around saying, "no worries, mate" or
talking like Gunga Din.
A great story about how we use the language in
differerent areas. My ex-girlfriend, a flight attendant,
told me a great story about an Indian guy who had
insomnia on an overnight flight, and kept pressing the
call button. The crew was gabbing or dozing off and
didn't respond immediately. When a flight attendant
finally arrived, he said in an agitated voice, "I do
not know what is wrong. I am fingering the stewardess for
many minutes, and she is not coming".
So American is becoming the world's language. That is
a fact. Does the fact make it right? Does it make
American English better than British English? No, of
course not. Frankly, in all the English-speaking
countries, most people ignore the rules and
pronouncements of the language guardians, and speak
exactly as they want to. As well they should.
We speak in the manner most socially acceptable to our
peer groups. Is the American way better than the British?
Nah. Is the British better? Nah. Do the British stay
closer to the "rules"? I'm not sure. Maybe, but
I've found that they don't understand their own rules any
better than Americans understand theirs. The classic
example is that Americans say "Chicago is the best team in the
league", while Brits normally say "Manchester are the best team in the
league". When I looked up the rules in British and
American grammar books, I found that the rules are
precisely the same for both versions of the language. One
is supposed to use the plural when referring to the team
as individuals, and the singular when referring to them
as an anonymous collective entity. Therefore, one should
say, "Chicago is the best team in the league",
but also "Chicago are sitting on the bench, waiting
for the rain to stop". Neither the British nor the
Americans pay any attention to the rules, and each group
is about half "right".
And one should say "it's I". How many people
in any country get on the phone and say, "hi, it's
I"? I don't believe I've ever heard anyone say that,
to tell you the truth. Another discarded expression is
the one I began the previous sentence with - "one
should say". A good rule of thumb - if you hear a
guy say, "one should say" in a drinking
establishment, you can bet that he'll get the crap kicked
out of him before the night is over. In most everyday
usage, people have adopted the indefinite second person
as a substitute - "you will still hear the sound of
trains in the deserted station", rather than
"one will still hear ..."
And as for the rule about always writing in complete
sentences, fogeddaboudit, unless you want people to think
your work was written by Emily Bronte. It's much too
florid and verbose, and causes you to lose the punch in
your sentences. That's a case where the poor schmucks who
follow the rule end up writing worse than the dummies who
don't even know the rule exists.
Churchill was fond of pointing out that even language
pedants don't understand their own rules. Perhaps one
should never end a sentence with a preposition. Churchill
said "that is a rule up with which I will not
put". He was wittily explaining that
"with" is not a preposition in that sentence,
but the end of a compound verb which means "to
tolerate", and that "rule" is not the
object of a preposition, but the direct object.
In the two sentences, "I tolerate him" and
"I put up with him", "him" can't be
two different grammatical forms. It can't be a direct
object in one and the object of a preposition in the
other. The correct diagram of the sentence shows that
"put up with" is the entire verb, just as
"tolerate" is the entire verb.
In fact, there are three separate similar verbs with
three distinct meanings: "to put", "to put
up", and "to put up with".
- I put the bread in your knapsack. (to place)
- I put the tent up. (to erect)
- That is all the bullshit I'm going to put up
with. (to tolerate)
Is there a right and wrong way to speak or write the
language? Depends on who you talk to ("That is
contingent upon whom one consults"). Even the
experts are prone to vitriolic disagreement. Many
grammarians believe that dictionaries and grammars should
be prescriptive, filled with
judgment about how the language should be spoken. Many
more experts feel that dictionaries and grammar books
should be descriptive, simply
reporting how people do speak. I definitely side with the
second group. Languages, by their nature, are fluid. They
change with every generation. Try to read some Victorian
novels, then imagine those characters coming to modern
times in Liverpool or Memphis. They'd have a real
struggle to communicate. When the language changes, the
dictionaries should not pretend that it hasn't. Surely
nobody would argue that we should all speak like Chaucer,
so why should we choose to speak like the Englishmen of
some other arbitrary forgotten time, like that of Doctor
Johnson? If I were a leftist intellectual, I'd also point
out (correctly) that rules are a way for one class to
assert that its values are more valid than the values of
another class. "You should speak as I do, because I
am better than you in so many ways"
Now, if you want my opinion about which I prefer, the
answer is neither. Nor do I vote for Canada, Australia or
India. I think English sounds best when the Irish speak
it, more so on the West side than in Dublin.
... but that's just one guy's opinion.