We cold open on United Nations Headquarters in New York City, where a British diplomat is murdered during an interminably boring speech in Hungarian. Next, another Brit is killed while idly standing on a street corner in New Orleans, watching a jazz funeral. “Whose funeral is it?” he asks the shifty-looking little man who sidles up to him. “Yours,” the man says, sticking a knife into his gut. It’s worth watching the victim’s face as he expires, as his expression is not so much one of “Oh! I am slain” as it is one of “Oh, crap, I can’t believe I fell for that.”
In the third and most seriously bizarre scene, a florid white man is tied to a stake in the middle of some kind of Voodoo ceremony in the fictional Caribbean nation of San Monique. People, primarily of African descent, dance around in alarming ways. Screams and ululations are heard. At one point someone is threatened with a snake.
There’s a lot not to like in Live and Let Die: the lack of narrative cohesion, the thinly veiled racism, the fact that ‘San Monique’ puts a Spanish prefix in front of a French name in a manner seen virtually nowhere else in the Caribbean. But the main problem is that this is the only Bond opening sequence in which James Bond himself fails to make an appearance. No Bond? No way.