12 Apr 2013

United Nations HQ - New York

Probably the most uninspiring pre-title sequence in the entire series is the one from Live and let die 1973. Three British agents are killed in three different locations. One is killed in New York, which is the reason for M to send Bond over there to come up with some answers. The agent is attending a session in the United Nations when the film starts, and is killed with a sonic weapon through his headphone translator. The building pictured in the film, of course being the real United Nations building, is located in New York on the bank of the East river where it has been since the completion in 1952.
Of course Bond never visits the UN during his relatively short visit to New York, and a more interesting location would of course be the 'Oh cult voodoo shop' at 33 east 65th street. Even though the United Nations is not a very interesting Bond location it is more attractive as a tourist site. This is the very heart of world diplomacy and a visit is strongly recommended when one is in New York, regardless of the Bond connection.
You will have the best view over the building from the Brooklyn side, probably around the area of Hunters Point but the more classic view is the one from 1st avenue in Manhattan. Here you can see the line of flagpoles where the flags of all the 193 UN member states are flown.
In front of the building you can also find the classic "knotted revolver", designed by the Swedish painter and sculptor Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. The sculpture was made after the killing of John Lennon in December 1980 and has ever since been a non-violence symbol. The revolver can be found on several places in Sweden and also in a few dozen countries throughout the world.

An interesting coincidence is the fact that Bond gets the barrel of his Walther PPK bent by henchman Tee Hee, when he meets with Mr Big in New York. Since the sculpture was made in the 80's it has absolutely no significance to the film or whatsoever, but I thought it was a fun trivia to mention.

Not surprisingly the city of New York is portrayed very dull and uninspiring, with the lack of a proper skyline or other famous sites like the Brooklyn bridge, World trade center or the Statue of Liberty. This is, as I have mentioned before, a consisting theme in Guy Hamilton's last three Bond films, from Diamonds to Golden gun. Live and let die is definitely one of the weaker films in the series, mainly due to the fact that it's just boring, even though it is better than both its predecessor and successor. Even though Moore was quite committed and plays a good first Bond (regardless of the extremely poor introduction), the fighting scenes follow the classic Moore manner and the pre-title sequence is the worst in the series. With John Barry unavailable to do the music he recommended his friend George Martin, who makes a solid work (although not anywhere near Barry or Arnold), even though the title song is far from being the masterpiece that so many others like to claim. The fact that Sir Paul is singing does not automatically make it the best song in the Bond history.

New York still feels like unexploited territory for Bond, but since so many other films have taken place there and so much has happened, it is questionable if there is anything left for Bond to do there.

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