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“More Thrills! More Action! More Excitement!”
Live And Let Die
first opened in the USA on June 27, 1973 and was then screened for the UK Press at the Odeon Leicester Square on the morning of Tuesday July 3, 1973. Roger Moore's debut as James Bond had its UK Royal Charity Premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square on Thursday July 5th with Roger Moore and Jane Seymour in attendance. The film continued to play at the Odeon Leicester Square until September 12th, and also at the London Pavilion for six weeks from Thursday August 30th. Live And Let Die also played simultaneously at the 2,000-seat Metropole Victoria, and 1,650-seat Astoria Charing Cross Road for a staggering 14 weeks from Thursday August 9, 1973. Like You Only Live Twice (1967) which also had a Summer release, Live and Let Die first played at selected coastal resorts before its general release in mid-August 1973.

Live And Let Die Royal Charity Premiere Odeon Leicester Square

ABOVE: (top left) A Flyer advertising the opening of Live And Let Die at the Odeon Leicester Square. (top right) A ticket for the Royal World Charity Premiere of Live And Let Die (centre right) New James Bond Roger Moore and his wife Luisa Mattioli at the premiere of Live And Let Die.
BELOW (left) The Odeon Leicester Square on premiere night Thursday July 5, 1973 (right) Piccadilly Circus 1973 - Live And Let Die also played at the London Pavilion for six weeks from Thursday August 30 to Wednesday October 10, 1973. (bottom) Live And Let Die was playing in four West End cinemas simultaneously during the Summer of 1973.

Live And Let Die Odeon Leicester Square/London Pavilion

Big, Brilliant Bondshell!”
As soon as Live And Let Die had finished playing at the Astoria, Charing Cross Road and Metropole Victoria on Wednesday November 14, 1973, a new double-bill of Dr. No/Goldfinger opened at the Scene 1,2,3,4 cinema in the Swiss Centre building on the corner of Wardour Street and Coventry Street, just off Leicester Square. The four-screen complex had opened on June 14, 1973, and the James Bond double-bill played for five weeks on the 113-seat screen 1 from Thursday November 15, 1973. The venue eventually became part of the Odeon chain in 2000; and renamed Odeon Wardour Street before its closure in March 2006, and subsequent demolition in June 2008. Dr. No/Goldfinger double-bill had originally been successfully released in the USA in September 1966, but did not make it to the UK until late 1972, when it was first screened in Dublin and Belfast under the ‘Big, Brilliant Bondshell’ banner. The pairing had also played in many English towns and cities from August 1973. Although no quad-crown poster was created specifically for this double-bill, the National Screen Service did produce composite advert blocks for use in newspapers and magazines, and suggested that cinemas use individual double-crown (20 X 30 inches) to advertise the programme. The double-bill would continue to play across the UK throughout 1974.

Dr. No/Goldfnger & Diamonds Are Forever/From Russia With Love

In addition to Dr. No/Goldfinger, a second double-bill of Diamonds Are Forever/From Russia With Love (that had originally had an exclusive engagement at the London Pavilion in May/June 1973), now went on general release across the UK, this time with a new quad-crown poster. The double-bill also played at the Astoria, Charing Cross Road from Thursday November 29, 1973, ending its four-week run on Christmas Eve. The day after Dr. No/Goldfinger ended its five-week week run at the Scene 1 in the Swiss Centre, the new double-bill of Diamonds Are Forever/From Russia With Love played at the huge 1,934-seat New Victoria (now the Apollo Victoria) for five days commencing Thursday December 20, 1973.

Bond on TV

Bond on TV
The first six James Bond films were sold to ITV in 1974 for a then staggering £850,000. The initial deal allowed each film to be shown only twice, and not exceed a total of two screenings a year. Cinema owners were outraged at the sale, as far as they were concerned the films were still making significant money theatrically. There was a fear that cinemas would be empty on the nights Bond films were on TV...
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Following the announcement in January 1974 that the first six James Bond films had been sold to television, distributor United Artists clearly wanted to squeeze as much revenue out of them theatrically as was possible, and another double-bill of Thunderball/You Only Live Twice was issued, meaning there were now three different pairings of the Sean Connery films playing across the UK. The new double-bill had its West End debut at the New Victoria, where it played for seven days from Thursday February 28, 1974, before going on general release from Sunday March 10, 1974. The double-bill was accompanied by a hastily produced quad-crown poster, which was essentially two double-crown posters side-by-side without any linking text.

Tthunderball/You Only Live Twice - Live And Let Die back in the West end

Live And Let Die also returned to the West End on Thursday June 27, 1974 at the 737-seat Odeon St. Martin’s Lane. Opened in 1967, the Odeon St. Martin's Lane was a modern basement cinema with a distinctive well-raked stadium style auditorium, and a screen which appeared to float in front of the rear wall as it had no curtains. A year later in June 1975, the Rank Organisation chose only to screen the films of Walt Disney, and as such the venue became the West End home of Disney for the next five years. The venue was later taken over by Artificial Eye, who renamed it the Lumiere Cinema, screening art-house films until its closure in June 1997. Live And Let Die also played simultaneously at the Metropole Victoria from Thursday June 27, 1974, finishing its four week engagement one week later than the Odeon St. Martin's Lane.

Live And Let Die/On Her Majesty's Secret Service London Pavilion 1974

ABOVE: (top right & left) Live And Let Die/On Her Majesty's Secret Service played for four weeks at the London Pavilion from Thursday August 22, 1974. (bottom) The double bill then had a wider release at principal Odeon and other important cinemas in North and South London from Sunday October 20, 1974. A hastily created newspaper advertisement incorrectly listed Live And Let Die as having a ‘U’ certificate.

Four weeks later Live And Let Die was re-released again on a double-bill with On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and returned to the London Pavilion on Thursday August 22, 1974, where it played for four weeks. The double-bill had already screened in some major cities in the UK from Sunday July 28, 1974, whilst Live And Let Die was having its West End revival at the Odeon St. Martin's Lane and Metropole Victoria. With the London Pavilion already booked with a successful reissue of the classic 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven, the new double-bill of Live And Let Die/On Her Majesty's Secret Service therefore played as part of the general release rather than the usual pre-release engagement at United Artists’ flagship venue. When the double-bill had a wider release in North and South London from Sunday October 20, 1974, some newspaper advertisements incorrectly showed Live And Let Die as being classified with a ‘U’ certificate. Live And Let Die/On Her Majesty's Secret Service continued to play across the UK until the end of the year.

United Artists Office Wardour Street London/The Man With The Golden Gun Premiere Ticket application

“Nobody Does it Better”
In order to capitalise on the success of Live And Let Die, its follow up The Man With The Golden Gun was hastily produced in 1974. Distributor United Artists had their London office in Wardour Street where unique artwork (adapted from a publicity still of Roger Moore used in the promotion of Live And Let Die) was displayed during the production of Roger Moore's second James Bond film, and can be seen briefly in Martin Campbell's 1974 British sex-comedy Eskimo Nell (pictured above). Campbell would later go on to direct GoldenEye (1995) and Casino Royale (2006). The artwork was later utilised on the Premiere Ticket application form. The Man With The Golden Gun then had its Royal Charity Premiere in London at the Odeon Leicester Square on Thursday December 19, where it played until March 16, 1975. The Man With The Golden Gun was on general release across the country concurrently with its initial West End engagement.

The Man Wih The Golden Gun Odeon Leicester Square 1974

The Royal Charity Premiere was again attended by Roger Moore (seen below shaking hands with H.R.H. Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh) and his wife Luisa Mattioli. Also in attendance were co-stars Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Hervé Villechaize and main title singer Lulu (pictured above). Producers Harry Saltzman & Albert R. Broccoli also attended, although by this point their professional partnership was nearing its end.

The Man With The Golden Gun Premiere 1974

Roger Moore’s second 007 adventure also played at the Odeon St. Martin’s Lane from Thursday February 13 to Wednesday March 15, 1975; and also at the New Victoria for three weeks from Thursday February 27, 1975.

The Man With The Golden Gun box-office

The industry trade paper CinemaTV Today ran a two-page advertisement (pictured above) on Saturday May 10, 1975 celebrating the worldwide success of The Man With The Golden Gun, and announcing the next James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me for a 1976 release. Roger Moore's second James Bond film finished its 13-week engagement at the Odeon Leicester Square on Sunday March 16, 1975. Although ultimately less successful than its predecessor, The Man With The Golden Gun would be re-released twice on double-bills with Live And Let Die in 1975 & 1978, and Moonraker in 1980.

The Man With The Golden Gun Odeon Leicester Square 1975

In March of 1975 United Artists executive Charles Berman announced that the first seven James Bond films would be re-released in cinemas ahead of the scheduled UK television debut of Dr. No; and the two Roger Moore films would then be paired on a double-bill at the end of the year. The sale of the UK television rights to screen the first six James Bond films had caused such controversy in early 1974 that it resulted in a delay to the transmission of Dr. No. Originally scheduled for September 1974 the TV premiere was postponed and the film was eventually screened on Tuesday October 28, 1975. Over the summer of 1975 the Sean Connery James Bond films could be seen across the UK on the big screen, in what would effectively be their last theatrical outings before being shown on UK television.


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