Henchmen Countdown: #4

(Excerpted from The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book)

4. Baron Samedi, Live and Let Die

Let me say first that this is my son’s very favorite henchman. Only Baron Samedi survives and remains evil (although Jaws would qualify if he hadn’t returned). Only Samedi remains a mysterious and laughing threat, and only Live and Let Die ends with such a threat, hovering over the traditional “Oh James” embrace.

In addition, Samedi is the only Bond henchman with mystical overtones; it is never clear how much of his magic is fakery, or what his connection is to the real Baron Samedi — the Voudon god of the graveyard.

Geoffrey Holder, possessor of a deep, resonant voice, dancer, choreographer, and highly theatrical, brought qualities to the character that were utterly unique. He was dynamic, unpredictable, and captivating, and remains one of the few bright spots in a fairly dismal Bond film.

Years ago, I worked in the same Manhattan neighborhood where Mr. Holder resides, and we happened to use the same bank. I was surprised to discover that his deep voice is entirely unaffected. Geoffrey Holder says good morning and cashes a check in the same melodic tones in which he laughs at James Bond or extols the virtues of the “Uncola Nut.” Ah, brushes with fame.

Subsequently, I met Mr. Holder at BCW8, and am the proud owner of a personally autographed photo of Baron Samedi.

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4 Responses to “Henchmen Countdown: #4”

  1. wriggles Says:

    They have got to make a good ‘Blacksploitation’ Bond it has too much potential to be left at ‘Live and Let Die’.

  2. Deborah Lipp Says:

    I disagree. The essence of blaxploitation is that the hero is black. The fatal flaw of LALD is that a white hero combatted black villains; it cannot help but appear to be racist.

  3. RosiePowell Says:

    But racist toward whom? The black villain or the white hero?

  4. Deborah Lipp Says:

    Racist towards blacks, who are uniformly portrayed as evil, whereas heroes can be white.

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