Live and Let Die has some of the most exciting costume design of the series thanks to costume designer Julie Harris. Henchman Adam, played by Tommy Lane who passed away last week at age 83, wears a very stylish tailored look.
Unlike the other henchman featured prominently in the film, Adam exclusively works in Louisiana and only has one costume in the film. He’s not as colourful a character as the other henchman, either in physical appearance, personality or in name, but he seems like the only one who could be a threat to Bond.
The jacket’s navy and cream pattern resembles a Glen Urquhart check, but the pattern is on a larger scale and is woven in a small herringbone weave instead of an even twill weave. This turns the large part of the pattern into a star check rather than a houndstooth check or shepherd’s check. The navy and cream combination in the jacket comes together to look as neutral as black and white. The warmth of the cream is balanced by the coolness of the navy, but neither are far from white and black, respectively.
The fabric is likely some sort of summer blend, maybe with linen, wool and silk, though it’s difficult to tell. The fabric has some body to it and it drapes very well, so it may wear a little warm but it looks fantastic on screen.
The jacket is beautifully cut and has superb pattern matching. The maker of this jacket is unknown, and it could possibly be American in origin due to all of Tommy Lane’s scenes being shot in the United States and Jamaica. The shoulders are lightly padded with gently roped sleeve heads. The lapels are wide to follow 1970s trends, and the button stance is at a medium height. There are two buttons on the front and two buttons on the cuffs, which was traditionally a popular number of cuff buttons for American sports coats. The hip pockets are slanted and include a ticket pocket. There are long double vents at the rear.
Though the jacket has many traditionally English details, these details were also popular in America in the 1970s. Adam isn’t trying to look British, but he is trying to look stylish. He is in a position of power over the other henchmen based in Louisiana, and he uses his well-tailored style to demonstrate his power.
Under the jacket, Adam wears a navy long-sleeve roll-neck jumper to match the navy in the jacket. Considering the weather in Louisiana, he must be hot in the roll neck, but he sure looks stylish. To mitigate the heat and humidity, the roll neck is very lightweight. It is light enough to comfortably tuck into his trousers, so it wears more like a shirt than a jumper. The jumper has a texture reminiscent of seersucker with a puckered, ribbed look. Though I have never seen a seersucker turtleneck and I cannot find any history of such a garment online, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t done in the 1970s. It would have had to be some sort of knitted variant to work as a roll neck. It could also be some other kind of knit with a puckered look.
With the combination of a boldly checked jacket and a roll neck, it recalls Sean Connery’s brown jacket and tan roll neck from the previous film Diamonds Are Forever. The cool colours of this outfit, however, would have been better suited to Connery than the warm palate he wore.
Adam’s twill trousers might be black, but they are more likely to be dark navy to match his roll neck. When compared to Billy Bob’s black trousers, Adam’s look like dark navy in comparison. The trousers have a bootcut leg to follow 1970s trends, but the flare is hardly noticeable. They have an extended waistband without a belt, frogmouth pockets and a coin pocket on the front right with a button-down flap.
Navy trousers are difficult to pair with a sports coat because they often look too strong in colour compared to the jacket. Odd trousers are usually in neutral colours like shades of grey, brown and beige so they don’t draw attention down away from the face. In Adam’s outfit, the navy trousers are a good choice because of the navy roll neck, navy in the jacket’s pattern and a bold check in the jacket that can compete with the trousers.
Adam’s entire outfit is in navy and cream, except for his black slip-on shoes with an higher-than-normal heel and the brick red puffed silk pocket square, which adds a nice pop of colour to set him apart from Bond. So while his jacket’s check is large and loud, the overall simple and muted colour scheme keeps his outfit looking tasteful. The navy in the outfit could have all been replaced with black and still looked just as stylish, but the navy brings a more creative edge to the look.