Hang Gliding in a Leisure Suit in Live and Let Die

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Hang-Gliding-Navy-Leisure-Suit

Bond goes hang gliding in Live and Let Die wearing a navy leisure suit-like outfit. Though the brief scene is very dark—helping considerably to disguise the fashionable aspects of the suit—there are a few great stills of Roger Moore wearing the suit with a white shirt, Royal Navy regimental tie and black horse-bit slip-ons. The tailored jacket made by Cyril Castle is structured with straight, narrow shoulders and a clean chest. It’s a button-four with a straight front, narrow lapels, a large collar, single-button cuffs and double vents. Though it has four patch pockets on the front with button-down flaps, the lack of shoulder straps—and technically a belt—it’s not a safari jacket by any means. Safari jackets also are not structured. Sadly, it fits into the leisure suit category more than any other. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a beautifully-cut suit, because it surely is. If it were unstructured it would be easier to pull off today.

The flat-front trousers have a slightly flared leg. Bond wears a brown and white butcher stripe shirt under the suit, and he wears a navy neckerchief to hide the light-coloured shirt in the dark night sky.

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But the outfit isn’t what it seems to be. Upon landing, Bond reverses the jacket into a button-two beige linen suit jacket and breaks away the trousers to reveal matching beige suit trousers. The reversible jacket and break-away trousers are only worn for the one shot of him changing his clothes. It’s not possible to have a button-four jacket with a a straight front to reverse into button-two suit jacket with a rounded front. And wearing two pairs of trousers would look too bulky for filming. I’ll write more on the beige linen suit later.

Hang-Gliding-Navy-Leisure-Suit-Reverse

12 COMMENTS

  1. This is a great Bond moment, much like Connery removing his dry suit to reveal the white dinner jacket in Goldfinger.

  2. This one is beautifully cut but it seems one of the most fashionable suits Bond has ever worn. Roger looks like a little ridiculous as he is dressing like a 20something mod from 1969 London. At least, that is my impression – I was admittedly not around at that time.

    I have to disagree that this is a great moment comparable to Goldfinger. There, Bond at least was going to a nightclub so it kind of made sense for him to be wearing a white dinner jacket. Here, I just don’t understand why Bond is wearing a tan colored suit to go snooping at night around Kananga’s house in Jamaica. Even as Bond, it doesn’t make sense when both Connery and Moore wore other clothes for such missions – Connery at Palmyra in Thunderball for instance, or Moore in all black at Drax’s chateau.

  3. Great still, David. My only tiny quibble about the whole thing is that the suit doesn’t match the accompanying shirt and tie (although they go perfectly with the beige suit “underneath”). A dark brown “leisure” suit would have worked better.
    That aside, “Live and Let Die” was the first Bond movie I watched in full, on television as a child and was the one that kick started my love and fascination for the whole series. This scene (reversible suit, neckerchief and Davidoff cigar all insouciantly put together while negotiating a hang glider) shows Moore’s sheer chutzpah with the character that I love him for and this kind of thing, his signature style (immaculate, OTT with a knowing eyebrow raised), crystallized into my image of the cinematic Bond. For every generation has their own “Bond”.
    And Christian, the idea of what Bond wears in a particular situation having to “make sense” is, for me, mostly irrelevant. A white dinner jacket to a rather down at heel Central American nightclub or the same apparel to a Vegas casino 7 years later in DAF, Moore’s lightweight suit here in the tropical night time, what’s wrong? It doesn’t matter. Is it entertaining escapism? Yes, by God all of those movies were. In spades.

    • I think there’s two possible explanations for the beige trousers, one dramatic and the other practical. The dramatic explanation — the one that “works” in the context of maintaining tone of the film — is that, as you say, it signals Roger’s approach to the role (ie: we’re here to have fun). The practical explanation — maybe — could be that the subsequent chase scenes with the bus, etc were already in the can, and in those scenes he has on the beige trousers (which are better suited anyway, I suppose, to running around in the mid-day sun in a tropical setting). So maybe some bright soul said, “wait a minute, how do we get him from the night-time navy “infiltration” outfit to the daytime beige when he’s spent the intervening hours at Kananga’s estate? At that point, either you (1) just have him magically show up in new
      trousers and hope no one notices, (2) do the switch as we see it and go for the laugh or (3) insert a scene where Bond raids Kananga’s wardrobe for a pair of beige trousers. Actually the last might have been even more fun; when Kananga later catches him, he could rail at him for not only “messing with” his woman but also stealing his clothes.

      • I like your logic (and sense of humor!), David.

        Basically, he’s wearing the beige suit because he’s sneaking in to meet a lady in a warm climate and that’s what a gentleman spy like Bond, from that generation, would do (leaving aside that his subsequent actions duping the girl were hardly that of a gentleman!) As you perceptively point out beige suit trousers for the next day’s escape, having abandoned jacket, would work better in the tropics than navy. The dark suit here was simply to act as camouflage. No great mystery.

  4. I was expecting this one for ages. Great post, Matt, as always, and thanks to the other contributors. With due respect, the cigar Roger smokes (same as the one he used to burn the snake in the bathroom) is not a Davidoff, but a Montecristo Especial (incidentally one of my favourite: to be accurate: Especial No. 1 – 7½” × 38 -191 × 15.08 mm-, Laguito No. 1, a long panetela), but as Fleming once wrote: “n’enculons pas les mouches” !

    • You are correct about the cigar. Also one of my favorites. Although I’ve found that Montecristos dry out easily, even when properly cared for in a humidor.

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