Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

A principal setting in Live and Let Die, where James Bond (Roger Moore) is left to die by Tee Hee (Julius Harris). Captured in New Orleans, Bond is brought out to the farm, where he is stranded on an island in the middle of a small stream infested with hundreds of crocodiles and alligators. Convinced that his enemy is doomed, Tee Hee chuckles and returns to the drug lab that refines heroin for crime boss Kananga (Yaphet Kotto). As the crocodiles prepare for their human lunch, 007 sees his chance and jumps to safety over their aligned backs.

This sequence was shot at an actual Jamaican crocodile farm owned by a part-Seminole man named Ross Kananga. To determine how Bond could escape from a stream full of crocs, screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz went to the real Kananga and asked him what he would do if he found himself in a similar situation. Kananga told him that he would try to jump over their backs. The actual stunt, however, could be done safely only if the crocodiles were immobilized. The entire pond was cleared of excess crocodiles so that director Guy Hamilton could bring in his small team of filmmakers, including a contingent of London construction workers who fashioned the little retractable bridge that strands Bond on the island.

Kananga tied the feet of half a dozen reptiles to weights on the bottom of the pond so they couldn’t move, while their jaws and tails remained free. When the crocodiles were finally tethered in place, creating a reptilian bridge of snapping teeth and swishing tails, Kananga himself prepared to jump their backs—a stunt he had never before attempted. He had to wear a pair of pants and shoes resembling the outfit worn by Moore, who would be watching his own escape from a safe distance.

The first four times Kananga tried the stunt, he slipped and fell into the pond. On the third time, one of the crocs actually nipped at his foot. He soon discovered that the street shoes he was forced to wear were preventing him getting across the strange, slippery surfaces. Even with specially prepared soles, which were designed to give him traction, he continued to slip and land in the water. Each time, he had to return to the wardrobe shack, change into a fresh pair of dry trousers, and row out to the little concrete island.

Kananga also told Hamilton that each time he failed, it made the stunt more difficult, because the crocodiles knew he was coming. The element of surprise was especially important with those huge jaws only inches away. On the fifth try, Kananga finally managed to keep his footing and raced to the shore across the croc’s backs. One small step for Kananga, one huge step forward for Live and Let Die.


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