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In "Live and Let Die", after Bond throws Tee Hee Johnson from the train window at the very end of the movie, and returns to Solitair, we see an image of smiling Baron Samedi sitting on the train engine:

enter image description here

... despite the fact that in an earlier scene, Bond killed Samedi by kicking him into a coffin full of snakes.

Wikipedia has this to say on the topic:

Later on, Bond witnesses Baron Samedi rising from a grave, and shoots him in the forehead; however, it is revealed to be nothing more than an animatronic dummy. Only minutes later, however, the real Samedi rises from the grave and engages Bond in a machete fight. Bond kills him again by pushing him into a coffin full of snakes. But just before the end credits roll, Samedi is seen riding on the front of Bond and Solitaire's speeding train (laughing), suggesting that he either survived falling into the coffin of snakes or that he was not mortal to begin with - that he really is "the man who cannot die". Because of this, he is probably the only James Bond 007 character to take on a supernatural basis rather than reality itself.

Question:

Was there ever any clarification on the point of this shot from someone involved with the movie (as opposed to pure guessing in Wikipedia)? Was Samedi merely not killed by snakes, or were the creators intentionally showing him to be immortal/supernatural?

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Well, whereas I can understand your curiosity, I don't think one should overinterpret such little gimmick scenes (whose only intention is to put a smile on the audience's face) too much, especially in the overly slapstick-heavy Moore-Bonds. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 25 '12 at 17:35
    
You're right - the info I found wasn't up to par so I'll just place it in here for further edification: – Nobby Feb 25 '12 at 22:17
    
The character of Baron Samedi is actually based on a voodoo deity rather than a real person, and one might suppose that this would account for his otherworldly powers. It should also be noted that he is not a strictly 'villainous' character - the baron is relatively neutral in his meddling with the affairs of the living, and so does not need to die (as befits Bond baddies in general). There were also rumors that the Baron would be returning in one of the following films- but these rumors are uncorroborated. – Nobby Feb 25 '12 at 22:20
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Anyone else wish that Baron would return instead of Moore? :))) – DVK Feb 25 '12 at 22:28

Live and Let Die is generally regarded as the one and only 'supernatural' entry in the Bond franchise, and this would go some way to explaining Baron Samedi's apparent indestructibility.

The character of Baron Samedi is actually based on a voodoo deity rather than a real person, and one might suppose that this would account for his otherworldly powers. It should also be noted that he is not a strictly 'villainous' character - the baron is relatively neutral in his meddling with the affairs of the living, and so does not need to die (as befits Bond baddies in general).

There were also rumors that the Baron would be returning in one of the following films- but these rumors are uncorroborated.

*All information condensed from various articles from the James Bond wiki and IMDb

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while a good answer in itself, I'm sorry but it is 100% not helpful to what I asked. I know very well the cultural origins of Baron Samedi, and read both wiki and IMDb before posting (without learning anything new). I explicitly asked for information sourced from the people involved in making the movie – DVK Feb 25 '12 at 19:22

The ending of the film, with Baron Samendi on the train, was meant to be ambiguous. Partly because the character himself was so ambiguous.

Earlier in the movie, Bond shoots a Samendi in the head, where that Samendi's eyes roll up as if to inspect the damage. Bond then shoots at that Samendi again, causing it to collapse as if it were just a porcelain mannequin. A few moments later, another Samendi pops up - it's this one that Bond physically fights with and knocks into the coffin filled with snakes.

So clearly, something metaphysical was going on, but what exactly was going on was never elaborated in the movie.

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thank, but this much is obvious, and pure speculation. I was asking for information sourced from people involved in the movie, not speculation, sorry. – DVK Feb 27 '12 at 12:19

The creators were intentionally showing him to be immortal/supernatural. The character was based on the Voodoo (Vodou) legend of Baron Samedi, who is one of the Guédé, a loa of the dead. Baron Samendi is the head of the family of ancestral loa and embodies the powers of death and fertility. He is the ultimate suave and sophisticated Vodou Spirit of Death.

Depending on the tradition followed, Baron Samedi is:

  1. One of the Guédé

  2. Their spiritual protector, who has raised them from the dead with the help of Baron Samedi's woman, Maman Brigitte.

  3. An aspect of the Guédé gods.

In any of these configurations, Baron, Maman Brigitte, and the Guédé rule death, the cemetery and the grave. He is a supernatural being.

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"Was there ever any clarification on the point of this shot from someone involved with the movie (as opposed to pure guessing in Wikipedia)? Was Samedi merely not killed by snakes, or were the creators intentionally showing him to be immortal/supernatural?"

You could ask Roger Moore he's got a website where you can ask him questions. Tom Mankiewicz, Cubby Broccoli and Geoffrey Holder are no longer with us having been taken by Baron Samedi... as has Ian Fleming

My own interpretation is that Geoffrey Holder is playing two characters. Early in the film he is playing a person playing Samedi for the tourists and Kananga. We see him in at least one scene playing a flute of some kind not in the costume of Samedi telling Bond and Solitaire it is a "beautiful morning" in the graveyard so it is strongly implied that there is a real person ...who may be strongly under the influc. I take it that this real person is killed in the coffin of snakes but, of course, Samedi himself cannot die as he is an immortal so appears again at the end of the film. I guess it is allegorical. At this point Holder is playing Samedi himself not the man Bond killed. No one knows for sure that's part of the fun but we can read something into Fleming's title Live and Let Die. It is of course a play on Live and Let Live but it also has a secondary meaning here as Samedi's role in vodou is as Loa of Ressurection. It is he who decides who lives and dies and only the Baron can decide who moves from the world of the living into the world of the dead. Unlike the grim reaper who is ...well grim ... Samedi enjoys all human vices and chaos so he is laughing at the chaos he has created.

In the book Kananga (a satire on Papa Doc Duvalier) surrounds himself with the paraphernalia of Vodou and Samedi to intimidate people as it's difficult to explain this on film someone obviously hit upon the clever conceit of having a person playing someone playing Samedi so there is a play within a play ...if you follow that. Or something ...

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Most people tend to believe that ending happened due everyone falling in admiration for Holder. He was not only the actor who played Barron but he was also the choreographer and did all the dancing scenes. He did a lot to help the film out and he was a great guy I understand why they did that. Moore himself knew Holder and his brother from their younger days (he admitted that on the 2006 commentary.) He also got son of one of his favorite actors cast as the agent who was stabbed in New Orleans at the start.

It never worked out due to that movie being a fad and the horror esque elements. But it's nice to see his role was treated with respect. There is now way for that character to work unless he lived. Without that ending that character would have been a lame charlatan and not as lovable.

As for the answer in the movie I always found it vague. But when theorizing I say 1 of 3 things:

  1. He was Baron the whole time and was just toying with Bond to mock him. He couldn't be harmed from those snakes, hence why he did his humpty dance. He was fine he just wanted Bond to get the upper hand to make him feel good. Maybe he didn't care for Kananga and wanted him gone. Notice how he just walked into the room, before Kanaga smashed Solitare in the face, Kanaga had no power over him. Solitare was scared crapless by him as much as Kanaga. He was just the soul of the island so to speak. Once Bond came in and destroyed everything he had no power or purpose anymore there and was stuck with Bond. Either that or he is stuck on that train for eternity laughing his butt off. Regardless he couldn't haunt San Monique no more.

  2. He possessed someone to act like him and do his bidding. Along with the first point you could say Baron had a spiritual strangle hold on San Monique. In this version he respected Kanaga and let him do his thing if he could have a human dopledanger on the island to join in on the fun as well as a role in the murders at the place. You could also say Solitare's power is in thanks to his presence, he could have been there for ages when her mom was alive, who knows? Once Bond is there he feels his presence due to all of the violence and death he's caused and he feels a respect hence the duel later on. He kills the human form of Baron and topples Kanaga and gets Solitare in the end; but the spiritual form is alive and is still haunting Bond; he can never be truly happy due to his job and the enemies haunting him. Death will catch him one day..

  3. The writers and filmmakers were high on the 70's stuff and they didn't care, they just awarded Holder with a juicy role and ending out of respect.

Regardless we all won because the Baron was such a great character and helped make the movie worthwhile.

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"Without that ending that character would have been a lame charlatan and not as lovable" - how can you be so sure of that? Also, the question asks for information sourced from the people involved in making the movie – Luciano Feb 23 at 14:51

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