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The image is at once enigmatic and deeply revealing: James Bond attired in resplendent tuxedo finery, fingers curled around his signature Walther PPK pistol, and back-dropped by a Mexican Calavera — a folkloric Day of the Dead creature wearing a natty top hat and an expression of cartoonish menace.

The latest poster for Spectre, the 24th installment of the blockbuster 007 franchise (due in theaters worldwide Nov. 6), contains oblique plot details surrounding a film Spectre’s director Sam Mendes has described as providing the “Bond creation myth.”

According to the movie’s official synopsis, “A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond (Daniel Craig) on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organization known as SPECTRE.”

But as anyone who has been following the video blogs posted semi-regularly to will tell you, a major Spectre set piece takes place in the Mexican capital. It involves no small number of skull-and-skeleton-decorated floats and maquettes, as well as 1,500 extras decked out in Calavera costumes, all ecstatically celebrating a national holiday — Mexico’s All Saints Day — that whimsically honors the dearly departed.

Viewed a certain way, it’s a “your chocolate is in my peanut butter” match made in heaven. License to kill? Meet Dia de Los Muertos.

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  • Sam Mendes