The Living Daylights (1987) - Illustrated Reference
The Living Daylights was directed by John Glen and premiered on 29th June 1987. Starring Timothy Dalton, Maryam d’Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Don Baker, Andreas Wisniewski ,Art Malik and John Rhys-Davies. Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson. Music by John Barry. Theme sung by A-ha. 130mins.
Bond organises the defection of General Koskov, he reveals a KGB plan to kill enemy agents. When Koskov is abducted Bond meets up with beautiful Cellist Kara Milovy, a friend of Koskovs. Bond discovers Koskov’s defection and abduction were all staged. Koskov, working with arms dealer Brad Whitaker, uses Soviet funds to buy a massive shipment of raw opium from Afghanistan.
The Living Daylights was the 15th Bond movie in the official series, it was adapted from the short story The Living Daylights included in Ian Fleming’s 14th and last Bond book Octopussy, first published in 1966.
In the story Bond is given orders to kill a top Soviet assassin to stop him from shooting dead a double agent defecting from Russia. When the assassin appears at a window with rifle, Bond is shocked to discover it’s the beautiful cellist he had been admiring coming and going into the building with her orchestra. Disobeying orders he shoots and wounds her rather than kill her.
Bond: Whoever she was, I must have scared the living daylights out of her.
Timothy Dalton (1944-) / James Bond
Born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, Timothy Dalton had previously been considered for Bond as far back as 1968, when he was just 24. His films include - The Lion in Winter (1968 as Philip II), Cromwell (1970), Wuthering Heights (1970 as Heathcliff), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Flash Gordon (1980 as Prince Barin), Licence to Kill (1989), The Rocketeer (1991), Looney Tunes Back in Action (2003), Hot Fuzz (2007) and The Tourist (2010).
Kara: You were fantastic. We're free.
Bond: Kara, we're inside a Russian airbase in the middle of Afghanistan.
Maryam D'Abo (1960-) / Kara Milovy
In one of the few nods to the original story Bond shoots Kara's rifle instead of killing her when she turns out to be the sniper at the start of the film. The line “Whoever she was I must have scared the living daylights out of her.” is similar to Bond's remark at the end of the original story.
Born in London, England, Maryam D'Abo films include - Xtro (1983), White Nights (1985), The Browning Version (1994) and Dorian Gray (2009).
Jeroen Krabbe (1944-) / General Georgi Koskov
Koskov is planning to buy tons of raw opium from the Afghans using money intended for an arms deal with his partner in crime, Brad Whitaker.
Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Jeroen Krabbe's films include - Soldier of Orange (1977), No Mercy (1986), A World Apart (1988), The Punisher (1989), The Prince of Tides (1991), The Fugitive (1993), Immortal Beloved (1994), Ocean's Twelve (2004), Deuce Bigalow European Gigolo (2005) and Transporter 3 (2008).
Whitaker: How do you like my personal pantheon of great commanders?
Whitaker: Surgeons. They cut away society's dead flesh.
Joe Don Baker (1936-) / Brad Whitaker
Brad Whitaker is an international arms dealer and also a military history buff, his mansion is full of waxwork military figures and historical weapons.
Born in Groesbeck, Texas, Joe Don Baker would reappear in two more Bond films as a different character, Jack Wade, Bonds CIA contact in Goldeneye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). His films include - Cool Hand Luke (1967), Walking Tall (1973 as Buford Pusser), The Outfit (1973), The Natural (1984), Fletch (1985), Cape Fear (1991), Congo (1995), Mars Attacks! (1996) and The Dukes of Hazzard (2005).
Pushkin: You are professional. You do not kill without reason.
Bond: Two of our men are dead. Koskov named you.
Pushkin: It is a question of trust. Who do you believe? Koskov, or me?
Bond: If I trusted Koskov we wouldn't be talking. As long as you're alive, we'll never know what he's up to.
Pushkin: Then I must die.
John Rhys-Davies (1944-) / General Leonid Pushkin
General Koskov points the finger at Pushkin for the killing of British agents, but Bond has his doubts.
Born in Salisbury, England, John Rhys-Davies films include - Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Sphinx (1981), Victor Victoria (1983), Sahara (1983), King Solomon's Mines (1985), Waxwork (1988), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003 as Gimli), The Medallion (2003) and In the Name of the King (2007).
Art Malik (1952-) / Kamran Shah
Born in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, Art Malik's films include - A Passage to India (1984), City of Joy (1992), True Lies (1994), The Wolfman (2010), Sex and the City 2 (2010) and John Carter (2012).
Andreas Wisniewski (1959-) / Necros
Born in Berlin, West Germany, Andreas Wisniewski's films include - Gothic (1987), Die Hard (1988), Mission Impossible (1996), Centurion (2010) and Mission Impossible 4 Ghost Protocol (2011).
Nearing 60 years of age, Roger Moore retired from spy duty, his licence to kill revoked. In 1986 the hunt was on for the 4th actor to play the world’s most famous secret agent. Pierce Brosnan and Sam Neill were tested for the part before it was handed over to 42 year old Timothy Dalton.
There were plans at one point to have Prince Charles and Princess Diana appear at the end of the film using look-alikes, similar to the way Prime Minister Thatcher appeared at the end of For Your Eyes Only (1981). Saner minds prevailed and the idea was dropped.
Bond’s CIA pal Felix Leiter makes his 6th appearance in the series, this time played by John Terry. The last time the character appeared in the official series was in Live and Let Die 14 years earlier. Bernie Casey played Leiter in the Kevin McClory production Never Say Never Again (1983).
Lois Maxwell was out as Moneypenny, after playing the role in all 14 previous Bond films. 25 year old Caroline Bliss was cast as Moneypenny in the two Timothy Dalton Bond films.
Walter Gotell appeared as KGB chief General Gogol for the last time, he had played the role in six Bond films.
The parrot from For Your Eyes Only makes an uncredited appearance in this movie.
Timothy Dalton performed most of the stunts himself, such as the opening chase on the roof of a jeep around the Rock of Gibraltar. The same short stretch of road was used over and over again from different angles.
Bond: Just taking the Aston out for a spin Q.
Q: Be careful, 007. It's just had a new coat of paint!
Bond drives an Aston Martin V8 Vantage equipped with steel spiked tyres, an outrigger, wheel hubs with built in lasers, front firing missiles, a targeting display on the windscreen, bulletproof glass, rear rocket propulsion and the car can be set for self-destruct.
The last time Bond drove an Aston Martin on screen was in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
Norwegian pop group A-ha sung the Bond theme “The Living Daylights”, it didn’t chart on the Billboard 100 but it did peak at #5 on the UK chart and sold 2.5 million copies worldwide.
And for the first time a different song appears over the end credits of a Bond movie, “If There Was a Man” performed by The Pretenders.
John Barry composed one of his best music scores for The Living Daylights. It would be his last score for the series. He can be seen conducting the orchestra near the end of the film. John Barry’s contribution to the success of the Bond movies can never be underestimated.
The Living Daylights was very successful at the box office, with a total of $191m worldwide, a bigger hit than Roger Moore's last Bond movie, A View to a Kill, which grossed $152m, audiences had accepted Dalton as the new Bond.
In my opinion Timothy Dalton was excellent as a more serious, angry, emotional Bond. But he did seem uncomfortable with the humour, the silly quips and ‘wink wink’ attitude which audiences expected from 007. He would get one more stab at Bond.
The Living Daylights would be the last time the title from an Ian Fleming story would be used until Casino Royale, 19 years later.
The film was retitled in some countries –
Danger Zone (Italy)
Facing Death (Poland)
Ice Cold Mission (Sweden)
The Touch Of Death (West Germany)
His Name Is Danger (Chile)
High Tension (Spain & Portugal)
Spies Die At Dawn (Denmark)
The Critics Wrote -
"Timothy Dalton, the fourth Bond, registers beautifully on all key counts of charm, machismo, sensitivity and technique. In The Living Daylights he's abetted by material that's a healthy cut above the series norm of super-hero fantasy." (Variety)
"Dalton, no waffler, develops the best Bond ever. He's as classy as the trademark tuxedo, as sleek as the Aston-Martin. Like Bond's notorious martini, women who encounter his carved-granite good looks are shaken, not stirred. Dalton does not play a pompous, mean-spirited Bond like Sean Connery or a prissy, sissy Bond like Roger Moore. Both were as aggressively heterosexual as pubescent Playboy subscribers." (Washington Post)
"At 40, Dalton takes a bow as James Bond. Although he isn't as quick with the wisecracks as earlier incarnations of 007, there's plenty of great action, a delicious damsel in distress and some wonderful scenery. What more do you want from a Bond film?" (Rose)
"Mr. Dalton, the latest successor to the role of James Bond, is well equipped for his new responsibilities. He has enough presence, the right debonair looks and the kind of energy that the Bond series has lately been lacking. If he radiates more thoughtfulness than the role requires, maybe that's just gravy." (Janet Maslin, New York Times)
"The raw materials of the James Bond films are so familiar by now that the series can be revived only through an injection of humor. That is, unfortunately, the one area in which the new Bond, Timothy Dalton, seems to be deficient. He's a strong actor, he holds the screen well, he's good in the serious scenes, but he never quite seems to understand that it's all a joke" (Roger Ebert)
"More plot, less humour, fewer gadgets and a more athletic Bond: on the whole, it's an improvement." (Chris Tookey)