'The Living Daylights' revisited

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With 'Quantum of Solace' due to hit our screens soon, we take a daily look back at the 21 official Bond films. Day 15: ‘The Living Daylights’

The Living Daylights (1985, John Glen)

Villain: General Georgi KosovAt Stake: A lot of dead double-‘O’sCandy: Maryam d’Abo as Kara MilovyGizmo: A fancy keychainTheme song:The Living Daylights’ by a-haQuote: ‘Salt corrosion?’Roger Moore’s long overdue departure inducted a whole new generation to the well-publicised circus that had always surrounded the unveiling of a new James Bond. Glowering Welsh hunk Timothy Dalton was offered the role but commitments to another film meant he had to decline. Both Sam Neill and Lewis Collins failed to make the grade before the part was given – after a three-day screen test - to Pierce Brosnan, ‘became available’ after the cancellation of his Bond-lite US TV show ‘Remington Steele’. Being cast as Bond, however, caused such interest in the programme that the network exercised an option for another series. This in turn made the possibility of playing 007 impossible and the Bond producers withdrew their offer. The furore surrounding him dissipated and consequently the TV show was-re-cancelled, leaving poor Pierce high and dry. By the time all this nonsense was over, Dalton was free to lend his cold-eyed charm to the fourth incarnation of 007.As well as a new leading man, the series was given an almost total refit, with the lion’s share of the humour jettisoned in favour of a tightly wound plot crammed full of snipers, defectors and double-crosses which demands that James get his hands very dirty indeed.The action has been transplanted to locations more redolent of Cold War espionage than in the past. While Connery and Moore were hunting down enemy spies on Jamaican beaches and through the gambling palaces of the Med, Dalton is despatched to such hard-luck destinations as Bratislava, Gibraltar and Afghanistan.Director John Glen expends much effort in shuttling James around the world. Unfortunately it doesn’t leave him much time for anything else, and the intriguing and convoluted plot involving a defecting Russian general and the systematic assassination of Bond’s fellow double-‘O’s feels a little undercooked.It’s not all doom and gloom though – the stunt work is excellent and, in a sequence of unbridled whimsy that would have made Sir Roger proud, James bobsleds down the side of a mountain on a cello case. Also, watch out for Art Malick’s contribution as Oxford-educated leader of the local Mujahideen, Kamran Shah, and Andreas Wisniewski as the brilliantly named, chameleon-like assassin, Necros.

James Bond will return in… ‘Licence to Kill

Read our original review of 'The Living Daylights'

Author: Adam Lee Davies



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