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007: The Living Daylights (1987)
The Living Daylights Ultimate Edition Cover
The search for a new actor to play 007 following Roger Moore's retirement from the series with A View To A Kill caused a predictable media frenzy. Rumoured candidates ranged from the plausible (Sam Neill) to the unlikely (Christopher Reeve staed he had been approached) to the virtually impossible (an unknown Australian model named Finley Light). Ultimately, it appeared just about certain that Pierce Brosnan would be the next James Bond in The Living Daylights and Cubby Broccoli had all but officially anointed him as the new 007. Clearly, he was a popular choice with the public, who felt Brosnan's experience playing a detective on the recently cancelled television series Remington Steele gave him the necessary background for the role. However, when NBC sought to reactivate the series, Brosnan was forced to endure the heartbreak of losing the role. (Ironically, the new Remington Steele was cancelled shortly thereafter.)
Broccoli approached Timothy Dalton, whom he had long considered a strong candidate for the role of Bond. When Dalton enthusiastically accepted, the publicity juggernaught was put into motion to ensure every Bond fan on earth knew that he has inherited Roger Moore's mantle. The casting of Dalton was a strategically sound one. His intense acting style ensured that the Bond films would return to the genre of serious thrillers. Indeed, The Living Daylights is refreshingly devoid of embarrassing sight gags and over-the-top humour. Dalton took the Bond role seriously and immersed himself in reading Fleming's novels to ensure he gave 007 a dangerous edge. Indeed, if Dalton had one drawback it was his uncomfortable way of delivering the one-liners that are obligatory for any actor playing Bond. Mercifully, the script keeps these to a minimum.
By all accounts, Daylights succeeded on both an artistic and financial level. The movie is an engrossing thriller with a diverse and interesting cast, exotic locations and an excellent score by John Barry. Highlights include a terrific pre-credits sequence and an even more impressive fight between Bond and a would-be assassin aboard a cargo plane - one of the most impressive stunt sequences to appear in any of the films. Weaknesses include smaller-then-life villains and a lack of romance for Bond, who is monogamous this time (with one brief exeption). The Dalton era had begun, although no one realized at the time that his considerable contribution to the series would be limited to only two films.
Mission Assignment (may contain spoilers)
James Bond is assigned to Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, to arrange for the defection of top Soviet General Koskov. Their daring escape succeeds and Koskov informs MI6 that the KGB General Pushkin has initiated a programme of assassinations against British agents. To forestall any further casualties, Bond is assigned to terminate Pushkin. In the process, however, 007 discovers that the operation is merely a ploy by Koskov to have Mi6 kill Pushkin, who was about to arrest him for stealing government funds. Bond learns that Koskov is actually in league with international arms dealer Brad Whitaker and that the pair have initiated an ambitious scheme to use Soviet money for an arms deal to finance the purchase of opium, which they will then sell at enormous profits. Bond forms an aliiance with Pushkin and enlists Koskov's jilted girlfriend Kara Milovy to help track him down. The trail leads to a Soviet military base in Afghanistan. Here, Bond is able to convince the leader of the resistance, Kamran Shah, to launch an attack on the base and help foil Koskov's scheme. Bond tracks Koskov to Whitaker's estate in Tangier. In a brief but furious gun fight, Bond manages to kill the ruthless arms dealer and Pushkin arrests Koskov - ho has a grim fate awaiting him.
Location filming was centred largely in Morocco, for the sequences set in Tangiers as well as Afghanistan. The pre-credits sequence combined footage shot in Gilbraltar and the USA (for the part of the aerial jump). There were also extensive work done in Austria. Other scenes were shjot in and around London, with interiors done at Pinewood Studios.
Marketing & Merchandising
No expense was spared to remind the world that Timothy Dalton was the new Bond. Massive advertising campaigns began long before the film was released. Trade advertisements depicted the front number plate of an Aston Martin bearing the news that a new Bond film was coming. A teaser poster featured an extreme close-up of Dalton looking very intense. Indeed, the entire campaign as designed to inform fans that the dangerous element of 007 was back. A teaser trailer featured this aspect repeatedly (even if it was rather anti-climactic byt showing most of the highlights of the terrific pre-credits sequence). The British quad poster featured a superb painting of Bond inside a gun barrel surrounded by a collage of scenes and characters from the film. For reasons unknown, the US one-sheet poster was far less effective, with the main emphasis on a girl in a see-through nigthgown (see image on right). (Fans also complained that Dalton's head appeared too big for his body.) A one-hour television special, Happy Anniversary, 007, was ostensibly to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the series. In reality, the show - hosted by Roger Moore - was designed to promote the new Bond. (It was later released with additional footage on home video.)
Promotional tie-ins were plentiful. In the UK, Unigate offered free tickets to the film on their orage juice, Trio chocolates featured stickers in each packet, Philips heavily promoted their products in conjunction with the film, and Bollinger launched an aggressive advertising campaign featuring a special promotional poster, as did Carlsberg Beer. Products included a line of one-inch hand-painted figurines of Bond and characters from the film, and series, from Little Lead Soldiers (the same company provided the military dioramas for tehe film). LLS also produced leather address books, golf accessories, driver's licence holders and other products. Two books were released to considerable fanfare: The James Bond Movie Book, a brief look at the making of the individual films and The James Bond Movie Poster Book, which offered reproductions of the US one-sheet posters suitable for framing. In Germany, the ASS Company created a beautifully packaged board game and in Australia an entire series of toy guns and accessories was created. The rarest item connected with the film, however, is a promotional replica of the Philips keyring finder. Today, it can sell for over £200.
Director: John Glen
Writers: Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson, Ian Fleming
Starring: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Jeroen Krabbe
Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Thriller
Release date: 30 June 1987 UK
Film number: 15
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Timothy Dalton - James Bond
Maryam d'Abo - Kara Milovy
Jeroen Krabbe - General Georgi Koskov
Joe Don Baker - Brad Whitaker
Andreas Wisniewski - Necros
John Rhys-Davies - General Leonid Pushkin
Art Malik - Kamran Shan
Thomas Wheatley - Saunders
Desmond Llewelyn - Q
Robert Brown - M
Caroline Bliss - Miss Moneypenny
Geoffrey Keen - Frederick Gray
John Terry - Felix Leiter
Walter Gotell - General Gogol
Top Secret dossiers
During filming at Pinewood Studios the set was visited by the Prince and Princess of Wales. Both Charles and Diana had attended previous Bond premieres in aid of The Prince's Trust and the royal couple decided to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the movies are made. In the course of the visit, Diana playfully crashed a mock bottle used for stunts over her husband's head. A photograph of the prank made newspapers all over the world. Charles, it as reported, was shaken but not stirred.
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The Living Daylights Trailer
The Living Daylights Opening titles
_After exiting the plane, Georgi Koskov tells Kara Milovy he will try to have her assigned to the Siberian Philharmonic Orchestra. There is a huge gray microphone visible in front of her. It's pulled back when he finishes talking and everybody starts walking towards the camera.
As Bond pulls up to the side of the road near the hotel when he is following Pushkin's car in Tangiers, you can clearly see him knock over a pedestrian.
The left front tyre of Bond's car is shot out, but in the jump that follows the tyre is normal.
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The Box Office
Box-office grosses for The Living Daylights were far superior to those of A View To A Kill with a worldwide total of more than $191 million. The results cheered Eon Productions because it proved there was still an enthusiastic audience for Bond and that their efforts to revitalize the franchise had succeeded. Many house records were broken throughout the world. Critics were more anaemic, however. Most gave the film respectable, if unenthusiastic, reviews. Dalton's acting skills were uniformly cited as excellent but some critics complained that he lacked sexual aggressiveness of Connery and the wit of Moore. They missed the point. Dalton was not attempting to emulate any of his predecessors and was determined to create his own unique interpretation of the role. Judging the the box-office returns, he succeeded admirably.
Date Published: 01 June 2012 Last Updated: 07 April 2012