In Defence of The Living Daylights

A lengthy review of one of the Bond films I would consider to be underrated- starting with the 1980s...


Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton’s first outings as 007 both open with scenes of violent death, as we witness fellow agents grimly struck down far from home territory. Yet while the circumstances leading up to each actor’s introduction of the iconic character are apparently similar, their initial appearances onscreen could not be more different. While the opening glimpses of Roger Moore’s 007 involve our hero cosily wandering into the kitchen at home, Timothy Dalton’s Bond is first seen reeling in shock at the sight of 004’s brutal murder, throwing himself breathlessly into the chase as he struggles desperately to despatch a lone assailant. It’s a prescient indication of the direction this new tenure was destined to take. Dalton’s 007 prefers action over words, toughness over luxury, more comfortable glaring coldly down the sights of a rifle at his next target than peering lazily through binoculars at the grassy slopes of Brazil or Ascot racecourse, snapping orders at his allies rather than revelling in shared camaraderie.


Critics have charged Dalton’s two performances in the role as lacking screen presence. This isn’t quite accurate. While Dalton undoubtedly lacks the suave confidence of Sean Connery before him or Pierce Brosnan afterward, this is an entirely conscious decision; instead, Dalton’s Bond is perturbed and troubled, less certain of his place in the stifling MI6 hierarchy and struggling to hold his own against either friends or foes. Bond’s atypical reaction to the bureaucratic Saunders’ complaints, briskly declaring that “If M fires me, I’ll thank him for it” is revealing, as is Bond’s cold detachment towards Kara in the wake of Saunders’ death. This Bond is even permitted to make mistakes, drawing his gun in the heat of the pursuit and accidentally startling a frightened mother and child. This is a well-meaning attempt to portray Bond as a flawed figure, a three-dimensional character rather than a cardboard cipher for British influence abroad. Besides, Dalton shows himself perfectly capable of displaying all the finest traits of his predecessors at points; witness his despatching of Necros aboard the plane, a moment of ruthlessness to rival Connery’s unhesitant killing of Professor Dent in Dr. No, or his defence of tampering with Koskov’s hamper of presents, an aside of smirking snobbery worthy of Roger Moore at his best.


Dalton’s refreshing take on 007 is the most notable highlight of the film, but there are also some sterling action sequences to be enjoyed here. The best of these is probably Bond’s airborne battle with the Soviet assassin Necros, a brutal fight given real jeopardy by the ticking-clock aspect of the bomb waiting in the belly of the plane. In an effective moment of foreshadowing, an early sequence depicts Necros cruelly dispensing with one of Bond’s MI6 colleagues at a safehouse, a tense and bloody tussle that showcases the henchman’s lethal talents and raises the stakes for the inevitable physical match with 007 himself. This sense of danger is lent further weight when Necros is seen to be responsible for the murder of Bond’s reluctant ally Saunders, again serving to demonstrate the henchman’s latent menace far better than crushing a set of loaded dice ever could.


There’s a general sense of confidence and direction to The Living Daylights that’s noticeably missing from much of the Moore era. While Moore’s earlier instalments, such as The Man With the Golden Gun, made a habit of imitating the prevailing genres of the time such as kung fu and science fiction sagas, and his latter films, such as A View to a Kill, were arguably generic retreads of the franchise’s 60s glories, The Living Daylights functions far better as a genuine spy thriller, with a frosty Cold War atmosphere of international intrigue founded on a complex web of betrayals and defections. Compared to the lightly cartoonish depiction of looming nuclear Armageddon in 1983’s Octopussy, for example, The Living Daylights represents a definite step into more realistic territory for the series’ plotting.


While the lead performance, action and plotting remain strong, there are a few weaknesses to the adventure. Chief among these is the rather weak cadre of villains assembled against 007. Jeroen Krabbe’s General Koskov is a strong contender for the worst main villain of the series, undergoing a ridiculous volte-face from bumbling oaf to calculating schemer, from maladroit to mastermind. The transformation isn’t really believable, and the anticlimactic manner of his exit, meekly arrested rather than dying in a blaze of fireworks, doesn’t help either. More effective in execution is Joe Don Baker’s tech-obsessed arms dealer, a fanatic obsessed with military gizmos and tainted by an all-consuming lust for war. When challenged on his admiration for historical generals, the crazed Whitaker proclaims them to be: “Surgeons. They cut away society’s dead flesh.”, in a disturbingly cold and clinical line. While Whitaker proves a serviceable villain, and the henchman Necros is excellent, Koskov lets the trio down badly, and is something of a weak link for the film overall.


In the final analysis, however, The Living Daylights is a well-crafted thriller, and a contender for the best Bond film of the Eighties. Scoring highly on its central Bond performance, action and authentic Cold War atmosphere, the film is let down only by a few duff moments of humour and shaky villains. A far more assured Bond adventure than its immediate predecessors in the series, The Living Daylights is ultimately an endearing and exciting instalment that paves an intriguing new direction for the character of James Bond.
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Comments

  • HigginsHiggins GermanyPosts: 16,354MI6 Agent
    FYEO is the best Bond film of the 80s ;)
    President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

    Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!
  • Asp9mmAsp9mm Over the Hills and Far Away.Posts: 6,713MI6 Agent
    Higgins wrote:
    FYEO is the best Bond film of the 80s ;)

    Hate to agree with a moronic idiot. But you are right here. But even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.
    ..................Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff
    Thank you, SoD, for that well-written and perceptive review. I'd only add that John Barry's final Bond score (and his brief cameo) serves the film well and keeps it strongly in the Bond family; a new composer would have been wrong at this point.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,237MI6 Agent
    An excellent review. I remember that earlier in the year, during the AJB shared viewing of TLD, there was a mounting sense of dissatisfaction with the film, ranging beyond the weak impression made by Koskov to other issues such as the drippy Bond/ Kara relationship and the romanticisation of Kamran. Your defence here helps keep in focus the movie's strengths. I agree with the added appreciation of the score but probably also agree with the view that overall FYEO is the stronger film.
    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,001MI6 Agent
    Another good review, SoD. Thanks.
    I agree the film is an underrated gem. Much of what you say is an echo of my own in-depth review which is on this site somewhere. Nice to see someone who shares similar views. For me, John Glen is responsible for two excellent 007's in FYEO and TLD, both of which have a strong and contemporary Cold War plot. A pity the three surrounding movies are so dull. Dalton is particularly good, not just in the moments you identify but elsewhere too : the romantic elements, the dealings with Pushkin in Vienna, with M etc at the safehouse. I rate this 007 very highly - behind Connery of 64-65, and Craig '06, a shade better than Lazenby.
  • BlackleiterBlackleiter Washington, DCPosts: 5,604MI6 Agent
    A lengthy review of one of the Bond films I would consider to be underrated- starting with the 1980s...


    Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton’s first outings as 007 both open with scenes of violent death, as we witness fellow agents grimly struck down far from home territory. Yet while the circumstances leading up to each actor’s introduction of the iconic character are apparently similar, their initial appearances onscreen could not be more different. While the opening glimpses of Roger Moore’s 007 involve our hero cosily wandering into the kitchen at home, Timothy Dalton’s Bond is first seen reeling in shock at the sight of 004’s brutal murder, throwing himself breathlessly into the chase as he struggles desperately to despatch a lone assailant. It’s a prescient indication of the direction this new tenure was destined to take. Dalton’s 007 prefers action over words, toughness over luxury, more comfortable glaring coldly down the sights of a rifle at his next target than peering lazily through binoculars at the grassy slopes of Brazil or Ascot racecourse, snapping orders at his allies rather than revelling in shared camaraderie.


    Critics have charged Dalton’s two performances in the role as lacking screen presence. This isn’t quite accurate. While Dalton undoubtedly lacks the suave confidence of Sean Connery before him or Pierce Brosnan afterward, this is an entirely conscious decision; instead, Dalton’s Bond is perturbed and troubled, less certain of his place in the stifling MI6 hierarchy and struggling to hold his own against either friends or foes. Bond’s atypical reaction to the bureaucratic Saunders’ complaints, briskly declaring that “If M fires me, I’ll thank him for it” is revealing, as is Bond’s cold detachment towards Kara in the wake of Saunders’ death. This Bond is even permitted to make mistakes, drawing his gun in the heat of the pursuit and accidentally startling a frightened mother and child. This is a well-meaning attempt to portray Bond as a flawed figure, a three-dimensional character rather than a cardboard cipher for British influence abroad. Besides, Dalton shows himself perfectly capable of displaying all the finest traits of his predecessors at points; witness his despatching of Necros aboard the plane, a moment of ruthlessness to rival Connery’s unhesitant killing of Professor Dent in Dr. No, or his defence of tampering with Koskov’s hamper of presents, an aside of smirking snobbery worthy of Roger Moore at his best.


    Dalton’s refreshing take on 007 is the most notable highlight of the film, but there are also some sterling action sequences to be enjoyed here. The best of these is probably Bond’s airborne battle with the Soviet assassin Necros, a brutal fight given real jeopardy by the ticking-clock aspect of the bomb waiting in the belly of the plane. In an effective moment of foreshadowing, an early sequence depicts Necros cruelly dispensing with one of Bond’s MI6 colleagues at a safehouse, a tense and bloody tussle that showcases the henchman’s lethal talents and raises the stakes for the inevitable physical match with 007 himself. This sense of danger is lent further weight when Necros is seen to be responsible for the murder of Bond’s reluctant ally Saunders, again serving to demonstrate the henchman’s latent menace far better than crushing a set of loaded dice ever could.


    There’s a general sense of confidence and direction to The Living Daylights that’s noticeably missing from much of the Moore era. While Moore’s earlier instalments, such as The Man With the Golden Gun, made a habit of imitating the prevailing genres of the time such as kung fu and science fiction sagas, and his latter films, such as A View to a Kill, were arguably generic retreads of the franchise’s 60s glories, The Living Daylights functions far better as a genuine spy thriller, with a frosty Cold War atmosphere of international intrigue founded on a complex web of betrayals and defections. Compared to the lightly cartoonish depiction of looming nuclear Armageddon in 1983’s Octopussy, for example, The Living Daylights represents a definite step into more realistic territory for the series’ plotting.


    While the lead performance, action and plotting remain strong, there are a few weaknesses to the adventure. Chief among these is the rather weak cadre of villains assembled against 007. Jeroen Krabbe’s General Koskov is a strong contender for the worst main villain of the series, undergoing a ridiculous volte-face from bumbling oaf to calculating schemer, from maladroit to mastermind. The transformation isn’t really believable, and the anticlimactic manner of his exit, meekly arrested rather than dying in a blaze of fireworks, doesn’t help either. More effective in execution is Joe Don Baker’s tech-obsessed arms dealer, a fanatic obsessed with military gizmos and tainted by an all-consuming lust for war. When challenged on his admiration for historical generals, the crazed Whitaker proclaims them to be: “Surgeons. They cut away society’s dead flesh.”, in a disturbingly cold and clinical line. While Whitaker proves a serviceable villain, and the henchman Necros is excellent, Koskov lets the trio down badly, and is something of a weak link for the film overall.


    In the final analysis, however, The Living Daylights is a well-crafted thriller, and a contender for the best Bond film of the Eighties. Scoring highly on its central Bond performance, action and authentic Cold War atmosphere, the film is let down only by a few duff moments of humour and shaky villains. A far more assured Bond adventure than its immediate predecessors in the series, The Living Daylights is ultimately an endearing and exciting instalment that paves an intriguing new direction for the character of James Bond.

    What a terrific, well-reasoned review. And I agree 100%!
    "Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    Higgins wrote:
    FYEO is the best Bond film of the 80s ;)

    I share this opinion, but TLD is my number two, and I see the two films as being very similar in many ways. FYEO, OP and TLD are all in my top 5 Bond films. The 80s and John Glen treated Bond very well. Except for LTK, though I wouldn’t want to say that to John Glen.
    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 2,909Quartermasters
    Thank you SpectreOfDefeat for a very good review of The Living Daylights, which is my favourite Bond film of the 1980s and highly placed in my overall Top 10 Bond films. I have a fondness for the 80s Bonds, and I appreciate the work that John Glen did to bring a different flavour to the films of that decade (albeit with mixed results). In my opinion, The Living Daylights represents John Glen at his best.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,067MI6 Agent
    edited November 2020
    Critics have charged Dalton’s two performances in the role as lacking screen presence. This isn’t quite accurate. While Dalton undoubtedly lacks the suave confidence of Sean Connery before him or Pierce Brosnan afterward, this is an entirely conscious decision; instead, Dalton’s Bond is perturbed and troubled, less certain of his place in the stifling MI6 hierarchy and struggling to hold his own against either friends or foes. Bond’s atypical reaction to the bureaucratic Saunders’ complaints, briskly declaring that “If M fires me, I’ll thank him for it” is revealing, as is Bond’s cold detachment towards Kara in the wake of Saunders’ death. This Bond is even permitted to make mistakes, drawing his gun in the heat of the pursuit and accidentally startling a frightened mother and child. This is a well-meaning attempt to portray Bond as a flawed figure, a three-dimensional character rather than a cardboard cipher for British influence abroad.

    It is well-meaning, I just don't think it works very well. When you take away the suave confidence from Bond you lose a massive part of his appeal: people enjoy the Bond character on screen because of that confidence. So when people criticise Daniel Craig because 'Dalton did it first' I think they're dead wrong: he also makes Bond a three-dimensional character but crucially he doesn't forget that swagger and confidence that makes Bond Bond. And audiences loved it.

    I want to like Dalton and he is perfectly watchable, but watching Sean or Roger is like sipping a whisky: indulgent and you know it's naughty but it's just finely enjoyable, and blended from many different flavours from full-on drama to wonderfully self-knowing winks. Dalton gives a much more straighforward performance that can't be enjoyed on those different levels and so you don't end up bonding with him like you do the others, and it's not a performance to be savoured. People wanted more of Sean and there's a reason for that.
    The annoying thing is Dalts does actually give much more confident performances in other non-Bond films, so he could have done it. He looks great, and he sells the danger and intensity of it all (although I would say I don't believe he actually enjoys women and luxuries: somehow the nods towards those feel perfunctory, like his heart isn't in it), but you can't really enjoy the pleasure of him being Bond.
  • HigginsHiggins GermanyPosts: 16,354MI6 Agent
    +1 and that‘s the reason why Dalton mostly comes along like an angry schoolboy :D
    President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

    Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,522MI6 Agent
    Dalton makes me think of the Bond I read in Fleming's books. I don't feel any of the Connery, Moore or Brosnan swagger in the books. Dalton's lack of swagger may not work as well on screen, but I think it makes him a more relatable Bond. None of us have Connery's swagger.
    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,067MI6 Agent
    He is arguably more like Fleming's Bond in some ways, but then Fleming's Bond isn't really a hugely interesting character: he's a bit of a blank. He has a few tics and habits but not much personality beyond those- he's the pair of eyes through which we experience the wild world Fleming conjures. The films are more about Bond himself and celebrating him than the books were.

    I don't think we need to relate to Bond hugely, none of us live in his world or react to things like he does, which is why the makers of the films made him into this figure which we could marvel at and vicariously live through. Dalton's just a bit blank in that.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,237MI6 Agent
    edited November 2020
    Based on Fleming's short story 'The Living Daylights', that early part of the film when Bond barely contain his distaste with his mission of shooting the sniper, and his irritation with Saunders, is very well acted by Dalton, who gives the whole sequence a dark intensity. ("Angry schoolboy" @Higgins? lol) Comparisons with Connery are interesting. Had Connery been given that same scene and played it more in the style of his Sgt. Johnson of 'The Offence' (1973), rather than as his customary post-GF Bond, we'd perhaps have got something darker still: a moodily disenchanted secret agent on the brink of a bad-tempered resignation. Come to think of it, Connery's co-star in 'The Offence', Ian Bannen, would have made a great alternative Saunders - or Captain Sender, as Fleming originally named the character.
    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,067MI6 Agent
    Shady Tree wrote:
    Based on Fleming's short story 'The Living Daylights', that early part of the film when Bond barely contain his distaste with his mission of shooting the sniper, and his irritation with Saunders, is very well acted by Dalton, who gives the whole sequence a dark intensity. ("Angry schoolboy" @Higgins? lol) Comparisons with Connery are interesting. Had Connery been given that same scene and played it more in the style of his Sgt. Johnson of 'The Offence' (1973), rather than as his customary post-GF Bond, we'd perhaps have got something darker still: a moodily disenchanted secret agent on the brink of a bad-tempered resignation. Come to think of it, Connery's co-star in 'The Offence', Ian Bannen, would have made a great alternative Saunders - or Captain Sender, as Fleming originally named the character.

    interesting thought, yeah; I can't really imagine Connery doing any of Roger's films, but he could slide into Daylights very easily, couldn't he? I can very much picture him arriving at the opera to meet Saunders, cheekily and engagingly eyeing up Kara etc. then turning cold when it comes to the assassination and then intimidating Saunders when he takes control. And, yeah, it's better with him doing it.

    Daylights possibly remains my favourite Bond film incidentally, and I don't hate Dalton in it; but I do think his performance suffers in comparison to the other Bonds quite a bit. Even Lazenby knew that James Bond 007 is the guy who acts like he has the biggest balls in the world.
  • SeanIsTheOnlyOneSeanIsTheOnlyOne Posts: 117MI6 Agent
    edited November 2020
    Higgins wrote:
    FYEO is the best Bond film of the 80s ;)

    Well, this can be debated. I think FYEO is BY FAR the best one with Roger, but some other movies of the decade are quite interesting in terms of storytelling.

    TLD is my favorite Bond film after FRWL and GF. The main reason is obviously the plotline, a matserpiece if you get interested in spy fiction and geopolitics.

    What's remarkable with this one is the complexity of the interactions between the characters given their respective motives. The eponymous short story by Fleming the film is based upon led Maibaum and Wison to adapt it so cleverly and so stylishly, using the global context at that time with the Soviet-Afghan War, that I even wonder if TLD is not more subtle than FRWL in some way.

    The only detail preventing me from ranking this one in first position among all the Bond films is Jeroen Krabbé’s performance, considering General Koskov is Bond’s brightest adversary in the entire franchise. If you think about it, Koskov is some kind of Keyser Söze and his ability to manipulate so many people from opposite sides should have been showed with more intensity, insisting on the contrast with the first part of the movie, and on that point, Krabbé’s not convincing enough, but perhaps he was only responding to Glen’s instructions. Furthermore, the lethal partnership Koskov/Whitaker is the key of the story and I think Joe Don Baker is the only one really giving a solid performance while he’s featured five or six minutes (what a wonderful scene with John Rhys-Davies in Tangier, love it).

    Concerning Krabbé, it’s such a shame because the man is a good actor. The funny thing is several years later, he will play the main antagonist in The Fugitive in which he turns out to be much more credible, worthy of a Bond villain.

    Having said that, the rest is pure perfection. Bravo !
  • humbusterhumbuster Posts: 3MI6 Agent
    Watched this the other night and Dalton in the role held up well, IMHO.

    My favorite Bond film on the 80s and Dalton was much better in the role, than Moore, IMHO.

    Barry's score was tremendous and helped the film immensely. JB had many themes (title song, If there was a man, WHEG and the JB theme) to work with. I believe TLD score was his best since OHMSS.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    A View to a Kill is the best Bond film of the 1980s. :p

    I enjoyed SoD's review, more than the film itself actually. Not sure Connery could have done the romance really, come to think of it there's a touch of Thunderball about the plot isn't there - Bond sort of uses secret info about the gal's loved one to get to her. That said, could never quite get whether Dalton's Bond is putting on an act or really is smitten with her cello playing. I'd have preferred a different kind of direction for this, something more generic actually.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • ironponyironpony Posts: 56MI6 Agent
    This has always been one of the lesser ones for me.

    My reason is the villains are probably the worst villains in the series, in that they are so dull. Whitaker being the dullest, and Necros, probably the least interesting, or intimidating, of all blonde henchman. But Whitaker and Koskov seem dull, even almost bumbling, really.

    I also find Kara to be really hard to like, even though you want to. This is probably not the actress's fault and was just following direction, but she played it as an over the top school girl, constantly wide eyed all the time. The worst moment in the entire movie is when Bond and her escape the prison, and she says to him "You were fantastic! We're Free!!". The way she says is so cringe inducing and I cannot get over it. She's possibly the most cringe inducing Bond girl of the whole series, if there can be a catagory for that.

    Plus Bond just seems annoyed by her a lot of the time, and then when he falls for her, you don't buy it, because it feels like he was annoyed with her a lot of the time, but he is only going for her because the script requires it. So when he switches from liking her to being annoyed, to liking her, to being annoyed, I never bought the switches.

    So mainly her and the really dull villains are why I keep failing to see what is so great about this one. I keep wanting to, so can anyone help me out?
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,814Chief of Staff
    Sounds like a job for Higgins.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,067MI6 Agent
    I must admit I don't really buy Bond falling for Kara. She's sweet but she's a bit dumb sometimes and not really very strong.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,557MI6 Agent
    I don't think Kara is dumb. She is naive in my opinion.
  • OrnithologistOrnithologist BerlinPosts: 486MI6 Agent
    emtiem wrote:
    not really very strong.

    Care to elaborate? I don't want to get too political here, but I think the requirement for a woman to constantly yell at the (male) protagonist and to be at least as capable at everything he does despite having zero training in his line of work in order to be considered a "strong woman" is one of the most annoying aspects of present-day movie making.

    I agree that she was naive and seemed to be genuinely shocked and confused by the events happening around her - which is probably how most people would react if anything like that happened in their own lives. So what if she's not a super heroine who is Bond's equal in every way? That's not what Bond girls were (supposed to be) for most of the series. I like her :007)
    "I'm afraid I'm a complicated woman. "
    "- That is something to be afraid of."
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,557MI6 Agent
    I agree. There is no need for everyone to be competent at action and spyling in a movie like that. The main goals should be making the characters belivable, engaging and having a good story. Hayley Atwell is very good at playing strong, capable and heroic women. I enjoy watching her in that sort of roles. But in December I watched the mini-series "The long song". Here Atwell plays a helpless, needy, stupid and far from heroic woman. I think it's one of the best performances she has made. Actresses shouldn't be required to only play strong heroes, like male actors they should be allowed to play all types of people. The main thing is letting them portray interesting and engaging characters.
  • HowardBHowardB USAPosts: 2,547MI6 Agent
    I also disagree with the opinion of some "critics" that Dalton lacked screen presence. A very good example of Dalton's screen presence is on display in the pre title sequence (one of the best in the series IMO). Glen (and the editors) do a brilliant job of introducing the new Bond in that PTS and when that camera zooms in on Dalton (despite the fact that several others are dressed in the same black military garb and could possibly be Bond) there is no question that he is Bond and he does it without saying a word of dialogue or actually being identified as Bond. As I recall, famous TV and newspaper critics Siskel and Ebert actually gave TLD a pretty good review and liked Dalton as Bond. I think one of them described Dalton as appearing to be "genetically engineered" to be Bond.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,067MI6 Agent
    emtiem wrote:
    not really very strong.

    Care to elaborate? I don't want to get too political here, but I think the requirement for a woman to constantly yell at the (male) protagonist and to be at least as capable at everything he does despite having zero training in his line of work in order to be considered a "strong woman" is one of the most annoying aspects of present-day movie making.

    I agree that she was naive and seemed to be genuinely shocked and confused by the events happening around her - which is probably how most people would react if anything like that happened in their own lives. So what if she's not a super heroine who is Bond's equal in every way? That's not what Bond girls were (supposed to be) for most of the series. I like her :007)

    That's not what strong means, no. When I say strong I don't mean a leather-clad superspy, just someone who is not naive and falls for everything she's told. Tracy for example is a strong and intelligent woman, but she can't karate kick a dozen henchmen in the face. She has a vulnerability of course, but her personality and will is still strong in a way that Kara's isn't.

    It wouldn't usually be an issue, but that they chose this film for Bond to suddenly be a one-woman man, it didn't quite ring true. Pam in LTK has more confidence and intelligence and experience and just seems more of a believable fit for Bond.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,067MI6 Agent
    HowardB wrote:
    I also disagree with the opinion of some "critics" that Dalton lacked screen presence. A very good example of Dalton's screen presence is on display in the pre title sequence (one of the best in the series IMO). Glen (and the editors) do a brilliant job of introducing the new Bond in that PTS and when that camera zooms in on Dalton (despite the fact that several others are dressed in the same black military garb and could possibly be Bond) there is no question that he is Bond and he does it without saying a word of dialogue or actually being identified as Bond.

    The Bond theme playing on the soundtrack is a bit of a clue :)
    HowardB wrote:
    As I recall, famous TV and newspaper critics Siskel and Ebert actually gave TLD a pretty good review and liked Dalton as Bond. I think one of them described Dalton as appearing to be "genetically engineered" to be Bond.

    Ebert's review wasn't that strong, no: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-living-daylights-1987
    And I think Siskel famously referred to Dalton as being a 'mouse' on their TV show.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    Any chance she might have been cast with Pierce Brosnan in mind? She might have worked better alongside the more youthful actor, though I do think she and Dalton have some chemistry.
    You can imagine Pierce delivering that final line 'You didn't think I'd miss this performance, did you?' albeit in his transatlantic gigolo tones, better then stuffed shirt Dalton.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,067MI6 Agent
    Any chance she might have been cast with Pierce Brosnan in mind? She might have worked better alongside the more youthful actor, though I do think she and Dalton have some chemistry.

    D'Abo played Tatania in some of the screentests with the Bond candidates and I think she may have been cast first, yes- before even Brosnan possibly.
    You can imagine Pierce delivering that final line 'You didn't think I'd miss this performance, did you?' albeit in his transatlantic gigolo tones, better then stuffed shirt Dalton.

    I've always sort of thought Brosnan was a bit too young for Bond then and it worked out well in the end, but to be honest I was watching Fourth Protocol again recently and he really would have been pretty perfect at the time. And yes, he'd have done that line better, you're right.
    Dalton looked absolutely perfect, I can never argue with that. And he was more masculine than Brosnan (although I'm not sure he ever really convinced in the fight scenes). But Brosnan was just a bit more of a movie star. I'm glad we had both of them, but I can't honestly not think that TLD might have been a bit better with Brosnan there.
  • HowardBHowardB USAPosts: 2,547MI6 Agent
    emtiem wrote:
    HowardB wrote:
    I also disagree with the opinion of some "critics" that Dalton lacked screen presence. A very good example of Dalton's screen presence is on display in the pre title sequence (one of the best in the series IMO). Glen (and the editors) do a brilliant job of introducing the new Bond in that PTS and when that camera zooms in on Dalton (despite the fact that several others are dressed in the same black military garb and could possibly be Bond) there is no question that he is Bond and he does it without saying a word of dialogue or actually being identified as Bond.

    The Bond theme playing on the soundtrack is a bit of a clue :)
    HowardB wrote:
    As I recall, famous TV and newspaper critics Siskel and Ebert actually gave TLD a pretty good review and liked Dalton as Bond. I think one of them described Dalton as appearing to be "genetically engineered" to be Bond.

    Ebert's review wasn't that strong, no: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-living-daylights-1987
    And I think Siskel famously referred to Dalton as being a 'mouse' on their TV show.

    Oh well....it was a long time ago and I might have heard or read that review from some other critic; but I do recall that I read mainly positive reviews for TLD and Dalton's casting as Bond. One thing I do remember is that Siskel and Ebert when reviewing Goldeneye disagreed on what they thought of Brosnan as Bond, I think it might have been Siskel who said he thought Brosnan reminded him more of "James Bond's valet" than James Bond. But I did like Brosnan as Bond and still like TLD and Dalton.
  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,554MI6 Agent
    I was a huge fan of Siskel and Ebert and watched their show every Sunday. After Siskel died, I tended to seek out Ebert’s reviews on the Bond films online. However, as a Bond fan I felt there was something missing from his reviews, which along with most other critics went to limited depths with these movies, which I supposed was best since their reviews were on behalf of general audiences. It seems they evaluated every new Bond movie with Connery or Moore in mind, but they lacked the more nuanced of Bond fans who maintained a living and breathing awareness of the evolving Bond universe.

    That’s why I better appreciated Bond chroniclers like John Cork, Lee Pfeiffer, Dave Worrall and Raymond Benson, though sometimes they veer to be diplomatic or even biased whenever EON is involved in the publishing process.
    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
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