The Living Daylights
Enter Bond Mark IV ...
The Living Daylights(1987)
Distributed by MGM/UA Home Video
When suave Roger Moore gave up the role of super spy James Bond the world was waiting for another Connery or Moore instead we got an actor who plays the role straight. Bond as one critic remarked at the time has finally grown up, Timothy Dalton's portrayal takes Bond back nearer to Fleming's creation. As director John Glen hoped the opening Gibraltar action sequence establishes Dalton as a new 007. After an exciting drive down the famous Rock, he drops in on the boat and his slightly rushed let's get on with it delivery means that this Bond is going to be different. Enter the pop group a-ha with an under-rated Bond song and the titles. The story has a sinister assassination plot code-named Spiert Spionem which results with the death of some British agents. Mixed up in this is Cellist Kara Milovy ( Maryam d'Abo ) who becomes 007's only love-interest. Our James helps General Koskov ( Jeroen Krabbé ) escape from Bratislavia only for his accomplice Necros ( Andreas Wisniewski ) to kidnap him again. During the alleged kidnapping watch out for the parrot ( is it the one from For Your Eyes Only ? - I'm waiting for "St Cyrils" ).
In London we meet up again with Q ( Desmond Llewelyn ) and more gadgets - a useful key ring which comes in handy later and an Aston Martin Volante which proves disposable again. If only Lazenby had this version of the vehicle in OHMSS. We also get our view of the bespectacled new Miss Moneypenny ( Caroline Bliss ) who is already under James' influence.
When James returns with the car to Bratislavia, he meets and helps Milovy escape to Austria. Here you hear one of John Barry's best scores with the use of the romantic and action themes. Also the Aston Martin proves to be a 'star' with it's devices and speed in order to avoid capture reminding us of 007's DB5 in Goldfinger. While the cello ( which is called 'The Lady Rose' ) box proves useful for an amusing ski chase and the passing of Czech/Austrian borders.
After another helpful agent is murdered by Necros, Bond leaves with Milovy for Tangiers and meets up with the villain Brad Whitaker, an international arms dealer played by Joe Don Baker ( late to reappear as CIA Agent Jack Wade in the Brosnan/Bond movies ). Whitaker isn't your megalomaniac like past Bond villains, he just wants to make profit. Framed in the plot is Gogol's replacement General Pushkin ( John tv's Sliders Rhys-Davies ) and watching from the side-lines is another Felix Leiter ( John Terry ) aided by two beauties. Later when the action moves to Afghanistan Bond encounters and joins up with the charming Kamran Shah ( played by Art Malik of tv's The Jewel in the Crown ). Watch out for the conductor at Milovy's end performance as Bond composer John Barry finally makes a brief appearance. Also for Shah's late arrival due to "problems with customs" and his introduction to General Gogol ( Walter Gotell ) while James makes use of that 'whistling' key ring.
Despite the unfair criticism of Dalton, this is 'Bond according to Fleming' and because of that this alienates some of the audience who have enjoyed his predecessors' over used one-liners especially in the Moore/Bond movies. If you enjoy Fleming's books you'll like Dalton as 007 and who is great in the exciting action scenes. Nice one Tim !
In 2006 MGM Home Entertainment released the James Bond Ultimate Edition 2-Disc DVD set of each of the 20 movies. The format remains the same with disc one having the digitally restored movie and disc two with the extras - Declassified: MI6 Vault, 007 Mission Control, Mission Dossier, Ministry of Propaganda & Image Database. Each menu has a Bond lookalike silhouette, shooting girls, casino chips & cards and gun barrels incorporating photos & music from the movie.
Two regular features tucked away in 007 Mission Control with movie snips is a section called Exotic Locations with Samantha Moneypenny Bond narrating about the filming locations & their history and within 007 section is Opening Titles - Textless enabling you to enjoy them without the words covering the girls/images. Also comes with an eight page booklet with info & photos.
For this disc movie audio commentary comes mainly from director John Glen. Finally get to see his deleted Magic carpet scene on the extras which also include the a-ha pop video, trailers, documentaries about the making of the movie, Roger Moore's Happy Anniversary 007 - about the Eon series' Silver [25th] Anniversary, another about author Ian Fleming - a talking heads recollection, also a relaxed Dalton talking on the grounds of Pinewood Studios ( notice the bridge behind used for the opening night scene in FRWL ) about acting & the role. So a must for Bond fans !