Groovers & Mobsters Present: JAMES BOND – The Living Daylights

Groovers & Mobsters event is upon as again and this time it’s all about the world’s most famous super spy.  Just a bit of background, this monthly event was started by Heather from Movie Mobsters and Andy from Fandango Groovers where various bloggers join them in exploring a select genre in the only way we know how, talking about our favourite movies. This is the first time I join on the fun, and my pick for the Bond genre (yes I think it’s the only franchise that can double as a genre) is:

THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS

Stuff my orders! I only kill professionals. That girl didn’t know one end of a rifle from the other. Go ahead. Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I’ll thank him for it.

Timothy Dalton made his 007 debut in the 15th Bond film, introduced in one of the most memorable Bond opening sequence of training exercise in the Rock of Gibraltar. Set in the post cold war era, Bond starts his mission by assisting the defection of Russian KGB General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) who revealed there’s a Soviet plot to kill British spies. Upon the general’s recapture from his hideout, Bond is assigned to kill Koskov’s boss, Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies) which leads to a conspiracy involving an American arms dealer (Joe Don Baker).

Though I grew up with Roger Moore as Bond, I love Dalton’s darker and tougher take of the superspy, which was a refreshing change from Moore’s campy and droll portrayal. This is the reluctant agent who ‘trust instincts, not orders’ and he doesn’t always enjoy the assignment he was given. As widely reported, Dalton is a big fan of Ian Fleming’s novels, thus his insistence on remaining true to the author’s vision of the literary character.

I realize TLD isn’t the best Bond movie, what with a weak villain and the least intriguing Bond girl ever. But Dalton more than makes up for it with his sophisticated approach combined with the right amount of danger. This is a guy with a license to kill and he’s got no qualms to use it. But yet he’s not heartless. The scene right after his MI-6 contact Saunders was killed showed Bond displaying a genuine emotion of real grief and seething rage, as he crushed that “Smiert Spionem” balloon with his bare hand. John Rhys-Davies also turns in a compelling and memorable performance as Pushkin, also a nice change from the stodgy General Gogol in the previous installments.

The action sequences are what you’d expect in a Bond movie, and it’s nice to see an actor who look believably bad-ass as Dalton did a lot of his own stunts, including the vigorous stunts in the opening scene as well as the awesome mid-air battle on a cargo airplane. It was fun and exhilarating, and yet not devoid of humor. When his girl Kara asked him what happened, Bond answered matter-of-factly, ‘he got the boot.’ That’s not the only comical one-liners in the movie, though I’m glad the writers didn’t pile them on as they did in Moore’s versions.

All in all, it’s a really underrated film that deserved a second look, especially if you appreciate Casino Royale. As I said here, both Daniel Craig and Dalton epitomized that merciless grit and ruthlessness like no other Bond before them. Clearly, Dalton was way ahead of its time.

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Head over to MovieMobsters blog to read the rest of the Bond event.

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35 thoughts on “Groovers & Mobsters Present: JAMES BOND – The Living Daylights

    1. Thanks Dan! Glad you like his Bond films considering Moore is your fave. Even Dalton himself doesn’t dis what Moore did with 007, he just has a different interpretation of what Bond is all about.

  1. Richard

    I still believe Timothy Dalton was the best Bond, and I wish he’d had a better chance to prove it. He was stuck in the time when the franchise was dying a death and didn’t get the greatest material to work with. As I understand it, The Living Daylights was written for Moore. I thought License to Kill was better.

    1. Wahoo, you obviously a man of great taste Richard 🙂 Amen to what you said about Dalton… but even when he wasn’t given the best material he still did more with it and makes his portrayal memorable. I like both TLD and LTK, but since TLD is his first, I chose that one for this Bond event. I LOVE his introduction in the beginning of the movie!

  2. As a fellow Bond Girl Geek, I must say I totally Agree! I LOVE LOVE THIS MOVIE and the theme song! He was both suave and crass in his mannerisms. “Sorry, ol’ chap. Need to know basis only!”, “We have nothing to declare-EXCEPT A CELLO!”

    However, Kara did get on my nerves with her puppy dog devotion to James. Yet, the scene where she jumps on the truck and runs after James, who was about to fly off with a plane full of heroin was CLASSIC! Whenever I watch that scene I feel like saying “GO GET’EM GIRL” lol.

    Anyhow I thought Timothy was a great choice after Roger Moore, and even though his tenure was short, Timothy is without a doubt my #2 bond actor!

    1. Hi Brooke, welcome to FC. Glad to see a fellow Tim Dalton & TLD fan! Ha..ha.. yes I do love both of those quotes… Dalton deliver the one-liners so perfectly, both the asinine and humorous ones.

      I’m not too crazy about Kara, she kind of comes across as a dimwitted Blond a lot of the times, but I agree that scene is pretty darn good.

      Say, who’s your #1 Bond? I think for me Dalton & Craig is neck and neck… but Dalton wins because he makes me weak in the knees (something Craig will never do). 😀

      1. I could have sworn I responded to this…but if not my number one pick was Roger Moore. Only because I grew up with him as bond (my dad’s favorite) and I find that while his movies are overly campy they are still a lot of fun! Moonraker for example! My least favorite is Sean Connery and Pierce Bronson. Daniel Craig rounds out the number three spot!

        1. I grew up w/ Roger also, but can’t say he’s my fave after seeing Dalton, who’s my fave Rochester as well. Funny that my post today actually include one of Moore’s movie, but it’s Octopussy. Glad you didn’t like Pierce either, I only like him in Goldeneye.

  3. I think I’m with you on this one Living Daylights was on of the best and I was raised with Sean Connery as Bond. The old lie “they don’t make em like they use to” is sad but true. Maybe Daniel Craig can breath life back into them. Here’s hoping.

    1. Wow Kim, we must be kindred spirits. We’ve agreed on Byrne and now this… [high five!] Everyone was singing praises for Craig but it’s Dalton who started the gritty Bond… plus he’s faaaaar better looking than Craig 😀

  4. I think people weren’t on board with the darker direction of Dalton’s movies. It’s too bad. I would have liked to see more of them made.

    I have to change my answer as to who my favorite Bond is. It’s Connery, and From Russia with Love might be my favorite movie of his.

    1. Yeah, he’s ahead of his time as some people have said. I think Connery is a fantastic Bond, it’s just his films just look so dated. I do like ‘From Russia’ a lot, perhaps my fave too from his Bond films.

  5. Victor De Leon

    Amazing write up, Ruth! I loved that you brought up the grit and ruthlessness that Dalton brings to his take on Bond. His intro was indeed memorable as well. With just 2 007 films to his name, Dalton has without a doubt, left an incredible impression on me. Thanks!

    1. Hi Vic! Glad to see a fellow TLD and Dalton fan! Yeah, he’s absolutely fantastic as Bond and a great actor in general. I forever mourn the fact that he never got to do his 3rd Bond movie as he was contracted to do! He was Broccoli’s first choice to replace Connery and boy did he have the right instinct! Dalton shall remain my favorite Bond, w/ Craig second.

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  8. So happy you are a fan of Dalton. My sis read the books before I did and always recommended him as being closest to the book. She’s also loving him in Penny Dreadful.

    1. Oh man, I’ve been a card-carrying member of the ‘Dalton is best Bond’ brigade, heck I might as well be the leader, ahah. Yes, he’s the closest to Ian Fleming’s vision of Bond, and that’s why Cubby Broccoli’s been wanting to get him even before Brosnan entered the picture. Dalton actually READ Fleming’s books and so he nailed the portrayal of the gritty, no-nonsense spy who’s not too oversexed or too brutish, he’s the thinking person’s James Bond but he’s also VERY easy on the eyes. I could go on in my appreciation for Dalton, not just as Bond but overall. Yes he’s terrific in Penny Dreadful, though I’ve only seen a few episodes.

        1. Amen!! He probably would have as he was contracted for at least 3 films. His third one would have been titled ‘Property of a Lady’ Damn those MGM lawsuits!! I think Dalton’s tired of waiting so when his contract expired he was like, I’m moving on 😦

            1. Well, for sure I don’t see Tom Hiddleston nor Jamie Bell who were rumored to replace Craig when he supposedly was done as Bond. But I’d LOVE to see my crush Sam Riley get a shot.

              I mean he IS British (Yorkshire born), talented actor, perfect height (6’1″) and not overly handsome that he’s become a pretty boy like Henry Cavill. I also love a tall & lean Bond a la Dalton, I mean Craig turned out to be a great Bond despite not having the *right* physique for my liking, but my vision for Bond is that he has to at least be 6 feet tall w/ dark hair! Plus Riley himself is a huge Bond fan so it’d be cool to see he’d at least get a shot for a screen test.

                1. Oh no, his name’s not mentioned, but I wish it would! I would LOVE to see Elba but I think that’s more fans wishful thinking than anything. It’d be tough to find a Bond villain formidable enough to counter Elba’s charisma, that’s why I think he’d be better as a Bond villain. No opinion on Aidan, I mean he’s pretty but not sure about his acting chops.

                    1. I’ve only seen him in the Hobbit series but again, small role there. I heard he’s good in that Poldark series. As for Sam, have you seen any of his films? He’s known mostly for CONTROL, but I’ve seen about 10 of his films so far and he’s terrific in various roles. He can be pretty ruthless and badass like Dalton too, esp in the Euro Western The Dark Valley. But yet I can see him blend in w/ the crowd which is what a spy should be able to do. Someone who’s way too pretty like Cavill would stick out like a sore thumb.

                    2. Ah yes I remember. Hey you should check out more of his films! If you like Westerns, The Dark Valley should be right up your street.

                    3. I am now thanks to Control 🙂 I’ve been listening to their music on youtube since watching the film. What a tragic end to such a talented singer/songwriter.

                    4. I was a big fan before the film so can’t answer like you, but I’m so glad its introduced more people to the band. So happy you like them 🙂

                    5. I saw a video on youtube on Ian Curtis’ anniversary celebration in Macclesfield and some fans who went there said they became fans because of Control. So I don’t think I’m the only one. I do think people who saw how Ian’s life was portrayed and hearing his songs would come to appreciate Joy Division. I think even Sam himself became a fan of theirs after doing the film.

                    6. I don’t doubt it. They weren’t around long enough to get much of a following outside the UK. My favourite song of their changes. But Atmosphere, Isolation, Love Will Tear us Apart and Disorder are always there.

                    7. I love all of those you mentioned but ‘Isolation’ always hits me hard every time I heard it. I heard that Sam met Ian’s daughter when he was filming, that must be so odd for her as she barely spent any time with her late father.

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