Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987). Director: John Glen.

Timothy Dalton inherited the role of James Bond from Roger Moore and made an excellent, much more realistic 007 in an outing that has little of the overly campy humor and absurd situations of Moore's films. The pre-credit sequence, in which a training exercise at Gibraltar goes horribly wrong, is outstanding. The main story has to do with the defection of General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe), whom Bond protects from a possible sniper attack. The "sniper" is a pretty cellist named Kara (Maryam d'Abo) but Bond resists killing her when he sees what an amateur she is and suspects something's up. The two wind up teaming up as assorted factions try to kill them. The action takes Bond from Czechoslovakia to Vienna to Tangiers and finally Afghanistan where the thrilling climax takes place on a plane as Bond and the assassin Necros (Andreas Wisniewski) dangle in the air and struggle even as a bomb is ticking in the cargo bay. Dalton makes a fine, more human Bond; Krabbe is wonderful; D'abo is hardly a classic Bond sexpot but she is effective and convincing; and there are good performances from Joe Don Baker [Criminal Law] as an American arms dealer, John Rhys-Davies as General Pushkin, and Art Malick as rebel Kamran Shah. "M" and "Miss Moneypenny" have been replaced by other actors, but Desmond Llewelyn is back as the marvelous "Q." Thomas Wheatley deserves special mention for his portrayal of fellow agent, Saunders, who is a bit tight-assed but likable. John Barry's music is a plus, especially the end title song "If Someone Was You." Followed by Licence to Kill, Dalton's second and last appearance as Bond.

Verdict: Entertaining, highly credible 007 outing. ***.


angelman66 said...

Excellent film, which I like much more now than then. When Roger Moore left, the Dalton character and storylines became much darker and more realistic, so I was initially disappointed. Today, this has become one of my favorites again, very well done. And Dalton is a really really fine actor.

William said...

I agree about Dalton. He's marvelous on "Penny Dreadful." I felt the same as you when this picture was first released, a bit disappointed, but it's also grown in my admiration, and Dalton is excellent.