THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS

(1987)
With Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Don Baker, Robert Brown, Desmond Llewelyn, Caroline Bliss
Directed by John Glen
Reviewed by JL and JB

There's just nothing humorous about Timothy Dalton     Timothy Dalton makes his debut as James Bond in a solid, if unremarkable, entry in the Bond series. Set during the waning days of the Cold War, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS finds Bond in one more go-round with the Russians -- although in this film it's often difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys, and the double-agents from the double-double agents. The pace of the film sometimes has trouble keeping up with the complex plot, but the storyline offers some nifty little twists and surprises. There are also two heart-stopping action sequences: the first involving the use of a cello case as a getaway toboggan; the other occurring at the film's climax, in which Bond and the bad guys slug it out thousands of feet above the ground while hanging onto the netting of a cargo plane. One of the film's main strengths is Dalton himself, the most underrated of all the Bonds. The two Dalton/Bond films performed poorly at the box office (by Bond-film standards, that is), perhaps because audiences weren't ready for a tough-and-gritty 007 following so many years of Roger Moore's camp silliness. Such circumstances didn't help Dalton's reputation, but, in retrospect, his portrayal of Bond is now regarded by many as second only to Sean Connery's, and the closest to Ian Fleming's conception of Bond. The brief Dalton era was also the last gasp of Bond adventures set in an environment roughly resembling the real world, before succumbing to the hoary excess of the Pierce Brosnan films. 3½ - JL


     Moore, Connery and Brosnan looked better in a tuxedo. Moore and Connery could toss off quips better. Connery and Brosnan could seduce women more convincingly. What Dalton had, in spades, was toughness, a hard-edged, no-nonsense quality that rivaled Sean Connery's. Businesswise, Dalton probably wasn't the best choice actor for the part - audience apathy for the actor almost killed the series - but I thought his two films were the best by far since since ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. There is some leftover and ill-fitting slapstick himor left over from the previous incarnation of Bond, but I still applaud the Bond people for attempting to bring back the real 007 after the Roger Moore years had turned the world's most famous spy into Snub Pollard with a license to prance. On a personal note, she may not be voluptuous, but Maryam D'Abo is cute as hell, and one of my favorite Bond girls. 3½ - JB

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The Secret Vortex

HOW TO TALK LIKE A BOND VILLAIN

"That's too bad, Bond. You could've been a live rich man, instead of a poor dead one."


GOGOL+ (or: GOTELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN) (or: WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GOGOL)

Walter Gotell    Walter Gotell first appeared in the James Bond franchise in From Russia With Love, where he played one of Rosa Klebb's henchmen. More than a decade later, he returned to the series in The Spy Who Loved Me, playing General Gogol, head of the KGB, and reprised the character in the next five films. General Gogol was often more of a friendly adversary than a full blown villain, and Gotell played him with just the right touch of offhand, relaxed humor. He has appeared in many other films, including The African Queen (1951) and The Boys From Brazil (1978). He also had an extensive television career, appearing in episodes of such well-remembered series as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Knight Rider, Cagney and Lacey and Miami Vice. Gotell died in 1997.

     He does seem rather amused at our puns.