Introducing James Bond: The Living Daylights (1987)

Wow! For a time I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the Timothy Dalton era of James Bond (those last few Roger Moore films are hard to get through). But, have no fear, we have made it!

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Timothy Dalton has the second shortest tenure as 007, having only played the role twice. Despite this, he remains one of my favorite actors to play Bond on the silver screen. Decades before Daniel Craig brought a sense of grit back to the role, Dalton set out to do much the same thing, as his portrayal of Bond is by and large a complete reverse from Moore’s interpretation. Many felt that the Bond films had become too over the top to be taken seriously, so The Living Daylights focused less on gadgets and more on the matters at hand.

In this film, 007 must initially help a KGB agent defect, only to later discover that it was all a ruse and that there is actually a plot going on to escalate tensions between East and West by killing British agents to make it look like the Soviets have re-instituted an old policy known as “Death to Spies.” The story takes Bond from Vienna to Afghanistan, all the way back to London.

This film is the 11th and last to feature a score by composer John Barry (who, by the way, has a cameo role in this film as a conductor). Barry was meant to score Licence to Kill (1989), but at the time he was recovering from throat surgery and proved unavailable. He never returned to the franchise again. For his last Bond score, Barry used innovation once again by using a series of electronic rhythm tracks overdubbed with a traditional orchestra, a common feature in film scores now, but relatively new in the 1980s.

The Living Daylights Title Sequence

The title song, “The Living Daylights” was written and performed by the Norwegian pop music group A-ha. The collaboration between the band and Barry did not go well, resulting in two versions of the title song being created. This film is also unique in that there is a different song for the end credits (usually you hear the title song at the end of the film).

The opening sequence itself features all the staples long since established: girls, guns (in fact, it seems that more often than not the first scene is of a gun in profile “shooting” the opening credits). It’s a well done sequence, the style will change in a few years though with the introduction of Pierce Brosnan to the role (but I’m getting ahead of myself, we still have Licence to Kill (1989)). Please enjoy listening and watching the opening of The Living Daylights!-Bex

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Credit to Art of the Title

On a random note, if the actor who plays Whitaker in this film looks familiar, that’s because he plays one of the good guys in GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies

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*all images are property of Eon Productions, I’m just borrowing them for illustration

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One thought on “Introducing James Bond: The Living Daylights (1987)

  1. Pingback: Introducing James Bond: A View to a Kill (1985) | Film Music Central

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