MI6 tracks the legacy of The Living Daylights, from Ian Fleming's story, to the comic strip adaptation, feature film and computer game...

The Living Daylights - The Legacy

In 1966 the last of Ian Fleming's 007 adventures was released. This was part of the short story anthology, Octopussy And The Living Daylights, which was published posthumously. That same year the third season of James Bond daily comic strips was syndicated, and between September and November of ‘66 a strip version of the story by writer Jim Lawrence and artist Yaroslav Horak appeared in the UK’s Daily Express.

Timothy Dalton exploded onto the silver screen in the 1987 cinematic version of The Living Daylights. Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson drafted a thrilling script using the Ian Fleming plot as a solid base. The same year Domark published its second interactive Bond computer game, The Living Daylights. Its basic structure but solid plot made this game an improvement on their last attempt, but it still failed to ‘wow’ Bond fans and gamers alike.

The Short Story
The final Ian Fleming Bond title Octopussy And The Living Daylights was first published by Jonathan Cape on 23rd June 1966. Originally it was just the two titular stories until the volume was later re-released in paperback and Property Of A Lady was added to the mix. The 2002 print now features an further extra adventure, 007 In New York.

"Octopussy And The Living Daylights" Literary Coverage

Bond is sent to Berlin to shoot a sniper trying to kill a double agent coming to the West. On the third of the three possible nights, the agent comes, but 007 sees that the sniper is a beautiful Russian cellist whom he had his eyes on. At the last minute, he shoots her gun instead of her head, to the berating of the vexing local agent. Bond is satisfied to have ‘scared the living daylights’ out of her. The double-agent made it safely.

"Ian Fleming traces the intricacies of counter-espionage with all the efficient authority of 007's own secret reports." - Sunday Times

Published: 23rd June 1966 (UK)
Preceded By: The Man With The Golden Gun
Followed By: None
  The Living Daylights Novel
Above: 1st edition Jonathan Cape hardback (UK). Artwork by Richard Chopping.

"M looked coldly across the desk. It was going to be dirty work and Bond, because he belonged to the Double O section, had been chosen for it. ‘You’ve got to kill this sniper. And you’ve got to kill him before he gets Agent 272. Is that understood?’
So, it was to be murder..."

The Comic Strip
By 1966, the Bond comic strips were beginning their third series, and veteran artist, John McLusky was no longer involved. Instead Yaroslav Horak drew The Living Daylights and Jim Lawrence adapted Fleming’s story for comic strip.

"The Living Daylights" finds a melancholy Bond facing another sharpshooter - a KGB sniper. Set across the jagged scar of the Berlin Wall, Bond's finger is on the trigger... and into his sights walks a beautiful blonde musician! Possibly the most faithful adaptation of all the Daily Express comic strips, and what little is added, is added in a true Fleming feel.

"The Living Daylights" Comic Strip Coverage

Published: 12th September 1966 (UK)
Preceded By: The Man With The Golden Gun
Followed By: Octopussy

Sender: "Sorry 007 - no drinking! Must keep your reflexes sharp if you're to get that Russian sniper, eh?"
Bond: "Stow it, chum! If you want me sacked from Double-O go right ahead! They can shift me to a nice paper-shuffling job!"

Above: The opening panel of "The Living Daylights"

The Film
On 29th June 1987, Timothy Dalton made his Bond debut in The Living Daylights. Written by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson and directed by John Glen, The Living Daylights adopts the Fleming plot and continues to weave a Fleming-esque story from there.

The principal cast is star studded this time, including: Maryam d'Abo, Joe Don Baker, Jeroen Krabbé, Art Malik and John Rhys-Davies.

"The Living Daylights" Film Coverage

James Bond must prevent renegade KGB General Koskov and his ally, arms dealer Brad Whitaker, from enriching themselves through a complicated scheme to cause all-out war between Soviet and British intelligence agencies.

Frederick Warder and Glyn Baker were cast as the two murdered agents in the opening sequence because they closely resembled Roger Moore and George Lazenby. The producers wanted to play with the expectations of their audience as to who the new Bond was.


The Living Daylights Cover Art
Above: Ultimate Edition DVD cover art
The Living Daylights - Ultimate Edition

Whitaker: "That's too bad, Bond. You could've been a live rich man, instead of a poor dead one."  
Released: UK: 29th June 1987 (PG) USA: 31st July 1987 (PG)
Running Time: 125 minutes
Worldwide Box Office: $191.2m
Preceded by: A View To A Kill
Followed by: Licence To Kill

Timothy Dalton In The Living Daylights
Above: Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights

John Barry is back again (but for the last time) and A-Ha performs the title song, which makes it to number 5 on the UK charts. Aside from the title song, John Barry composed two memorable pieces, which are performed by The Pretenders and make appearances throughout the film. If There Was A Man features in the closing credits while Where Has Everybody Gone plays on Necros’ walkman. The Living Daylights was the first film to have a different song to the main theme on the end titles.

"The Living Daylights" Music Coverage

4 Word Reviews

  • Dalton is Fleming's Bond
  • Romantic tone is welcome
  • Goodbye charm, hello anger
  • Tim embraces his rage
  • Fleming would be proud
  • Where has everybody gone?
  • Welcome back, Aston Martin
  • Hot, cold, bloody, real

The Game
In September 1987, Domark produced their second Bond movie tie-in game. Originally planned for a June release to coincide with the movie premiere, unforeseen circumstances meant that its eventual release was pushed back until September.

"The Living Daylights" Game Coverage

As James Bond you must shoot your way through all eight levels before you at last come face to face with the evil arms dealer - Brad Whittaker. General Koskov, the Russian KGB double dealing agent helps Bond through his adventure - watch him closely - he may be treacherous! Once Whittaker's forces are destroyed, your mission is accomplished and the beautiful Kara is yours!

The Living Daylights is an improvement in Domark's lineage of movie tie-in games in the sense of robust and reliable gameplay, however it comes at the expense of interesting action and originality with the sideway scrolling format.

With "Daylights", Domark went back-to-basics with simple linear gameplay to deliver a solid title, but it will leave you neither shaken nor stirred.

Released: UK: September 1987
Preceded by: A View To A Kill
Followed by: Live And Let Die
  The Living Daylights Game Box Art
Above: Game box art

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