Bond has been a big part of my life ever since my Grandfather and Father took me to see a double-bill of Live and Let Die and The man with the golden gun when I was around 7 years of age.  Here was a man who travelled the world, seduced beautiful women and was a consummate arbiter of taste in food, drink, cars and hotels.  He was suave, brave and absolutely a man's man and evidently made quite an impression on this young lad because my own life choices and tastes have certainly been influenced by him.  I drive two sports cars, travel the world with my job, fly aeroplanes, wear a divers watch, am notoriously discerning about hotels and food and have loved and lost my share of beautiful women down the years.
The year I turned 18 a new Bond film emerged headed by a new Bond - Timothy Dalton.  I recall feeling at that age that I was coming into my prime and the world was at my feet.  It's an age when you do so much for the first time - fall in love, explore the nightlife available, learn to drive and can drink legally for the first time.  I saw the film in the Summer upon its release and a then girlfriend who accompanied me pointed out I had a striking resemblance to a younger Dalton which I guess was flattering.  What I loved most though was that he had clearly gone back to the original Fleming books and carved his portrayal of the character from those in a way that Roger Moore much as I loved him never did. 

Dalton's Bond was a believable killer, a trained assassin, a skilled weapons handler who reputedly did all his own stunts.  In many ways he brought the same elements to the role that Craig is credited with, but he did it first.  He was also superb in the romantic scenes - better I think than Craig.  In this film 007 reverted to a classic Aston Martin and was accompanied by a Bond girl who was much more than a classic Bond girl bimbo.  Maryam D'Abo was sublimely beautiful of course but in the film played an accomplished cellist who was both seductive and charmingly innocent.  She was a perfect love interest for Bond (and for me - just don't tell the wife!) Indeed she remains all these years later still my favourite Bond girl.

The film used well chosen locations across Afghanistan (Morocco), Vienna, London and Gibraltar with superb action sequences and some well judged humour.  The plot although a little complex remains believable and cohesive as do the stunts.  Thankfully this film was made at a time before CGI and so the stunts and car chases retain a believability all too often missing from later films in the series which are often ruined by  overblown stunts that render Bond a superman, rather than a human being.  The fact that Bond might lose and makes mistakes (as in the death of Saunders) renders his plight all the more believable. 

Given how much I adore Dalton in the role it's a pity that he only made two Bond films and his second one Licence To Kill suffered from budget constraints that mean it always looks just a little second rate.  Sadly after Licence to Kill the Bond producers were delayed from making a third and fourth by legal wranglings with MGM, several years elapsed and by the time the way was clear Dalton decided the moment had passed.  What that means is that the Living Daylights is even more unique, it reflected a perfect trinity of Dalton with perhaps the best ever Bond girl and a budget and production team who were at the peak of their powers. It also points to what might have been if Dalton had been able to fulfil his 3 film contract. 

Perhaps it means so much because it also shaped the man I was to become - masculine yes, but with a softer and more romantic side than Connery or the more flippant Moore. 

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