Examining Dalton's Two Films

Has any other Bond actor had entries which were so different to each other?

Both, in my humble view, are great films. The Living Daylights is a Cold War espionage thriller, with a highly complex plot threaded with a love story, while Licence to Kill is a revenge-based action film with plenty of machine guns. You only have to point to the differences in Bond’s clothes to see how starkly these two films contrast.

Perhaps only Connery had two such opposing films with From Russia With Love and Diamonds Are Forever, but that was eight years and a world apart, and didn’t go into production a single year later like LTD.


Both involve drugs, opium and cocaine, and aren’t grand scale extravaganzas like YOLT or TSWLM. Bond’s portrayal in LTK is consistent and feels like an extension of what we saw previously - “stuff my orders. Go ahead, tell M what you want. If he fires me I’ll thank him for it.” I believe someone like Dalton would go to war for his friend given his brooding and extremely loyal personality.


You’re right on all counts, and I didn’t notice the drug thing.

It must have been amazing to see those two films as a fan at the time. LTD is like a harbinger for the entire Craig era.

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FRWL to Goldfinger was also a pretty big tonal shift as well. One was a more serious spy thriller while the other was much more of a caper. Or the outer space shenanigans of Moonraker to the more grounded feel of FYEO.
It’s quite interesting to look at John Glen’s influence on the films (FYEO to LTK). He always wanted to do darker and more serious Bond so was probably better matched with Dalton, although I’d argue that he got one of the best performances out of Moore.

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Definitely, FRWL to GF is a major shift, and one which many Fleming fans regret (though I’m not one of them).

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I’ll say it again. Craig owes a lot to Dalton. Dalton’s portrayal/attempt to go back to the literary Bond 007 was ahead of it’s time. With regret the average Bond 007 fan is a movie fan,not a literary fan.
The average fan wasn’t ready for a “dark” portrayal. Although PB does have his "dark’ moments. Both hotel scenes inTND and his best the final confrontation with Electra in TWINE. “I never miss” BANG!


Jason Bourne is much more to blame for the tonal difference between the Brosnan era 7 the Craig era, the re-imagining of the Bourne books in the cinema was gutsy and interesting, QoS was actually more of a Bourne movie with several key personnel from that franchise attached to the Bond movie, so it should not come as a surprise.
Dalton is a strange beastie with TLD which feels more like Moore or Brosnan vehicle in tone, and then we get LTK which was compromise in what the producer originally wanted an adventure in the Orient and instead a Miami Vice light movie.
I personally feel like Dalton never got his own groove due to circumstances for me he is the Bond that never has his own voice was still looking. perhaps he would with not unlike Moore with his third have found his personal footing,

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It’s curious that you feel TLD is a Moore film because, aside from the cello case scene (which is fairly resourceful of Bond, to be fair), it’s a straight, realistic spy film.

You’re certainly right about Bourne, though. In the 2000s, the character was treated as though he were modern and edgy, whereas he was over twenty years old by that point.

I always felt TLD to be a more generic 007 movie but the style fitted a Moore/Brosnan far better iin my humble opinion.

I don’t think the film was a compromise in that sense. The producers looked into filming in China because they thought the locations could be used in some action sequences, realized it wouldn’t work, and produced a different outline and story. The film doesn’t feel as if it suffered from abandoning the “adventure in the orient” idea (which dates back to the pre-TLD young Bond reboot). LTK is compromised in the sense that Maibaum couldn’t work on the script because of the writer’s strike (though he had devised the story with Wilson) and the film’s budget was less than TLD’s.

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I also feel Craig succeeded due to having a greater screen presence and thus audience connection by tapping in more heavily to the Connery swagger. Dalton has his fans, and by no means is he unattractive, but I find Craig more believable in terms of being a womaniser and an object of desire. Craig was aware of the past Bond actor performances, but I think he was confident enough to do his own thing, which made Casino Royale especially so refreshing.

And the story really was a Miami Vice style story which had been to death in those years, which would certainly with an Oriental setting would have had a different feeling than what they ended up with.
Miami Vice even did it better for my feeling, having recently re-watched some episodes I found that this show was far darker than I remembered.
LTK suffered greatly because of the popularity of Miami Vice and certainly the US dis/interest in the actor Dalton proved his undoing.

Craig succeeded due to the CR storyline and the great workmans director they employed once again, the next three movies suffered from Bourne key personel and Mendes who really did not want to make a actioner and it showed in SP he suffered even more from action scene lack of excitement.

Dalton had at least some directors who were good in what they did and TLD was an great 007 movie, and even LTK showed more Fleming than indeed any of the last three Craig movies had, Lets hope he gets the swansong even Brosnan should have gotten.

Funny, but I have a great deal of difficulty in seeing Craig as attractive in any way. He looks like a cross between Vladimir Putin and Sid James: a permanent pout, stick-out ears, lifeless eyes and craggy features. He also looks more Russian or German than English, and he can’t wear a suit without looking like a bouncer. I only mention this while we’re on the topic, of course, and I mean nothing against him personally. In real life, he does commendable work for many charities, and I’m thrilled whenever a working class actor meets with success.

But then this sort of brooding masculinity is fashionable, so it works for the times. A ‘prettier’ type like Aiden Turner, for example, wouldn’t work today. Personally, I think suavity is important to Bond’s character, as it contrasts so starkly with the death and danger side, and the first five Bonds certainly had this.

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