June 30, 1987 in UK cinemas: The Living Daylights

“THE NEW JAMES BOND…LIVING ON THE EDGE.”

The_Living_Daylights-1987The Living Daylights is the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by John Glen, the film’s title is taken from Ian Fleming‘s short story “The Living Daylights“. It was the last film to use the title of an Ian Fleming story until the 2006 instalment Casino Royale.

The film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli, his stepson Michael G. Wilson, and his daughter, Barbara Broccoli. The Living Daylights was generally well received by most critics and was also a financial success, grossing $191.2 million worldwide.

Originally the film was proposed to be a prequel in the series, an idea that eventually resurfaced with the reboot of the series in 2006. SMERSH, the fictionalised Soviet counterintelligence agency that featured in Fleming’s Casino Royale and several other early James Bond novels, was an acronym for Smiert Shpionam – “Death to spies”. [Wikipedia]

After Bond helps Russian officer Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) make a daring defectionCinema-UK-06-30-1987 to the West, the intelligence community is shocked when Koskov is abducted from his remote hiding place. Bond leaps into action, following a trail that leads to the gorgeous Kara (Maryam d’Abo), who plays Bond as easily as she plays her Stradivari cello. As they unravel a complex weapons scheme with global implications, they are forced into hair-raising chases, a riveting jailbreak and an epic battle in the Afghanistan desert with tanks, airplanes and a legion of freedom fighters on horseback. [IMDB]

Watch the trailer on the Movieclips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.

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June 28, 1979 in UK cinemas: Moonraker

“Where all the other Bonds end…this one begins!”

Moonraker-1979Moonraker is the eleventh spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The third and final film in the series to be directed by Lewis Gilbert, it co-stars Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Corinne Cléry, and Richard Kiel. Bond investigates the theft of a space shuttle, leading him to Hugo Drax, the owner of the shuttle’s manufacturing firm. Along with space scientist Dr. Holly Goodhead, Bond follows the trail from California to Venice, Rio de Janeiro, and the Amazon rainforest, and finally into outer space to prevent a plot to wipe out the world population and to re-create humanity with a master race.

Moonraker was intended by its creator Ian Fleming to become a film even before he completed the novel in 1954, since he based it on a screenplay manuscript he had written even earlier. The film’s producers had originally intended to film For Your Eyes Only, but instead chose this title due to the rise of the science fiction genre in the wake of the Star Wars phenomenon. Budgetary issues caused the film to be primarily shot in France, with locations also in Italy, Brazil, Guatemala and the United States. The soundstages of Pinewood Studios in England, traditionally used for the series, were only used by the special effects team.

Moonraker was noted for its high production cost of $34 million, almost twice as much Cinema-UK-06-28-1979money as predecessor The Spy Who Loved Me, and it received mixed reviews. However, the film’s visuals were praised with Derek Meddings being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and it eventually became the highest-grossing film of the series with $210,300,000 worldwide, a record that stood until 1995’s GoldenEye. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the Movieclips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.

June 26, 1981 in UK cinemas: For Your Eyes Only

“Bond for action in For Your Eyes Only”

For_Your_Eyes_Only-1981For Your Eyes Only is the twelfth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fifth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It marked the directorial debut of John Glen, who had worked as editor and second unit director in three other Bond films.

The screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson takes its characters and combines elements from the plots from two short stories from Ian Fleming‘s For Your Eyes Only collection: the title story and “Risico”. In the plot, Bond attempts to locate a missile command system while becoming tangled in a web of deception spun by rival Greek businessmen along with Melina Havelock, a woman seeking to avenge the murder of her parents. Some writing elements were inspired by the novels Live and Let Die, Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

After the science fiction-focused Moonraker, the producers wanted a conscious return to the style of the early Bond films and the works of 007 creator Fleming. For Your Eyes Only followed a grittier, more realistic approach and a narrative theme of revenge and its consequences. Filming locations included Greece, Italy and England, while underwater footage was shot in The Bahamas.

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For Your Eyes Only was released to a mixed critical reception; the film was a financial success, generating $195.3 million worldwide. This was the final Bond film to be distributed solely by United Artists; the studio merged with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer soon after this film’s release. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the Movieclips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.

June 23, 1966 in literature: Octopussy and The Living Daylights

06-23-1966-Octopussy-1st_EdOctopussy and The Living Daylights (sometimes published as Octopussy) is the fourteenth and final James Bond book written by Ian Fleming in the Bond series. The book is a collection of short stories published posthumously in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape on 23 June 1966.

The book originally contained just two stories, “Octopussy” and “The Living Daylights”, with subsequent editions also carrying firstly “The Property of a Lady” and then “007 in New York”. The stories were first published in different publications, with “Octopussy” first serialised in the Daily Express in October 1965. “The Living Daylights” had first appeared in The Sunday Times on 4 February 1962; “The Property of a Lady” was published in November 1963 in a Sotheby’s publication, The Ivory Hammer, whilst “007 in New York” first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in October 1963.

The two original stories, “Octopussy” and “The Living Daylights”, were both adapted for publication in comic strip format in the Daily Express in 1966–1967. Elements from the stories have also been used in the Eon Productions Bond films. The first, Octopussy, starring Roger Moore as James Bond, was released in 1983 as the thirteenth film in the series and provided the back story for the film Octopussy’s family, while “The Property of a Lady” was more closely adapted for an auction sequence in the film. The Living Daylights, released in 1987, was the fifteenth Bond film produced by Eon and starred Timothy Dalton in his first appearance as Bond. [Wikipedia]

April 16, 1962: ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ is published

04-16-1962-The_Spy_Who_Loved_Me-1st_EdThe Spy Who Loved Me is the ninth novel in Ian Fleming‘s James Bond series, first published by Jonathan Cape on 16 April 1962. It is the shortest and most sexually explicit of Fleming’s novels, as well as a clear departure from previous Bond novels in that the story is told in the first person by a young Canadian woman, Vivienne Michel. Bond himself does not appear until two thirds of the way through the book. Fleming wrote a prologue to the novel giving Michel credit as a co-author.

Due to the reactions by critics and fans, Fleming was not happy with the book and attempted to suppress elements of it where he could: he blocked a paperback edition in the United Kingdom and only gave permission for the title to be used when he sold the film rights to Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, rather than any aspects of the plots. However, the character of Jaws is loosely based on one of the characters in the book and a British paperback edition was published after his death.

A heavily adapted version of The Spy Who Loved Me appeared in the Daily Express newspaper in daily comic strip format in 1967–1968. In 1977 the title was used for the tenth film in the Eon Productions series. It was the third to star Roger Moore as Bond and used no plot elements from the novel. [Wikipedia]

April 14, 1967: Too many Bonds in ‘Casino Royale’

“Casino Royale is too much…for ONE James Bond!”

Casino_Royale-1967Casino Royale is a spy comedy film originally produced by Columbia Pictures starring an ensemble cast of directors and actors. It is loosely based on Ian Fleming‘s first James Bond novel. The film stars David Niven as the “original” Bond, Sir James Bond 007. Forced out of retirement to investigate the deaths and disappearances of international spies, he soon battles the mysterious Dr. Noah, played by Woody Allen, and SMERSH. The film’s slogan: “Casino Royale is too much… for one James Bond!” refers to Bond’s ruse to mislead SMERSH in which six other agents are pretending to be “James Bond”, namely, baccarat master Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers); millionaire spy Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress); Bond’s secretary Miss Moneypenny (Barbara Bouchet); Mata Bond (Joanna Pettet), Bond’s daughter with Mata Hari; and British agents “Coop” (Terence Cooper) and “The Detainer” (Daliah Lavi).

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Charles K. Feldman, the producer, had acquired the film rights in 1960 and had attempted to get Casino Royale made as an Eon Productions Bond film; however, Feldman and the producers of the Eon series, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, failed to come to terms. Believing that he could not compete with the Eon series, Feldman resolved to produce the film as a satire. The budget escalated as various directors and writers got involved in the production, and actors expressed dissatisfaction with the project.

Casino Royale was released two months prior to Eon’s fifth Bond movie, You Only Live Twice. The film was a financial success, grossing over $41.7 million worldwide, and Burt Bacharach‘s musical score was praised, earning him an Academy Award nomination for the song “The Look of Love“. Critical reception to Casino Royale, however, was generally negative; some critics regarded it as a baffling, disorganised affair. Since 1999, the film’s rights have been held by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, distributors of the official Bond movies by Eon Productions.

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Also in the cast were Orson Welles as Le Chiffre, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, John Huston, and George Raft plus Jacqueline Bisset, Bernard Cribbins, Ronnie Corbett, Anna Quayle and Geoffrey Bayldon, who played Q.  You’ll also find Peter O’Toole, motor racing legend Stirling Moss, a young Anjelica Huston (as Deborah Kerr’s hands!), David Prowse (Darth Vader) and John Le Mesurier.

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April 11, 1960: For Your Eyes Only

04-11-1960-For_Your_Eyes_Only-1st_EdFor Your Eyes Only is a collection of short stories by the British author Ian Fleming, featuring the fictional British Secret Service agent Commander James Bond. It was first published by Jonathan Cape on 11 April 1960. It marked a change of format for Fleming, who had previously written James Bond stories only as full-length novels.

The collection contains five short stories: “From a View to a Kill“, “For Your Eyes Only”, “Quantum of Solace“, “Risico” and “The Hildebrand Rarity”. Four of the stories were adaptations of plots for a television series that was never filmed, while the fifth Fleming had written previously but not published. Fleming undertook some minor experiments with the format, including a story written as an homage to W. Somerset Maugham, an author he greatly admired.

Elements from the stories have been used in a number of the Eon Productions James Bond film series, including the 1981 film, For Your Eyes Only, starring Roger Moore as James Bond. The film used some elements and characters from the short stories “For Your Eyes Only” and “Risico”. “From a View to a Kill” also gave part of its title (but no characters or plot elements) to the fourteenth Bond film, A View to a Kill (1985). Plot elements from “The Hildebrand Rarity” were used in the sixteenth Bond film, Licence to Kill (1989), and the twenty-fourth Bond film Spectre references the title. “Quantum of Solace” was used as the title for the twenty-second Bond film. [Wikipedia]

Read more at http://www.ianfleming.com/products/for-your-eyes-only/profile/.

Today in James Bond

04-01-1963-On_Her_Majesty's_Secret_Service-First_Edition1963: Ian Fleming‘s 10th James Bond novel, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” [http://www.ianfleming.com/products/majestys-secret-service/profile/] is published.  Fleming wrote the book in Jamaica whilst the first film in the Eon Productions series of films, Dr. No, was being filmed nearby.  This was the second book in what is known as the “Blofeld trilogy”, which begins with Thunderball and concluded with You Only Live Twice.

1965: The 12th novel (and 13th book) of Ian Fleming‘s James Bond series “The Man With The 04-01-1965-The_Man_With_The_Golden_Gun-First_Edition
Golden Gun
” [http://www.ianfleming.com/products/man-golden-gun/profile/] is published, eight months after the author’s death.  The novel was not as detailed or as polished as the others in the series, leading to poor but polite reviews. Despite that, the book was a best-seller.  In 1974 the book was loosely adapted as the ninth film in the Eon Productions James Bond series, with Roger Moore playing Bond and Fleming’s cousin, Christopher Lee, as Scaramanga.