Living Daylights: Death to Spies, The

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Faneditor Name:
Tagline:
Living on the edge. It's the only way he lives.
Original Movie Title:
Franchise:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1987
Original Running Time:
130
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
116
Time Cut:
14
Subtitles Available?
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
The Living Daylights makes for a striking introduction to Timothy Dalton's iteration of James Bond (particularly after the Roger Moore era), not to mention a charming and exciting throwback to classical espionage adventures and the Ian Fleming novels themselves. It is, however, also held back by the sensibilities of the time, antiquated pacing (even for when it was released), and an apparent desire to not stray too far from the campier and leerier vibes of the films that preceded it.
The aim of this edit was to bring the standard of the film up to that of the central performance. I wanted to bring out the exciting, thrilling and romantic qualities of the film whilst downplaying its flaws, all while giving the technical execution of the film a more modern edge.
Intention:
Remove the instances of humour that contrast strongest against the tone that the film is generally aiming for.
Removing the more sexualised content in the film.
Trimming Kara's actions (particularly in the second half) so that she doesn't come across quite as vulnerable or dim-witted.
Improve the pacing of the entire film, by trimming or excising the many shots, long takes and even entire scenes which only serve to awkwardly pad the film's running time and bloated plot.
Remove the Felix Leiter sub-plot of the film.
Improve the music levelling across the film.
Rework some of the scenes with the Mujahedeen to not seem quite so dated.
Rework some of the opening title sequence to feel more in-line with the film's plot.
Do all of the above without affecting the fundamental flow of the film or causing any jumps in the score.
Special Thanks:
• Williarob for providing a 35mm scan of the 1987 MGM/UA logo
• Humza Tanveer for aiding in shooting the new martini shot for the opening titles
• ArtisDead for helping to make this edit's Fanedit.org debut possible
Release Information:
  • Digital
  • Blu-Ray
Special Features
Feature-length editor's commentary
Editing Details:
As always, I do not make a change to a film if it can't be done near-seamlessly. This means that compromises have to be made and some edits that I would like to make ultimately can't be done, but I hope it results in a far more consistent product.
Cuts and Additions:
• Restored 1987 MGM/UA logo and silent UA logo to opening.
• Alternate gunbarrel sequence utilising the CGI gunbarrel of the Pierce Brosnan films.
• Micro trims for pacing in the opening Gibraltar sequence.
• Music level boosted as Bond first pursues the assassin in Gibraltar.
• Cut tourists/monkey evading the runaway car just before it makes its final jump.
• Cut Bond landing on the yacht and flirting with the woman aboard. Detracts from the previous sequence too much and the woman’s delivery is unconvincing.
• New effects added to the opening title sequence:
o Parachutists added to the first shot, to transition from the Gibraltar sequence.
o Rising blood effect added to the blue-coloured woman partway through.
o Martini glass with bloody sniper round replaces the final shot of the woman in the champagne glass. The original shot always seemed silly to me and I wanted to try adding something closer to the tone of the film/references the plot more directly.
o Higher quality recording of The Living Daylights used, with a fixed outro.
• Cut Bond and Saunders moving through the lobby of the building they use for Koskov’s escape, for pacing.
• Micro trim and music boosts applied to Koskov’s escape.
• Trimmed Rosika’s entrance for pacing and so that she doesn’t thrust her breasts forward as she introduces herself.
• Cut all the unconvincing talk of “cake”/”boshed” etc., since the sequence of Bond opening the valve has been cut.
• Cut Rosika’s “distraction” and Bond opening the pressure valve, for tastefulness.
• Cut the passport control woman watching the pipe.
• Trimmed Koskov’s escape by Harrier, for pacing and to fix an awkward gap in the score.
• Cut Q describing the “explosive teddy bear”/Bond and Moneypenny exchanging glances.
• Cut Q naming the “ghetto blaster” (surely “boom box” would have been more appropriate?).
• Silenced Bond slapping Moneypenny’s butt/cut her sighing after he leaves.
• Reorganised the safe house meeting/Necros’ infiltration so that we stick with Bond as he leaves Q Branch and we don’t see Necros until the meeting has begun. This was directly inspired by Problem Eliminator’s edit of the same sequences. Some micro trims have been made to these sequences also.
• Music dramatically boosted for Necros’ fight with Green 4. The music was distractingly quiet beforehand and was a detriment to the scene.
• Micro trims and music boosts applied to Necros kidnapping Koskov, to improve the pace.
• Sped up and added a whistle sound effect to Bond’s whistle joke during Q’s demonstration so that it doesn’t come across so awkwardly.
• Micro trim to Bond and Moneypenny’s discussion of Kara.
• Music boost to part of the scene where the KGB take Kara away, and trimmed the end of this scene to not linger for so long.
• Recut the whole bathroom scene for pacing and so that the bathroom attendant gag doesn’t go on for so long.
• Cut the KGB car parking outside of Kara’s apartment, and extended the music accordingly. We don’t need to see the KGB before she does.
• Micro trim to Bond and Kara leaving the apartment as the KGB henchman watches.
• Recut Bond and Kara escaping in the Aston so that we see the KGB henchman’s discovery before they go to collect Kara’s cello. The telephone box gag lands better when it isn’t interrupted by another joke.
• Cut Bond’s stilted “atmospheric anomaly” one-liner.
• Cut Bond using the laser on the Aston to cut apart the police car. While the whole action sequence shows off the Aston’s gadgets, this came across as a little too comical. The action sequence now begins with the roadblocks being formed, and the score has been adjusted accordingly.
• Music boosts applied sporadically through the ice lake chase and cello sled chase.
• Micro trims and speedup applied to the Aston’s rocket jump, for pacing and to make it look as if the rocket makes it move noticeably faster.
• Cut roughly the first half of the cello sled chase, as per what the score allowed.
• Micro trim to Bond and Kara escaping to Austria.
• Cut Felix Leiter observing Whitaker’s hideout (Felix and his sub-plot are no longer in the film).
• Trimmed Pushkin entering Whitaker’s hideout and Whitaker standing awkwardly amongst his statues. The visual lands better when played quickly and subtly, rather than being tediously focussed upon.
• Silenced Whitaker’s unconvincing “Uh?” and trimmed his reaction when Pushkin declares the weapons order cancelled.
• Cut Whitaker’s line “Lies spread by my competitors!” – unconvincing.
• Shortened the establishing shot of the dancers as Bond and Kara arrive at Schönbrunn Palace.
• Shortened Bond looking on after Kara after he’s made the phone call.
• Micro trim to Bond on the shooting gallery at Prater.
• Removed Bond arranging for the ferris wheel to stop. Understandably it’s a romantic notion, but it comes across as mildly creepy when they haven’t known each other for that long. The scene instead begins with them leaning into one another.
• Removed the street performers when Bond begins tailing Pushkin.
• Trimmed duplicate frames when the KGB henchman bursts into Pushkin’s room.
• Micro trim to Bond interrogating Pushkin.
• Music boosts applied to Bond escaping Pushkin’s “assassination”.
• Removed “harem” shots from Bond’s rooftop escape, keeping the score seamless.
• Removed Bond escaping with the female agents in the red car/meeting with Felix Leiter entirely. It’s reasonable to believe he escaped the authorities by himself after the previous sequence.
• Cut Whitaker mentioning the diamonds after Pushkin’s “assassination” – we don’t need to know about them yet.
• Several cuts made to the ambulance scene to improve pacing.
• Cut Bond saying “That’s not human” upon seeing the frozen heart.
• Cut Koskov’s line about Kara having many talents as she makes coffee.
• Cut a portion of the prison fight, as per what the score allowed.
• Silenced a Mujahadeen troop saying “Supper!” or something similar as they capture Bond and Kara.
• Cut Bond’s line about the Mujahadeen keeping Kara for the harem.
• Cut some of the shots of the Mujahadeen returning triumphantly to the village – we don’t need to know that they’re on Bond and Kara’s side until a little later.
• Cut the Mujahadeen troop beating another soldier/Bond’s line about being invited to dinner.
• Cut Kara asking who the leader of the Snow Leopard Brotherhood is – Bond just straight up tells her instead.
• Cut Kamran’s second line about the Snow Leopard Brotherhood – they’re not relevant to the plot and mentioning them at this stage only confuses things.
• Cut Kamran’s “Women!” gag as Kara rides off, and added some score to make Kara’s departure more triumphant and to add more suspense to Kamran exchanging glances with his troops.
• Big pacing cuts made to Bond riding in the back of the Soviet vehicle – we don’t need to see him setting up the bomb for quite so long.
• Cut Kamran telling Kara to stay behind, as the impression now is that she’s involved in the air base raid. Moved Koskov greeting the Soviet colonel to after this shot to accommodate the score.
• Cut down the air base raid by around 2.5 minutes, to keep the pace fast and the focus upon our protagonists. This includes many micro trims and rearranged shots for pacing and the following:
o Less time spent with the Hercules sitting stationary on the runway.
o Cut Kamran riding the digger into the gun emplacement.
o No shots of Kara sat on her horse idly looking around. When we next see her, she’s punching the soldier who harasses her in the original cut, to give the impression she’s been involved with the raid.
o Used Kara’s less desperate-sounding “James!” cry from the ice lake chase for when she spots Bond in the Hercules.
o Cut shots of Koskov escaping his armoured car after the plane crash – the implication being that he’s dead once the car finally explodes. Him surviving both incidents came across as a Looney Tunes stroke of luck in the original film, and he has no bearing upon the plot from here on.
• Added score to Bond securing the open Hercules door and inspecting the bomb, to lead into the Necros fight.
• Cut a chunk of Bond and Necros’ fight on the loose cargo, as per what the score allowed.
• Micro trims to Bond getting back into the plane.
• Added score to Bond trying to find the bomb amongst the opium packets, for suspense/comedy.
• Cut Kara almost flying the plane into a mountain.
• Micro trims to the bomb drop sequence – one for pacing, and the other to fix an awkward jump in the score at the end.
• Micro trim to Bond spotting the leaking fuel.
• Cut Felix guiding Bond into Whitaker’s hideout, but kept Bond actually infiltrating the gardens. This whole scene had to be redubbed with new score and foley to remove Felix’s dialogue. He does, however, still make a minor cameo as a tinny voice that Bond acknowledges via earpiece.
• Cut Bond and Whitaker discussing Koskov, since he’s meant to be dead by this point. Instead, Whitaker directly asks Bond where his opium is shortly after they first begin talking. This was the most awkward edit in the film, but seemed to be the most seamless way I could keep Koskov dead and have Whitaker directly acknowledge the opium that’s gone missing.
• Micro trims to their chat and fight to make it less awkward.
• Cut Whitaker’s weird childish giggle before his “popgun” remark.
• Micro trim to Bond being saved by the KGB.
• Cut all the stuff with Koskov after Whitaker’s death, as he is intended to have died at the air base.
• Cut Kamran and his troops appearing at Kara’s concert.
• Cut Kara saying “Oh, James…” as the credits roll.
• Higher quality recording of If There Was a Man over the end credits.
Trailer

User reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0(3)
Visual Editing
 
10.0(3)
Audio Editing
 
10.0(3)
Narrative
 
10.0(3)
Enjoyment
 
10.0(3)
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
TLD has always been my favorite Bond movie ever since I first saw it in the cinema (yes I'm old), but I was totally open for a fresh and modern take. And I wasn't disappointed. Fan-edit 'Death to Spies' made me aware for the first time how much redundant material there actually is in this movie. Felix Leiter didn't really have any significant part to play, and burning a car off it's wheels with a laser was much too Moore-ish, to name but a few examples.
OlivusPrime did an excellent job on this edit, not only with his choices, but also the execution - it was almost flawless. The new elements at the beginning and end of the main title actually blew me away - very professional and totally convincing. Just two minor points: the edit of Pushkin's 'resurrection' was maybe less than perfect, but with the available material it was probably not possible to do it better. And the romance in the ferris wheel started a bit too quick for my taste. But these are minor quibbles in a new and fresh take that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I actually prefer it now to the original - which is probably the highest compliment a fan-editor can get.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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Overall rating
 
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
While TLD was already a good Bond movie, this fan edit successfully improves by trimming all the Roger Moore-ish gags that didn't fit with Dalton's tone and the excellent editing done in the title sequence. The scores have thankfully been improved an example is the Hercules Take-Off scene which its audio mixing is more noticeable unlike before. I would love to see what the fan editor would bring to the table if he gets around doing one for Licence To Kill.

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Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
This edit was just superb!!!!!! In my opinion it has a good feel to it!! I would recommend it to anyone who loves Bond films especially Timothy Dalton one!!!!!

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Blu-Ray
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