Living Daylights: Death to Spies, The

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Faneditor Name:
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

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An IMPROVEMENT...definitely....

There is no question that the technical aspect of this edit are spot on...and that this would be my GOTO version if I ever feel i must watch a Dalton 007 escapade again.

The poor humour is reomved, the pacing is better and the feel overall is a vast imrovement. But what this edit (and others) cannot do for me, is alter the dour, sour, lack of power performance of Mr Dalton.

I find this 007 is charmless, without a glib attitude and frankly ...wooden. It feels like a chair is throw into the room when ever 007 appears on the screen.

The theatrical version would have a 6 score from me, and narrative8, so I have upgraded that...the improvemnt is there for all to see, however, short of using DEEPFAKE and vocal AI to alter the principal protagonist, for me the two TD entries in the 007 franchise are just a miscasting of biblical proportions.

The huge number of trims, micro edits and score replacements are all top notch...and though in a few places Kame's score can be detected when it has been replaced, I have not marked this down.

If you are a TD fan, then HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
If you are a 007 fan, this is a great improvement...without question.

Alas...for this viewer though...BRAVO, but I won't be revisiting.

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The “Death To Spies” edit is a very enjoyable viewing experience. It drags “The Living Daylights” (almost) right out of the lingering Roger Moore era mindset and makes it a more unapologetically Timothy Dalton Bond movie. Alterations are well chosen and well executed.

Here’s a few thoughts I recall after watching…

Cutting Bond landing on the yacht in the pre-titles does jar a little, not because it isn’t well done, but because it means that throughout his whole introductory sequence, the new Bond never speaks. It felt odd to be into the title song and he hasn’t said a word. [Maybe Bond casually remarking “007 here, report in one hour” might fit over the ship and parachute shots that now end the scene? “Bond, James Bond” is still lost, but at least he would introduce himself in some way.]

Messing with the Binder titles must be a slippery slope, as IMO they are often so goofy where do you stop?! But changes are well done on this edit, although personally I always liked the final shot of girl in champagne glass, even if it does wobble a bit!

Lots of silliness is removed from the movie, and to good effect. Perhaps this could have gone even further? Lasering the police car is removed, that is certainly a Roger Moore gag, but IMO cutting a circle in the ice and the police car sinking should be removed too, this is also a pretty silly gag. The scene could go from the tyre shredding straight to Bond activating outrigger and spikes.

Overall, edits are beautifully done, and the movie is an easy watch. I could nitpick a couple of points, I suppose.
There is a slight remnant on the soundtrack of Kamran’s arrival at the concert. This was presumably not possible to work around. However, the end credits song fades out a couple of seconds early and leaves an unresolved feel, this is more of a problem IMO. Maybe it’s because I listen to the soundtrack albums often, but the loss of the very end of the track really bugged me. I could knock a star off for that alone… but I won’t! :-)

A highly recommended edit, any fan of Dalton’s Bond will find this well worth their time.

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This is a review of the Oliver Luddy "Death to Spies" fan edit, not of the film in general...

TLD is my personal favourite of the Bond film - if for any reason then this likely because it was the *first* Bond film I saw and by which I measure all others. So it was with some trepidation I sat down to watch this fan edit. I've seen fan edits before, but this is my first go at reviewing one.

The main problem with TLD is one that can't really be fixed without an edit leaving the viewer going "But, what about...?", which is the anticlimax of Bond dealing with Whitaker after the Russian airbase and flight sequence. That out of the way, Luddy's edit is an attempt to tighten up the narrative, make Kara seem less dippy, and tone down some of the odd humour choices. In all those respects I think he's succeeded with the edit. Does it go as far as I might have been tempted? No, but we can't fault him for that.

There were a couple of moments of humour I would have trimmed and instead of just altering the final shot of the title sequence, it would have been nice to replace the whole thing (it's clearly one of Binder's worst pieces of work) - but these wishes don't detract from the edit.

Recommended if you'd like a slightly different version of the film as a change of pace.

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(Updated: February 27, 2023)
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The Living Daylights is one of my favourite Bond films. I love Timothy Dalton's portrayal of Bond; he's probably the closest to Fleming's Bond we'll get.

I thought I'd miss the things removed from this cut, however the tone has improved greatly by the trims made. With the overt humour left over from Moore's era gone, Dalton's Bond gets to shine .

There was one thing that stood out to me (which has been commented on by other reviewers) but again, because Felix Leiter was cut (and cutting Leiter out really highlighted how insignificant he was to the story) this was probably the only solution that was the logical fit. Everything else was seamless, the changes to the title sequence were subtle but adds much to the more serious tone of the film. And the gunbarrel? Chef's kiss. As other people have said already, it's an edit I'd see at the cinema.

If you're a Bond fan or enjoyed the Living Daylights, or a Fan Edit fan, watch this. You'll be in for a real treat.

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The Living Daylights is a competent entry into the James Bond canon. It's not my favorite James Bond flick, but it certainly isn't the worst. I never particularly enjoyed the locals (Afghanistan, Tangiers, Czechoslovakia), so even though I own a copy, I haven't watched it in several years. To me, this Bond film has never been all that memorable.

So, watching this fanedit was like watching with a fresh pair of eyes. First, the cuts are seamless. I noted the original (2 hours, 10 minutes), compared to the fanedit (1 hour, 56 minutes), is a difference of 14 minutes. But I could not tell you what was cut, other than a couple of places where I *believed* there was probably a silly one-off comment. It looks great, feels solid, and could have been released to the theater in this format.

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