Monday, January 21, 2013

The Making Of The Living Daylights Review

How do you know if you are a James Bond fanboy? You spend 3 years apiece researching and writing 2 books on movies that Stared George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton. However in this case fanboy is no insult. As in his first book the  making of On her Majesty's Secret Service Charles Heffenstein has put his time and fandom to good use giving us a definitive history of the Movie The Living Daylights. The book opens with details on the initial  storyline written by Michael Wilson and Dick Maibaum that was to be used for the movie which quite frankly sounded like a better film than the one they ended up making. It is this section that makes for the most interesting reading. Much of the other parts of the book can be found in the documentary contained on TLD DVD's. That is not to say the book is a letdown because it certainly is not. There are many interesting insights in the book and several fabulous pictures all of which add up to another Hoffenstein winner that should be a part of every James Bond fans library.

That Hoffenstein is a huge fan of Dalton's Bond is evident through out the book. In the world of James Bond fandom he's certainly not alone. However in details given by directer Jon Glenn and other cast mates Hoffenstein inadvertently explains why Dalton ultimately failed in the role. The reason was not that the role was too lightweight for the Shakespearean trained actor as has been put forth but it was because the role was too big. Dalton is a portrayed, and I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the story, as a nice but quiet guy who didn't want to be star. Ultimately a shy, quiet, very human actor turning the character of James Bond into a shy, quiet very human character was bound to fail. Put it simply Dalton is a fine actor but he gives you little reason to get excited in the role. Timothy Dalton simply lacked the presence that the other 5 men (OK Headly 6) men had when they played the role.

Obviously Hoffesnstein would not agree with my assessment of Dalton nor my assessment that while TLD is a fine Bond film which high entertainment value it ultimately falls in the middle of the pack of Bond films. Better than some worse than others. There's certainly  nothing wrong with the film it's just there. Though I plan on going back and watching the film soon to see if Hoffesnstein's fandom of the film has managed to convince me it is more than a fun, entertaining, middle of the road Bond film.

I didn't not enjoy The Making Of The Living Daylights as much as Hoffensteins first making of book though I am willing to concede in this case this was not the fault of the author but the personal taste of the reader.  While I like TKD I simply consider OHMSS to be not only the best Bond film ever but one of my favorite movies ever period. The book being self published has a lot of typos and grammar errors ( I know pot meet Kettle) and it become somewhat distracting. Also I didn't agree with the Author labeling the positive reviews "on target" and the negative reviews "off target" There were several things mentioned in the "on target" reviews I would take issue with and some things in the "off target" I actually agreed with. A simple Positive movie reviews and negative movie reviews would have been more effective. However the reviews on both sides reinforce my long held believe that Movie Critics are by in large ignorant schmucks.

The details, information and insights that Hoffenstein put in to the Making Of The Living Daylights again dwarfs most all other Bond reference books and insures that while the $49.99 price tag is healthy the book is worth every penny. It has been put forth that Hoffenstien should put out a book for every Bond film and while that would be nice it seems to be the Authors MO to take the time and do it right. So far that has meant 3 years work between books. That means 69 years to complete the job IF they don't make another film which of course they will. I simply don't think Mr Hoffenstein has that kind of time. Still I am grateful for the 2 outstanding must own for Bond fans books he has given us.

BTW Mr. Hoffenstien if somehow you read this and you want some advice... I know it's a horrible movie but maybe the next book could be the Making of Casino Royale 67. With all of the egos, fighting, stories and mayhem that went on behind the scenes of that disaster the making of book would be as great as the movie is terrible.

The making of The Living Daylights by Charles Hoffenstein ***** / ***** The making of The Living Daylights by Charles Hoffenstein ***** / *****

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