With this week's release of the "I'm so pumped for it even
though everybody tells me it's weak tit" new Bond adventure
SOLACE; I decided to go backwards and give a great man and a great Bond his
dues. Yup, I speak of Welsh and classically trained actor TIMOTHY DALTON
who took over the role from ROGER MOORE after the latter ran out of gas in A VIEW TO A KILL
Before DANIEL CRAIG came in, Dalton was my second fav Bond after Connery (now he's my third) and although Dalton has a cult following today as to his turn as Bond, he's still the most unknown and underappreciated Bonds of all (maybe right next to George Lazenby). And that's just not right. So Mr. Dalton, here's some loving for ya!
"A LOOK @ DALTON"
THE UNDERRATED BOND
TIMOTHY DALTON's brush with Bond started as early as 1968. With the great SEAN CONNERY out of the picture Bond producers were on the hunt for somebody to fill in his big shoes. They eventually offered TIMOTHY DALTON the role of Bond in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE and get this, Dalton turned the part down saying that he was too young for the role and that he didn't want to diss Ian Fleming's character. You have to respect that on so many levels. Who the f*ck turns down the role of a lifetime OUT OF RESPECT? TIMMY D. that's who! Dalton was also considered to be Bond in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and OCTOPUSSY - that never happened either.
But Dalton was destined to be Bond and fate would come a knocking on his door once more in 1986. NBC had cancelled PIERCE BROSNAN'S smash TV show REMINGTON STEELE and the actor was set to slap on the tuxedo, kill the bad guys and bang the broads in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS. But an upset went down, NBC eventually had seconds thoughts and wanted another season. They tried to strike a deal with the Bond producers so that Brosnan could be Steele and Bond at the same time, but the Bond producers wouldn't have any of that shite. So Brosnan went back to the tube and DALTON finally got his day!
Dalton quote on playing Bond: "It's very important to make the man believable so you can stretch the fantasy. Whether people like this kind of Bond is another question."
So in 1987 THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS burst on the screen to critical success and modest earnings. I remember seeing the film on the big screen and being blown away by it. Not only did the it take itself way more seriously than the late Moore era but Dalton was a new a kind of Bond. He did most of his own stunts (respect!) and its said that he was often seen reading Ian Fleming's Bond books on set, in the name of playing the character as written. And you know what, it shows on screen. Before CASINO ROYALE and DANIEL CRAIG came in to do it all over again, DALTON did it first!
His BOND was grounded, gritty and intense. He was a man's man yes but at the same time there was a vulnerability and a light sense of humor to him that just made Bond... I don't know... more human. My only gripe with TIMMY'S Bond was that he wasn't the male-whore that Bond should be, but that's not really his fault. Dalton's Bond stint went down when AIDS hit the scene big which resulted in Hollywood toning down promiscuous sex onscreen. I guess they didn't know that Bond is STD proof! Silly Hollywood.
Dalton quote on Craig's Bond: "I think he's great! I think Casino Royale, is terrific!" "It's a huge leap forward, and I like him a lot. I tried to bring the movies back to something that was more like Ian Fleming and he's gone further, and I love that."
In 1989 Dalton's Bond ship sadly sank with his Bond follow up LICENSE TO KILL. And that's a damn shame in my book cause the movie is a solid, lean, mean and action packed entry. One of the best Bond's in my usueless opinion. Alas, the marketing campaign for LICENSE TO KILL was half cocked (a last minute title change from License Revoked to License to Kill resulted in delayed promotion and pre-release screenings). And although it made mucho money worldwide (more than LIVING DAYLIGHTS did worldwide), it didn't do that well in the US of A.
Even with that disappointment in tow, DALTON was still slated to play Bond in GOLDENEYE which had entered pre production in 1989. But legal Studio disputes mucho delayed the production (it eventually came out in 1995). When it came time to kick it , Dalton dropped out of the film and moved on to other things and the then "Remignton Steele -less" PIERCE BROSNAN finally got his shot at the tux.
So on that I'd like to raise my shaken but not stirred martini to TIMOTHY DALTON! You gave us a wonderful Bond in two superior chapters within in the long lasting franchise. Yes I'll be seeing QUANTUM OF SOLACE this Friday and you bet your ass that I'll be tapping a double dose of DALTON to pump me up for it. LIVING DAYLIGHTS and LICENSE TO KILL here I come!