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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Sir Hillary Bray wrote:

Always nice to hear from you, Higgins, and to be reminded not only of your opinions, but of the fact that we are all idiots wearing blinders and making excuses for not landing in exactly the same spot as you.  Such fun.   ajb007/biggrin

Welcome  ajb007/biggrin

You are taking this far too seriously - keep in mind that I have and still do receive a lot of flak for my position re. Dalton  ajb007/biggrin

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

SpectreOfDefeat, recently we have been group watching the James Bond films and commenting live upon them as we watch. You may find our thoughts interesting:

TLD:
https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/52531/aj … ry-on-tld/

LTK:
https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/52625/aj … ry-on-ltk/

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Higgins wrote:

You are taking this far too serious - keep in mind that I have and still do receive a lot of flak for my position re. Dalton  ajb007/biggrin

Ah, my mistake.  I must have missed that point in the subtlety of your argument.  ajb007/tongue   ajb007/bond

Hilly...you old devil!

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Higgins wrote:

I have and still do receive a lot of flak for my position re. Dalton  ajb007/biggrin

Not surprisingly. He wasn't a bad actor, his films did not flop (yes, other films made more money- as can be said of other Bond films- but his did not lose money), and he did not spend most of his time crying onscreen.

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

"SpectreOfDefeat, recently we have been group watching the James Bond films and commenting live upon them as we watch. You may find our thoughts interesting:
TLD:
https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/52531/aj … ry-on-tld/
LTK:
https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/52625/aj … ry-on-ltk/"

Thanks, Sir Miles, I'll definitely check them out.

Meanwhile- any other hot takes/sizzling critiques/centrist middle ground views/thoughts on Dalton and LTK? Possibly relating to my question on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the film's romantic elements?

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Barbel wrote:

, and he did not spend most of his time crying onscreen.

ajb007/biggrin  ajb007/biggrin  ajb007/biggrin

Penalty shot with no goalkeeper for me  ajb007/biggrin

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

Thanks, Sir Miles

ajb007/amazed  ajb007/amazed  ajb007/amazed  ajb007/amazed  ajb007/amazed  ajb007/amazed  ajb007/amazed  ajb007/amazed

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

I presume checking out those watchalong threads is considered shocking, Barbel.

Positively shocking... ajb007/smile

To drag the discussion back towards LTK's relative merits:

"Meanwhile- any other hot takes/sizzling critiques/centrist middle ground views/thoughts on Dalton and LTK? Possibly relating to my question on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the film's romantic elements?"

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

Thanks, Sir Miles


SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

I presume checking out those watchalong threads is considered shocking, Barbel.

Well, at least you got my name right this time.

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Ah I see the problem now- genuinely misunderstood what was being pointed out there. My mistake, Barbel- an error of quick typing, embarrassingly.  No confusion intended between yourself and any other members. Please accept my sincere apologies- still new round here.

I'll be sure to check out the watchalong thread- thanks for the suggestion.
On with the LTK discussion...

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Barbel wrote:

Not surprisingly. He wasn't a bad actor, his films did not flop (yes, other films made more money- as can be said of other Bond films- but his did not lose money), and he did not spend most of his time crying onscreen.

Let‘s just say for argument sake that the Bond franchise is strong enough that even a miscast and unpopular main actor could not pull the movie in the negative figures  ajb007/biggrin

Last edited by Higgins (19th Jun 2020 06:09)

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

"Let‘s just say for argument sake that the Bond franchise is strong enough that even a miscast and unpopular main actor could not pull the movie in the negative figures "

I'd contend that on the contrary, the strength of the 'Bond brand' had been slowly declining throughout the decade in the face of serious competition. In the specific case of LTK, if I had been hypothetically standing outside a multiplex in the summer of '89 facing the choice of either the latest Bond, Indiana Jones or Lethal Weapon 2, ticket sales show that many audience members- particularly in the US- plumped for the rival franchises. The 'Bond name' was already tarnished through its inconsistent quality and tone in the 80s.


One other aspect I don't think has been discussed was the poor marketing campaign. The dull photographic posters of cross scowly Timothy compare especially badly with the colourful and exciting painting artwork done to promote AVTAK and TLD. How about the uninspired promotion turning viewers away- linking to the original title of Licence Revoked being changed after testing badly?

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SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

One other aspect I don't think has been discussed was the poor marketing campaign.

That has been discussed over and over and on and on here.....
Standard excuse why Timmyboy failed.

And the ‚Strong Competition‘ and ‚Wrong Season‚ (Summer release) as well  ajb007/biggrin

Having said this, when the Bond Franchise was on a decline ( your argument - not mine) how do you explain the success of GE?
And please don‘t make it easy by using the ‚Bond fans where drought out by the long wait and thus ran the theatres‘ argument.

People wanted Brosnan, people where happy to see Brosnan as Bond and voted with their wallets.

Last edited by Higgins (19th Jun 2020 06:45)

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Addendum:

"In the specific case of LTK, if I had been hypothetically standing outside a multiplex in the summer of '89 facing the choice of either the latest Bond, Indiana Jones or Lethal Weapon 2, ticket sales show that many audience members- particularly in the US- plumped for the rival franchises."

This might initially appear to contradict my previous assertion that franchise fatigue wasn't the main reason for LTK's failure. I still think that. I'm just trying to assert that multiple reasons acted together to impact on LTK's underperformance. The main consistent through line of my case, which I've kept since the original essay's ideas, is that Dalton's presence wasn't the deciding factor.

Also, describing Dalton as "miscast and unpopular" belies the heart of the matter. Rather than being unpopular, I think Dalton was almost unknown outside of the UK at the time of his casting- unlike, say, Roger Moore in 1973 or Pierce Brosnan in 1995. Unlike either of those two, Dalton never managed to shake the perception of being a lesser regarded actor. As said before, the fact that Eon actually wanted Pierce in 1986 for TLD, and some other crew members also preferred Sam Neill, didn't help Dalton's credibility much at the time either...

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Nobody knew Connery *in 1962 but audiences accepted him with open arms.....
Dalton was a casting error and the US distribution urgend EON to fire him

* in the UK and elsewhere

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

"Having said this, when the Bond Franchise was on a decline ( your argument - not mine) how do you explain the success of GE?
And please don‘t make it easy by using the ‚Bond fans where drought out by the long wait and thus ran the theatres‘ argument.
People wanted Brosnan, people where happy to see Brosnan as Bond and voted with their wallets."

Challenge duly accepted. I'll try to avoid the 'long wait' argument and instead look at two others...


1) In the mid-1990s, there was a wave of cultural nostalgia for the 1960s. British music (Oasis, Blur) and art drew on the 1960s for inspiration. This cultural affection for British exports eventually became Cool Britannia and this generated nostalgia for the 60s Connery Bond films. Thus Bond was again viewed with warmth by the general public and not derision, and GoldenEye was released at exactly the right framing moment to capitalise on this phenomenon.

2) GoldenEye is qualitatively much better than LTK, with a more exotic Bond 'feel', inventive action and dynamic direction. As such it was positively reviewed by contemporary critics and thus drew significantly higher box office returns.


There you have it, two decent reasons separate from the "long wait" and "specific demand for Brosnan" arguments. Howzat?

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Also:

The point about Connery being an unknown in '62 doesn't hold as much water given that the audience back then had no preconceived expectations of how Bond ought to look. The most enthusiastic initial critic of Connery's appearance and mannerisms during the production of Dr. No was a certain Mr Ian Fleming(!). An interesting piece of trivia...


As I understand it Dalton wanted to return for GE in 1994 but was told "you can't only do one." I guess Dalton wanted to make it a hat-trick since GF and TSWLM had both been the most successful films of his predecessors...

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

"Having said this, when the Bond Franchise was on a decline ( your argument - not mine) how do you explain the success of GE?
And please don‘t make it easy by using the ‚Bond fans where drought out by the long wait and thus ran the theatres‘ argument.
People wanted Brosnan, people where happy to see Brosnan as Bond and voted with their wallets."

Challenge duly accepted. I'll try to avoid the 'long wait' argument and instead look at two others...


1) In the mid-1990s, there was a wave of cultural nostalgia for the 1960s. British music (Oasis, Blur) and art drew on the 1960s for inspiration. This cultural affection for British exports eventually became Cool Britannia and this generated nostalgia for the 60s Connery Bond films. Thus Bond was again viewed with warmth by the general public and not derision, and GoldenEye was released at exactly the right framing moment to capitalise on this phenomenon.

2) GoldenEye is qualitatively much better than LTK, with a more exotic Bond 'feel', inventive action and dynamic direction. As such it was positively reviewed by contemporary critics and thus drew significantly higher box office returns.


There you have it, two decent reasons separate from the "long wait" and "specific demand for Brosnan" arguments. Howzat?

Good points SoD. I would also suggest similar regarding Skyfall in 2012. Yes, it was good film, but its success may have factors attributed to it (to name a few highlights of 2012);

- The UK economy was stable and on the up after the global recession
- David Cameron (like it or not) was a popular Prime Minister (then!) and the 'Special Relationship' with the US, under another
  popular leader Barack Obama, was as strong as ever
- London hosted a 'critically acclaimed' Olympics and Paralympics, including great performances for UK athletes in both. (The opening ceremony also included Bond and the Queen of course)
- Andy Murray, won the Olympic Tennis Gold and made the final of Wimbledon
- Bradley Wiggins won Olympic Gold in Cycling and also became the first Briton to win the Tour de France
- The tallest building in Europe (The Shard) opened in London
- To top it all the Queen was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee

There was a sense of optimism in the UK (I know not everyone, or everywhere) and Britain seemed to be Great again. A sense of pride had returned. So, when a very good Bond film came out in October on the back of what had already been an great year, and included some fantastic UK locations and a starring role for the iconic DB5, it sat well with the UK public, that went to see it in their droves.

"Any of the opposition around..?"

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

An Oscar-winning hit song didn't hurt, either.  ajb007/smile

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Barbel wrote:

An Oscar-winning hit song didn't hurt, either.  ajb007/smile

Very true!

"Any of the opposition around..?"

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

That was a good list and well thought out argument, The Red Kind.

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

Also there's the fact that the parallel between Skyfall and GoldenEye being that both grossed more money than the franchise had ever before, GoldenEye grossed more than Moonraker and Skyfall grossed more than any other at about a billion dollars breaking internal records and being the UK's most profitable movie yet iirc

Makes me wonder which others have that same parallel. But I agree, there's always more to it than just the movie because Bond is like it or not a cultural icon.


And I agree that Dalton, as much as I enjoy his stuff, just didn't have the muscle...figuratively and literally for the 80s.

a reasonable rate of return

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

"Good points SoD. I would also suggest similar regarding Skyfall in 2012. Yes, it was good film, but its success may have factors attributed to it (to name a few highlights of 2012)"


Very interesting points, the Red Kind and others, re the cultural context of Bond. It can work both ways, as well. Whereas SF was partly so successful because of a general feeling that Britain was on the up, and so a healthy dose of jingoism was felt to be in order in 2012, a comparable phenomenon happened with the background of TSPWLM- which involved a sense of moody decline.


Like Skyfall, Spy arrived in time for a big Royal event, in this case the 1977 Silver Jubilee, and the title sequence refers fairly obviously to this sort of patriotic imagery.


But in 1977:


Britain had just had to go to the IMF in 1976 for a bailout, an unheard-of humiliation at the time.


The politics of détente under the unpopular Jimmy Carter meant that the US and UK were grappling with a general sensation of the West having lost their way, fallen behind, morally as well as in our case fiscally bankrupt...




With all this in mind, Spy provided an escape from the drudgery and a return to, variously, unbridled patriotism, exotic glamour and a UK acting as a muscular world power in concert with the US and USSR to take down Stromberg. Bond can flourish in tough as well as positive times...

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

If we apply the cultural argument to LTK, Bond was seen as superfluous to requirements- the Cold War was ending, the Russians would soon be inducted into the Western orbit, and such multipolar confrontations would simply cease. (see Fukuyama's The End of History.)

Perhaps this contributed to a sense that the Bond films would be pointless in the peaceful free-thinking Nineties? GE effectively dealt with this problem by actually tackling the Soviet Union's collapse head-on as part of the plot.

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Re: James Bond's Darkest Hour: An Essay on Licence to Kill

ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol

This navelgazing is highly entertaining:

If times are good, people storm theatres in a good mood
If times are bad, they need an escape from it and storm the theatres.
Many factors above apply for the UK only, so that can hardly explain the lack of success in the US and other countries.

Do we have weatherdata for TLD or stellar constellations, that could explain TLDs lack of success better than that the issue was the main man?

Last edited by Higgins (19th Jun 2020 12:40)

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------