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The Living Daylights: Recut by Problem Eliminator

Problem Eliminator

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Original film name: The Living Daylights
Fanedit name: The Living Daylights: Recut

Original running time: 131 min
Fanedit running time: 123 min
Time cut: 8 min

Synopsis: The Living Daylights stands out in the Bond series for its mix of Cold War espionage and escapist adventure, its tender romance, and Timothy Dalton’s vulnerable 007 – but it’s got problems, including ineffective villains, unnecessary comedy, and an overcomplicated plot. The Living Daylights: Recut aims to eliminate these problems. The intended result is a better-paced film with more threatening villains, a slightly more serious tone, and a streamlined story that is easier to follow.

Cuts and additions:

- Added fanedit disclaimer.
- Cut modern MGM logo.
- Added “Recut” to title.
- Cut Bond’s Russian contact distracting her supervisor with her breasts while Bond activates the pipeline. This is an unfunny waste of time that adds no real tension to the story.
- Recut Bond’s arrival at safe house so that we stay with Bond through his exit from Q-Branch, to his arrival in the Aston Martin, to the meeting with Koskov. This gives a more urgent pace compared to the original scene order (after Bond leaves Q-Branch, we cut to a milk farm). All of the scenes involving the milkman impersonator are still intercut with the safe house meeting, but they are moved down.
- Cut folding couch at Q-Branch. There’s plenty of humour in Q’s scenes already, so this isn’t needed.
- Trimmed bathroom attendant watching Bond take the cello case into bathroom stall. This goes on slightly too long.
- Moved Bond and Kara’s arrival in Vienna so that it occurs directly after Bond and Kara cross the border into Austria. This improves the pacing by letting us get to know Kara more before we are introduced to Whitaker, a relatively minor character.
- Cut surveillance camera watching Pushkin, as well as the boat where the camera images are being transmitted. We learn later that the camera and boat belong to Felix Leiter, but he has been cut entirely from the movie.
- Cut Pushkin and Whitaker talking about whether military commanders are butchers or surgeons. Neither character comes off well here – Pushkin’s viewpoint isn’t believable coming from the head of the KGB, and Whitaker smiling takes the sting out of his words.
- Moved scene featuring Whitaker and Koskov discussing their next plan so that it occurs directly after Pushkin reveals his suspicions about their scheme and threatens Whitaker. This change is intended to make Whitaker and Koskov appear more calculating and competent. In the original film, it feels like Pushkin can take care of these villains himself, without Bond’s involvement – in the edit, we learn about their next plan immediately and how Bond will be involved.
- Cut Koskov lounging at poolside with girls. It’s amusing to see him relaxing after the KGB has supposedly captured him, but the scene makes him too unthreatening.
- Cut CIA girls bringing Bond to Felix Leiter’s boat. Leiter’s dialogue is terrible and so is the actor. The scene exists only so Bond can explain that he faked Pushkin’s murder – however, the viewer should be able to figure that out easily enough. Note: the scene where the girls pick up Bond in the street isn’t removed because it’s needed for pacing, however silly it may be.
- Cut Whitaker saying “Now we can move. I’ll signal Amsterdam to ship the diamonds.” This line makes the diamonds seem too important, and we don’t need to know about them before Bond does.
- Removed officer inspecting the heart transplant container. This is a weird scene, with rushed editing and badly dubbed dialogue. It’s not important to see the heart transplant before Bond and Kara see it, anyway.
- Added shot of heart transplant from previous scene when Bond and Kara open the transplant container.
- Cut Koskov saying "I am on a secret state mission. I need a detachment of men and some trucks." This is a confusing line – it’s not clear if Feyador is onboard with Koskov’s scheme (whatever that is… also not clear at this point). The question is inconsequential and uninteresting and doesn’t need to be raised.
- Cut Bond explaining that the opium is “worth half a billion dollars on the streets of New York.” Again, this raises an unimportant question. What does New York have to do with a Russian/Afghan opium sale? Answer: nothing.
- Cut Kamran defending selling opium to the Russians and talking about needing money to buy arms. This isn’t important and confuses the explanation of what’s going on.
- Trimmed Bond and Kamran discussing the Snow Leopard Brotherhood. This group isn’t important to the story, so they don’t need to be emphasized.
- Cut Kamran shouting “Women!” before chasing after Kara. Boring and unfunny humour.
- Trimmed Bond setting up bomb in back of truck. This sequence is too long and shows nothing important.
- Shortened battle in desert by approx. 1 min. For most of the sequence, Bond’s plane is stuck on the tarmac and the villains hide under a truck. Not very exciting, so these moments were reduced. Also cut Kamran bulldozing a building with naked men inside, and cut Kara defeating a soldier who attacks her. Kara gets another action moment later, so this isn’t needed.
- Cut Kara nearly crashing the plane into a cliff. This makes her look extremely dimwitted.
- Cut Felix Leiter talking to Bond on headset. Leiter doesn’t appear in the movie.
- Cut Bond shooting his entire clip at Whitaker’s face shield, as well as Whitaker’s line "You've had your eight, now I'll have my eighty.” This makes Bond look incompetent – he could have easily aimed elsewhere on Whitaker’s body.
- Added faneditor credit.
- Applied colour correction throughout to reduce tinting that was done on the Blu-ray release of the film.
- Other minor changes as needed.

Poster:

tldrecut600.png


Special thanks:
Thanks to my brothers for assisting with the edit and the poster.
 
Nice choice! I have TLD on my wishlist for future Bond edits, now I may not have to. ;)

My two cents:
- Please cut the cello bobsled chase.
- Consider ending the film with the Bond girl performing on stage, without loving ending. You'll have to remove the bullet hole from her cello because of the cut chase.

I didn't know that cover art image. Is it a reworked Bob Peak poster (for Licence Revoked)? It makes a good pair with his red poster for Licence to Kill.
 
Living Daylights is one of my favorite Bond films, but it definitely still has too much leftover Roger Moore-isms. Really excited to see what you cook up with this!
 
lapis molari said:
Nice choice! I have TLD on my wishlist for future Bond edits, now I may not have to. ;)

My two cents:
- Please cut the cello bobsled chase.
- Consider ending the film with the Bond girl performing on stage, without loving ending. You'll have to remove the bullet hole from her cello because of the cut chase.

You may have to do your own edit of TLD still - I happen to love the cello bobsled chase, as well as the ending scene. TLD is my favourite Bond movie and I enjoy most of it, including the silly parts, which I like precisely because they are silly. I mean, the whole Aston Martin chase is ridiculous... If the cello bobsled goes, then shouldn't the Aston as well? :p

The most significant changes I want to make:

- Cut the scene of Bond's Russian contact distracting her supervisor using her breasts (this is an unfunny waste of time)
- Reorder and trim scenes involving the villains so they seem more threatening
- Trim or cut entirely the scene with Felix Leiter (terrible acting and dialogue)
- Try to simplify the explanation of the arms deal (it's really convoluted - involving diamonds, arms, opium, Russians, the Mujahadeen, and the Snow Leopard Brotherhood)
- Recut the battle in the desert - too long and not very exciting
- Cut Kara nearly crashing the airplane into a cliff - this is a step too far in her being ditzy

The rest will be more minor trims.
 
lapis molari said:
I didn't know that cover art image. Is it a reworked Bob Peak poster (for Licence Revoked)? It makes a good pair with his red poster for Licence to Kill.

Well spotted! It's a reworked version of this concept art.
 
Wow... at this rate I might need to retire from doing Bond edits - there are so many being announced!!  Good luck with this, sounds good!
 
Thread moved to completed. This is now on ifdb.
 
Here's a quick teaser for my edits of Dalton's Bond movies.

 
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