Buy “From Russia With Love (Special Edition) Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, Daniela Bianchi, Pedro Armendriz, Bernard Lee, Eunice Gayson, Walter Gotell, Francis De Wolff, George Pastell, Nadja Regin, Lois Maxwell, Terence Young, Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, John Lowry, Berkely Mather, Ian Fleming, Johanna Harwood, Richard Maibaum Movies & TV” Online

From Russia With Love (Special Edition)

Broccoli and Saltzman’s follow-up to “Dr. No” turned out to be the most consistently satisfying of the whole Bond franchise, despite a rather small plot driver involving a “Lektor” decoding machine that was past its macguffin sell-by date in 1963 (decoders seemed more urgent in the mid-50s when Fleming wrote the novel). It’s the narrative business surrounding that plot driver that makes this one work so well: SPECTRE plays the Russians against the British — neatly shown to us by the unseen Blofeld’s little fighting fish that wear each other out, only to have a third go in for the kill — in the race to secure the decoding machine. James Bond and a beautiful Russian clerk from SMERSH are caught in the middle. SPECTRE sends a murderous assassin to eliminate Bond and retrieve the machine. And that’s kinda it. And it’s more than enough. Global domination is still in the offing, of course, but the methods to achieve that domination are more grounded in reality. No diamond-encrusted satellites, no underground or underwater lairs for Bond to penetrate. “From Russia with Love” shows us a possible direction that this franchise might have taken if the producers had been interested in smaller but perhaps better films. This is the one Bond film I recommend to people who, for example, love Hitchcock films but don’t care too much for the excesses of Bond films. Music and credit sequence: great Barry score, but the actual “From Russia with Love” theme — a forgettable pop tune by some wanna-be Andy Williams crooner or other — is saved for the end. Barry’s first Bond score also included the “Second Bond Theme”, which has become the high-energy trumpet-blaring companion to any particularly triumphant action sequence in all later Bond films (and often used at the start of the end credits). Strange to say, Maurice Binder did NOT helm the the credit sequence, which featured the credits superimposed on a near-nude belly-dancer. Binder merely went on to perfect the form, starting with the next film in the franchise, “Goldfinger”. Bond Girl: quite uniquely, only one: Daniela Bianchi, who is one of the franchise’s very best. Not only is she gorgeous — Bianchi was a Miss Universe runner-up — but she appears to have great chemistry with Connery. Watching her horse around with different alluring outfits in the train compartment is a highlight, as is the “recording scene” where Bianchi describes the Lektor machine. The tape gets back to MI6, where M and Moneypenny get to hear exchanges like, “Are you going to make love to me when we get back to England, James?” “Yes, day and night!” By the way, I don’t count the menage-a-trois with the two pugilistic gypsy girls; they don’t even speak English, nor do they die. Gadgets: again, only one, but it must’ve been totally cool in 1963: a bullet-firing briefcase that carries a hidden throwing knife, 50 “gold sovereigns”, and is booby-trapped with tear gas if opened the wrong way. I presume the studio made a small killing after the film’s release, selling toy briefcases to blown-away 12-year-olds. In any case, it certainly beats the gadget from “Dr. No”, which was simply Bond’s upgrade from a WWII-era service pistol made by Beretta to the Walther PPK. This film also introduces Desmond Lllewelyn as “Q”. The banter between Bond and Q — mocking from the former, irritation from the latter — would commence with the next film. I particularly liked Kerim Bey — both the character himself and as portrayed by Pedro Armendariz. The producers didn’t try this too often in the series, but I rather think Bond improves when working with world-weary station chiefs and other pros. Bond has sidekicks, of course, but they’re usually either the “Girl” or just comic relief. His partnership with Our Man in Istanbul further adds to what is a pretty realistic movie. I like the Cold War machinations: Russians manipulating the Bulgarians who manipulate the local gypsy population. I wish the series had always kept at least one foot on earth, as they do here. By the way, the world-weariness was, sadly, enhanced by Armendariz’ literal world-weariness: the poor man was dying from cancer with a horrible rapidity during shooting; he ended his own life soon after leaving the set. Kennedy-era cool. A Bond movie that’s an actual spy movie. What’s not to like? “From Russia with Love” is the pinnacle of the series, in my estimation. 5 out of 5. Check it out!

Directed with consummate skill by Terence Young, the second James Bond spy thriller is considered by many fans to be the best of them all. Certainly Sean Connery was never better as the dashing Agent 007, whose latest mission takes him to Istanbul to retr




From Russia With Love (Special Edition) Review


We have been purchasing DVD versions to replace olde Pre-Recorded VHS tapes of the early Bond movies. In the scene where Tatiana Romanova appears with two co-workers leaving the Russian Consulate in Istanbul, speaking in Russian,our olde pre-recorded VHS tape Close-Captioning displayed the following conversation;Are you sure you don’t want to comewith us?I have some shopping to do. We’ll see you later as the hostel. Don’t be late. Goodbye for now. Goodbye for now. Goodbye for now. This DVD Close-Captioning displayed; Speaking in Russian without a translation. The Subtitle option displayed nothing while the women conversed, and you only hear the exchange in Russian. Good video and sound quality. Re-mastered appears to include darkening the frames to reduce grainy picture. -Read Reviews-

From Russia with Love is pure James Bond without the silly gadgets, poplib social causes, and implausible action that throw the viewer out of the story. Among the Bond films, I’d rank From Russia with Love as #2, behind The Living Daylights (1987) and head of License to Kill (1989). In contrast with the films that follow, things happen in the early Sean Connery Bond films because Bond makes them happen. (Later on, especially in the Roger Moore era, Bond is portrayed as an inconsequential and sometimes doltish victim who somehow survives while others work to defeat the bad guy. )

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