From Russia with Love (1963)
June 4, 2015 3:59 AM - Subscribe

James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device before it can be stolen by SPECTRE.

This is the 2nd James Bond film adventure.

The Wikipedia entry.

Some Top Critic reviews from Rotten Tomatoes:

Derek Adams, Time Out: "The film lacks the exotic, colourful flamboyance of the best of its successors. So shoot me."

TIME Magazine: "Sophisticated? Well, not really. But fast, smart, shrewdly directed and capably performed."

Variety: "From Russia with Love is a preposterous, skillful slab of hardhitting, sexy hokum."

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader: "For my money, still the best Bond, with a screwball plotline that keeps the locales changing and the surprises coming."
posted by doctornecessiter (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks to Shmuel510 for pointing me toward the essays on the Bond series...I'll start including links to the individual ones with these posts. But since I missed it in the main post this time: here's the one for From Russia With Love.
posted by doctornecessiter at 4:06 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is probably my fave Bond film. He's more of a spy/secret agent in this, plus it has a nice cold-war veneer about it. There's a raft of odd stuff in it, to be sure (Turkish gypsies driving around in brand new Ford station wagons?) but it still works that Bond magic from start to finish.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:04 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

"They will settle this ... the gypsy way."

*brawl in the dirt commences*
posted by sobarel at 5:58 AM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

I tend to prefer the Bonds with minimal "megalomaniac seeks world domination" plotlines...The more real-world politics and actual spying the better. Not that I don't love a well-done big action sequence, and I still love the over-the-top Ken Adam-y elements of the really broad Bond movies...But it's the smaller ones like this that hit my sweet spot more directly. This is really the only Connery one in this mold...Dr. No had a prototypical somewhat sci-fi SPECTRE plot (disrupting Cape Canaveral rocket launches with "a laser beam or something"), and after From Russia With Love they kept upping the spectacle factor.

Still, the plot of this one floats along a little too groggily for a while in the middle. When it's been a while between viewings, I consider the Red Grant fight in the train cabin to be the climax, mainly because it's awesome and iconic...But that's still about 30-35 minutes from the end. I forget that there's still the helicopter, the boats and the blade-shoe for Bond to deal with...It kind of over-weights most of the physical action to nearly the very end of the movie.

I really like Daniela Bianchi in the movie, though I wish the Tania character had had more to do than be somewhat out of her element a lot of the time. There are a few moments, especially on the train near the end, where she comes off as geniunely (as Kerim Bey would put it) chaaarming.
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:03 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


posted by doctornecessiter at 6:04 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, that IS Mr Boogalow from The Apple moonlighting as a chess grandmaster/SPECTRE goon!
posted by everybody had matching towels at 7:23 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I grew up in the 80s watching the Roger Moore ones and hadn't seen any Connerys until a little later...So in circa middle school when I got to this one, I was a little confused by Walter Gotell's first appearance as the guy who helps Klebb recruit Grant. Since he had a recurring role in the Moore years as General Gogol, the head of Russian intelligence, when he first showed up in this I wondered, "So is that Gogol? Is he with SPECTRE at this point or is Klebb using her Soviet connections to recruit a big blond sociopath from some legit Russian army training center? No, that doesn't make much sense...Hmm..."

But no, they just cast him later in a totally different role that also happened to connect him with Russia (obviously it was much clearer later on in this when when he showed up in Blofeld's office and later got killed in the boat explosion). They did tend to re-cast actors that they liked, especially in the early days...In fact, From Russia with Love was the first time a re-cast actor showed up a second time...Anthony "Professor Dent" Dawson from Dr. No plays the mostly-unseen Blofeld here (credited as "?"). I didn't know until looking at this IMDb page just now, but he's Blofeld in Thunderball also.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:26 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

My favorite Connery Bond flick.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:42 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

When I rewatched a few years ago, this one held up remarkably well for me. Though I agree the fight on the train feels like the high point and the stuff after that does feel a bit draggy.
posted by immlass at 7:27 PM on June 4, 2015

From my favorite of the Bind books, it's a pretty straight adaptation and mainly works as a Cold War espionage story rather than a "Bond" film, the tropes having yet to lock in.

White wine with fish?
posted by Artw at 8:10 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Red wine, old man.
posted by sobarel at 4:09 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

/is shot as Russian spy.
posted by Artw at 6:35 AM on June 5, 2015

Really the ultimate Bond moment would be if he got to kill someone for using the wrong fork.
posted by Artw at 6:42 AM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Man, if I was Bond I'd have slapped the rube out of "Nash" right there at the table. If then he turned out to be a SPECTRE agent, that would just be a bonus.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:11 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nah, an upper class chap like Captain Nash would of course have eccentricities like preferring red wine with fish or the company of men (was I the only one who got a gay vibe from "Nash"/Grant?) Of course, Nash's eccentricities become Grant's barbarities once the tables have turned.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:37 AM on June 5, 2015

From Russia With Love is one of my favorite Bond films. It's realistic (in comparison to the other films), intriguing, and surprisingly true to the source material (as far as I can remember since I've read the novel years ago.) I like it so much better than Goldfinger and yet Goldfinger gets a lot more love even though it seems that Bond doors very little. Also, I always found it interesting that, as far as I can remember, Red Grant doesn't talk during the intro which made it more jarring when he begins to talk at the beginning of the ends of the film. I expected a me henchman in the vein of Odd job and the "reveal"was interesting.
posted by I-baLL at 10:55 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Some quick thoughts:

Opening credits have added the scantily clad women and projections, however the opening title music is instrumental - the vocal theme isn't heard until the end credits. But it is closer than Dr. No to what becomes the traditional opening credit style.

The first appearance of Q!

The booby-trapped briefcase is only a hint of what is to follow in the later films.

Also, Bond appears to score with both gypsy girls, which I don't remember being in the book.

See doctornecessitor's comment above regarding reuse of actors and Anthony Dawson.
posted by kreinsch at 11:08 PM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love this movie, but now when I watch it I always find myself thinking of poor Pedro Armendariz.
posted by kewb at 5:51 AM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, he really steals the movie.
posted by I-baLL at 10:02 AM on June 7, 2015

To hear that Armendariz was in pain the whole time during filming is hard to imagine, he's such a bright ray of light in the movie.
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:15 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Conqueror strikes again...
posted by Artw at 7:44 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Adventure Time: Orgalorg...   |  Firefly: Trash... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments