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Bond: From Russia With Love

Oct. 28, 2008by: Chris Bumbray

Our James Bond retrospective continues with the second installment of the James Bond franchise- FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, considered by many to be the finest film of the series. Do I agree? Read on...

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

PLOT:   Bond goes to Istanbul to aid in the defection of a Soviet agent named Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi)- all the while being dragged deeper and deeper into a sinister scheme involving a Russian decoding machine sought after by the sinister organization- SPECTRE.

REVIEW: After the considerable international box office success of DR.NO, producers Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman immediately began work on a follow up. With FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, the producers had a bit more time and money to play with- and the result shows up on screen.

Unlike the somewhat uneven DR.NO, RUSSIA is a much slicker, and confident picture. Its also a lot more elaborate- benefiting enormously from being based on one of author Ian Flemings best novels- which was reported to be on none other than JFKs reading list at one time. Also- bear in mind that at the time, this cold war story was fairly timely, adding a degree of realism to the series. Theres no laser beams or end of the world scenarios- just good old fashioned cloak and dagger espionage. This is truly an outstanding entry in every way.

In terms of filmmaking technique, FRWL broke a lot of new ground. With this film, ace editor Peter Hunt practically invented the art of action movie editing- sometimes cutting in an experimental, non linear fashion, which was pretty far out at the time. For an excellent example of the way Hunt revolutionized the action film, check out the final closed quarters fight scene between Bond & Red Grant (Robert Shaw). Its gritty, extremely violent, and brilliantly cut- standing as one of the best fight scenes ever put to film. The influence of this fight can been seen in pretty much every action movie made since, including the BOURNE films, which owe A LOT to the early Bonds.

BOND

Once again, Connery is absolutely incredible as Bond. In this film, he also brings a bit of a sense of humor to the role, that was somewhat lacking in the first film. Another thing about Connery as Bond is that hes a total bad ass. You never doubt for a second that Connery could do some serious damage if hes provoked, and he racks up a ton of carnage in this film- dodging helicopters, blowing up a fleet of boats, and at one point even smacking his leading lady (which would never be accepted from another Bond- and that includes Daniel Craig).

VILLAIN

This film actually has a number of villains for Bond to deal with. After briefly hinting at it in the first film, we finally get inside SPECTRE (special executive for counter- intelligence, terrorism, revenge & extortion)- and organization that Bond will have to deal with in a number of subsequent entries. Leading the pack of villains, we have Ernst Stavro Blofeld- who would soon become Bonds arch-nemesis, but is never fully revealed here- other than his SPECTRE ring and trademark white cat. He delegates the plot to three of his top agents: Rosa Klebb, Kronsteen & Red Grant. Lotte Lenya- the famous singer- plays Klebb, who, along with Vladek Shaybal as the master planner Kronsteen have a behind the scenes role.

They have the true villain of the piece, Red Grant do their dirty work. Of all the Bond villains, Robert Shaw as Grant is my favorite, as hes the only villain Ive ever thought was a real threat to Bond. In every way, hes Bonds match, except that he has one defect- he has no conscience. Shaw is incredible in this film- which really launched his career, and was supposedly responsible for him getting cast as Quint in JAWS.

BOND GIRL

For my money- Daniela Bianchi is the hottest woman to ever appear in a Bond film. Like Ursula Andress in DR. NO, shes dubbed- but man is she a looker!!! Her seduction scene with Bond in an Istanbul hotel room is incredibly hot, and supposedly in the scene used to screen test every actor that plays Bond or a Bond-girl in each film.

BOND MUSIC: John Barry supplies his first full fledged Bond score- and it is a classic. The only thing it lacks is a solid theme song- as the theme song sung by Matt Munro is a little too easy listening for Bond. Its not a bad song per se- but it lacks a certain gravitas, and its not surprising it was left out of the opening credits, and only used at the end. Other than that, the score is flawless and a secondary Bond theme (007) is introduced during the famous gypsy camp shootout.

BODY COUNT: 18

Number of women Bond Sleeps with: Okay- heres where it gets complicated. Bond definitely sleeps with two- but I personally think the number is four due to the gypsy camp sequence. The whole thing goes like this. Bond is hiding out at a gypsy camp, and witnesses a violent (and awesome) cat-fight between two gypsy women in love with the same man. The sequence is incredible- with each girl viciously scratching at each other, under-scored by Barrys wicked music- until it gets broken up by a shootout. Bond ends up saving the life of the Gypsy chief, so as a favor Bond gets the chief to break up the fight- Bond will settle the situation himself. He has them both back to his tent, and the girls seem very friendly with each other, and they look at Bond like they want to devour him whole. Then we cut to the next morning where one girl is cooking him breakfast, and the other is sowing his shirt. Its strongly suggested that Bond nailed both of em- which of course, is AWESOME!!!

BEST ONE- LINER: Id say one of their aircraft was missing!- After shooting down a SPECTRE helicopter.

BEST DOUBLE ENTENDRE: Tatiana: (trying on dresses)I will wear this one in Picadilly! Bond: You wont. They just passed some new laws there.

BEST GADGET: With the first full fledged appearance of Desmond Llewellyn as Q- we also get the first Bond gadget- a brief case containing a sniper rifle, fifty gold sovereigns, a throwing knife, and tear gas.

RECEPTION: FRWL was an even bigger hit than DR.NO, grossing $72 million internationally, including $24.7 mill in the States- paving the way for the Bond mania that erupted when GOLDFINGER came out the next year.

GRADE: 10/10- FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is pretty much a flawless Bond film- and a real timeless classic. Is it my favorite? Not quite- its definitely one of my top Bonds, but not my absolute favorite.

Previous review: DR. NO

Source: JoBlo.com

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11:34PM on 11/14/2008

No nonsense Bond film

Oddly for me this is in my top ten Bond films. Everything works here..feels right too. I even like Matt Monroe's title tune very soft and soothing voice nifty little song. Sean Connery is definitely at his Bond best in this film. SIDE NOTE: Connery has always been my least favorite of all the Bonds, apart from this film I don't think he fits the role of 007 nearly as well as any who followed. 1.Moore 2.Brosnan 3.Craig 4.Lazenby 5. Dalton 6.Connery and I've been into these films since 1969's
Oddly for me this is in my top ten Bond films. Everything works here..feels right too. I even like Matt Monroe's title tune very soft and soothing voice nifty little song. Sean Connery is definitely at his Bond best in this film. SIDE NOTE: Connery has always been my least favorite of all the Bonds, apart from this film I don't think he fits the role of 007 nearly as well as any who followed. 1.Moore 2.Brosnan 3.Craig 4.Lazenby 5. Dalton 6.Connery and I've been into these films since 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"
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6:01PM on 10/29/2008
I'm diggin the reviews, but I have a correction for you.

"at one point even smacking his leading lady (which would never be accepted from another Bond- and that includes Daniel Craig)."

Not True, Lazenby pimp slaps Tracy in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'
I'm diggin the reviews, but I have a correction for you.

"at one point even smacking his leading lady (which would never be accepted from another Bond- and that includes Daniel Craig)."

Not True, Lazenby pimp slaps Tracy in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'
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6:39PM on 10/28/2008

Russia

not my favorite bond, maybe a 6/10. but hey man,
that's just my oppinion.
not my favorite bond, maybe a 6/10. but hey man,
that's just my oppinion.
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5:56PM on 10/28/2008
Not just a great 007 film, but a great film period! I love this movie and it is certainly one of the best in the genre. Connery & Shaw are simply awesome.

10/10 indeed!
Not just a great 007 film, but a great film period! I love this movie and it is certainly one of the best in the genre. Connery & Shaw are simply awesome.

10/10 indeed!
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1:31PM on 10/28/2008
I'm getting all the bonds soon... i can't wait till you hit the really shitty ones! I'm not talking Timothy Dalton, because those aren't even entertaining bad. But some Roger Moore ones DEFINITELY are.
I'm getting all the bonds soon... i can't wait till you hit the really shitty ones! I'm not talking Timothy Dalton, because those aren't even entertaining bad. But some Roger Moore ones DEFINITELY are.
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11:06AM on 10/28/2008

good stuff

i think its more like 8.5 not 10 only 2 bonds are 10's to me goldfinger and casino royale

robert shaw is the shit though
i think its more like 8.5 not 10 only 2 bonds are 10's to me goldfinger and casino royale

robert shaw is the shit though
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10:54AM on 10/28/2008

Nice one

I didn't like this as much as Dr. No personally, but it still is a terrific movie, and Robert Shaw is indeed incredible.

7/10
I didn't like this as much as Dr. No personally, but it still is a terrific movie, and Robert Shaw is indeed incredible.

7/10
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10:51AM on 10/28/2008
FRWL is without a doubt my favorite bond film, and Robert Shaw plays one of the best villains of the entire series.

Great review!
FRWL is without a doubt my favorite bond film, and Robert Shaw plays one of the best villains of the entire series.

Great review!
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9:11AM on 10/28/2008
Great review! This is my second favorite Bond film after CASINO ROYALE. An absolute must see for any fan of the series.

10/10
Great review! This is my second favorite Bond film after CASINO ROYALE. An absolute must see for any fan of the series.

10/10
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8:13AM on 10/28/2008

good read

Grade A review. From Russia With Love is my favorite Bond film and is worthy of the top grade.
Grade A review. From Russia With Love is my favorite Bond film and is worthy of the top grade.
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