For today’s second review of From Russia With Love, here’s a review by Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews.
Spectre creates a plan to use James Bond (Sean Connery) and a Russian typist (Daniela Bianchi) to retrieve a lector, a Russian encryption device, for them without their knowing who they are actually helping.
At first I had mixed feelings about this movie. Even after several viewings of From Russia With Love, I am still slightly confused as to what the actual plot of the film really is. After this last time, I think have a better understanding but there are still two things (well two I’m going to bring up anyway) that I can’t figure out: 1) Why does Spectre need the lector in the first place? And 2) Why didn’t Klebb just command Tatiana to bring her the lector rather than go through an elaborate ruse to get her and Bond to take it then in turn take it from them? Ok, now enough of that, on to the film itself.
Even though the plot is muddled, I still really enjoy this film. When I watch Bond films, I don’t usually watch for the plot. I watch for the Bond girls, and to see the titular character fight his way out of any situation he cannot charm himself out of (yes, I can be shallow at times, don’t judge!). Daniela Bianchi is absolutely stunning as Tatiana. The action isn’t over-the-top and not too much. This movie does a good job of pacing the action so it doesn’t become overwhelming. I especially like the fight choreography. Despite the James Bond films dipping it’s toe into fantasy (death by lasers anyone?), the fighting remains believable. The highlight for me is the fight between Bond and Donald Grant (Robert Shaw) on a train.
One thing is for certain: Sean Connery is Bond. I grew up with the Pierce Brosnan Bond so I’m a little biased, but Connery is the man who created who Bond is on screen. He has a swagger that I feel his successors haven’t truly been able to capture. Both Brosnan and Daniel Craig have come close but I don’t think they were quite on Connery’s level.
Besides the aforementioned confusion I have with certain plot elements, there is one other element that bothers me about this movie. And that is that it is very clearly part of a much larger story arc. This isn’t to any fault of the film, I feel like this one is more on me. Most of the later Bond movies are more or less stand-alone tales (excluding the three Craig films), whereas the first dozen or so all flow together. This makes From Russia With Love very difficult to just pick up and watch compared to the later films.
From Russia With Love helped establish what makes a Bond movie a Bond movie, and that is no doubt due to Sean Connery. Regardless of being confused with the plot, I still enjoyed watching Bond kick some ass and get the girl.
Cast & Crew
Terence Young – Director
Richard Maibaum – Screenplay
Johanna Harwood – Adaptation
Ian Fleming – Novel
Sean Connery – James Bond
Daniela Bianchi – Tatiana Romanova
Pedro Armendariz – Kerim Bey
Lotte Lenya – Rosa Klebb
Robert Shaw – Donald Grant
Bernard Lee – M
Walter Gotell – Morzeny
Francis de Wolff – Vavra
George Pastell – Train Conductor
Lois Maxwell – Miss Moneypenny
Aliza Gur – Vida
Fred Haggerty – Krilencu