From Russia with Love

SPECTRE’s has devised a plot to steal a Lektor cryptographic device from the Soviets by using British Secret Agent James Bond (Sean Connery) as a pawn and extract their revenge upon him for killing their agent Dr. No.  SPECTRE Number 3 Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) recruits the murderous psychopathic assassin Red Grant (Robert Shaw) to dispatch of Bond and Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), a cipher clerk at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul, as an unwitting accomplice, to further lure Bond into the trap.  Chief of British Intelligence M (Bernard Lee) knowing full well it’s a trap but none the less can’t pass up the opportunity sends Bond in to investigate.  Teaming up with M’s counterpart in Istanbul Station Chief Ali Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendáriz) Bond will spring the trap and force the enemy’s hand in an explosive standoff between old enemy’s.

Based on the 1957 novel “From Russia with Love” by Ian Fleming From Russia with Love actually comes chronologically before Dr No in the novels, In fact Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman made the decision to make Russia with Love as the second James Bond film while still filming Dr NO.  The plan being to release a new bond movie every year.  From Russia with Love initiates a lot of the quintessential elements that we have come to expect from a bond movie.  It is the first appearance of MI6 gadget master “Q” (Desmond Llewelyn) one of my favourite characters in the series. The ominous SPECTRE NO1 stroking his cat unseen from the viewers also appears for the first time and most importantly the pre credits opening sequence which has become an iconic part of every James Bond film since also made its first appearance In From Russia with Love.  The opening sequence observes Bond being stalked through a hedge maze at night and brutally garrotted by his assailant.  As the garden lights up, it is revealed that this “Bond” is actually a man wearing a prosthetic mask – it was all a SPECTRE training exercise. Queue the dramatic orchestra to play in the credits and you feel that this is going to be a much darker James Bond than before. Darker and more risqué, for its time, than the first with sexual undertones and innuendos being pushed further. Bond manages to bed different 4 women and end the life of 11 bad guys.

Why did I choose this movie, it’s actually my favourite of the Sean Connery era.  There is just so many classic elements that to me make it a truly great James bond movie.  You have exotic locations. A classily beautiful leading lady that plays the part with a playful innocence. A thoroughly darker tone with thrilling action and suspense. The conversations between “M”( Bernard Lee) Bond and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) is some of the funniest dialogue in the film and adds a levity that made me actually laugh out loud. The theme song for Dr No is “From Russia with Love” by Matt Monro and of course the “James Bond Theme” composed by Monty Norman and arranged by John Barry.  The film also picked up awards for cinematography from BAFTA and British Society of Cinematographers.  From Russia with Love is a cold-war thriller done with great style and a stellar cast brought together by a superb director… James Bond will return in Goldfinger.

My Rating: A
Format: DVD
I Own This Movie
Artwork by: The Essence of Bond
Bond: #2


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