Sunday, December 28, 2008

From Russia With Love

From Russia with Love
Originally uploaded by CinefilSite
From Russia With Love is one of the Bond movies that I’ve never seen. It’s an early Bond film from before the gadgets, explosions and Bond girls got in the way of Bond. It’s a Bond film that really shows you why exactly Bond is the spy he was built up to be in fiction, why Connery is considered the best Bond to this day, and contrasts sharply with the Bond films of the past two decades and is a sharp reminder of why exactly is was necessary to scale Bond back to a movie more about the spy than the spies trappings – in essence why it was necessary for Craig et all to take Bond back to what everyone is calling a rip off of Bourne. Let me tell you this – the new Bond films are not imitating Bourne, they are emulating their predecessors.

Unlike the later Bond films From Russia With Love is a genuine spy movie, very convoluted in detail yet pretty perfectly worked out. Unlike a lot of other Bond movies what makes From Russia With Love unique is the self-awareness it possesses so early in the series – the villains want Bond out of the way permanently and they try to accomplish this by seeking a femme fatale on Bond knowing that he will be unable to resist a tempting and willing woman. What follows is a complicated plot that has Bond questioning everyone that surrounds him, falling for a woman that he knows he can’t trust, and trying harder than anything to foray through the foreign spy game of Turkey & Russia to win the game for England.

An early bond film cannot be discussed without discussing Sean Connery. While Connery is audibly Scottish, the bravado and charm he exudes as Bond makes it obvious that he is Bond body and soul. From the dashing smile to his ability to wrestle with a foe you never doubt Bond is anything but lethal, an opponent who is always several steps ahead of his enemy but waiting for them to make a move that will expose their entire charade and leave him the victor.

While I wholeheartedly feel that I need to see this movie again to really follow and appreciate it, I cannot recommend From Russia With Love enough to any Bond fan that hasn’t seen it or to anyone who wonders why the Bond franchise has been around for over twenty films.

Director: Terence Young
Writer: Richard Maibaum
James Bond: Sean Connery
M: Bernard Lee
Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Red Grant: Robert Shaw
Tatiana Romanova: Daniela Bianchi
Rosa Klebb: Lotte Lenya

Donald "Red" Grant: Is any of the opposition around?
James Bond: Not in any condition to be worried about.

No comments: