Title: From Russia With Love.
Directer: Terence Young.
Writer: Richard Maibaum & Johanna Harwood
Seen on: DVD.
Seen Before: Several times when younger, not in a few years though.
Starring: Sean Connery, Daniela Bianchi, Robert Shaw, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn.
Running Time: 115 minutes.
Favorite Performance: Sean Connery as James Bond
Favorite Line: "Red wine with fish…well that should have told me something."
Favorite Moment: The violent and realistic fight scene between James Bond and Red Grant.
Thoughts: Following the good solid beginning, the sequel goes more world wide, and brings to the forefront the villainous SPECTRE, who I think are one of the reasons the earlier films are so well liked. More importantly, it introduces Number 1 of SPECTRE, who I feel gave the series a good set villain to revolve around their plots, and it is an aspect I think was missing in later years. I also liked that the film covered several countries over the course of the plot.
Red Grant was a strong villain for me, most of the film he is akin to a silent horror in the shadows, his first lines not coming until over halfway through the movie, and he only has about ten minutes screentime with Bond, but he comes across as intelligent, crafty, strong, and almost the victor over Bond. You can tell how he good he is by the fact there has been so many similar characters modeled after him, but Robert Shaw creates the quintessential henchman.
Daniela Bianchi is a stunningly beautiful Bond girl, whose attire of a bowtie around her neck is both memorable and sexy. I’d like to say she gave a good performance, but seeing as she was dubbed, I can’t, because vocals are vital for a performance. Her body language and characteristics were good, despite the slightly demeaning manner she becomes desperate for 007 later in the film, but she is still a strong Bond girl.
Supporting cast such as M, Q and Miss Moneypenny are mainstays of the franchise and despite their often small roles, they create great characters, M is the slightly stern but almost loving father figure, Miss Moneypenny the beautifully intelligent wanna-be love interest, and the introduction of Q, who would grow to be a loving, jokingly antagonistic uncle figure, whose introduction of the Briefcase is still one of my favorite gadgets, clever, and yet, simple. Rosa Kleb is also a maniacal henchwoman, who is a worthy inclusion.
Again, Sean Connery is strong, a slightly harsh and cruel version of Bond, but even his worst quips, whilst slightly groan-worthy, are enjoyable as it is him, and he carries the burden of the screen well, both his fighting prowess and intelligence displayed, Connery seemed to be getting more into the frame of Bond, his acting having improved from the previous film.
The film is a solid follow-up, and is a fun yet exciting inclusion as well, definitely builds upon the original in a positive manner. But by the way, what is with the random catfight halfway through?
Thumbs Up, 7 out of 10.