Title: From Russia With Love Director: Terence Young Year: 1963 Run time: 1hr 55m
“Sean Connery returns as James Bond in this thrill-a-minute adventure featuring remarkable villains, beautiful women and exotic locales! This time, Bond squares off against the evil SPECTRE organisation in a race to seize a Soviet decoding machine, thrusting him into a thrilling boat chase, a brutal helicopter attack and a deadly brawl aboard the Orient Express.”
1:27 - Lots of spicious looks to start with here. 3:07 - Bah! Masks. They had me fooled for a minute there. 6:01 - Does Venice have chess championships? Seems a low key sport for such a romantic place. 9:17 - Okay, Austin Powers will need a rewatch after this one, clearly. 14:09 - She went all that way just to punch him in the stomach? Weird. 21:40 - Can’t cope with Q being called “the equipment officer.” Not grand enough! 25:23 - The bad guy looks just like Daniel Craig. It’s old Bond v new Bond. 38:39 - This Istanbul guy is fabulous. I worry for his safety, though. 45:13 - That turned from a catfight into a full on brawl! 55:00 - Love continuity when they kiss, then magically her lipstick comes back. 1:02:41 - I like that James’ wicked ways have caught him out for once. How embarrassing! 1:10:34 - “Charming, charming.” Istanbul guy got creepy. 1:17:34 - They only spent one night together and now she’s all ‘I love you’ like it’s the end of the world. 1:20:12 - They’ve tried to do the map thing, but it’s old school. No dotted line or anything! 1:28:33 - Totally just realised that Daniel Craig-a-like is the guy out of the Sting. As a baby, of course. 1:35:40 - Bond said he wouldn’t need the fancy case and it’s saved his life twice now. 1:39:40 - Loving the sleepy companion. It’s like trying to wake Mr C up. 1:42:42 - James really needs to work on his one-liners. 1:49:35 - The real question is, if he blew up all the fuel, how did they get where they were going? 1:54:21 - Question mark in the credits. Fun!
The second of the James Bond films clearly had a higher production value than the first, and it felt like it weaved the story better - but unfortunately the story wasn’t as strong as its predecessor. The twists and turns of who is on which side weren’t as interesting as they could have been, but there was far too much opening and closing of doors on the train.
I did like some of the more nifty bits, the bad guy watching the spy conversation and using it himself, as well as the switching suitcases and suchlike. Also deep in the catacombs which was just like Venice and/or Phantom of the Opera.
Overall, a watchable film but not one I’d care to repeat. It felt like it was setting things up for the next one in the series… and with the introduction of SPECTRE, also for the latest Daniel Craig adventure too.