MI6 Community Bondathon



  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    Posts: 4,151
    Just sat down for From Russia With Love.
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    Posts: 4,151
    .....And now finished with From Russia With Love. Initial reaction - brilliant and certainly gonna be in the top 5 for me. A super movies that's carried on, and bettered, the super work done on Dr No. A proper spy thriller, and one that hasn't needed the massive set pice ending that Dr No had. Excellent.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,020
    I'll watch it tomorrow (Sunday). Ranking Connery has never been difficult for me, except for the top spot which GF and FRWL actually share.
    Then it's clearly DN.
    After that it's DAF, TB, YOLT.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,406
    From Russia With Love

    Perfection, thy name is From Russia With Love. Once again I had a fantastic time watching this classic film.

    A few character beats that again impressed me -

    Klebb recoils after Morenzy touched her
    in a similar vein, Tatiana shows disquiet over Klebb putting her hand on Tatiana’s knee
    Sylvia’s quick clap after Bond delays meeting with M for another hour and a half
    Bond does not sit down until M motions him to do so
    The entire gypsy belly dance scene
    The look of quiet malevolence on Bond’s face when he enters his and Tatiana’s carriage after Kerim is killed

    One piece of artistry that impressed me was when the film reached Zagreb – the music slowed down; Young revealed Zagreb on a station sign from a window aboard the Orient Express; then Grant enters the frame and pushes on the door.

    What a picture. This viewing has only reinforced that From Russia With Love is at the top of the Bondian tree.

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,020
    As some of you were showing the way you watch the Bond films here is mine.

    Part of my living room where I enjoy the movies.
    Samsung 4K TV Set. LG powerful Soundbar with active subwoofer. High end Pioneer Blu-ray player.


    Photographed this directly while watching DN. I love this TV!!
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited October 2016 Posts: 23,883
    @BondJasonBond006 nice pad and set up. Not so sure about Kylie though. I should be so lucky...lucky lucky lucky.

    DN looks incredibly crisp on 4K in those photos. Certainly a step up from my regular blu. I'm tempted to make an investment but may hold off for another year. There's U4K out now and I'm confused by all the jargon.

    I just finished FRWL. I normally keep this one for special occasions, but it's been over a year since I last watched it (last time was during a pre-SP's Bondathon) and so it felt like the right moment. This has been my top ranked Bond film for over a decade and this viewing reinforced that opinion. I love nearly everything about this film. It's just so stripped back and unadorned. There are no big sets and yet I find it engrossing throughout its run time.

    It's a consummate spy thriller to me. Everything just clicks. From the suspenseful pretitles sequence featuring an early glimpse of Grant's menace, to the crafty Kronsteen's introduction in Venice, to his meeting with Blofeld and Klebb on the yacht and the unveiling of his duplicitious master plan, to the lovely Tatiana's chilling meeting with Klebb in exotic Istanbul, to Bond's arrival in town and meeting with bubbly ally Kerim, to the tense Roma girl fight and the first instance of the iconic 007 theme, to Bond's legendary first meeting with Tatiana in the hotel room bed, to the theft of the lektor and escape on the famous Orient Express, to Grant and Bond finally meeting up and their tense train cabin fight, to the escape from Spectre operatives over sea, to the final tense confrontation with Klebb back in Venice......all aforementioned scenes are executed to near perfection. Moreover, the entire film is underpinned by a fabulous, lean John Barry score that is at once sinister and also romantic.

    Connery once again owns the role and is even more effortless in his second outing as James Bond. I prefer him here to his more raw performance in DN. He's more polished and laid back, but still very lethal. Daniela Bianchi is absolutely stunning, and perfectly cast as Tatiana Romanava. Playful, naive, charming and yet disciplined and ready to commit for Mother Russia (or so she thinks). The supporting cast is outstanding as well. Lotte Lenya's Rosa Klebb is probably still the most odious female adversary that Bond has encountered (sorry Irma), Vladek Sheybal is perfectly cast as Spectre master planner Kronsteen, Pedro Armendáriz's Kerim Bey is still to this day one of the best allies Bond has had and his chemistry with Connery is natural and real, and Robert Shaw's Grant is a chilling and very credible adversary.

    FRWL is a film that's larger than the sum of its parts. It's a supremely confident & well executed endeavour and one which is very unique in the 24 official film canon. It's still by far my #1 Bond film after this watch.
  • I see we’re still catching up on our Dr. No comments as well as starting our FRWL remarks. I fully agree with most of what’s been said re: DN’s script, the locations, the actors and so forth. A wonderful film…but I do have a few remarks to make before going on to FRWL, which is my own #1 favorite in the series. SO:

    The credits & opening sequence for DN doesn’t really meet the standard that will soon be set for FRWL, GF and the rest. The opening electronic noises don’t immediately put me into a “Bond” frame of mind -- not surprising, I guess, given that the audience doesn’t yet know what a Bond frame of mind is supposed to be! The flashing colored dots also don’t do a lot for me -- but at least we now get our introduction to Monty Norman’s James Bond theme, as performed by John Barry & Co. Then we move on to the colorful silhouettes of dancers swaying to the “Jamaica Calypso” drums and at least now we’re getting something that approximates the sense of the movie proper…and our credits scene draws to a close with the “Three Blind Mice” in the music and on the screen. What we have for our opening sequence is at least three distinct segments, visually and musically, that don’t really hold together as a single entity.

    The Mice kill Strangways and his secretary, then steal 2 files, identified on the sides of their folders in GREAT BIG LETTERS: DR. NO and CRAB KEY. Okay, everybody who’s ever worked in an office knows better than this. Files are identified in small letters on the tab at the top of the folder, so that multiple files can be stored in a file cabinet and the files can be easily located and retrieved for further examination. The LARGE PRINT on the sides of the folders are there because it’s a movie, folks, and we have information we want to give the audience…but it’s a slip that I didn’t notice until I’d seen the movie several times. Still, it is a slip, and now whenever I see it the illusion is briefly but firmly shattered.

    We move on to the casino, Sylvia Trench, the classic “Bond, James Bond” delivery… great stuff. Then we find ourselves in M’s office at “MI-5” --did everybody catch that? It sounds to my ears like Bernard Lee overdubbed himself to say that since he’s taken over as the head of MI-5, 00 casualties have gone down. Nothing that bothered me the first few times I saw this film, but now… Then we follow Bond back to his flat, where he finds Sylvia playing a little golf on the carpet. Sure, Bond gave Sylvia his card so she found him easily enough -- but does anybody besides me wonder how she let herself in? I would think that a Big Time Secret Agent would have a security system strong enough to foil the intrusive efforts of a civilian, even a gorgeous one like Sylvia Trench!

    And so it goes -- the main point I’m trying to make here is: as excellent a movie as this is (and it IS truly excellent) -- it’s not a full A by my grading system. Maybe an A- …heresy perhaps, but still. I love this film, honest I do, but I do have a few more larger errors to point out and one specific point to make…

    “We’ll be back…with the dogs!” During the scene where Dr. No’s men are in a boat, firing at Bond, Honey and Quarrel hidden on the beach, there are a few sentences heard by the audience as if they are amplified by the bullhorn -- but the man holding the bullhorn has clearly taken the bullhorn away from his mouth and is holding it at his side.

    When Bond is discovered tampering with the controls of the atomic reactor, and the flashing signs tell his technicians to abandon the facility -- why didn’t Dr. No just shout, “Grab him, you fools! Don‘t be a bunch of cowardly sheep!” Once Bond had been overcome by about twenty or so technicians the controls could have easily been reversed and the atomic meltdown averted. Instead, we have Bond vs. No mano-a-steely-mano and the first of many villainous lairs going up in a tremendous explosion. I’m not going to complain about Dr. No dying in the reactor coolant pool rather than underneath a mountain of (Spoiler alert! Read the book, folks!) but I do think that everything after Bond escapes from his cell via the vent happens just a little too quickly. It was like the film-makers realized that they were using up all their allotted budget and just rang the curtain down double-quick, hope you liked the show everybody & dontforgettotipyourwaitress!

    Finally, the yellow elephant in the room of Dr. No: racism. It’s there, sometimes very subtly, and really, it’s almost to be expected. We can’t judge a film made in 1962, based on a book written in 1957, by the standards of 2016. If Bond had instructed Quarrel to “grab” his shoes rather than “fetch” them in that scene on the beach, we might not even be having this discussion. But really, even in my first viewing of this film at the age of 11 in 1965, I noticed that Dr. No’s personnel are racially segregated according to the job he’s got them doing. Off the island, not quite so much, but on the island, fairly absolutely: black folk do the physical labor and work outside his lair, inside the lair and at the reactor and toppling machine, he’s exclusively using people of asian origin. The guards even look like they're wearing the uniform of the Red Chinese army. In the novel by Fleming, the racism is even more overt: Dr. No only trusts Asians or “Chigroes” (a term I’ve never seen anywhere else, denoting a mixture of Chinese and Negro blood.) The entire concept of Dr. No is based quite clearly on the “Yellow Peril” stories of the early 20th Century, culminating in the San Rohmer series featuring Dr. Fu Manchu. It’s there folks, we don’t have to either condemn it or praise it but we really ought to at least acknowledge it.
  • edited October 2016 Posts: 1,386
    Just watched FRWL tonight and it's still my #1 favorite Bond film. While I love everything about this movie I would say that a lot of why I love it so much boils down to the plot and the villains. Every time I watch the film I feel like I'm right there with Bond in the thick of all the danger and deceptions and this time was no exception.

    My ranking of the Bond films we've watched so far is:

    1. FRWL
    2. DN

  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    edited October 2016 Posts: 7,537
    My last comment on Dr No, and I will add to it for each film - just for fun.

    What have we learnt about James Bond in Dr No?

    He smokes
    He frequents casinos until the early hours with no obvious side effects.
    He is a terrible snob, sexist and a bit racist if we are perfectly honest.
    He hates spiders, or poisonous ones at least.
    He kills in cold blood.
    He knows his champagnes.
    He has a Saville Row tailor
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    edited October 2016 Posts: 4,151
    As it's Sunday, it's time for the ranking part of this Bondathon. From Russia With Love builds on the foundations laid by Dr No. This is a super Bond movie, a straight up spy thriller that doesn't rely on big action set pieces (which I'm not averse to) but more on story, plot and performance. This is a movie that will rank very highly in my new ranking as it does on my previous one. Therefore:

    New ranking

    1. From Russia With Love
    2. Dr No

    Previous ranking

    1. The Spy Who Loved Me
    2. On Her Majestys Secret Service
    3. Casino Royale
    4. From Russia With Love
    5. Skyfall
    6. Goldfinger
    7. Octopussy
    8. Spectre
    9. Dr No
    10. The Living Daylights
    11. Goldeneye
    12. Live And Let Die
    13. Licence To Kill
    14. A View To A Kill
    15. For Your Eyes Only
    16. Moonraker
    17. Thunderball
    18. Quantum Of Solace
    19. Diamonds Are Forever
    20. Tomorrow Never Dies
    21. You Only Live Twice
    22. The Man With The Golden Gun
    23. Die Another Day
    24. The World Is Not Enough

  • edited October 2016 Posts: 3,542
    My quick review of FRWL: It is my absolute favorite Bond movie, primarily because it's about the closest Bond ever comes to a believable espionage adventure. Essentially, what we have is a honey trap plot, dressed up in the glamorous Bondian style. The first Bond movie, from right out of the box, contained most of the classic elements of the Bond formula that we know and love. This, the second in the series, added the few elements the first had been lacking -- an intriguing PTS, a memorable theme song, an interesting gadget (the famous trick briefcase) and Desmond Llewelyn as ..."Major Boothroyd." Perhaps the next outing actually gives us the definitive Bond film, by bringing into the mix an over-the-top plot and a car that couldn't possibly fit all those extras into the package provided...but for me, FRWL is the best Bond film of them all. Therefore:

    1) From Russia With Love
    2) Dr. No
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    edited October 2016 Posts: 4,151
    Bond actor and performance

    Sean Connery is full of confidence in this movie. Yes, he was confident enough in Dr No but in From Russia With Love you can see that he is so comfortable as 007 and he shines all the way through it. A great performance, from his repartee with Kerim Bey to his more serious side with Tatiana after Kerim's death. Brilliant performance from start to finish, one of, if not the, best of his perfomances.

    Bond girl/s and performance

    Sylvia Trench - I have a great affection for Sylvia Trench and she's my favourite secondary Bond girls. Again, in a limited time, we see her mischievous side and she's certainly a match for Bond.

    Vida and Zora - Two lovely ladies who were involved in such a nasty, violent fight (over a man) with each other that was very well done. However, they soon got over their love of this other bloke when Bond arrived on the scene, haha.

    Tatiana Romanova - Couldn't wait to jump in the sack with 007, even though it's part of her mission. Her scene with Klebb at he beginning was great, such innocence in her character comes out very well. We see a lot of this all the way through. We also see her naughty side. Once when we see her through sheer net curtains, all but naked (the bluray shows this up so much more) and in the scene on the boat when she's
    talking into the "camera" and all she wants to know is how much lovemaking her and Bond will be doing. Night and Day. I like Tania, good character and quite the beauty. I feel she has a bit more about her than Honey Ryder. The only thing that does bother is in the scene after Kerim's death. "All I know is I love you." etc. Not my favourite, especially after the way Connery comes in to the cabin. I do like how Connery kind of rolls his eyes when she is saying these words.

    Bond henchman/woman and performance

    I'm guessing we have a few hear to speak of. First up is Kronsteen, a character I really like. He looks and acts like he's come out from acting in a 40's 50's black and white detective movie. Well portrayed by Vladek Sheybal.

    Then we have the brilliant Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb. Wow, she is quite the evil, nasty character isn't she and not someone who should be messed with. From her, almost, lesbian intentions towards Tania early in the movie, to her testing of Grant with the punch in the stomach and through to her final fight with Bond (you feel that she could really have beaten him), she is a force to be reckoned with and brilliantly played by Lenya.

    Grant - what can be said about him that hasn't been said before. Grant is an, almost, unstoppable machine, groomed by Spectre to be the ultimate killing machine. Robert Shaw is the menacing character and he is superb in the role. I love how he saves Bond's life at the gypsy camp and the way he stalks Bond all the way through the movie. One of my "favourite" kills (if that's the right word), is the one of
    Kerim Bey. Yes, we don't see it on screen but I think that makes it all the more sinister. And the exchanges between himself and Bond on the train are also excellent and hard to beat for any Bond movie. A great character and the benchmark for all further henchmen/women.

    Bond villain/s and performance

    The villain of the piece (in my eyes anyway) is Number 1, played by Anthony Dawson and dubbed by Eric Pohlmann. We don't really see much of the character apart from the beginning and part way through, but there is enough menace in the character to leave us wanting more of him.

    Supporting cast performances (M, Moneypenny, Q, allies, minor characters, etc)

    M - Bernard Lee is just excellent again, as with Dr No. As he always wills be, brilliant. What stands out for me in this one is the first time we see in him the movie when he's with Moneypeny. Bond walks in, throws hat, a little quip and M is stood there; the little nod that Lee gives Connery to direct him to his office is such a brilliant little
    touch. Great.

    Q - A nice intro to, who will become a legend in the Bond universe. His explanation of the attache case is great, and even though he has such a small amount of time on screen, we do get a little look at what to expect from Q in the future.

    Moneypenny - The wonderful Lois Maxwell is again the wonderful Moneypenny. Again, a small amount of time on screen but it's always great to see how well herself, and whoever is Bond at the time, get along.

    Kerim's chauffeur - Neville Jason plays this character very well, very straight to the point character. When we first see him, there is a sense of a similar scene in Dr No about it, but the little discussion they have to ensure they are the correct person is played great by, both himself, and Connery.

    Vavra - I love this guy. Very welcoming and so appreciative, quite rightly so of course, when Bond saves his life. I certainly wouldn't have liked to see what he was like if you really got on the wrong side of him though.

    Finally Kerim Bey - Hands down this fella is probably my favourite ally of Bonds throughout the whole series. Pedro Armedariz brings such quality to the role and makes him so likeable. There is so much I like about him, from the scene with his mistress and, after she calls him for so long, he finally gets up to have his naughty way with her, almost reluctantly (unfortunately an explosion stops that). The main thing
    that really sets him apart from other allies, however, is the chemistry that he has with, leading man, Connery. It's almost like no acting is needed between the two when they are in a scene together. One scene, in particular, that shows this off is when himself and Bond are looking over the blueprints. Bey asks Bond if the Lektor is all he wants
    (hinting at him wanting some Tatiana), to which Bond replies, simply, "Well...." and they both break into laughter, but, rather than it seeming forced, it seemed so real. A simple, yet superb, piece of dialogue between the two actors. A great character, I am always gutted when he is found dead, though I am gald we didn't see it. A wonderful
    actor and such a shame that Mr Aremedariz passed the way he did.

  • Nice review, @Shark, but there are two points I'd like to make: Grant isn't "Red" Grant in this movie, only in the Fleming novel. Robert Shaw doesn't have red hair, and nobody refers to him by that name in the film. He's just Grant. It's a common mistake. Also, Desmond Llewelyn's character hasn't yet been referred to as "Q" yet. The credits list him as Boothroyd. Desmond will fully become Q in GF, when Guy Hamilton gives him the critical directorial input that allows him to understand the proper way to approach his character: Q actually finds Bond disrespectful and kind of annoying. Desmond isn't quite there yet and the script for FRWL gives him no reason to be there, only with GF does he really become the Q we all know and love.
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    edited October 2016 Posts: 4,151
    Nice review, @Shark, but there are two points I'd like to make: Grant isn't "Red" Grant in this movie, only in the Fleming novel. Robert Shaw doesn't have red hair, and nobody refers to him by that name in the film. He's just Grant. It's a common mistake. Also, Desmond Llewelyn's character hasn't yet been referred to as "Q" yet. The credits list him as Boothroyd. Desmond will fully become Q in GF, when Guy Hamilton gives him the critical directorial input that allows him to understand the proper way to approach his character: Q actually finds Bond disrespectful and kind of annoying. Desmond isn't quite there yet and the script for FRWL gives him no reason to be there, only with GF does he really become the Q we all know and love.

    Cheers and thanks for the pointers there. Never realised about the Grant thing, oops, thanks for that. Amended. That's why I'm never any good at these things.

    I'm aware that Llewellyn is Major Boothroyd, another error but we all know he's Q. Habit I guess.

  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,537
    From Russia With Love - The Cast

    James Bond.
    A generous tipper.
    Not one for hanging his expensive suits up.
    Won't drink champagne unless it's at the correct temperature.
    Eats figs, yoghurt and black coffee for breakfast
    Has been to Hong Kong on a jolly with M
    Knows which wines to drink with which food.
    Doesn't allow his feelings to interfere with his mission (oh, just wait until we get to Licence To Kill).

    Sean Connery, looking a little heavier than in Dr No gives a terrific turn as Bond. The slightly impetuous, easy to anger agent of 12 months ago seems to be in total control here.
    Even in a fight at the gypsy camp Bond is more prone to move around the edges dousing the flames rather than entering the fight.

    Good humoured at all times - in his moments with Kerim Bey he laughs easily when Kerim teases him about the girl and the lector ("Are you sure that's all you want?").

    When he tried the attaché case and it doesn't explode he smiles at the 'Equipment Officer' .

    Later at the Russian Embassy he sees the funny side of the incredible explosion Kerim sets up for him.

    Connery was terrific in Dr No, is it possible to be better in FRWL? Absolutely. There is a moment at the end after Klebb is shot when he sits down to gather himself and Tatiana puts her hands on his shoulders, still holding the gun, but now pointing towards him. Bond gently but firmly pushes the gun away. It's a lovely little detail.

    Tatiana is gorgeous, as @bondjames says 'playful, naïve, charming and yet disciplined'. The actress wasn't apparently bothered about acting and was a little too laid back for Terence Young's liking, but maybe this easy nature came through and was the cause for her natural and winning performance.

    Lotte Lenya was wonderful as Klebb. Her great line "You forget to whom you are speaking?" smacks a little too much of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau and I always smile at that despite myself.

    Vladek Shaybel as Kronsteen is splendid with his Peter Lorre voice,

    Best of all Robert Shaw as Grant a killer whose profile fits Kronsteen and Klebb's needs perfectly. Apart from one major flaw that Bond spots immediately.


    Pedro Armendariz as Kerim is allowed enough screen time for his character to grow and become integral to the story, which is unusual for a Bond film. His easy going love of life was in sharp contrast to the actor's real life outlook.

    As well as M and Moneypenny we get Desmond Llewellyn (at last) as Equipment Officer. The team is now complete.

    It's hard to fault the cast. Maybe having such a good script plays to the strengths of everyone concerned, but chances were taken (Lotte Lenya for example, was cast very much against type) and they paid off handsomely.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    The unseen Blofeld isn t inspired by the Fleming books as much as it is inspired by Dr. No in the previous film, wouldn t you say?
  • Posts: 4,012
    As some of you were showing the way you watch the Bond films here is mine.

    Part of my living room where I enjoy the movies.
    Samsung 4K TV Set. LG powerful Soundbar with active subwoofer. High end Pioneer Blu-ray player.


    Not into later Kylie?
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited October 2016 Posts: 9,020

    Oh yes, I am into Kylie still. She is my favourite pop singer of all time.

    In the picture you see 4 special edition boxes, released in 2015, all include picture disc vinyl, 2-cd set, dvd, posters, big book with liner notes from Kylie, Pete Waterman, tons of photos etc.

    Just bloody beautiful and a gift from Heaven to Kylie fanatics. Needless to say the music and all the promo clips and TOTP clips are remastered to highest quality :)
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    edited October 2016 Posts: 4,151
    Gun barrel sequence

    Again, there's no Connery in the gun barrel, but we do get the excellent James Bond music throughout it. Thoughts are the same as with Dr No on Bob Simmons movement etc.


    I like the pts for this movie. We see "007" being stalked by, a then unknown, Grant. What this does well, is it gives the, first time, viewer a shock as we see the Connery dummy meet his maker at the hands of Grant. The little twist of it being a training exercise is great.


    Apart from London, most of the movie is based in Istanbul, which looks great as do most of the locations in Bond movies. Not as bright as the Jamaica location in DN but looks good all the same.


    Only the one of note really and one of the most memorable, the attache case. With quite the catalogue of uses, such as, the ammunition, flat throwing knife, rifle, tear gas canister and the gold sovereigns, it's no wonder that this is highly thought of. Plus, during the course of the movie, it becomes more and more invaluable to 007.


    Again, not massively action heavy and this is more spy thriller than action thriller but there are some great little sequences in there. The gun fight at the gypsy camp is quite excellent. I love how Grant is in on the outskirts looking in, and saves Bond getting a knife in the back (saving him for himself). It's the type of gun fight that you would see watching an old western. Good stuff.

    Then there is the train fight between Bond and Grant. This is one helluva tough and hard fight between the two characters and its influenced the Bond movies over the years, through to Spectre. It's one hell of a scrap and you felt that somebody could really get hurt. Well put together.

    There's also the helicopter chase through to the boat chase. To be honest, despite the drum explosions, this is fairly mudane to me. Sorry, but it just doesn't build any real excitement.


    Some great lines in this movie that I enjoy. "As if I didn't have enough problems" when talking of the girl fight, "She should have kept her mouth shut" after killing Krilencu, the scene where he is getting Tania to talk to the "camera" and Tania's interruptions (I still want to know what happened in Tokyo), the smirk on Bonds face just before Bey blows up the building and who can forget "She's had her kicks" after Klebbs demise. All nice, subtle and not in your face but funny nonetheless.

    Plot plausibility

    No reason for me to be bothered by any reason that the plot isn't credible. After all, this is a Bond movie, but it’s a simple enough plot that works well.

    Villain’s scheme

    The villains scheme here is fairly simple, steal the Lektor for their own gain (or rather lure Bond to the stealing for them) and for the de-coding of various sensitive documents. There's also the small side scheme of gaining revenge for the killing of Dr No. I like the simplicity of it. Nothing too grand compared to some schemes that we will see further on in this Bondathon.

  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,537
    From Russia With Love - Bond Elements

    The Gun barrel is now accompanied by the Bond theme. But it still isn't Connery.

    We have a pre title sequence which is tense and diverting as we see Grant stalking and killing 'Bond'.

    Other elements of the Bond films are introduced in this film. We have a bona fide Bond gadget - the briefcase.
    We get some action set pieces (not so obvious in Dr No), in the Gypsey camp, the Russian Embassy, the train fight, the boat chase etc. More rounded and deliberate than the Dr No sequences, and certainly the catalyst for what would follow in future Bonds.

    The humour comes out of the characters, especially Bond's relationship with Kerim Bey which noticeably warms as the film progresses.

    The plot is plausible enough, although Kronsteen is relying on so many potential variations not occurring. He may be a grand master of chess and a brilliant strategist, but somehow he overlooked the possibility that Grant's curiosity and greed would distract him enough for Bond to overcome him.
    Wasn't there anything in his file to say he was a greedy little sod? Were they not paying him enough?

    It'd a fine script though, and if there are plot-holes well, we shouldn't ever dwell too much on the implausibility of any Bond script. This one is certainly more plausible than most.

    Between them Dr No and From Russia With Love have given us every Bond element we could want, except one...

    Gratuitous, laugh out loud, cheer like a good 'un, daft and brilliant action sequences. And that would be tidied up in the next film at the moment when the lid lifts on Bond's Aston Martin.

  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    Posts: 4,151
    Here are my next lot of comments for From Russia With Love. Now, as I've said before, I am not so great with words and the subjects for Wednesday comments are not exactly anything I am an expert on. But, here we go:


    Terence Young does a great job here of building on the success he had with Dr No. It's not often that you can say that a second movie, in any franchise, outshines the first one, but in this case it really does and he makes FRWL look great. A super movie.

    Opening title design

    This is the first movie where get to see the future of, most, Bond title designs of the future. These look great.


    A great script for this movie, as with Dr No. The series has started with a bang. Only criticism is the need for the helicopter and boat chase scene.


    As mentioned with Dr No, this, or any of this lot of subjects, are not my most comprehensive. However, the cinematography from Ted Moore is no worse or no better than in Dr No. Istanbul, in particular, is made to look stunning, if not a little darker.


    The title is decent from Matt Monroe and is worthy of the title of being a Bond song, even though we don't hear it until after the pts, although we do get a lovely piece of music to accompany the titles. The music during the movie is nice in place but, as with Dr No, it does get rather loud and bombastic at parts when there is no need for it. Again, the James Bond theme is wonderful, but we all know this don't we?


    Again, the editing of Peter Hunt is nice and fast paced. Still not a fan of the sped up action, although it is very rarely on show here. One obvious cut is in the gondola scene at the "not quite the end" of the movie, where Bond is looking at the camera film from his exploits on first meeting Tania. "He was right you know" was abruptly ended quite obviously, but it's nothing to spoil a great film.

    Costume design

    Connery looks great again as do all actors within the movie. The gypsy scene costumes all look great during the scene there. And Ms Bianchi looks wonderful all the way through in whatever she may be wearing.


    Not much of not here apart the very grand room where Kronsteen wins his chess match. Looks great. The scenes on the Orient Express also look very authentic.

  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,537
    From Russia With Love - Production

    The title designs are more provocative than in Dr No with the cast and crew names rippling across the gyrating dancers. And how exciting is it when the Russia theme music bursts into the Bond theme from Dr No?

    I love the sights and sounds of Istanbul. Ted Moore does a fine job.

    The theme music is used for romantic and dramatic effect which I quite like. Also the use of John Barry's 007 theme is exhilarating. This music crops up again periodically throughout the 60s and 70s.

    As @Shark_Of_Largo says the opulent room where Kronsteen plays chess is a wonderful and striking set.

    Everything we see in this film comes out of the film, rather than being shoe-horned in as we find in later episodes. The story is everything and it carries the action along.

    Nothing much to add apart from some observations that have always confused me.

    Firstly Grant seems keen on killing Bond slowly with bullets to each knee. Doesn't sound too much like a British agent committing suicide!

    Then at the end when Tania saves Bond by throwing herself at Klebb. As Bond struggles with Klebb Tania is clearly unsure who to shoot, as her gun moves from Bond to Klebb and back again, before finally chosing Klebb. Why would she be so undecided?

    And we can't leave this aside without mentioning the great faux pas which Bond almost kicks himself for not being more alert to. How could a well bred Englishman order red wine with fish?

    Admirable film, if less suggestive of what was to come than Dr No was.
    This film sits less well with modern audiences, but amongst long term fans it's a shining jewel. It looks and feels more muscular, it has a great script, perfect cast and Sean Connery at the top of his game. And of course for those reason it sneaks ahead of the opener.

    1. From Russia With Love
    2. Dr No
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    I've had a nasty busy week, and only just put in From Russia With Love during the wee hours of this morning.

    A classic is a classic. One of the best sequels ever in film, that successfully takes everything that worked in the first and amped it up while axing or improving what didn't. If Dr. No is a detective film, From Russia With Love is the ultimate spy film. So much double-faced intrigue, shadowy assassinations, sides playing each other for fools, etc. It's all the gold of Dr. No viewed through a moodier, more international and ambitious prism. Dr. No and From Russia with Love are now hard to separate for me, when once the latter was the clear leader far and away. They share the same strengths and, because of Young's influence, they feel like sister films in the way Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace do. Dr. No presented us with a hint of SPECTRE's power and influence, and From Russia with Love acts on that threat and shows Bond just what kind of enemy he's fighting.

    Between Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Thunderball, I have no idea what I'm going to do at this point. Dr. No and From Russia with Love are both so amazing in the same ways that it's more difficult than ever for me to rank them. I have to give From Russia with Love, the edge, however, for the atmosphere of Istanbul, the spy thriller feeling that pervades the movie, a more interesting Bond girl, the intrigue and scheming between the nations and the iconic Grant and Bond confrontation and fight that represents the best of Bond.

    Bondathon Ranking (2016-2017)

    1.) From Russia With Love
    2.) Dr. No

    I'll post my thoughts on the actors and all the other elements for this film sometime soon. I'll try to be less comprehensive than my Dr. No analysis, which was just too much, even for me. The reason I haven't done a review for Dr. No is because my analysis somewhere alone the line hit every point I'd want to share in its favor.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    NicNac wrote: »
    Firstly Grant seems keen on killing Bond slowly with bullets to each knee. Doesn't sound too much like a British agent committing suicide!

    Good point. That s probably too much trouble for anyone, and what s the point?
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,406
    I think Grant was just teasing Bond.

    Bond blows up two foreign embassies over the years - FRWL and CR. Never noticed that before.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,406
    They wanted the Letkor. Getting even with Bond was merely an added bonus for SPECTRE
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,020
    Watched FRWL yesterday, now GF playing, paused respectively to post some.


    I am always a bit biased concerning FRWL because I believe it's the best Bond film overall objectively speaking and only because Connery didn't play Bond in OHMSS, but then I wouldn't want it that way, as I do love Lazenby in the role. Ahhh...contradictions...it's complicated...

    Anyway, after watching it I felt once more I may overrate it slightly in my personal subjective ranking. Compared to DN it just looks not that exciting visually. Although I absolutely love the many Hitchockian scenes it has.

    Most of my ranking didn't change much during the last 20 years, DAF and QOS are the ones that went up considerably during the last two years.
    DN might do this trick as well now. It's one of those I seem only to "fully get" these days. It always bothered me that Dr. No appeared so late in the movie (after 93 minutes) and only had a couple of scenes.
    Nowadays I can see that this is one more reason to applaud this film. The little screen time he gets is enough to make him memorable and unforgettable and iconic even.

    FRWL features some of my favourite things. First of all Ali Kerim Bey who is my favourite character in the series (J.W. Pepper as well actually, so it's a tie).
    The lengthy train sequence is just brilliant and so is the sequence that follows with the helicopter chasing Bond.

    While I don't usually rank the films spontaneously I will do it this time in this thread.

    That's why it looks like this now.

    1. DN
    2. FRWL

    My enjoyment of DN (watched it twice even) is endless nowadays, I could watch it again immediately.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,406
    Birdleson wrote: »
    royale65 wrote: »
    They wanted the Letkor. Getting even with Bond was merely an added bonus for SPECTRE

    I realize that, but it would have made the whole thing more intense.

    Of course you did. I like the added SPECTRE elements (as opposed to the Russians) Makes it even more complex. A rarity in a Bond film.

  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    NicNac wrote: »
    Firstly Grant seems keen on killing Bond slowly with bullets to each knee. Doesn't sound too much like a British agent committing suicide!

    Good point. That s probably too much trouble for anyone, and what s the point?

    I never get the sense Grant is going to shoot Bond in the knees, since he's already resting on them in the carriage. What I took that scene as meaning was Grant telling him he'd shoot him in the torso three times, then kill Tatiana and set the scene to make it look like she killed Bond in a moment of rage when he (in accordance with the planted tape and letter) refused to marry her.
  • w2bondw2bond is indeed a very rare breed
    Posts: 2,244
    Ali Kerim Bey who is my favourite character in the series

    Not James Bond? :))
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