"She should have kept her mouth shut" - FRWL Appreciation & Discussion

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  • Posts: 7,424
    I - like many of you similarly tasteful people ;-) have FRWL, CR, OHMSS as my top three - but they're always in that order. The other two have tragic love stories attached to them with development of Bond as a character and agent. Both of them he is insubordinate and both have the unique aspects of 'new Bond' (Lazenby) or 'reboot Bond' (Craig).

    However, FRWL is a stone cold thriller from start to finish. It doesn't have those other aspects particularly with Bond's character - here he is full formed and ready for the mission. There's a 'make-it-up as he goes along' quality to Craig's Bond - where he is almost always impulsively reactive. Connery has those impulses too but they're not as all consuming or dictating his actions so much. Connery is coolly detached, patient and like a coiled spring fires into life when he needs to. It is what I love about the final act - hijacking Grant's escape route, stealing the truck, sniping the helicopter, attacking the boats with fire. I know it gets criticised for being a sequence of set pieces that aren't exactly viscerally exciting but I enjoy them and shows Bond smarts and coolness under pressure.


    You and I think very much alike!
  • edited March 2020 Posts: 1,469
    Just finished watching this, and it remains in my top 3 or 4. At the end when Klebb is about to shoot Bond, she sure has a sour look on her face, with almost heavily-lidded eyes, enjoying the moment (for too long). There were times that Robert Shaw/Red Grant reminded me of Daniel Craig, with what I saw as some stony exterior and lack of emotion, and his physicality: the blunt instrument. Yes Craig shows more emotion than Grant and it's much more nuanced. Great fight between Bond and Grant, and I think I detected a grin on Grant's face as he was about to garrote Bond.

    When I was younger I didn't like this film as much as other Bond films, seeing it as more boring or something, and I see that was the case with some of you too. But it's a finely-crafted adventure and you can feel Ian Fleming all through it. As barryt007 said, a real Bondian espionage mission. Depth is added through SPECTRE playing the Brits and Soviets off each other, along with Russia's Bulgarian agents and Kerim Bey's gypsy friends. Pedro Armendáriz is great of course and the bits with Bey's lonely girlfriend, played by Nadja Regin, are fun. Hadn't made the connection she was also the woman in the bath in the Goldfinger PTS. Hmm, I see she passed on almost a year ago.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 3,895
    I must pull it out and watch it again. It is such a brilliant film with "the great James Bond making a bloody fool of himself" for a good chunk of the movie. In fact Bond isn't ahead of the bad guys but thinks he is. It's only when he's on his knees that he realizes how dire the situation is. The tension is papabile and Connery plays it perfect. He tries to play off he's cool but you know underneath he's wondering how he's going to get out of it.

    Grant is played masterfully by Shaw. The menace and how they set him up as the "pro" is really well done. The allies are great. Bey and all his sons.

    The fight on the train is a great example of how to show character. You are right @Thrasos he does smile. I believe there is also a grin when he has Bond cornered and is attacking with ferocity. The way it was shot and edited you feel the blows as an audience member.

    Yes I have to re-watch this film. Damn it's a great film.
  • Posts: 1,469
    You're right, @thedove. I totally agree with how you describe it in your first paragraph especially, and other points that follow.
  • Posts: 1,841
    Thrasos wrote: »
    When I was younger I didn't like this film as much as other Bond films, seeing it as more boring or something, and I see that was the case with some of you too. But it's a finely-crafted adventure and you can feel Ian Fleming all through it.

    I had the exact same experience when I was younger. When it came to interest and buying the tapes, DN and FRWL were the odd ones out. Maybe it was because they lacked the gadgetry I loved in the later entries or maybe because they were closer to feeling like the '50s.

    It began to change when I exchanged a defective VHS of one of the films for FRWL and began to appreciate how good it was and my enthusiasm slowly grew afterward. The novel is my favorite Fleming that only enhances it and the film now lingers around my top 5 (I have no definitive ranking). As a bonus, DN is the other film that has risen in my unofficial rankings over the years.
  • Posts: 1,469
    @BT3366 Dr. No has topped my Bond film list, along with FRWL and CR. I haven't checked my list in a while but I think they're the top three. I think the common denominator for me is simply Ian Fleming, and that I view them as "tried and true" Bond entertainment from top to bottom. The only Bond novel I've read all the way through is CR, though I'm getting through TB, so you and others who've read the books know more than I about how deeply the films benefit from Fleming's books. But I imagine what made his books--and consequently the screenplays--so good was mainly a combination of Fleming's wartime naval intelligence experience and his fertile imagination, along with his writing ability. I think of later Bond films and of course I love them as entertainment, some more than others, but those that rely more directly on Fleming material seem more naturally Bondian to me. Not news to others here; no doubt the same for many of them. I suppose the same thing could be said of John Le Carre with his government service and amazing novels--I'm a huge fan of the Tinker Tailor and Smiley's People miniseries, and it's probably time to watch The Night Manager a second time. I've been hoping EON would finally hire new writers, but the producers have probably wanted to stick with a proven team. Of course I don't know how NTTD will be, but I suppose EON could make writing changes after that. However I guess even that would not assure a film that hues closer to the symmetrical structure and fleshing out of a Fleming-like adventure--there was only one Fleming, though he left his mark for others to follow.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,783
    Thrasos wrote: »
    @BT3366 Dr. No has topped my Bond film list, along with FRWL and CR. I haven't checked my list in a while but I think they're the top three. I think the common denominator for me is simply Ian Fleming, and that I view them as "tried and true" Bond entertainment from top to bottom. The only Bond novel I've read all the way through is CR, though I'm getting through TB, so you and others who've read the books know more than I about how deeply the films benefit from Fleming's books. But I imagine what made his books--and consequently the screenplays--so good was mainly a combination of Fleming's wartime naval intelligence experience and his fertile imagination, along with his writing ability. I think of later Bond films and of course I love them as entertainment, some more than others, but those that rely more directly on Fleming material seem more naturally Bondian to me. Not news to others here; no doubt the same for many of them. I suppose the same thing could be said of John Le Carre with his government service and amazing novels--I'm a huge fan of the Tinker Tailor and Smiley's People miniseries, and it's probably time to watch The Night Manager a second time. I've been hoping EON would finally hire new writers, but the producers have probably wanted to stick with a proven team. Of course I don't know how NTTD will be, but I suppose EON could make writing changes after that. However I guess even that would not assure a film that hues closer to the symmetrical structure and fleshing out of a Fleming-like adventure--there was only one Fleming, though he left his mark for others to follow.

    Good post. For me Bond begins and ends with Fleming.

    Probably why my favourite Bond films are the ones closest to the Fleming material.

    GF
    FRWL
    DN
    TLD (Only based on the short story but pure Fleming)
    CR
    OHMSS
  • Posts: 1,841
    As so many of us are in isolation currently, this may be a prime time to get back to reading some Fleming or other continuation authors. I've never finished Dr. No and have tried to read Gardner's adaptation of LTK numerous times.

    I have so many other books I've never read as well.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,783
    BT3366 wrote: »
    As so many of us are in isolation currently, this may be a prime time to get back to reading some Fleming or other continuation authors. I've never finished Dr. No and have tried to read Gardner's adaptation of LTK numerous times.

    I have so many other books I've never read as well.

    I've read all the novels multiple times. DR.NO is one of my favourites.

    The LTK novelisation is really good.

    If you don't do it now you never will!
  • Posts: 1,469
    What was especially appealing to me on my latest viewing was that, even though Blofeld is in it as Number One, the underlings get more screen time. To me this makes SPECTRE the organization behind the scenes more mysterious. It makes me wonder if, in the coming Bond films, Eon might do something similar with a new organization that is largely unknown and shadowy with a different acronym. I haven't read much about Safin's background, so I don't know if this might be the case with NTTD.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,783
    Thrasos wrote: »
    What was especially appealing to me on my latest viewing was that, even though Blofeld is in it as Number One, the underlings get more screen time. To me this makes SPECTRE the organization behind the scenes more mysterious. It makes me wonder if, in the coming Bond films, Eon might do something similar with a new organization that is largely unknown and shadowy with a different acronym. I haven't read much about Safin's background, so I don't know if this might be the case with NTTD.

    Blofeld was always more effective when he was just a commanding voice and wasn't seen.
  • Posts: 1,841
    Thrasos wrote: »
    What was especially appealing to me on my latest viewing was that, even though Blofeld is in it as Number One, the underlings get more screen time. To me this makes SPECTRE the organization behind the scenes more mysterious. It makes me wonder if, in the coming Bond films, Eon might do something similar with a new organization that is largely unknown and shadowy with a different acronym. I haven't read much about Safin's background, so I don't know if this might be the case with NTTD.

    Blofeld was always more effective when he was just a commanding voice and wasn't seen.
    Agreed. That's part of what makes his eventual reveal in YOLT a disappointment in that he's not what we'd been led to believe and despite Bond having caused Blofeld so much hell in the past, he's rather low-key when he finally has Bond at his disposal.

    It makes one wonder just how Richard Maibaum would've written such a confrontation scene opposed to first-time Bond writer Roald Dahl.

    On another note, YOLT is lacking in having an interesting core of henchmen and supporting villains, whereas FRWL and TB have them aplenty.


  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I agree that Connery is in top form in FRWL. I really love the first four Bonds, as they're so close to the time Fleming was writing. So the cars are as he described them same with the fashions and tech.
    With FRWL, we have a classic Bond, some fine performances and memorable scenes like the Train fight, Connery and Shaw what a combination.
  • morcarvicmorcarvic france
    Posts: 8
    I've read all the fleming novels,and all of them two or three times over the years and i think your right frwl is probably in my opinion ian's "spy story to end all spy stories". The film for me sets the benchmark for the series, a benchmark as yet unequalled by the bonds that followed. The opening titles i think are unquestionably the finest of the series,both visually and musically for giving the audience a real feel of propellment and excitement for the story to come.I'd just like to say also for my money best line in series venomously spat out by grant "The first bullet won't kill you nor the second ,not till you crawl over here and kiss my foot!".
  • DwayneDwayne New York City
    Posts: 2,075
    For anyone interested, BFI will publish an analysis of FRWL as part of their "classics" series in October (2022).
    41tz-eiuPnL._SX354_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

    The Amazon.com (US) link is: https://www.amazon.com/Russia-Love-BFI-Film-Classics/dp/1839024534/ref=sr_1_1?crid=26H1HPBKOWY2O&keywords=BFI+From+Russia+With+Love&qid=1660780140&sprefix=bfi+from+russia+with+love,aps,60&sr=8-1
  • DB5MNDB5MN USA
    Posts: 47
    Dwayne wrote: »
    For anyone interested, BFI will publish an analysis of FRWL as part of their "classics" series in October (2022).
    41tz-eiuPnL._SX354_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

    The Amazon.com (US) link is: https://www.amazon.com/Russia-Love-BFI-Film-Classics/dp/1839024534/ref=sr_1_1?crid=26H1HPBKOWY2O&keywords=BFI+From+Russia+With+Love&qid=1660780140&sprefix=bfi+from+russia+with+love,aps,60&sr=8-1

    That sounds interesting I like that artwork!
  • Posts: 670
    I too have always liked FRWL. For me it's the one right before the formula for Bond films is set. I disagree with an earlier comment about lack of action. There's plenty. It's just not on the scale of army troops, paratroopers, divers, and ninjas, etc. When I compare FRWL with NTTD, I experience a complete disassociation. The latter is populated with characters who have the same names as those in FRWL, but that is where the comparison ends. At no point in my imaginary history do I think the DC Bond ever had that adventure.
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