Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bond is closest to Ian Fleming source
in 'From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love (1963)
Starring: Sean Connery, Daniela Bianchi, Lotte Lenya, and Robert Shaw
Director: Terrence Young
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

When British secret agent James Bond (Connery) is dispatched to Turkey to retreieve a Russian defector (Bianchi) and a decoder machine she is willing to surrender to British Intelligence. However, he soon finds himself in a trap contrieved by international criminal cartel SPECTRE and its shadowy leader, Blofeld.

"From Russia With Love" is perhaps the most straight-forward and most realistic spy movie in the entire James Bond series. The film spends its time in spy-vs-spy territory, the gadgetry is kept to a minimum, and even Bond keeps a relatively low profile throughout. There are some nice set-pieces and some amusing one-liners, but they all take place within a framework far more realstic than any other of the classic Bond films.

(I'm loathe to mention this, but "From Russia With Love" is similar in tone and feel to the Timothy Dalton-starring "License to Kill". Both films are free of the comic-book action that is the hallmark of most Bond films... but "From Russia" has a leg up on "License" in that the former movie is actually entertaining.)

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