Countdown to Spectre: From Russia With Love (1963)

This is the next installment in my look back to the James Bond 007 series in anticipation for the new installment, Spectre coming out on November 6th. If you are interested in my first installment where I reviewed Dr. No, click here.

Agent 007, James Bond (Sean Connery) is back for the second installment of the spy-action series, this time battling a secret crime organization known as SPECTRE. Russians Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal) are trying to get a decoding device known as a Lektor, using the beautiful Tatiana (Daniela Bianchi) to lure Bond into helping them. Bond decides to travel to Istanbul to meet Tatiana where he must rely on his instincts and training to escape with his life after a series of deadly encounters with the enemy.

So this is the second one. This one originally came out in 1963 and at times it shows. Like I discussed in my previous review, this comes a few little technical things that don’t look as good today. I don’t mind these as much because I am sympathetic to the time in which this film was originally released. I was happy to see that the problems I had with the previous film were not as prevalent in this one. I liked that we had a greater sense of who the enemy in this one was as we actually got to see more of them then we did in the previous film. Of course I already knew more about what was going to happen because I’ve already seen the majority of the films in the series but I would have liked to actually see who the bad guy was (I actually know what he looks like but that’s not the point). As with the first film, Sean Connery’s performance as Bond was great again as his charm and screen presence was still evident and he had a lot more to do here action-wise. I would also like to point the performance of Pedro Armendáriz as Kerim Bay. His character just exuded charm and his friendship with Bond seemed real and genuine and I found their scenes together to be very entertaining. Daniela Bianchi’s performance as Tatiana was okay to me but I found her to be very annoying at times. I get that certain women become infatuated with Bond as that is what he does and who he is but I found she took it maybe a little too far. I did not mind that as much since she was not on screen too much. Along with the previous film, it does have its slower moments plot-wise around the middle of the film but I did not find them as boring as the first film. I also thought the film did a great job at capturing Istanbul. Overall, I think From Russia with Love is a better film than Dr. No but not quite where it needs to be just yet but they are trending in the right direction.

Score: 7.5/10

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Next: Goldfinger!


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