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Issue 34; Double Oh, 2

I continue my brief dive into the James Bond film series and discuss my thoughts on the films and sometimes controversially parts that I believe are bad and now so dated that it shows.  This time we get into the second outing for the worst secret spy in the spy world, From Russia With Love.

I would like to first mention something this film did that went on to be a large part of all the following films eventually being not just that tech guy.  This film saw the first glimpse of Q as he gives 007 his attache case with a few gadgets and a sniper rifle, no quips at this stage but now part of the legacy that was to follow.  The plot of this film was linked to Dr. No with Spectre wanting revenge on James Bond for the death of their agent.  They set up an assassination of Bond by getting him to come to Istanbul to get a Lektor device, for decoding soviet messages from a defecting agent.  The plot had a very Spy arc this time, more so than the first film and brought it back to Fleming's original material.

With all films, Bond is overpowered and held captive briefly before getting the upper hand with some help from his gadgets from Q.  And he gets the girl who didn’t realise she was being used by a double agent in her Russian agency.  It is also the first glimpse of Number 1, the head of Spectre as he kills the person who planned to kill Bond because it went wrong.

The story is simple, the budget was bigger and it shows.  Connery had found his footing a little bit more with the character, they get to head to Turkey to film along with the always present Pinewood studios.  Even with it’s budget getting bigger it still falls down in places and they hadn’t got the hang of music in films around this time using the same tracks over and over and this does make some scenes drag on or seem odd as the music doesn’t link with the scene.  I feel the early films have not dated well and you notice the clunky wooden style of film making.  It showed in the reviews of the film at the time, saying it was slower in pace and not well made but it was fun.

From Russia with Love did start something for the Bond series as a whole, the pre-title sequence.  Gone was the obscure psychedelic intro and goes straight from the intro Bond theme to the sequence, which now we all know will come and sets up the story for the film.  The casting of this Bond film is a little bit more forgettable than the previous outing and the sad news at the time that actor Pedro Armendariz the MI6 operative in Istanbul we meet, sadly committed suicide before the release of the film.  And the fact the first screenplay was basically a follow of the book but was later changed making it what it is now.  After reading the book I would like to see what that would have been like.

In all it is a fun film, but time has not been kind and looking upon them with a more critical eye has really shown its old style losing some of the memory I had of the franchise.