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Topic: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

The 2nd Bond film, From Russia With Love (debuting in 1963, featuring Sean Connery again).  Coming after Dr. No, it had a bigger budget but it also had to be rushed a bit as a next-year follow-up.  Factoid: Watching this movie was one of the last things John F. Kennedy (an avid Bond fan, who helped spread the success of 007 to the United States) did before his assassination.

PROS:

  • The KGB training sequence was a great opening!

  • Captures the Cold War atmosphere perfectly, with a perspective from each side

  • Feels most authentic to the very roots of the spy series

  • Memorable fight between Bond and Red Grant.

  • Quality acting all around.  Especially with Sean Connery.

  • Great editing mixes suspense with brief but satisfying action bits

  • Excellent at giving the viewer a sense of suspense

  • 1/3 of the movie is filmed on a train, which gives it an entertainingly claustrophobic feel.

  • A few twists and turns after the climax on the train.

CONS:

  • Slow pacing in the first 40 or so minutes

  • Misogyny & the catfight scenes

Overall Thoughts
It strays apart from the formula started by the movies it was sandwiched in between (Dr. No and Goldfinger).  While later movies have constant action, From Russia With Love built suspense well and that gave just 1 booby-trapped briefcase all the significance.  Although I find other Bond movies more entertaining, this is still a very well made movie and a classic, of course.

Last edited by Absolutely_Cart (19th Sep 2015 17:59)

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Pros -

Amazing Locations
Amazing Soundtrack
Bond at his best
Great Cast

Cons

There are none in my Opinion  ajb007/martini

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

If they cut out the catfight scene, they could have saved 15 minutes, made the movie flow a lot faster and cut out the misogyny.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Pros:

  • More than any other Bond film, it stands alone as a great spy thriller, period.

  • Robert Shaw not speaking for most of his time on screen -- very eerie.

  • Bond's relationship with Kerim, his deepest in the entire series aside from Tracy, IMO.

  • Train fight -- still one of the best in movie history.  Amazing cuts between actors and stunt doubles.

  • Terence Young's best directing -- my favorite is the long tracking shot as Bond, Tania and Benz board the train.

  • The subtle bits of humor -- Kerim's boat, Anita Ekberg poster, Vavra (OK, he's not so subtle), etc.

  • Helicopter homage to North by Northwest.

  • A tight, easy-to-follow script.

  • An underrated score -- not the best to listen to by itself, but it works magnificently in the film.

  • Daniela Bianchi! ajb007/heart 

Cons:

  • Some obvious back-projection, most notably in Venice.

  • I never could understand why Kronsteen got the boot when Klebb should have.  Her man Grant messed up.!

  • I drink red wine with fish all the time! ajb007/wink 

Verdict:

  • An absolute classic.  If there had been only one Bond film ever made, this would be the one.  That doesn't mean it's my favorite, just the best standalone film in the series.

Hilly...you old devil!

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

I like how this film has enough depth to encourage analysis and an eye for a subtle detail, but at the same time its simple and it doesn't try to over-do anything.

I'm not sure this thread will get as many comments as the AVTAK thread.  This is probably because people have more to say when they disagree with something than when they agree with it.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Sir Hillary Bray wrote:

Pros:

  • More than any other Bond film, it stands alone as a great spy thriller, period.

  • Robert Shaw not speaking for most of his time on screen -- very eerie.

  • Bond's relationship with Kerim, his deepest in the entire series aside from Tracy, IMO.

  • Train fight -- still one of the best in movie history.  Amazing cuts between actors and stunt doubles.

  • Terence Young's best directing -- my favorite is the long tracking shot as Bond, Tania and Benz board the train.

  • The subtle bits of humor -- Kerim's boat, Anita Ekberg poster, Vavra (OK, he's not so subtle), etc.

  • Helicopter homage to North by Northwest.

  • A tight, easy-to-follow script.

  • An underrated score -- not the best to listen to by itself, but it works magnificently in the film.

  • Daniela Bianchi! ajb007/heart 

Cons:

  • Some obvious back-projection, most notably in Venice.

  • I never could understand why Kronsteen got the boot when Klebb should have.  Her man Grant messed up.!

  • I drink red wine with fish all the time! ajb007/wink 

Verdict:

  • An absolute classic.  If there had been only one Bond film ever made, this would be the one.  That doesn't mean it's my favorite, just the best standalone film in the series.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
What he said. ajb007/cheers

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Yeah, FRWL is an iconic film.

If Goldfinger is the definitive formula of a James Bond movie, then FRWL is the definitive atmosphere and vibe of a Bond film.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Excellent analysis Mr. Cart.

My only disagreement is I would place the pre-title sequence on the list of CONS, mainly due to the silly "Bond mask" having no relevance to actual training. (Unless Grant is a complete moron)

Since you're a relative newcomer to the Bond series, I was wondering if you thought the FRWL plot made sense in regards to Kronsteen's plan? or SPECTRE vs SMERSH ?

"Please don't try to follow me"

1. GE 2. MR 3. TSWLM 4. GF 5. DN 6. TND 7. TMWTGG 8. OP 9. TWINE 10. AVTAK

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Firemass wrote:

My only disagreement is I would place the pre-title sequence on the list of CONS, mainly due to the silly "Bond mask" having no relevance to actual training.

That was a pre-Mission: Impossible moment intended to fool audiences, not Grant.

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

chrisisall wrote:
Firemass wrote:

My only disagreement is I would place the pre-title sequence on the list of CONS, mainly due to the silly "Bond mask" having no relevance to actual training.

That was a pre-Mission: Impossible moment intended to fool audiences, not Grant.

Thank you! ajb007/martini

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Credit or blame Harry Saltzman for that.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Barbel wrote:

Credit or blame Harry Saltzman for that.

Saltzman in a way created Mission: Impossible. ajb007/biggrin

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Blackleiter wrote:
chrisisall wrote:
Firemass wrote:

My only disagreement is I would place the pre-title sequence on the list of CONS, mainly due to the silly "Bond mask" having no relevance to actual training.

That was a pre-Mission: Impossible moment intended to fool audiences, not Grant.

Thank you! ajb007/martini

That makes it okay?  A bit short-sighted to think Bond audiences are only going to watch the film once.  ajb007/lol

"Please don't try to follow me"

1. GE 2. MR 3. TSWLM 4. GF 5. DN 6. TND 7. TMWTGG 8. OP 9. TWINE 10. AVTAK

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Firemass wrote:

That makes it okay?  A bit short-sighted to think Bond audiences are only going to watch the film once.  ajb007/lol

Silly silly British man. ajb007/lol

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

It my favorite Bond film, and I think the best. Being old enough to have watched DR NO in the theater, when FRWL came out to me it was like they got everything right now. Daniela Bianchi is my favorite of the Bond girls,still.It's also my wife's favoroite;suffice it to say if FRWL is on we'll watch it.
A note about the misogyny:back then remember that was normal for the times. Censors had other things on their minds...

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Firemass wrote:
Blackleiter wrote:
chrisisall wrote:

That was a pre-Mission: Impossible moment intended to fool audiences, not Grant.

Thank you! ajb007/martini

That makes it okay?  A bit short-sighted to think Bond audiences are only going to watch the film once.  ajb007/lol

I can't speak for others, but it sure is okay by me! I like the little twist to begin the film and it doesn't detract a bit from my enjoyment of repeated viewings. ajb007/bond

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

I always liked the idea. Kill James Bond in the
first Five minutes of the film !  ajb007/cheers

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

I have never had a problem with the "Bond mask" in the PTS......But then I never had a problem with Bond  wearing a stuffed bird on top of his head while swimming along underwater. Why potentially draw any kind of attention to himself when he is trying to remain undetected? Even the best of the films can be nitpicked but I'd prefer to just enjoy them.

Moore Not Less 4371 posts (2002 - 2007)       Moore Than (2012 - 2016)

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Moore Than wrote:

Even the best of the films can be nitpicked but I'd prefer to just enjoy them.

True, but I'm not nitpicking in this case. The PTS has always bothered me, even back in my earliest days as a Bond fan.

"Please don't try to follow me"

1. GE 2. MR 3. TSWLM 4. GF 5. DN 6. TND 7. TMWTGG 8. OP 9. TWINE 10. AVTAK

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Firemass wrote:
Moore Than wrote:

Even the best of the films can be nitpicked but I'd prefer to just enjoy them.

True, but I'm not nitpicking in this case. The PTS has always bothered me, even back in my earliest days as a Bond fan.

No problem, Firemass. I respect your opinion.

Moore Not Less 4371 posts (2002 - 2007)       Moore Than (2012 - 2016)

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Well, I don't respect his opinion.
Hell, I don't even respect my own opinions. ajb007/lol

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Hey don't be so quick to put yourself down Chrisisall.
There's a queue !, line up with the rest of us !  ajb007/lol
  ( only joking )  ajb007/wink

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

I think that scene has a lot of replay value.  I've watched it several times and it's still entertaining.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

CONS.

* At times (very few) you notice the lack of budget (Kronsteen and Klebb first meeting with Blofeld).
* Use of DN soundtrack in certain moments.
* Fourteen minutes into the film until we see Bond (the real one) with Sylvia on screen.

The rest are all PROS: perfect cast, perfect locations, perfect scenes, great theme song. Classic movie making.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Sir Hillary Bray wrote:

Train fight -- still one of the best in movie history.  Amazing cuts between actors and stunt doubles.

I would include the build up, how Bond fools Grant into opening the explosive attache. Masterful.