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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Barbel wrote:
Firemass wrote:

And why focus so much on the distinctive looking chap who follows Bond from the airport onwards?  He didn't really amount to much.

Well, originally he had more to do but the scenes were cut from the release print as they caused a continuity error (he was following Bond and Tania after Grant had killed him).

Are we sure he didn't die of old age? It looked like Grant just punched him a couple times.

Who was he anyway? Just a random Russian agent?

Why does Bond think switching hotel rooms isimportant? If the first room is bugged, the alternate room is also going to be bugged and he would have to conduct the same search all over again. Considering SPECTRE was counting on filming the bedroom scene, I would think the "bridal suite" would be essential with its layout for the camera crew.

Why can't Tanya simply give Bond the Lektor without Bond having to blow up the building? Or conversely, why would Bond need Tanya if he plans to blow up the building and take the Lektor?  Why did Bond initiate the plan a day early without telling her? Seriously, this film makes no sense to me.


Why does Bond not get off the train when he's supposed to? Heck, it didn't even slow down. Wasn't there some arrangement made ahead of time for the train to stop there. Bond avoids answering the question. 

What would Grant do if Bond did get off the train early? 

The conclusion that Kerim and Benz killed each other was a bit odd to say the least. Bond's later explanation that Kerim committed suicide is even more unfounded.

I don't mind when the villains leave Bond unsupervised in some sort of death trap, but here they are negligently lenient with him. Klebb had him cold in the hotel room, yet stalled way too long. She felt the need to disarm Bond and then have Tanya take the Lektor outside the door before she even thought about pulling the trigger.  Grant had him in the train, yet didn't feel capable of keeping the gold coins from the briefcase without Bond's help.

Last edited by Firemass (16th Nov 2017 07:58)

"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:

Why does Bond think switching hotel rooms isimportant? If the first room is bugged, the alternate room is also going to be bugged and he would have to conduct the same search all over again. Considering SPECTRE was counting on filming the bedroom scene, I would think the "bridal suite" would be essential with its layout for the camera crew.

maybe the first room had a really obvious bug, to coax him into changing rooms ... maybe every room except the bridal suite had an obvious bug he would be guaranteed to find, just in case ... but funny he's so good at finding bugs he didn't find the camera behind the mirror ... at least he smartened up by Die Another Day

Firemass wrote:

Why can't Tanya simply give Bond the Lektor without Bond having to blow up the building? Or conversely, why would Bond need Tanya if he plans to blow up the building and take the Lektor?  Why did Bond initiate the plan a day early without telling her?

it was probably easier to remove the Lektor during a panic. And Bond wasn't really interested in the Lektor, though it was a nice bonus. He and M knew this was a honeytrap, the whole point of Bond going to Instanbul was to deliberately spring the trap and learn what was really up. Maybe he blew up the embassy a day early to test her, in case she told others the plan and they had time to prepare? he didn't really trust her until well into the train ride

Firemass wrote:

Seriously, this film makes no sense to me

for me the problems go right back to Fleming. Why is it such a dastardly plan to kill a British agent in bed with a Russian lady? Its not like he's a prominent politician, he's a spy, normal folks reading their paper at home have never heard of him before. Spies like Bond are supposed to be getting involved with Russians, that's how they do their spying. It seems to me like the scandal was supposed to be he was having sex!, because normal folks reading their paper at home never have sex except with their spouses for the deliberate purpose of procreating and they certainly don't enjoy it.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Firemass wrote:

Are we sure he didn't die of old age? It looked like Grant just punched him a couple times.

Grant's punches would kill anyone, even youthful you!

Firemass wrote:

Who was he anyway? Just a random Russian agent?

He's a Bulgar who works with the Russians, and he's there to make the Russians believe that the British are against them, and vice-versa. SPECTRE's plan wouldn't work if there weren't Russians around to witness what they are doing.

Firemass wrote:

Why does Bond think switching hotel rooms isimportant? If the first room is bugged, the alternate room is also going to be bugged and he would have to conduct the same search all over again. Considering SPECTRE was counting on filming the bedroom scene, I would think the "bridal suite" would be essential with its layout for the camera crew.

Bond would have found a new hotel if he found bugs in the second room, and he didn't find bugs. The bugs in the original room would have taken the place of the camera in SPECTRE's plan.

Firemass wrote:

Why can't Tanya simply give Bond the Lektor without Bond having to blow up the building? Or conversely, why would Bond need Tanya if he plans to blow up the building and take the Lektor?  Why did Bond initiate the plan a day early without telling her? Seriously, this film makes no sense to me.

Tanya doesn't have the power to remove the Lektor, and if she tried she'd be likely to get caught. If she got caught removing the Lektor, it would be out of Bond's control. The Lektor would subsequently be more heavily gaurded or possibly moved to a new location where neither Bond nor Kerim would be able to discover it. Bond probably moved the plan up a day to test Tanya. Getting the plans of the building from her was already a test, since Kerim was able to get the plans another way. So I think Bond wanted to test her again.

Firemass wrote:

Why does Bond not get off the train when he's supposed to? Heck, it didn't even slow down. Wasn't there some arrangement made ahead of time for the train to stop there. Bond avoids answering the question.

How can Bond get off the train if it doesn't stop? Grant was probably supposed to stop the train himself when the time came, and he wasn't alive to do it. Or he wasn't alive to finish paying off the conductor. Something like that.

Firemass wrote:

What would Grant do if Bond did get off the train early?

Why would Bond get off the train early? If he got off at the wrong stop, he would have been stuck in a country that wouldn't have been much help to him.

Firemass wrote:

The conclusion that Kerim and Benz killed each other was a bit odd to say the least. Bond's later explanation that Kerim committed suicide is even more unfounded.

The conductor thought the two men killed each other because he wouldn't have expected another man to get into the cabin. When does Bond say that Kerim committed suicide? I don't recall that, and I just watched the movie last month.

Firemass wrote:

I don't mind when the villains leave Bond unsupervised in some sort of death trap, but here they are negligently lenient with him. Klebb had him cold in the hotel room, yet stalled way too long. She felt the need to disarm Bond and then have Tanya take the Lektor outside the door before she even thought about pulling the trigger.  Grant had him in the train, yet didn't feel capable of keeping the gold coins from the briefcase without Bond's help.

It didn't seem like Klebb had intended on killing Bond. She just wanted to escape with the Lektor.

Does the movie make any more sense to you now?

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Matt S wrote:
Firemass wrote:

The conclusion that Kerim and Benz killed each other was a bit odd to say the least. Bond's later explanation that Kerim committed suicide is even more unfounded.

The conductor thought the two men killed each other because he wouldn't have expected another man to get into the cabin. When does Bond say that Kerim committed suicide? I don't recall that, and I just watched the movie last month.

I can't tell if Firemass is being serious or not, but in case he is...

Bond doesn't say that Kerim committed suicide.  When he says, "He took care of that himself," in response to Kerim's son's question of, "Who did it?" he is telling Kerim's son that Kerim "took care" of his own killer (Benz) and that Kerim's son need not concern himself with revenge.

To be fair, it took me several viewings to figure that out.

Hilly...you old devil!

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/006/512/DoubleFacePalm.jpg

“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

Thunderpussy wrote:

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/006/512/DoubleFacePalm.jpg

+1

Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

zaphod99 wrote:
Thunderpussy wrote:

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/006/512/DoubleFacePalm.jpg

+1

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/gta-myths/images/a/ac/Quad_facepalm.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20131103030351

a reasonable rate of return

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

(double post - please delete)

Last edited by caractacus potts (1st Dec 2019 18:27)

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

PROS
- first complete Barry score, including the 007 Theme.
- The title toon plays one more time, now with words, when Bond finally enters, some 17 minutes into the film.
- Matt Monroe uses a bit more vibrato than Sinatra would, but otherwise has a very similar voice.

- First sexy credits

-  Old world charm. Venice, Instanbul, vast underground reservoirs, gypsy camps, the Orient Express ... This film doesn't have the futuristic Ken Adam sets, instead its aesthetic is the complete opposite, with all the tactile textures of thousands of years of history underlying every step Bond makes.
- All that weight of history does suggest Bond is little more than  a puppet, a bit player going through the predestined motions in a never-ending clash of east and west dating back to the time of the Romans.
- and on a related note: Bond's Bentley!

- SPECTRE
- Dr No only really spoke the word once, when he named his employer. It is in the first 16 minutes of this film we learn most of what we know of SPECTRE, and they come across as very scary. They are a vast operation with many employees and expensive real estate, yet the world does not suspect they exist, orchestrating events from behind the scenes.
- original Blofeld (Anthony Dawson, aka Profesor Dent) has hair (!) and a much more ominous voice (Eric Pohlman) than any later Blofeld except maybe Savalas. Klebb trembles in fear when he speaks to her.
- the Blofeld scenes actually play out some of the meeting room drama from Thunderball, two years before that film was made (specifically the death of the failed agent)
... did EON at this point assume that they would never get to make Thunderball , so they swiped the scenes establishing SPECTRE, as they had swiped the Casino introduction for Bond in the last picture? The establishing shot even shows Blofeld himself has an oversized yacht similar the Disco Volante.

- SPECTRE's plan makes more sense than whatever SMERSH were hoping to achieve in the book. By aggravating tensions between Britain and the USSR they hop to start World War III.
This adds a major level of complexity to Fleming's plot, and puts the Byzantine in Byzantium.
There is a lot of story in this one, a logical flow from beginning to end with many threads to keep track of, and the sense this is only a small part of a much larger ongoing drama. Makes Dr No seem like a sequence of episodic cliches in comparison.

- Gogol's here, and he still has hair! He's in a lot of scenes, and is bad! Red Grant jumps at his command, and Klebb fears him too.


- 53:08 : I just noticed this near subliminal shot this last viewing. I imagine it was an easy edit for teevee, but I've had the dvd well over a decade! Much more rewarding to hit pause here than the teasing decontamination scene of the previous movie.

- "I think my mouth is too big" "it's just the right size ... for me!!"

- gratuitous T & A:
1. The masseuse who struts to stage centre, before removing her shirt.
2. Kerim Bey's girlfriend, introduced with a lingering down-her-top camera angle.
3. ...and Leila! the belly dancer from the credits returns for a complete performance at the Gypsy camp (I once knew a girl called Leila but she didn't dance like that)
4. and of course the gypsy camp cat fight (and the implied threesome)
- they have really ramped up the sexy content since Dr No, which merely had one woman in a white bikini.

- You know Bond had to measure up to Tanya's expectations after he spent the night with the two gypsy girls? That is some Mojo!


- Moneypenny's face while M is listening to the tape.
She really does live vicariously through Bond's adventures, and knows exactly what he has to do for king and country!
- Desmond Llewellyn quietly lurking outside M's office, before M invite him in. He doesn't say much once in the office, and Bond and he don't banter, but he's already much more entertaining than the boring original Boothroyd in the previous film.

- Red Grant stalking Bond inside the train while Bond paces the platform. Shot ends with his reflection visible in the train's window. This is a good shot, must have been tricky to choreograph.
- Watch Tatiana's face when they sit down to dinner with Grant. Bond had just had a shout at her, when last seen together, so that may be why she is pouting, but I think she knows who Grant is and that something bad is about to happen and end her nice Western holiday.



CONS
- Complete Bond theme record plays one more time while he checks into the hotel room, and comes to an anticlimactic end when he calls the front desk. We just heard it five minutes ago when he was at the airport! Sure travel was exciting in 1963 but not that exciting!

- No Ken Adam sets, but the old world charm more than makes up for it, and some Adam sets might have undermined all that.

- "she should have kept her mouth shut": if EON could get Anita Ekberg for one film, why didn't they use her in a Bond film? imagine finding Anita Ekberg under the sheets in your hotel room!! oh my heart...

- I just realised I don't understand the business with the briefcases at the end: there's two of them! Where did Grant get his? Did he kill a British agent offscreen and steal his luggage, without telling the audience?
Anyway I don't believe such a disciplined killer would compromise his mission for a few gold sovereigns he could have stolen after his victim was safely dead.

- what does Tatiana really think is going on? Does she know Bond is going to be killed, or if not what does she think is the point of it all? I don't get her motivation in either version of the story.

- Extra action sequences at the end work perfectly in this film, but set a bad precedent for Casino Royale

- Gypsy girls don't tear each other clothes off. Actually, I'm quite satisfied with that scene as is, but I know Fleming complained, so if my buddy Ian Fleming sees that as a CON then so do I!

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

caractacus potts wrote:

- I just realised I dont uderstand the briefcases at the end: there's two of them! Where did Grant get his? Did he kill a British agent offscreen and steal his luggage, without telling the audience.


https://i.postimg.cc/rzhr3fvy/428658-2950827241991-1295331787-n.jpg

Grant kills the British agent offscreen, but you can see his briefcase before he does so.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

caractacus potts wrote:

- Gypsy girls don't tear each other clothes off. Actually, I'm quite satisfied with that scene as is, but I know Fleming complained, so if my buddy Ian Fleming sees that as a CON then so do I!

The story is that Fleming complained to director Terence Young, who replied "How do you expect me to get that past the censor?"


caractacus potts wrote:

- Matt Monroe uses a bit more vibrato than Sinatra would, but otherwise has a very similar voice.

IMHO Matt Monro was almost equal to Sinatra on ballads, but Frank definitely had the edge on anything with a beat.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Wasn't the Briefcase standard issue ?

“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

yeh, I just don't understand where Grant got his. I missed the scene where he killed this other agent, the one Bond was expecting. In all my viewings, I never realised another agent had indeed shown up! There's some subtle details to watch for in this film.

Here's another question I just thought of this last viewing:
Where does Tatiana meet Klebb? Thats sure not any Moscow apartment complex.
Is Tatiana already living in Instanbul when Klebb recruits her? She doesn't know Klebb has defected, so maybe she's been away from home for a while?

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Yes, Tania is working in Istanbul and that's where Klebb meets her.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

The British agent awaiting Bond-

https://i.postimg.cc/QVjwNJ0W/Captain-Nash-From-Russia-With-Love.jpg

Instead he is met by Grant-

https://i.postimg.cc/gL0gV4TS/Captain-Nash-From-Russia-With-Love-2.jpg

Who kills him and takes his place (and his briefcase!).

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

I shall specifically watch for that next viewing.

A couple of details I just noticed this viewing:
-It is Klebb and Grant behind the mirror! Somehow I never spotted them before, perhaps because  they are almost in sillhouette. As we know they are each a little kinky in their own personal proclivities, this is much more disturbing than some random minions making the film.
-Bond speaks the entire "may I borrow a match" dialog twice, but each time to one of Kerim's sons. When he meets Grant, we cannot hear the dialog, but we watch Bond pull a lighter from his pocket (but not use it) before they enter the train.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

Klebb behind the mirror, yes, but not Grant.

Grant also does the "Can I borrow a match?" bit, though we don't hear it, a little before Bond says it to him.

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Re: Pros and Cons: From Russia With Love

This is a thread that, as far as I can remember, I have never commented on. And this is somewhat surprising as FRWL has been my favourite Bond film for many years and I can usually never resist an opportunity to express how much I admire it. In fact, I find myself hard pressed to find any cons in this glorious motion picture.

But, having re-read the novel very recently I admit I was impressed by how quickly Fleming brought the story to its conclusion after Bond dispatches Grant in the train compartment. The film version has Bond in a series of extended chase sequences which are not bad really, but I think the film's story could have been brought to a quicker conclusion. The helicopter and boat chases (especially the latter) are probably surplus to requirements in my opinion. I recently watched the Hitchcock classic The Lady Vanishes and I felt that after that film's train-bound action had run its course the film managed to bring its story to a very satisfactory conclusion in a short and efficient post-train denouement. Admittedly though, I have very few complaints with the film version of FRWL, as it remains in my opinion the best example of a Fleming story transposed for the screen, with excellent actors cast in all the major roles, superb location work, a fine John Barry score, and an almost Hitchcockian feeling of atmosphere and suspense. If the third act's extended action finale is unnecessary, it is nonetheless exciting and memorable. As a cinematic Bond adventure, FRWL remains second to none in my opinion, but I'd still like to see a third act that dispenses with the extended chase scenes.