Sunday, March 4, 2018
Bond Ratings - From Russia With Love!
From Russia With Love is to my thinking the absolute best of the Bonds as a pure spy thriller. It doesn't have the super-spy vibe in any serious way but rather gives us a relatively low-key (by Bond standards) Cold War yarn which puts our hero within reach of the clutches of those vile Russkies and more deadly yet, his enemies in SPECTRE.
Pedro Armendariz as Ali Kerim Bey supplies the movie with a ton of old-fashioned charm and his demise toward the climax of the movie is genuinely sad. The back and forth of the spies in the ancient streets of Istanbul are fun to watch as the exotic locales add lovely character to scenes which are mostly mundane. Daniela Bianchi is gorgeous and a proper lure for the always randy Bond, though his dismissive treatment of this girl who truly loves him is sometimes difficult to understand.
At heart of this one though are the delightful villains. Kleb and Kronsteen are a duo from hell, a Russian man-hating crone and a cold-fish chess master are the ideal opponents for the virile Bond even though he never meets the latter personally. At the top of the heap though is Grant played by Robert Shaw. Grant doesn't speak through nearly the entire movie, but with his shocking white hair and deadly demeanor offers up a strange counter-image of Bond himself. As Bond stumbles through the story, Grant always seems in control. When they do finally face off, it's simple greed which proves the villains undoing.
This one has a tone of style and for that reason alone gets the nod as my third favorite Bond movie. More to come.