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January 15, 2003

From Russia With Love (1963)

Posted by Mike on January 15, 2003 11:05 PM

This is probably my favorite James Bond flick and it makes me sorrier yet to think about the latest in the series. Not that Bond flicks are worthy of some sort of reverence, but From Russia With Love felt more like Sean Connery finding the Bond character and less like so much mugging and checklist-ticking.

It seems the most rooted of any of the series in its Cold War context. It has a belly-dancer catfight, poison-spike shoes, a scary KGB dominatrix, and the class significations Fleming's audience craved. It's not a bad adaptation, either: the novel takes a long time to get around to bringing Bond into the picture and has two lingering biographies along the way. The script is a substantial change from the first portion of the novel, but the essential story is preserved and the action is fairly on track once the alternate first act is wrapped up.

Would I bring this home given the inventory of the local video store? Probably not. But for college credit and something to do on a Wednesday night, it isn't bad entertainment.