From Russia with Love keeps up the momentum set by the first Bond film. Since Dr. No was a big success, From Russia with Love was released the following year with its budget doubled. As well as a bigger paycheck for Sean Connery. Despite being the second film in the long running franchise, From Russia with Love is actually based on the 5th book written by Ian Fleming. The book’s title also includes a comma that was dropped for the movie (i.e. From Russia, with Love). It contains even more long standing traditions in the franchise. The first pre-title sequence (after the gun barrel, but before the opening credits), a theme song with lyrics, archenemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld, an extra action scene after the climax, a helicopter scene, and the famous “James Bond will return” in the closing credits. But most importantly, it was the first Bond film to feature Desmond Llewelyn as Q. Gifting 007 with his first true gadget.
The Mission: Assist in defection of Soviet consulate in Turkey and retrieve top secret Lektor
Gadgets & Vehicles: Attaché Briefcase (equipped with throwing knife, gold sovereigns, Armalite AR-7, and tear gas booby trap)
Bond Girls: Tatiana Romanova, Sylvia Trench
Bond Villains: Colonel Rosa Klebb, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Red Grant, Morzeny
Analysis: Many consider From Russia with Love to be the best Bond film in the franchise. Including Sean Connery himself. I looked forward to this installment for a number of reasons. The biggest of course being the increase in gadgets and overall action. Which is partly why the movie went over budget. The opening credits sequence is a very sensual close up on a belly dancer set to an instrumental. The main theme is a smooth tune by Matt Monro that doesn’t come till the end. In a similar fashion to Dr. No, M calls Q into his office to issue 007 with the latest gadget from Q Branch. The Attaché Briefcase is a seriously cool piece of equipment. The way it contains many hidden weapons makes it truly memorable. Little did Desmond Llewelyn know he would be playing Q for over 36 years. Making him the longest running actor to appear in the Bond franchise. The main Bond villain is Soviet counterintelligence agent Rosa Klebb. She stands out mainly for her shoe with a retractable poison tipped knife and the fact that she’s clearly a lesbian. Given the way she acts around the beautiful Tatiana Romanova. Although stated in the book, the movie had to be more subtle (since it was still the early 60’s). After defecting from SMERSH to SPECTRE, Klebb works for an unseen man stroking a cat. Romanova is a memorable Bond girl because she was the first seductress. As she lies naked in bed waiting for Bond. She is working for the bad guys, but she does provide the all important Lektor, and delivers the final blow against Klebb. Bond also gets intimate with Sylvia Trench in the beginning. The only returning Bond girl since she was the first after all. Unfortunately this is also where Sean Connery’s Bond shows off his occasional brutishness. Which is put to better use in its many exciting action scenes. The best being the train sequence. Where the briefcase comes in the most handy against primary henchman Red Grant. With its faster pace, increased action, and sexapeal, From Russia with Love proved the British secret agent was here to stay.
James Bond will return in Goldfinger