Posts Tagged ‘From Russia With Love’

Epitome of Cool…

March 8, 2010

Sean Connery for Louis Vuitton


Celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with James Bond…

November 25, 2009

The SyFy Channel will be airing a total of sixteen James Bond films this Thanksgiving weekend. Below is the full schedule:

Thursday – November 26th 2009

8:00 AM –  Dr. No
10:30 AM – Licence To Kill
1:30 PM –  Live And Let Die
4:00 PM – The Spy Who Loved Me
6:30 PM – Tomorrow Never Dies
9:00 PM – Casino Royale

Friday – November 27th 2009:

12:00 AM – For Your Eyes Only
2:30 AM – The Man With The Golden Gun
08:00 AM – Thunderball
10:30 AM – From Russia With Love
1:00 PM – You Only Live Twice
3:30 PM – Diamonds Are Forever
6:00 PM – Casino Royale
9:00 PM – GoldenEye

Saturday November 28th 2009:

12:00 AM – Goldfinger
2:30 AM – Never Say Never Again


All times are EST.

Wine’s talk with Sean Connery

October 7, 2009

Sir Sean Connery, 79, burst into stardom in 1962, with his portrayal of British secret agent James Bond in Dr. No. But Connery appeared in dozens of films between his debut in 1954 and his retirement in 2003, and he won an Oscar as best supporting actor for his 1987 role as Jim Malone in The Untouchables. In 2000, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Connery was born in Scotland, has lived in Spain and Switzerland, and now spends most of his time in the Bahamas. He spoke with executive editor Thomas Matthews, who has equated Connery, Bond and the good life since seeing From Russia With Love in 1965.

Wine Spectator: Tell us about your interest in wine.
SC: I can tell you more about whiskey than wine. I’m not an aficionado by any means, mostly because I have a heart condition and am not supposed to take much alcohol. But I do drink red wine, because of my great friend David Murray [a Scottish entrepreneur who owns two French wine estates, Château Routas in Provence and Domaine Jessiaume [in Burgundy]. He showed me the evidence that it was good for the health.

I favor Merlots from Chile for their value, and I keep a good deal of California wine in my cellar. Don’t ask me to tell you their names. I have one that cost me $2,000 for two cases, which I think is rather steep, but people are prepared to pay it.

WS: Is there a particular wine that has really stuck in your memory?
SC: I once lived a few years in Spain. It was around the time I was doing The Man Who Would Be King [in 1975]. I enjoyed a wine called Vega Sicilia, and back then, you could get it by the bucketful. Now it’s several hundred dollars a bottle.

WS: Do you ever visit wine country?
SC: I spend a week every year in France with David Murray. He’s got the two main bases. We fly to France, then pick up the car, drive down to the coast and spend a week. Château Routas is 1,300 meters above the sea, and it’s just a perfect site for health.

There’s nothing but wine down there. It’s amazing to see how it’s all done, from soup to nuts, and how important it is to everyone. The people are really in tune with what they are doing, and it gives a great atmosphere.

We have good food and wine every night [chuckling]. When we’re at his places, we drink his wines. But when we’re traveling, we try everything. He’s a great wine connoisseur, and I just go along with him. Providing you have nothing else to do, it’s a marvelous way to spend some time.

WS: As James Bond, you played a character whose connoisseurship of wine was a defining trait. How much of that was from your own experience?
SC: That was all part of the character. I remember the Dom Pérignon scene in Dr. No. But I can’t really claim I had any knowledge of wine at the time. The director, Terence Young, put a great deal of sophistication into the films [Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Thunderball], and he never got the credit he deserved. He taught me, and helped develop the character. I can wear the clothes well, but he was the one who picked them out.

Dr. No cost $1 million in 1962. Today, to make that film would cost $100 million or more. That gives you an idea how it’s gone. Wine is the same thing.

This was an interesting interview, and deserved to be posted. I especially liked his praise for Terrence Young. Private Signings (August 2009)

June 22, 2009

I thought I’d post this, as it may interest the Bond autograph/merchandise collectors visiting this blog. will be holding private signing sessions with Eunice Gayson (Sylvia Trench of Dr. No and From Russia With Love), Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore of Goldfinger), and Jenny Hanley (Irish Girl of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) on August 23rd, 2009.

A signed item will cost you £26.00, or about $43.00. The links below will take you to the BondStars website, in which you can purchase what you need:

All orders must be received by August 7th, and personal items cannot be signed.

Other instructions can be found at the provided links.

Best of luck! I think I’ll buy the Gayson and Blackman autographs. They’d be a nice addition to my collection.

Top 5 – Quintessential Fleming Thrillers

June 19, 2009

Below I’ve listed the top 5 Bond films that qualify as quintessential Fleming thrillers. In my opinion, these five films capture the essence of Fleming’s novels and legendary characters.

I’ve provided a small blurb for each, regarding why I consider it to be “quintessential”.

1. From Russia With Love – Perhaps one of the finest Cold War thrillers ever made. The second film of the Bond series, and also my second-favorite. This features another cast of brilliant characters, with an even more interesting plot than “Dr. No”. This is not only a must-see Bond film, but also a must-see espionage film.

2. Dr. No – The first Bond film, and what I consider to be the best. This Bond flick is made in true Fleming fashion. It contains some great espionage and detective work, a wonderful cast of characters, and a solid plot.

3. The Living Daylights – Though Fleming was long-gone in 1987, “The Living Daylights” pays a wonderful tribute to the Bond author. Timothy Dalton’s portrays Fleming’s character brilliantly, in a great Cold War thriller. If you take your Bond seriously, this is surely the one for you.

4. For Your Eyes Only – Moore’s finest Bond flick. Most of the film is taken seriously. The only downfall is its score. Otherwise, the film proves to follow Fleming’s short story, “Risico”, quite well. Great characters, and a very down-to-Earth and interesting plot. This is certainly a fresh, new start, following Moore’s out-of-this-world adventure, “Moonraker”.

5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – George Lazenby’s first and final Bond flick surely makes for a great Fleming thriller. Though I’m not keen on Lazenby’s acting, the other actors in the film make up for what he lacks — especially Diana Rigg. The film preserves many aspects of the novel and also features one of the best John Barry scores of all time. It’s surely a refresher from the over-the-top “You Only Live Twice” and takes a more realistic approach.

Bond 23: A Standalone Adventure

December 8, 2008

Article Link: ::: Daniel Craig talks about the future of JAMES BOND

Major points of the article:

– Bond 23 will be standalone: there will be no “Casino Royale” / “Quantum of Solace” / “Bond 23” trilogy. Craig said, No fucking way. I’m done with that story. I want to lie on a beach for the first half an hour of the next movie drinking a cocktail.”

– Q and Moneypenny may return: Craig states, “Let’s try and find where Moneypenny came from and where Q comes from.”

I’m hardly thrilled about this news. This is all we need – Purvis and Wade mucking up this new, supposedly “continuity-friendly” Bond series. I wonder what they’d like to bring back? An invisible car, perhaps? I like the serious Bond. I like the Bond who actually kicks peoples’ asses, rather than shooting them, or relying on gadgets. I like the unhappy endings. I don’t mind Moneypenny returning, briefly, for each film, as she did in “Dr. No”, and so on. Though, I think Q’s done with. Llewelyn, rest in peace, has left us. John Cleese did a terrible job with the character, thus proving that it’ll be a hard act to follow.

Then again, this is what the people want. I think the ignorant audiences, these days, like a mindless getaway film. After almost 10 years of Brosnan, they need to be corrected.

I don’t know. I just hope they don’t end up ruining Craig’s series.

Film Review ::: Thunderball

November 21, 2008

It’s safe to say that James Bond is back in action.

Sure, they said that about “Goldfinger”, but I believe “Thunderball” was far more exciting and more down-to-Earth than “Goldfinger” was. Of the films following “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love”, I also think that “Thunderball” was the film that could most closely relate to those two. By that, I mean, Bond seems like the Bond he was in those films, the locations are again stunning, we’ve got beautiful women, tons of danger, and the return of another bunch of ruthless SPECTRE agents.

The locations in this Bond flick were nearly as gorgeous as the places we saw in “Dr. No”. Sure, at first we’re stuck with Bond while he’s at the clinic- what could be beautiful about that location? However, as we move on to Nassau, there’s hardly an unattractive site. The water’s gorgeous, the beaches are beautiful, the hotel is high-end and comfortable looking, and the streets are swarming with plenty of people. Then, we even get a look at SPECTRE’s main meeting room- grand and diabolical-seeming, thanks again to Ken Adam.

Barry delivers another superb soundtrack, with plenty of themes that fit right in with the underwater scenes, beach scenes, and the beauty of the locations. We also get a few Bond themes, which also add Connery’s suave and stylish looks in the film. Not much to complain about here. My favorite piece is probably the Chateau Flight, which really enhances Bond’s pre-title sequence fight.

Emilio Largo- I see him as a Dr. No: 2.0. He’s certainly a well-respected SPECTRE member, and even has the high rank of #2. He’s a very serious man, even when he’s joking around with Bond. By the way he treats Domino, and his fellow SPECTRE henchmen, it’s pretty easy to notice that Largo will do anything to succeed with his plans and impress Blofeld.

I see Connery’s performance in this film as one step below his performances in “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love” . For me, they’re his top-notch performances… but his acting in “Thunderball” doesn’t fall far from them. Again, as he had in the past three pictures, he’s got that natural Bond style, look, and attitude. Having viewed all of the Connery films this week, to me, it’s safe to say that this man is the only classic cinematic James Bond. I don’t think anyone can replace him.

The girls in this movie were gorgeous. We had Domino, Fiona, and Paula. Unfortunately, we didn’t see Paula as much as the others; however she was a very pretty woman for Bond to be working alongside of. Fiona- definitely the best bad girl of the Bond series, and sexiest bad girl, too. Then, Domino- an innocent, nice girl, caught up in one big mess, in my opinion. The gorgeous Claudine Auger played the part well, and she was certainly a memorable Bond girl.

Rik Van Nutter played a decent Leiter, I suppose. It wasn’t great, nor atrocious. I certainly thought his Leiter could be taken more seriously than Linder’s from “Goldfinger”. It further proves that no Leiter was as great as Lord, though.

Aside from those aspects, “Thunderball” offers classic Bondian action, romance, humor, locations, plots, and characters. The overall plot of the film wasn’t too complex, and intelligent- much like the earlier films. The gadgets were kept to a minimum: Bond had the re-breather, which is probably one of the most useful Bond gadgets. The jetpack was good fun in the pre-title sequence, too. The rest of the gadgets seemed more like real spy gadgets- the watch, the camera, the tracking pill. I think they threw a realistic touch on the world of Bond gadgets.

There are a few choppy bits of editing in this film, however, it’s not anything to get worked up about.

Other than that, “Thunderball” makes for an excellent Connery Bond film, and is a superb addition to the series. While I hold “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love” higher than it, “Thunderball” is given a secure #3 spot in my Bond film ranking list. Also- perhaps Terence Young has to do with my liking of some of the early Bond films. I just thought I’d give him a nod here, as he’s my favorite Bond director.

9.5 / 10

9.5 / 10

Film Review ::: From Russia With Love

November 18, 2008

Of any two consecutive films in the James Bond series, I think it’s safe to say that “From Russia With Love” can be seen as the sequel to “Dr. No”. I call “From Russia With Love” a sequel to “Dr. No” because of the obvious continuity hints in the story (Sylvia, references to Jamaica, and Kronsteen suggesting No’s revenge); also, Young directed both of the films, and I think his certain style carries from “Dr. No” to “From Russia With Love”. Had EON decided to utilize Jack Lord in the films following “From Russia With Love”, then perhaps the continuity could have carried on; however, they didn’t do that, and be strict on continuity, there’s no way the other Leiters were up to standards with Lord’s Leiter.

That said, “From Russia With Love” is an example of classic Cold War Bond. When people say Cold War spy film, my mind heads straight towards “From Russia With Love”.

I can see “From Russia With Love” as a step-up on “Dr. No” in many ways. But also, it preserves some of the qualities that made “Dr. No” so fantastic. First, we’re given another simple, yet highly intelligent plot. “SPECTRE plans to lure James Bond into stealing the Soviet decoding machine, and unknowingly deliver it into their hands. In the process, Agent 007 is to suffer a humiliating and disgraceful death.” Like it’s predecessor, “From Russia With Love” also contains more intelligent and even brute agents, improving on the first SPECTRE agent we met in “Dr. No”. Kronsteen and Klebb certainly make for very interesting characters and, together with their boss- Ernst Stavro Blofeld, they create a well-thought-out and devised plan; it wasn’t something thrown together, spur of the moment, and certainly SPECTRE had a good reading of Mi6’s mentality, giving them an upper hand, I’d say.

Another bit I liked about the movie is no over-the-top gadgets, once again. The briefcase was a really brilliant piece of equipment, holding a rifle, some coins, a knife, and of course- the bomb that would explode if opened incorrectly. I wish the Bond gadgets would have stayed as simple as this, instead of getting progressively unrealistic as the films went on.

Note: the pager Bond uses while he’s with Sylvia. I think this technology just goes to show that Bond was way ahead of his time.

These type of evil schemes aren’t what you really see anymore in the Bond films. Looking at the more recent Bond films, Bond sort of gets in the way, messing up the villains’ plans, while in these early films, SPECTRE has the one-up on Bond, and have a lot of control of what goes on during his mission.

Though I thought “Dr. No” had more beautiful locations, “From Russia With Love” surely doesn’t disappoint. First, we have SPECTRE Island- quite an interesting location, to say the least. Then, the most interesting to me was Istanbul. The shots of Hagia Sophia were beautiful, and it was just wonderful to see the streets of Istanbul- I liked these shots in the film so much that it really makes me want to be in that location. Seems like a great place. Later on, we follow Bond all across southern-central Europe, mainly on the train. I loved the train scenes, and the occasional glimpses out the window that we’d get. The location used when Bond is in the truck escaping was great, too; an isolated part of the country, with vibrant green grass on each side of the long dirt road. Very simple, yes; but, enjoyable.

I’d say that John Barry’s soundtrack corresponded with the actual film perfectly, more so than any other soundtrack in the series. Certainly, Barry had made more interesting scores as the years progressed, but the music for “From Russia With Love” really captured the essence of the locations, the plot, the Cold War, the tension, the thrills, and the adventure.

As mentioned, the villains in this film are as diabolical, witty, and evil as Dr. No was. Again, there’s not any bullshit going on with these baddies- no games with these early SPECTRE agents. I previously mentioned Kleeb, Kronsteen, and Blofeld, but really wanted to discuss Grant here. Grant’s probably the greatest henchman of this franchise. Quirky ones, like Oddjob, NicNac, Xenia, and etc. show up later in the franchise; however, Grant seems to be the most realistic and brute of henchmen, who also plays an important part in the main plot of the film. Robert Shaw did a perfect job with him. He was a robust, muscular, handsome, witty, and psychotic character, all at the same time. Another no bullshit baddie. He carries out his orders perfectly, doesn’t hesitate to kill, and comes within a fingernail-width of completing his mission.

In my “Dr. No” review, I mentioned that Connery was a natural James Bond actor. This film is no different. He still seems like he’s not even acting, and carries out all of his acting brilliantly. This man is certainly the real deal when it comes to James Bond actors… Daniel Craig and Timothy Dalton sure comes close, though.

Kerim Bey proved to be a very loyal and likable ally, too. Pedro Armendariz did a great job acting as him, especially if you consider the illness and pain he was dealing with. Certainly was a shame to see Bey die in the film, because he was just such a great ally- and a damn shame about Pedro Armendariz’s tragic condition that led him to commit suicide.

Tatiana was a very beautiful Bond girl, much like Andress. She even had an alternate mission, which puts the depth of her character above Honey Rider, in a sense; considering Honey really had no intention of helping Bond find Dr. No. There are some parts in which I think Tatiana came off as a weak character, but it was later made up for. So, really no complaints with Tatiana. I think Bianchi played her well, and she was certainly another gorgeous addition to the series.

My favorite scene in this film has to be the train fight. There aren’t many henchman v. Bond fights in the series that can match up to this. The claustrophobia of the cramped train rooms and the dimmed lighting really added to the suspense and thrills of the fight. Plus, Grant was such a built henchman, I’d say that the fight was in the air (if I had seen this movie back in 1963). It seemed as if Grant had the upper hand for a bit, but of course, Mr. Bond is victorious. Great fight, though.

As with “Dr. No”, there isn’t much bad to this film.
Actually, I didn’t notice any continuity errors- but then again, I don’t pick apart a film just to see how many flubs it has. Then, there’s the so-called “mistake” at SPECTRE island, where the noise in the training area doesn’t start until Klebb gets there. I don’t see this as a big deal at all, and it’s never bothered me.

In summary, this was a worthy sequel to “Dr. No”. Connery still plays Bond brilliantly, Tatiana is another quality Bond girl, Kerim Bey was a memorable ally, and SPECTRE proves to be cold and diabolical, once again. I think both of these films deserve a perfect 10, just because they’re pure classics, and we’re never going to see another Bond film like them again.

10 / 10

10 / 10