From Russia With Love
A Bond Classic ...
From Russia With Love(1963)
Distributed by MGM/UA Home Video
When asked to name your favourite movie, as a Bond fan I always choose this movie of the EON's James Bond series. Made a year after the success of Dr. No, this is Sean Connery at his Bond best with narrative similar to Ian Fleming's book. 007's mission is to recover a much needed Russian cipher machine called a Lektor.
This film has all 007's trade-marks: girls, locations & the introduction of a Bond gadget ( that handy briefcase ) with Desmond Llewelyn making his first appearance as Q.
The cast also includes the lovely Daniela Bianchi ( one
of my favourite Bond babes despite a dubbed voice ) as Tatiana Romanova and Robert Jaws Shaw as Red Grant who keeps quiet for half of the film then chips in with his Russian-English "Old Chap" & "Cheero". Watch out for another appearance of Eunice Gayson as Bond's girl-friend, Sylvia and a younger Walter Gotell as Morzeny who turns up in later Moore-Bond movies as General Gogol.
Favourite scenes include the lady masseuse toning up Grant for the arrival of Lotte Lenya as the evil Rosa Klebb to test his fitness ( ouch ! ) and his train fight with 007 - one of the best.
Meanwhile John Barry starts his Bond musical reign with help from British singer Matt Monroe and the first of many 007 theme songs.
First released in 2006 MGM Home Entertainment brought us James Bond Ultimate Edition 2-Disc DVD set of each of the 20 movies, now in 2008 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment repackage the same 2 MGM discs with a cardboard copy cover ( this one with Connery & Bianchi - passable like the whole golden theme series ) and minus the interesting eight page booklet. The format remains the same with disc one having the digitally restored movie and disc two with the extras - Declassified: MI6 Vault, 007 Mission Control, Mission Dossier, Ministry of Propaganda & Image Database. Each menu has a Bond lookalike silhouette, shooting girls, casino chips & cards and gun barrels incorporating photos & music from the movie. There is a section called Exotic Locations tucked away in 007 Mission Control with movie snips and Maud Octopussy Adams narrating about the filming locations & their history.
For this disc movie audio commentary comes from director Terence Young & cast quotes. Being the 2nd movie you see the restoration process at its best with vast improvements to colour & imagery ( e.g. the chess tournament ). Due to the movie's time the photo gallery is b&w except for the colour posters and there were not that many original documentaries about so we get a b&w CBC interview with author Fleming at Goldeneye, his chat with friend/author Raymond Chander is heard over a montage of 'smoking' photos and an excerpt from his appearance on radio's Desert Island Discs. The Inside .. documentary made in 2000 reveals more about the making of the classic movie along with another which has an insight into forgotten co-producer Harry Saltzman called ..:Showman. There are the usual trailers ( double billed in US with Dr. No or Thunderball ), short tv spots and radio adverts ( which become repetitive ).
Overall a must for your Bond DVD collection.