Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

From Russia With Love

(UK, 1963)

From Russia With Love (1963) (UK) This is my personal favorite of the early Bonds. I like the exotic locations in Turkey, and the villains of Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, and Vladek Sheybal. The movies are settling into a comfortable pattern, with Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny flirting with James as he tosses his hat onto the rack, Bernard Lee as M, and crotchety old Desmond Llewelyn as Q. This is the first one where Bond is equipped with a significant number of gadgets, something that will get outlandishly elaborate as the series blasts onward. I think this is the first one where the opening credits are projected onto a woman’s body. Here she is dancing. In the next one, Goldfinger, she is motionless, I guess because she is dead, killed by a coat of gold paint. (A canard. Paint on the skin won’t kill you.) Once more, these credits will get incredibly more elaborate behind the theme music. To me, the highlight is a very fast, very brutal fight between Bond and Red Grant in the tiny confines of a sleeper car on the Orient Express. I had never seen anything like it, and I liked it so well that I stayed in my seat and watched the whole movie over again. Remember when you could do that? When showings were continuous? If you are too young to remember that I feel sorry for you. You could spend the whole day, as long as your butt held out.