From Russia with Love is a preposterous, skillful slab of hardhitting, sexy hokum. After a slowish start, it is directed by Terence Young at zingy pace.

From Russia with Love is a preposterous, skillful slab of hardhitting, sexy hokum. After a slowish start, it is directed by Terence Young at zingy pace.

This one has to do with Sean Connery being detailed to go to Istanbul and lift a top secret Russian decoding machine from the embassy. British Intelligence senses that this may be a trap, but getting the machine is important. Connery can pull it off if he will help a young Russian cipher clerk (Daniela Bianchi) to escape to the West. She thinks she is working for her Russian government, but actually she is a pawn of Spectre, an international crime syndicate.

Bond has a glorious slap-up fight to the death with Robert Shaw, the killer detailed to bump him off. He is hounded by a helicopter as he runs across moorland clutching the decoding machine. He beats off his pursuers in a motor boat by setting fire to the sea. He referees a fight between two jealous gypsy girls just before the encampment is invaded by the crime gang.

Connery is well served by some crisp wise-cracking dialog by Richard Maibaum [in his script adapted by Johanna Harwood]. Robert Shaw is an impressive, icy, implacable killer and the late Pedro Armendariz weighs in with a formidable, yet lightly played, performance as the man who knows the sinister secrets of Istanbul.

The distaff side is less well served. Newcomer Daniela Bianchi is a good looking Italian girl with shapely legs and promising smile. Lotte Lenya has been lumbered with a part that doesn’t fully come off. Disguised with an Eaton Crop and heavy pebble spectacles, she stands out as somebody up to no good from the first glimpse.

From Russia with Love

UK

Production

Eon. Director Terence Young; Producer Harry Saltzman, Albert R. Broccoli; Screenplay Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood; Camera Ted Moore; Editor Peter Hunt; Music John Barry; Art Director Syd Cain

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1963. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Sean Connery Daniela Bianchi Pedro Armendariz Lotte Lenya Robert Shaw Bernard Lee
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