From Russia With Love (1963)

My records indicate I’d never seen this before, which no doubt explains why I’ve no memory of it. By this time, of course, the first Bond film had been a big enough hit that even Ian Fleming was moved to retcon his character with a Scottish background in honour of Connery, Broccoli & Salzman were obviously more sure of the series continuing after the second film and were also able to stump up a whole two million bucks to pay for it. You can see that in the improved action sequences, but there’s also just a generally greater sense of confidence about the film, as if they’ve worked out what they should be doing with the series (hello Desmond Llewellyn! Even if he is still officially “Major Boothroyd” here), this already seems like more of a “Bond film” than Dr No did, Bond getting involved in a scheme to steal a Russian translating machine even though he suspects a trap cos a pretty girl is running the operation. That said, like too many films I’ve seen over the last decade, it does err in carrying on longer than it should; it strikes me that the fight between Bond and Grant on the train forms a decent climax and the action that follows is nice if you like explosions but really the film doesn’t seem to know quite where to stop. Still, can’t complain too much, it is a terrific entertainment.

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