Thursday, January 1, 2009

From Russia With Love

Terence Young, 1963 (8.3*)The second James Bond film is the best of the Sean Connery ones, with a more realistic plot, and with Robert Shaw as the best assassin of all, also classy Italian Daniela Bianchi as the only "Bond girl" in the whole film. Veteran European actress Lotte Lenya also sparkles as Russian assassin Colonel Rosa Klebb (who made the ET list of top 20 Bond women!), who deals her injustice with a poisoned blade in her shoe!

We get introduced to organizations of initials, in this case S.P.E.C.T.R.E., a group of criminals outside the KGB even, beyond anyone’s control, but we only see the hands and cat of its leader, Blofeld, later parodied by Mike Myers as Dr. Evil in Austin Powers, who also parodied Klebb.

The plot involves SPECTRE orchestrating the British Secret Service into stealing a decoding machine from Instanbul with the hopes of getting it and Bond themselves in a two-in-one operation. This movie rolls from Instanbul and across Europe in a terrific road film on a train, then a boat, perhaps Ian Fleming’s homage to Hitchcock. Many say this is the best 007 film.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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