From Russia With Love (1963)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
This film is not in the Empire 5-star 500.

From Russia With Love is James Bond's second MGM outing.

As with most of the Bond films, there is little lead-on from previous films, although the story does involve SPECTRE looking for some vengeance for the death of Dr. No in the previous film of the same name.

Along with vengeance, SPECTRE are looking to steal Lektor - a Russian coding device. They use Tatiana Romanova, a naïve Russian Government worker as obvious bait for Bond, combined with the coder as bait for the British Government.

Although both figure out that it is a trap, the reward seems like too good an opportunity to pass up, so Bond accepts the mission.

Despite being the second film, From Russia With Love feels like the first 'proper' James Bond film. It is the first to contain Desmond Llewelyn's long-standing Q character (though he is credited as Boothroyd), and thus the first to contain any of the trademark gadgets - in this film a suitcase jam-packed with items.

As always, Sean Connery is in fine form as Bond, as he was throughout the 1960's. Bond's one liners are uttered with a slight air of arrogance mixed with a dashing of suave. Despite a brief encounter at the beginning of the film, and the trademark Moneypenny scene, Bond's fidelity is uncharacteristically high, sticking close to Tatiana.

All in all, From Russia With Love feels like a very good Bond film, although in parts it feels like it is a final working draft, rather than the finished product. An excellent continuation to the franchise, though.