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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

From Russia With Love (1963)



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The definitive Bond film, this superior series entry -- argued by some to be the best -- is a wonderful spy story that's very faithful to Fleming's book. Future entries in the series would concentrate less on plot and more on gadgetry. Highlights include Robert Shaw as Red Grant, one of the most dangerous villains Bond has ever faced, and Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb, one of the nastiest. Trivia buffs should note Eunice Gayson's second and final appearance as Sylvia Trench (the producers originally intended her to be a recurring character throughout the series and eventually marry Bond) and Martine Beswick as a Gypsy girl (who danced during the credits of Dr. No and played a part in Thunderball). Best of all, is Desmond Llewelyn's first appearance as Major Boothroyd, better known as 'Q' who supplies Bond with his equipment. Desmond Llewelyn would reprise the role in nearly every Bond film to follow, appearing in more Bond movies than any other actor. The obligatory 'Q' scenes are anxiously anticipated, and always a delight. The finale, deliberately reminiscent of Hitchcock's North By Northwest, is great fun, and the showdown with Red Grant is commonly cited, along with the shower scene from Psycho and the Odessa Steps The Battleship Potemkin, as some of the finest editing ever done.

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