Tuesday, 19 September 2017

From Russia With Love

Putting it mildly, I was somewhat relieved last week that 0015 did not loathe his first experience of 20th century James Bond. In fact, he seems rather keen on our Bond nights now. Following Goldfinger, we are sticking with Connery and going for another film many regard as a classic: From Russia With Love. It is rather different from Goldfinger though and as a child I found it rather dull. Hopefully, 0015 will instantly appreciate it as much as adult me does.

What do you think From Russia With Love might be about?
0015: I think it has a missile that says 'From Russia With Love' on it. I also know it's the second oldest film because I looked the order up last week before we started.

Is there anything from last week you would like to see more of?
More crazy grandmas. Cheesy bad guys. Better hat physics.

0015 heads to sort drinks out before we settle down.
We have Fireball and J├Ąger.
There is no vodka though so we pass and hit play.

START

I always forget the pre-title sequence and 0015 has no comment on it, not even when a mask is removed from the fake 007.

The titles are a bit weird. They're just some half-naked women dancing in front of back projection.
Oh 0015, you're going to have to get used to this.

Rosa Klebb, Kronsteen and a man with a white cat are discussing SPECTRE's new plan on a boat.
It's my boat!
As established last week, 0015 has a longing to buy a boat/yacht.

Red Grant is in a garden, getting a massage from a young lady.
She's old enough to be my nan. When was this made?
1963.
She's probably dead.

0015 recognises Bernard Lee, who plays M, but we don't know what from. Later, it turns out he was thinking of Anthony Hopkins.
When we pause to grab a drink, 0015 manages to pause on a pair of tits. Not for the first time in our Bond marathon. However, he protests:
Based on the titles, I had a 90% chance of it being tits.

1963's technology is a shock for 0015. Bond and Kerim spy on the Russian consulate through a periscope that Kerim has secretly had installed.
Is this before CCTV? Because that would have been a lot easier.
I assure him 1963 is indeed some time before widespread CCTV was available, even for Her Majesty's Secret Service.

As they prepare to raid the gypsy camp, the Russians are communicating with enormous handheld radios and 0015 audibly scoffs.
I take it this was a while before mobile phones too?
Just a little bit.

Bond and Tania start to get to know each on Bond's hotel bed. The audience is shown that two people are filming them with a camera from behind a two-way bedroom mirror.
Bit creepy.
Dirty f-
But I suppose it's easier than a periscope.

Bond and Tania arrange for her to drop off plans of the Russian consulate in a mosque.
It's a bit echoey.
They should put some carpets down.
Yeah, they should be common in cathedrals, or mosque things.
It's some famous building there, isn't it?
I don't know. I'm not acquainted with Istanbul architecture.
0015 insists it is and I wonder why he knows this and realise he probably wonders why I know when mobile phones were invented.

I wonder why they made blueprints blue.
Why don't I know this? I will google it later.
0015 googles it immediately and Wikipedia proves enlightening.

With the Lektor decoding machine in his hands, Bond grabs Tania and they jump on a train as it starts to pull away. The Russians are hot on their tails and one manages to jump on board too.
I wish they'd still let you get on moving trains.
0015 commutes 2 hours each way every day and seems to spend a lot of time diving for train doors with seconds to spare.

'Captain Nash', who is really Red Grant, appears and he has a little chat with Bond. It's the first time Red Grant has spoken in the film.
He can talk. I didn't expect him to be able to talk. The other one [Oddjob from Goldfinger] couldn't talk.

They leave their compartment to go for something to eat in the dining car.
Trains look so much better then.
I think they look great.
I want my own room, table and chair, and waiter service! I bet they were cheaper then too.
I actually have no idea if trains were cheaper in the 1960s. This one looks very swish though.

Bond kills Red Grant after a vicious fight on the train (my favourite part) and news reaches Rosa Klebb and Kronsteen. Man With A White Cat Whose Face We Do Not See is not happy with their failure.
Oh, this is where evil men with white cats come from!

Bond and Tania are preparing to leave a hotel and take the Lektor back to England. But Rosa Klebb appears, disguised as a hotel maid, ready to attack Bond with poison-tipped knife shoes.
It's another crazy granny!

THE END

What did we think then?
It's done quite well for such an old film. I guess I expected it be a lot tackier. It was a lot harder to follow what was going on, compared to last week. I didn't know what was going on until near the end. The gypsy bit seemed unnecessary. 'Gypsy' might be offensive but it said 'gypsy' in the film.
We will stick with the contextual term.

Do you have any questions?
Who's the guy with the cat? I suppose you're not supposed to know.
I'm not going to tell you.
I want a cat. I've always wanted a cat. I've always wanted to sit stroking a cat, being evil, but I didn't realise it originally came from Bond. I want to sit and open the windows and look out at the world and be evil.
What are they trying to decode?
They're not trying to decode something - they're after a machine that decodes.
Decodes what?
All sorts of stuff, they weren't after anything specific. They would just be able to decode the Russians' stuff.
Ah I see.
Have you heard of the Enigma machine?
Yes - I've seen The Imitation Game.
It's like that.

Did you have a favourite part?
The helicopter bit at the end was pretty cool.
How do you think they did it?
I noticed you didn't actually see it fall out of the sky when it blew up. Well, it was probably pre-green screen. Was it a toy on a stick?
Yep, pretty much. It's a model.
You can't tell.

Who was your favourite character?
I really want to say crazy granny but this one isn't a very good fighter. She just kicks people.
That's probably why she gets other people in, like Red Grant.

Was there any bit you didn't like?
It probably got better after they got on the train - when I actually knew what was going on.

Was it more or less cheesy than last week?
Less.

Is there anything you would like to see more of?
*whispers* Crazy granny.
It's gonna sound like I've got a love fetish if I say that again. It's good when you can't predict what side someone's on - grey characters. I think that's what they're called. Some are good, some are bad but you can't predict them. I like that.

Who do you think is the most grey character?
I can't remember the main girl's name [Tania]. The one who keeps saying Jams instead of James. I was never sure if she was really tricking him.
It's good to see some of the history I didn't expect. Like the big walkie-talkies and the periscope instead of a camera.

And you final score?
7/10

Would you like to do more Connery next or someone different?
They're probably like little series in themselves with each actor, so as long as it doesn't spoil anything, it will be good to mix it up. Like, mini-series. I think they are probably all self-contained. I don't know - I'm just trying to sound more technical. But it might be good to get away from crazy Koreans and grannies.

In this case, next week we will jump forward 10 years to 1973.
That's still like 40 years ago!
We're going to watch Roger Moore in Live and Let Die.
I've heard of that one. I've heard of the song.
Paul McCartney sings it.
I've definitely heard of him. He was in The Beatles. Well, I really hope he was now I've said that.

JAMES BOND WILL RETURN IN...

LIVE AND LET DIE