From Russia With Love review

Though Goldfinger set the template for Bond’s later excesses, it’s Sean Connery’s second outing as 007 that has served as the series’ default setting, the franchise returning to its Cold War feel, taut storytelling and darker tone every time it heads too far in the opposite direction.

Terence Young’s fidelity to Fleming’s original helps, James’ mission to obtain a Russian decoder initiating an exotic tour of Istanbul in the avuncular company of Pedro Armendariz.

It’s in the latter half of the film that things excel, however – an Orient Express escape culminating in the mother of all face-offs between Sean’s suave spy and Robert Shaw’s lethal assassin.

Throw in a sublime Lotte Lenya, the gorgeous (if dubbed) Daniela Bianchi and extended action beats involving motor boats, choppers and gun-toting gypsies and it’s no surprise Connery cites this as his favourite Bond. Would that Quantum had had a fraction of its pace, grace and style.

Neil Smith


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