Amph 60+ Years of James Bond 007

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ender Sai, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Really? That's interesting and kind of silly at the same time. I feel that Connery's one liners are the best out of any of the Bonds ESPECIALLY Roger Moore.
  2. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    It's absolutely true. You have to remember, audiences 50 years ago didn't have films with swear words, graphic violence, sex or nudity. Throwing in a quip when Bond has just disposed of a bunch of people helped lighten the tension. It's why the Dent scene stands out so much, because Bond doesn't quip about it afterwards. He just blows through the Bausch silencer.

    And, this is after it was cut down to 1 + 2 shots, from 1 + 5 (where 1= the kill shot, and the + X = the shots after Dent's down).

    There's a word for a man who would kill without remorse. Imagine how Bond would look after killing the man in the bath-tub in Goldfinger without saying "shocking...positively shocking".

    If you answered "Fleming's Bond", "Tim Dalton" or "Daniel Craig", you'd be correct. If you also answered "a sociopath", you would also grudgingly be correct.
  3. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Yes, and also Rosa Klebb. They're both great and both very menacing, though in totally different ways.
  4. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Agreed. We'll cover them off shortly; I anticipate some films will generate more discussion (Goldfinger -> OHMSS, then TSWLM, then probably LTK onwards) and some, less (Dr No is one that will generate less) so I'll start on FRWL shortly...
    darthcaedus1138 likes this.
  5. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    1) After seeing Skyfall and where Bond is 50 years later, how do you feel about the film that started it all?

    Dr. No is a cheeky, fun, moderately realistic spy adventure film. Connery beams charisma in a star turn that is, simply put, required viewing for every member of Western culture. Warmed by his effortless wit, we’re initially surprised at Bond’s ruthless treatment of enemies. Soon we come to understand that crude violence is a mere fact of life for men in Bond’s line of work.
    The film is for the most part very well-made. Young and company manage to put on a lavish, entertaining spectacle on a reportedly slim budget.

    2) Do you wish the films kept more of this gritty thriller style, or are you happy with the formula that was developed in Goldfinger and kept for years to come?

    I prefer the gritty thrillers in the vein of Dr. No, FRWL and FYEO. You can keep your Goldfingers, your Moonrakers and your Only Live Twices.

    3) Is this not the weakest of all Bond car chases?

    Well, it's not a car chase at any rate. It's one car following/shadowing another.

    4) Was this Connery's best, or just Connery's most threatening performance?

    The answer is yes to both.
  6. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    By the way, here are some differences between the film and the Fleming novel on which it was based. I got the following from wikipedia.


    Dr. No has many similarities to the novel and follows its basic plot, but there are a few notable omissions. Major elements from the novel that are missing from the film include Bond's fight with a giant squid, and the escape from Dr. No's complex using the dragon-disguised swamp buggy. Elements of the novel that were significantly changed for the film include the use of a (non-poisonous) tarantula spider instead of a centipede; Dr. No's secret complex being disguised as a bauxite mine instead of a guano quarry; Dr. No's plot to disrupt NASA space launches from Cape Canaveral using a radio beam instead of disrupting US missile testing on Turk's Island; the method of Dr. No's death by drowning in reactor coolant rather than a burial under a chute of guano, and the introduction of SPECTRE, an organisation absent from the book. Other components absent from the novel but added to the film include the introduction of Bond in a gambling casino, the introduction of Bond's semi-regular girlfriend Sylvia Trench, a fight scene with an enemy chauffeur, a fight scene to introduce Quarrel, the seduction of Miss Taro, Bond's recurring CIA ally Felix Leiter, Dr. No's partner in crime Professor Dent and the controversial, cold-blooded killing of this character.

    Sometimes episodes in the novel retained in the film's altered narrative introduce elements of absurdity into the plot. Bond's "escape" from his cell via the air shaft, for instance, originally conceived as a ruse by Dr. No to test Bond's skill and endurance, becomes an authentic breakout in the film. Features carried over from the novel's obstacle course, however, such as the torrent of water and scalding surface, have no logical justification in the script. Such incongruities would recur in subsequent Bond films.

    And here is some insight into recurring themes and images in the 007 franchise which derive from Dr. No.

    Dr. No introduced the many recurring themes and features associated with the suave and sophisticated secret agent: the distinctive "James Bond Theme", the gun barrel sequence, his initial mission briefing with M, "Bond girls", the criminal organisation SPECTRE, narrow escapes, Bond's luck and skill, his signature Walther PPK and the licence to kill, over-ambitious villains, henchmen and allies. Many characteristics of the following Bond films were introduced in Dr. No, ranging from Bond's introduction as "Bond, James Bond" (although he seems to be mimicking Sylvia Trench who introduces herself first as "Trench. Sylvia Trench"), to his taste for vodka martinis "shaken, not stirred", love interests, and weaponry.

    Dr. No also establishes the oft-repeated association (in this case, Project Mercury) between the Bond series and the US manned space programme—which would be repeated with Project Gemini in You Only Live Twice, Project Apollo in Diamonds Are Forever, and the space shuttle in Moonraker (not to mention several outer space sequences involving fictional satellite programmes in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Die Another Day).
  7. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    I like Dr No overall, I can see that Craig's movies and Bond character style is more like this & FRWL.

    Connery does well, he clearly has a steel in him as evident in the previously mentioned killing of Dent, but he also carries the style well. Connery looks as though he belongs among the sophisticated elite playing cards and smoking, he exudes charisma and charm naturally. As much as I like Craig, that is something I think he lacks as a Bond.

    No is well acted by Wiseman, I too feel that his unique ability in having super-strength hands was not really used as it could have been (as much as I'd like to have seen Bond fight a giant squid in the movie, having No crush his arm and then hang him over something hazardous would also have been interesting and made him a more credible threat). That being said, for a 50 year old movie it's not a bad confrontation, No is let down because his hands can't grip the metal sides of the lowering platform so he sinks with it.

    The movie has many memorable iconic moments, perhaps some of the most widely remembered outside of Goldfinger & YOLT (which are generally the most referenced and parodied Bond movies).
  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Following Dr No's success - success, it might be had, that exceeded United Artists and EON's expectations - the producers found themselves in possession of a doubled budget ($2mil) and decided to film the next Bond adventure in 1963.

    Sean Connery received a bonus equal to double his salary for his work in the film, which would be influenced by practical considerations as much as Dr No was. But, where Dr No was chosen because the location was cheap, From Russia, With Love (FRWL) was selected because one John Fitzgerald Kennedy had named it in his top 10 books. That kind of publicity was well worth capitalising on. Sadly, it's understood that the last film Mr Kennedy saw in the White House was FRWL...

    In Fleming's world, FRWL preceded Dr No and it opaquely referenced in the latter film. It's a very taut thriller, seeing SMERSH set out to embarrass Western intelligence by exposing a Western agent in a sex scandal. Bond is their target of choice and the bait is twofold - the beautiful cipher clerk Tatiana Romanova, and the Spektor code machine. The film kept much of the plot but removed SMERSH and the Cold War angle in favour of SPECTRE; given the names (Fleming didn't invent SPECTRE for 2 more novels yet) the machine was renamed the Lektor.

    [IMG]

    Plot

    SPECTRE - the SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion - has devised a plan to play East vs West against each other, gaining financial advantage and revenge for the death of it's agent, Dr No, in Jamaica. Kronsteen - a chess genius and planner - plans to steal a Lektor cypher machine from the Russians, sell it back to them after using James Bond of the British Secret Service in their plan. SPECTRE number 3, Rosa Klebb - whose defection to SPECTRE from SMERSH is not widely known to prevent embarrassment - involves clerk Tatiana Romanova in her plan, telling the latter she is on a matter of highest security and that the Romanova's mission is to fall in love with and ultimately seduce James Bond.

    Tatiana is smitten with Bond instead, and they manage to escape with the Lektor with the aide of MI6's contact in Istanbul, Kerim Bay (in what was Pedro Armendariz's last role before succumbing to terminal cancer; his son played President Lopez in Licence to Kill). They board the Orient Express, dodging an increasingly desperate SPECTRE's attempts to reclaim the Lektor.

    REVIEW
    FRWL is, in many ways, a step up from it's predecessor. The plot is more complex and involved; the cast rounded out by more well known actors of their time; the production values higher and the finished product, more polished. Bond films have, from time to time, suffered with the belief that bigger is better but this isn't an example of that. Bond gets a practical attache case which doesn't seem to exist purely to set up a few gags or set pieces. Bond's Bentley makes a welcome appearance at the start, which for a car buff, Anglophile and Fleming fan like myself is a great little tidbit.
    But really, this film comes into play as a thriller, as a Connery vehicle, and with some of it's more impressive set pieces. Just as Dent's execution stood out in Dr No, the fight with SPECTRE assassin Donovan "Red' Grant is a standout here. Grant spends much of the film protecting Bond from the "stupid" Bulgars employed by SMERSH to terminate him - Grant's a guardian angel in that regard, though it's to ensure Bond completes his theft of the Lektor for, as Grant sees it, SPECTRE.
    Watching it again, I just love the whole thing. Bond picking up something wasn't quite right with "Nash" after he fails to match his wine to his meal. Grant taunting Bond with his failures and SPECTRE's triumph. The fight, and Bond's escape - it's just perfect. Even getting Grant to open the case and get stunned by the gas; it's Bond using his wits, not the gadgets, because he's all out of options.

    Armendiaz as Kerim Bay is delightful, because he treats the great game of espionage as just that, a game. It's somehow sobering to know he was in substantial pain during filming yet still turned in that performance. Lotte Lenya is fantastic as Rosa Klebb, including her oddly creepy flirtation with Romanova.

    Let's talk about her for a moment. Danielle Bianchi is frankly smoking hot, but that's not really here nor there. The scene in which she slips into Bond's bed, wearing the bow - it became so iconic that it was the test scene for aspiring Bond girls, and aspiring Bonds, for years to come.

    Romanova is not the typically useless bimbo encountered in a lot of Moore's films, but she's not exactly Bond's equal, either. Were it not for the scene, would we remember her as fondly?

    Bond himself

    FWRL benefits from the confidence apparent in Sean Connery. Dr No was a hit and his performance lauded. Ian Fleming incorporated some Scottish ancestry into Bond's backstory out of respect and recognition for Connery's performance. He felt good in the role, and it shows here. Compared to the lazy turns in Thunderball, YOLT and DAF, he's positively on fire here.

    Speaking of Fleming, I love this shot:

    [IMG]

    I think if you had to pick what made Connery so good in this particular film, it would be two scenes - both of which I've mentioned already. That's right, the bedroom scene with Tania, and the train scene including the fight with Grant. He shows both sides of the character - the womaniser, and the killer. There are other great moments, but those two stand out.

    There's also "um, what?" moments, such as the gypsy camp attack. Yes, he just randomly tips a table into a pond with some dudes fighting on it...

    How it fits in the series

    Like Dr No, this film predates the formula first shown in Goldfinger, and really the only thing that we see here that we didn't see in Dr No was Q as played by Desmond Llewellyn. The scene lacks the banter of the Goldfinger Aston Martin scene, and more closely mirrors Dr No's scene when the quartermaster issues Bond with his PPK. Otherwise, it does have one element which became popular in later films - a respite scene with the girl at the end after the threat diminished.

    Walter Gottell, who played a Nazi colonel in "The Guns of Navarone", made his first appearance in a Bond film here as a SPECTRE island thug; he later returned as General Gogol.

    So, whilst it lacks the tropes of the series, it does set the benchmark for the serious thriller Bond film to follow. Producers have tried to make the next FRWL with Licence to Kill and with Casino Royale; it makes a sensible reference point for the films as serious thrillers and not popcorn escapism.

    Overall, this is a wonderful, tense thriller that helped launched Bondmania and the last in the line of serious films until OHMSS.

    I give this film 006/007 stars.

    Questions for reflection;

    1) Sir Sean Connery lists this as his favourite film as 007 - would you agree with him on that?
    2) Should this be the benchmark for all serious Bond films?
    3) How do you rate the fight with Grant on the Orient Express - one of the best fights, or dated and quaint?
    JoinTheSchwarz likes this.
  9. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    This is still my favorite Bond movie. It's got everything I was expecting from a Bond movie, while not being obnoxiously over the top and ostensibly 'keeping it real'. It feels like real espionage, and I love it. I adore SPECTRE as the group that's playing the Russians and the Americans against one another, enough cannot be said about Robert Shaw as Red Grant. Such a great henchman. He's the nega-Bond, and that opening scene sets him up SO WELL.

    Connery is at the absolute top of his game. And the train fight is still one of the best in the series. And the gadgets are used so well in this.

    Absolutely my favorite Bond movie. Awesome.

    1. Agree with Connery
    2. Absolutely it should.
    3. One of the best. The newer stuff works better, but this is by all means the blueprint against which most Bond fights should be held.
  10. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    SPECTRE's not playing America against Russia. They really just played NATO against the Warsaw Pact. You have to remember, the Fleming novels were written with an almost willful dismissal of the decline of British power, which added to their appeal. After the American betrayal at Suez, which was really the death knell for British power, Fleming's books were even more popular with British audiences. It's worth noting that they really played up England's role; a theme which would be later mocked by Bond villains.
  11. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    Film doesn't have a comma in the title /nerd

    1) Yes
    2) Yes, with a dash of OHMSS
    3) Absolutely one of the best, and the only one that really comes close for feeling the sheer brutality and immediacy of it is the Bond/Trevelyan showdown at the end of GE.

    Still very much a high watermark for the series in every capacity. Ted Moore's moody, shadowy lighting, Barry's bongo-tastic score, friggin' Robert Shaw as a henchman (unbelievable!), Lotte Lenya, Connery's best performance, an intriguing and, 22 films later still an unorthodox plot, beautiful but not ostentatious locations, Bianchi is the business, gratuitous gypsy fights, Pedro Amendariz' genuinely Oscar-worthy performance... it's all there. Terence Young's best film, too.

    I can only honestly put OHMSS ahead of it, really. I think that brings the level of scope you need for a Bond film while retaining those intimate elements that make FRWL great.
  12. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Right, sorry - the novel title does.

    Interesting to note that one of the gypsies was Martine Beswick, who later appeared in Thunderball.

    What do you guys make of the scene in which Bond and Bey assassinate Krilencu through the "Call Me Bwana" poster? It's a film produced by Cubby and Harry Saltzman, after all...
  13. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    Perhaps if Call Me Bwana were remembered it'd be more jarring. But it isn't.

    I remember as a kid I thought that Anita Ekberg was the actress who played Tatiana (yeah, I didn't grow up on La Dolce Vita), what with the "lovely mouth" thing and then later "my mous iz too big" thing.

    Then I grew up and figured out what the whole "my mous iz too big" thing was about...
  14. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    Oops. I messed up there. I was mixing plots methinks.

    I can't understand why some people adore OHMSS so much. It was good, sure, but I would never say it's better than FRWL. But I guess we'll burn that bridge three movies from now.

    Oops I meant 4. I rightfully ignored Thunderball.
    Last edited by darthcaedus1138, Dec 3, 2012
  15. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Oh just you wait :D

    Has anyone played the FRWL game?
  16. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2002
    star 8
    My favorite Bond movie. Ender's review is excellent and touches all the important points. The worst part of the movie is Rosa Klebb dressed as a maid telling Tatiana to hush and walking on her toes to try to steal the Lektor while Bond is looking the other way. :p
  17. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    Yes, actually, though it has been a while. Lots of added sequences that expand hugely on SPECTRE (and get somewhat ridiculous, though that's probably the idea).
  18. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    1) I'd agree that it's Connery's favourite; not mine, though.
    2)I'm not sure how useful benchmarks are in this context, but if you want to go that route I certainly wouldn't object to using this film as one.
    3)Definitely one of the best fights.

    Part of the reason this film suffers for me is purely personal - when I was eleven or twelve it was the first film I ever videotaped, and consequently I watched it to death at an early age. I love the stuff on the train, love Shaw's Red Grant, and think the acting all round is very good, with Connery being on top form as 007. What I don't love: the gypsy-camp stuff bores me a little, the post-train chase I find dull and dated, and Danielle Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova I don't find interesting at all - I know everyone else loves her, but I just don't get it. The fact I find Matt Monroe's crooning of From Russia with Love one of the least of the Bond songs probably doesn't help, as shallow as that is.

    But most of those reasons are purely personal - objectively I understand why it's so highly rated and agree it's a high-quality affair that sits comfortably in the Best of the Bonds section.
  19. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 27, 1999
    star 4
    My brother and I have an ongoing disagreement over what is the best movie fight scene. He says it's Roddy Piper vs. Keith David in "They Live", and I respect his choice. But, for me, it's Connery vs. Shaw. There are none of the tricks and distractions many of today's fights have; it's a down-and-dirty brawl.

    One way I'd rate this one as an improvement over "Dr. No" is in the music. John Barry got to compose a full score, and it turns out much better than Monty Norman's work for the previous film. It also features the first use of the "007" theme, which would be used until "Moonraker" as an alternative to the more famous "James Bond" theme.

    One more word about Robert Shaw: given what we've seen of him earlier in the movie, it comes as a surprise that he speaks with a friendly, slightly-refined British accent, which turns cold as death when he overpowers Bond later.
  20. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    Oh, if anyone wants to see a Connery/Shaw rematch, complete with Barry score (yes, I know there's no music in the FRWL fight), Robin and Marian is the way to go. Similarly brutal, but in a different way.
  21. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I love the cold fury in the "kiss my foot" line. Shaw's so damn good in this.
  22. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    I like Monroe's song for the film, the fact it doesn't have the elaborate title sequence which featured from Goldfinger onwards mean it isn't so in your face as other later theme songs were. As a stand-alone piece it is good also.

    I like FRWL a lot, good performances all round and it gives the first glimpse of "Number 1" and the structure of SPECTRE. The part with the Fighting Fish and the briefing was very watchable when it could easily have been dull, the intrigue of Blofeld's character and the sinister nature of the organisation are interesting.
    Rosa Klebb, depsite being old and clearly no match for someone such as Bond in a fight, is still a tough & commanding person even without her infamous poisoned spike shoe (she's not the only one with one in the movie, but she is generally the one remembered for it). It is clear though that she fears her leader.

    The Helicopter Chase sequence was pretty good for the time, and didn't follow the now rather cliched tradition of flying along and shooting at the vehicle or person. Not sure why both the truck and helicopter had to be yellow though, horrid colour :p

    The train fight is great, arguably the best of the whole series. Scrappy as a real fight likely would be, with two very evenly matched opponents. Craig I recall mentioned the physical style of Connery's movies, and his own ones have emulated that.

    Shaw's Grant is very good, as are all the villainous characters. The scene where he is punched in the stomach but does not flinch ("he seems fit enough" apparently) is one that sticks in the mind when you think of the character. He even seemed relatively unscathed when he got a face full of tear gas from Bond's briefcase seeing as he can still take the fight to OO7. He clearly enjoys hurting people, which is always a problem for the hero.

    The scene when Bond is questioning Romanova and M & co are listening is pretty funny, especially at the end when Bond trails off about soemthing random.

    The cigarette lighter exchange is a part I always seem to remember - "Better Still", "Until they go wrong".

    Overall an excellent addition to the series, it has a pretty strong claim to be the best Bond movie.

    Bring on Goldfinger
  23. Champion of the Force Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 1999
    star 4
    Finally got to watch this film (I wanted to comment earlier, but not having seen the film in a decade at least has made me forgetful of some of the details).

    This is a great film, and definitely a step up from Dr No.

    The opening scene is perfect: Bond navigating his way through a hedge maze, trailed by blonde-haired, quiet and cautious assailant. We expect Bond to take him out, but no - the assailant overpowers him and strangles him ...

    [Alan Partridge]Oh God, James Bond is going to DIE! He's going to DIE![/Alan Partridge]

    ... and then the lights come on. It's all been a setup, and 'Bond' was just some random guy wearing a mask. In the space of a couple of minutes ("1 minute, 52 seconds" according to not-General Gogol), we've already established Bond is in danger by a ruthless opponent who has a particularly cruel way of eliminating his victims.

    Cue the opening title. I like this one a lot - clearly evoking it's predecessor with the use of instrumental only (before Goldfinger came along and began the tradition of an elaborate song number over the opening credits), with a gypsy belly dancer dancing suggestively with the credits streamed across her body. Beautiful.

    Interestingly, Bond doesn't even feature in the film (ignoring the fake Bond at the start) until nearly the 15 minute mark. Instead, we have a major introduction of the major players (Kronsteen, Klebb, 'Number 1' and the SPECTRE organisation) and a clever metaphor on how SPECTRE operates (utilising the fighting fish). One observation - when Kronsteen enters the room, the camera is swaying ever slow slightly (mimicking the rocking of the boat) - a reference to Klebb's apprehenson at the whole scheme and the situation she's in perhaps? We see also her rapidly withdraw from not-General Gogol when visiting SPECTRE Island (after he attempts to lead her inside) - we see at her most relaxed when in the interview with Tatiana, where see the creepy flirtation as Ender mentions (including at one point having her hand on Tatiana's knee ever so briefly). Dangerous woman.

    We finally get to Bond (with 'From Russia With Love' sung by Matt Munro playing on the radio - nice touch) hanging out with Sylvia Trench (returning from Dr No) - the only time we see a love interest carry over from a previous film (unless you want to count Miss Moneypenny). Ender has already mentioned the Bentley. The office sequence is amusing - Bond enters doing his trademark throwing of the hat, only to find M is behind the door. Desmond Llewellyn appears for the first time in the series as a representative from Q branch, but it's not the grumpy old Q we know from future films - here he even smiles as Bond successfully operates the briefcase.

    And so on it goes. Shaw's Red Grant is a fantastic villain - although he's really only enjoying henchman status here, but he's so effective I'm happy to promote him. Thanks to the fantastic opening sequence, every time we see him lurking at the edge of the screen we sense danger (moreso when he's putting on those dreaded black gloves). The filmmakers have fun playing with our expectations and keeping him silent for as long as possible - even when he first meets Bond at the train station (having eliminated Bond's contact and taken his place) we don't get to hear his voice, with his conversation with Bond (the usual 'cigarette/lighter' dialogue that's been used to identify allies) been muted by the train whistle and the bustle of the surrounding crowd and we can only see their mouths moving. What I do like about it though is that from the outset Bond is clearly suspicious - 'Nash' gives him his business card (Bond awkwardly looks at it, then places it away) and his penchant for constantly referring to Bond as 'old man' (which Bond seems annoyed by). The ordering of a red wine (with fish) and the subsequent cliched knocking over of Tatiana's glass confirm to Bond that something is not right.

    And the fight scene. It is truly magnificent - not some over-choreographed scenario that was rehearsed a hundred times over, but a truly desperate brawl between these 2 very well trained, very deadly men. But to back up a bit, the scene and dialogue leading up to the fight is fantastic. Firstly, we have Bond in a truly pathetic situation - forced to kneel on the floor, with his hands in his pockets. Aside from the obvious practical considerations (a man with his hands in his pockets is limited in his movements), it results in Bond looking positively ridiculous as Grant sits back and taunts him menacingly. Following on, the dialogue heightens the drama - we have the usual offers of offering more money and attempts to question what Grant's plan entails, and then when it's clear Bond isn't get anywhere we have this wonderful exchange:

    Bond: "Can I have a cigarette."
    Grant: "Not a chance."
    Bond: ".................................. I'll pay you for it."
    Grant: " ... what with?"
    Bond: "50 gold sovereigns."
    Grant: "... where?"
    Bond: "In my briefcase at the top."
    Grant: ::quickly glances, then regains his composure::

    Connery and Shaw play this perfectly. Bond is absolutely desperate, and his play for a cigarette (we see this used again in future films) is promptly shot down. But an offer to pay for it? Grant is clearly intrigued, and Bond smells a chance. Connery's body language and Shaw's guarded dialogue playfully reveal the switcheroo that has just happened in the powerplay between the 2 characters.

    Furthermore, the handling of the briefcase itself continues to surprise us. Q showed us how the briefcase works earlier on, and we expect we know what's going to happen. But no - Bond is ordered to open the case and show Grant the sovereigns ... and he does, no tricks, bangs or any other surprises entail. WTF? But then Grant asks about the 'other' case, and Bond (thinking very quickly) offers to open. Grant stops him and decides to do so himself, with the now-expected results. Aside from the surprise at how the situation played out, it's a lot of fun if you had noted earlier (when Bond was going through 'Nash's stuff) he had opened the case the exact same way that Q had instructed him to do with his own case.

    Arrrgggh, I've yacked on too long. This film is great. Really, really great. Most amusingly, many of the elements of the 'Bond formula' are here in plain view (though Goldfinger is usually the one credited with introducing them), but they are often subverted, played in ways we don't expect (the opening sequence, the scene with Grant and Bond etc). I've often said that Goldfinger is my favourite (placing this one second), but now that I've watched for the 1st time in years it I'm not so sure - I really enjoyed it. Let's see how Goldfinger stacks up next week. :)





    And to answer Ender's questions from the beginning:

    1) Sir Sean Connery lists this as his favourite film as 007 - would you agree with him on that?
    As I said before, I've tended to rank Goldfinger above it, but I often consider this #2. Considering how much I enjoyed watching it again, that may very well change in the next week - we'll see.

    2) Should this be the benchmark for all serious Bond films?
    Yes, most definitely.

    3) How do you rate the fight with Grant on the Orient Express - one of the best fights, or dated and quaint?
    One of the best. Heck most of the more 'modern' fights Bond finds himself in future films are more dated than seen here.
    Last edited by Champion of the Force, Dec 4, 2012
    Ender_Sai likes this.
  24. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    I really really need to watch this again since I barely remember any of it. I felt that Rosa Klebb's fight against Bond at the end was anti-climactic, but from what I remember of the rest of the film it is a tight and intense spy thriller.
  25. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9