“Training is useful, but there is no substitute for experience.”
Secret agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to retrieve a decoding box known as the Lektor from a beautiful Russian (Daniela Bianchi), not knowing he’s being stalked by a psychopathic British traitor (Robert Shaw).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Cold War
- James Bond
- Robert Shaw Films
- Sean Connery Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this sequel to Dr. No (1962) remains an “excellent, surprisingly tough and gritty James Bond film”, one that is “refreshingly free of the gimmickry that would characterize the later Bond films.” He notes his appreciation that “Connery and Bianchi play real people,” and accurately writes that “Shaw and Lotte Lenya (as the diabolical Krebb) are splendid villains”, both engaging in “exciting, well-choreographed fights with Connery.” Peary argues that “the lovely Bianchi” — a Miss Universe runner-up — “should have been a bigger star” given that her Tatiana is “one of the most appealing Bond heroines”, and he points out that the film’s direction by Terence Young is “solid”, especially during the “train sequence”. I agree with most critics and viewers that this film is among the best of the Bond franchise, with plenty of excitement and exotic locales — though I was surprised (should I have been?) by how much this is really a male fantasy fulfillment: we hear Bond’s insecurities (?!) continually allayed by Tatiana (“Will you make love to me all the time in England?”); watch a “cat fight” in which two beautiful gypsies literally fight each other for the privilege of sleeping with Bond; and listen to corny double entendres between Tatiana (who helpfully tries on a wardrobe of lingerie during their “honeymoon” on the train) and Bond:
Tatiana: “I think my mouth is too big.”
Bond: “No, it’s the right size… for me, that is.
Oh boy. I know he’s Bond, and all women love him… and Connery is undeniably a beefcake. But it’s a bit much.
Note: This and all Bond films appear to have quite a specialized and fanatical following, as evidenced by DVD Savant’s essay devoted entirely to a mysterious jump-cut in the final sequence of the film.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine performances by the entire cast
- Many exciting sequences
- Excellent use of on-location shooting (in Istanbul and elsewhere)
Yes, as another solid entry in the cult series.