Bond in Review: From Russia in Love Part IV

On the train, Bond and Kerim quickly take care of Benz, and Bond uses the (relative) peace and quiet to turn up the charm and give Tatanya a nice new blue dress. Nice soft rendition of the theme here by John Barry.

Unfortunately, their moment is eventually interrupted when the attendant tells him that Kerim and Benz have died, apparently from a fight where they killed each other.

It’s a particuarly sad scene, since Kerim was an interesting Bond ally. Of course we know who’s really behind this-Grant, still on the train.

Also, this train ride is the only instance of  Bond creator Ian Fleming cameoing in the series. This would be the last film before his death. Funny thing is, he initially disapproved of Connery as Bond, but upon seeing “Dr.No” reversed that opinion.

Bond-somewhat losing his trust in Tatainya and going back into a more detached mode-also doesn’t meet with Kerim’s sons at the scheduled rendevous, instead meeting them further down the line. Here, Grant continues to ominously shadow Bond, in one of the most interesting visuals and musical moments of the film. Like the Shark he’d later hunt, the music here tells you that there’s trouble brewing…

Bond unfortunately tells one of the sons that Kerim is dead, and the need to alter the plans in order to get to the border-including meeting with a fellow British agent to form an escape route, a man called “Captain Nash”.

Who naturally, is quickly intercepted by Grant-thanks to him overhearing Bond’s password, causing Nash to lower his guard. Grant presumabely kills him, and then assumes his identity-also using the “cigarette” password to gain Bond’s trust.

Funny thing about “Nash” is that he’s pretty much close to the ‘real’ Robert Shaw in his mannerisms and accent, if one ever sees him in interviews (It’s especially odd seing him being interviewed on the set of Jaws!) . Bond doesn’t really note too much that’s off about Nash, except that he’s “very fit”

But Bond’s suspicions grow when he notices “Nash” slip a drug into the already somewhat despondent Tatanya’s drink. Bond draws his gun on him back into the cabin, but “Nash” quickly covers up by saying his mission should be too only steal the Lektor, and the escape route won’t cover her. Bond once again drops his guard, allowing Grant to literally get the upper hand and knock him out….and now begins one of the best Bond/villain showdowns in the series history. So much so, that Bond fighting some guy on a train is something that’s repeated in several later Bond films.

Bond says he should’ve noticed Grant was a bad guy when he had “Red wine with fish”-but Grant’s confusion at being called a SMERSH agent has Bond quickly realize that this is SPECTRE’s game-and Bond quickly puts all the pieces together. It’s interesting to see Bond not being super-competent-as he’s pretty much been used this whole film- something the later films sometimes forgot.

As he further elaborates on SPECTRE’s plan-including their plot to humiliate Bond by killing Tatayna and frame him, using the film at the bridal suite etc…we see more of Grant’s more sadistic nature…he’s highly amused by SPECTRE’s plot, which disgusts Bond-causing him to provoke Grant in a similar way to the way he did with Dr.No….and Grant wants Bond’s death to linger and have him kiss his foot(!). Bond sees an opening, saying he’ll pay for a cigarette with the 50 gold sovereigns in his case-Grant falls for the bribe, but Bond sets up the case so that the tear gas explodes in Grant’s face…temporarily stunning him.

And so here we have the big fight between the two, the first really major hand-to-hand combat fight in the series. The Dr.No villains were mostly finished by bullet, and Bond’s battle with Dr.No wasn’t really that special (They were also wearing bulky suits). The two wrestle in the small cabin, making a mess of their suits, breaking windows, damaging doors, furniture etc. Although Grant starts to use his garrote, Bond is able to quickly extract the knife from his attache case, using it to finish Grant-making this sort of one of the first “death by gadget” kills in the series.

I also find it kind of funny that Bond quickly fixes his suit-if not his hair-at the end of the sequence. This is something we’ll see with later Bonds, especially the scene of Bond in the tank in “Goldeneye” (and also with the Q boat in “The World Is Not Enough”) as well as with Craig fixing his cuffs after jumping unto a wrecked train in “Skyfall”.

Next:SPECTRE realizes they’ve messed up, and try a few more times to take Bond out.

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