Bond quickly escapes the train to start using “Nash’s” escape route, which has a nameless SPECTRE henchman that was originally going to pick up Grant. However, SPECTRE’s quickly on their tail with a helicopter. SPECTRE must like these things a lot-they use them to also try to kill Bond in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and of course SPECTRE opens with one in spectacular fashion 🙂
Bond’s evasion of the helicopter brings to mind a somewhat similar sequence from the Hitchcock film NORTH BY NORTHWEST, which, like FRWL, is a spy thriller of sorts, although one that’s based more on a case of mistaken identity. Cary Grant, interestingly enough, was one of the early contenders for the role of Bond.
Bond gets the upper hand by using his rifle to shoot the hand of one of the agents, causing him to drop his grenade in the plane’s cockpit, destroying it. Blofeld himself would almost make a similar blunder in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The helicopter scene would also appear in GOLDFINGER, although projected over the “golden girls” in the film’s opening titles. It’s one of the few scenes (apart from original footage of Bond firing the PPK and the neon signs towards the end of the sequence)-that isn’t seen in the film itself later on.
Back in Venice, Blofeld’s not pleased with Bond’s success at finishing Grant and getting the LEKTOR (Which Blofeld now wishes to return to Russia), with Klebb making the excuse that Bond was kind of an “X factor”. Kronsteen though is pretty confident and toots his own horn (“Who is Bond compared to Kronsteen?”). There’s kind of a tense scene where we’re led to believe Klebb will be the victim of the poison shoe knife kill by Morzeny, but it turns out to be the egotistical Kronsteen instead. There’s sort of a similar set-up in THUNDERBALL later on.
Morzeny meanwhile, gets his chance to shine as Klebb’s new henchman, as Bond and Tatanya try to escape from Venice, getting rid of their SPECTRE guy by simply throwing him overboard-but Morzeny and his men are close behind. Their attempt to capture Bond isn’t exactly that coordinated (“You’re following too close!!!”)
…and Bond manages to throw off the gas barrels of his boat, use a flare gun, and ignite SPECTRE’s small fleet-including Morzeny (It’s unclear if he survived-his back is on fire and he seems to have jumped into the water. Maybe he really is Gogol from the later films!)
(Funny thing is this shot was actually used as one of the VHS covers. As cool as the image is, Bond in a coat, sailor’s hat and flare gun doesn’t exactly scream “James Bond” to me!)
They make it safely into Venice, but they’re not out of the woods yet, “If you can’t rely on others, do it yourself” seems to be Klebb’s motto here, as she dresses as a maid while Bond’s making a phone call-after her attempt to get the LEKTOR simply incognito fails, she resorts to something a bit more deadly, and Bond’s out of options as she has her gun trained on him.
Thankfully, Tatayna’s chosen a side, and quickly turns on Klebb, knocking the gun out of her head. But she’s still got the shoe!
Thankfully, Tatanya once again comes to the rescue, shooting Klebb for good. It’s interesting that in both this “Thunderball” (and by extension, “Never Say Never Again” , Bond’s in pretty much a very sticky situation until the Bond girl saves the day by shooting the villain.
What’s also sort of interesting is in the novel, Tatanya *isn’t* in the hotel room (and the LEKTOR has already been taken care off) and Bond actually *does* get stabbed with the shoe, causing him to nearly die-in fact, his mission in “Dr.No” is his return to active duty after spending months in a hospital. This event is actually mentioned in the “Dr.No” movie, as I mentioned in my last review of it; although since in this continuity “From Russia With Love” takes place after Doctor No, Bond must have had a different close call.
Bond and Tatanya enjoy a peaceful boat ride in Venice to the tune of the From Russia With Love theme (The sung version), although the grainy, slightly-out of focus film stock of the background-with Connery and her obviously not really there-hurts the scene a bit. Tatanya notices they’re being filmed, with Bond recalling Grant’s blackmail, saying “Not again”, and pulling that film out of his pocket, looking at it, and saying “He was right, you know” (a reference to a deleted line of Grant’s, about the uh, “Performance” in the film), and the two make out as Bond drops the film into Venice’s waters, waving it goodbye.
We also get the first of the Bond end credit trope “James Bond will Return” -in this case, the next film being “Goldfinger”. This was used up fairly regularly until the 80’s when they started to run out of book titles to adapt (although both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” would still use Ian Fleming book titles down the line, and mainly just said “James Bond will Return”. They also got it a bit wrong once or twice (“Spy Who Loved Me”‘s promo for “For Your Eyes Only” being the best example, but also “James Bond will return in “From a View to A kill”-as the from was removed), or there were some edits made on later prints of the films-notably “Goldfinger” originally stated the next film would be On “Her Majesty’s Secret Service”….
Next: “He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch….”