Wednesday, January 28, 2015
From Russia With Love (1963) | Women
I didn't care much for Sylvia Trench in Dr. No, but she really grows on me in From Russia With Love. I still don't think that Bond's having a recurring girlfriend in London was an indefinitely sustainable idea, even if Eunice Gayson hadn't been dropped when her pal Terence Young was replaced as director on Goldfinger.
I'm sure she could've lasted a while longer and held my interest, but it's probably for the best that she didn't. I love that there's no commitment between her and Bond and she seems perfectly okay with that. She's his equal that way, which is pretty cool. But to give her an actual story would almost certainly involve having her want more from Bond, which would only end badly and take away what I like about her. So it's good that she just suddenly disappears after Russia and I can imagine that either she ended things with Bond or that it was a mutual break-up.
The only other significant woman in From Russia With Love is Tatiana Romanova, played by Italian beauty queen Daniela Bianchi. Her voice may have been entirely dubbed for the film, but Bianchi's utterly charming in the role and has an easy rapport with Sean Connery. Except for a disturbing part where he smacks her because he thinks she's working against him, their relationship is relaxed and playful. She's smart, funny, and a vast improvement on the bland character in Fleming's novel.
It's difficult to tell at what point she falls in love with Bond and that's a good thing, because it adds some mystery to her. She professes her love for him on the train, but that's as he's getting violent with her and I like to think that's her survival instinct at work. At some point she does ally herself with him though and she's certainly turned by Venice. She saves his life there by knocking a gun out of Klebb's hand, even though the movie tries to milk just a teensy bit more suspense out of the situation by having her pick up the gun and waver her aim between Bond and Klebb. That's dumb and Bianchi isn't at all convincing at it, but it's the only thing she does that I don't like.
My Favorite Bond Women
1. Tatiana Romanova (From Russia With Love)
2. Honey Rider (Dr. No)
3. Sylvia Trench (Dr. No and From Russia With Love)
4. The Photographer (Dr No)
5. Miss Taro (Dr. No)