This film gets the Blu-ray treatment in the best.
Some of the featurettes didn't seem to do this franchise justice.In the franchise of James Bond, From Russia With Love, starring Sean Connery as the famous international man of mystery, is looked at with a great deal of reverence. And it makes sense because Connery is thought of by many to be the best Bond that over wore the tuxedo. While the plots for these films are all pretty much the same, Bond shows off his skills in an amazing opening scene, Bond gets an assignment, Bond has to deal with bad guys and a decent amount of double dealing, Bond gets even with the bad guys no matter the cost., etc. This movie has a certain charm about it that raises it above the usual Bond moments that would plague it in later years.
In this installment we see Bond going up against the Spectre Organisation. Their goal is get their hands on a Soviet Decoding machine. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse, an amazing boat race, a cool helicopter attack and a bad-ass fight on the Orient Express. All of this is was made to order for Blu-ray and this was 41 years before the format even came into existence!
Director Terence Young handles the majority of the duties here while members of the cast and crew also come on intermittently. Due to the amount of content on this DVD, I really didn't have the time to go through this commentary that in-depth a way. Based on what I heard it sounded very informative. I don't know if legitimate Bondies are going to think that what is offered up here is that amazing, I just found that the stories, the anecdotes, and the way this was presented was enjoyable.
Ian Fleming Featurettes
Animated Storyboard Sequence
As someone who delves into the world of animation I really liked this featurette. Animated storyboards are the kinds of things that can go either way. This is especially if we are told that a movie has an alternate ending and they give us storyboards in its place (think the True Romance DVD). Thankfully this isn't the case here. Since we see these storyboards in an animated way, and we also have the footage from the movie to back them up, the whole experience presented here is quite well put together.
007 Interactive Guide
Inside From Russia With Love
In this featurette we are taken inside the making of this film. The cast and crew discuss what it was like bringing this movie to the big screen. They talk about the script, how hard it was to pull off the action sequences, and what it was like to make a film that was so different than a lot of movies being made at the same time. While nothing about this featurette really breaks new ground, I found this thing to entertaining, well put together and it looked very good in the Blu-ray format.
Harry Saltzman Featurette
1.66:1 - AVC @ 26.5 MBPS. This movie looked really sharp on Blu-ray. There is so much action happening on the screen at all times, and this release really goes out of its way to handle it well. I found that the colors were well composed throughout my screening of this DVD, and there was never a moment where this film from 1963 seemed to have a hint of grain. Even though this is a big budget movie, Terence Young has managed to make Technicolor look dirty without compromising the clarity of this film.
English - DTS HD 5.1 - Master Lossless Audio. English and Spanish mono. French 5.1 Dolby Surround. Subtitled in English and Spanish. The audio on this film is quite well laid out. I wish that I had speakers surrounding me because that would have really engulfed me in the experience of this film. I loved the way the soundtrack seemed to come across in waves. On top of that, I liked how even the smallest things like a bird or a plane flying overhead all sounded as if they were right above me. Very good work MGM.
Sean Connery, brandishing a gun, is presented on this front cover with a Bond babe and a boat behind him. The back cover features some shots from this film, a brief description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a credits list and technical specs.
To be quite honest, I don't really know that I get the whole fascination behind these movies. Yes, I understand that they were action spectacles of the highest order. They also feature sequences that even by today's standards are pretty darn awesome. But I really do feel that if you have seen one you have seen them all. James Bond isn't ever going to die. He is always gonna be put in these amazingly impossible situations. He's always going to find a way out so there really isn't anything that is that different from one picture to the next.
That said, on Blu-ray disc this movie looked really good. The images have held up quite nicely and on this release they seem to look extra impressive due to the overall impressiveness of the Blu-ray format.
From Russia with Love was released October 11, 1963.