WOSTER: 'Skyfall' is second-best Bond filmI think the best of the lot — and that’s 50 years of films — was “From Russian with Love.’’
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
I took in the latest 007 (“Bond. James Bond.") flick at a Saturday matinee in Pierre during the weekend, and when we walked out of the theater, we stepped into winter.
I’ll get to winter in a moment, but a person can’t mention 007 without fleshing out that topic just a bit. Our Brookings granddaughter and her parents were in town for part of the Veterans Day weekend. The granddaughter is beginning to like some Bond stories and movies, and it’s always a treat to be able to enjoy a live movie with her. That’s true with any movie, but it’s especially so when the movie character is one I really like and think she does, too.
I think she likes this new guy who plays Bond — Craig something or something Craig — but I think I just might have her convinced that Sean Connery really is James Bond and just stepped into the movie role the way Audie Murphy went from war hero to a war-movie hero. The name of this latest movie is “Skyfall,’’ and after a single viewing, I rank it second best of all James Bond movies. Some film critics and Bond experts will disagree, but I think the best of the lot — and that’s 50 years of films — was “From Russian with Love.’’ That isn’t my favorite Bond film, although I liked it very much and judge it the most complete of all the films.
My favorite Bond film is the first one that hit the big screen, “Dr. No.’’ That film came out in the latter half of 1962, if I remember correctly. I don’t think it hit Chamberlain until late spring or early summer the next year. Nancy and I went to see it at the State Theater, a place where she once worked selling the popcorn and sodas.
If I remember correctly, I enjoyed “Dr. No’’ more than she did. I think she maybe liked “West Side Story’’ more than I did, but that remains my favorite non-Bond musical, unless you count “Dirty Dancing’’ as a musical.
A final digression: From the very first film, 007 has introduced himself that same way, “Bond. James Bond.” It doesn’t diminish my enthusiastic acceptance of all 007 films, but I wondered 50 years ago and wonder today how it is that he isn’t immediately known as the man with the double-oh license to kill to every patron in all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world. Oops. I strayed off into another classic film line.
Well, so. As I said, we went to a matinee, a 4 p.m. start. When we drove to the theater, a light, fine film of tiny, freezing drops of moisture had just begun falling. When we walked into the parking lot two and one-half hours later, the parking lot was dark but for a few streetlamps. Snow covered the surface of the parking lot, sheets of blowing snow sparkled in the light of the streetlamps and around us, other matinee patrons were 1) scraping ice from their windshields, 2) digging under seats and in trunks for ice scrapers and brushes or 3) using credit cards, combs or fingertips to free wiper blades from the ice, hoping, one assumes, that a combination of high defrost and screeching rubber blades would quickly clear a couple of viewing holes in the windshield.
I’ll say this for the son-in-law: He knew where his scraper was, and he made pretty quick work of clearing the windshield. As a highway safety message, I’ll add this: He cleared the entire windshield. We even had the side windows pretty clear. None of this couple of tiny peepholes that give the driver a view similar to looking through the periscope of a submarine. And there’s no need thinking I don’t know what it’s like to look through the periscope of a submarine. I saw “Run Silent, Run Deep’’ twice at the State Theater while I was in high school. Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster starred. It was a great movie with a great cast.
It was not “Dr. No,’’ “From Russia with Love,’’ or “Skyfall,’’ however, and Gable was no “Bond. James Bond.’’