Film review, 21 December 1963
Several Danish film critics expressed their dislike of the James Bond 007 films during their original release in the early 1960's. The highly regarded Bjørn Rasmussen, M.A., who reviewed films for the Danish daily Aktuelt and hosted the film programme "Filmorientering" on national Danish television during the 60's, dismissed the Bond films as "sensationalist entertainment marked by poor taste" in his reference book "Filmens Hvem-Hvad-Hvor" (1967). He did however note that "From Russia with Love" (1963) was "the best in the series".
When EON Productions' "From Russia with Love" was released into Danish theatres in December 1963, Bjørn Rasmussen was markedly less kind in his scathing review for Aktuelt:
”Agent 007” returns
Christmas programming at Nørreport Cinema is brutal entertainment
With the pulp thriller ”From Russia with Love” (1963), Nørreport [Cinema] picks up from ”Dr. No”. This is a coarsely brutal, sensational serial based on Ian Fleming's vulgar novels, issued in Denmark by [Sven] Hazel's publishing house (of all!). The films, as well as the novels, are brimming with straightforward suspense, devoid of probability and based on the spectator not having time to detect the obvious gaffes.
This time, a so-called ”Lektor” is to be smuggled out and change hands from Russian to English ownership. We are not dealing with a lecturer [”lektor” in Danish, ed.] but a decoding machine. Fights, murders, sex, and speed is mobilized as well as all kinds of spies for all kinds of nations. They are secretly spying on each other nonstop. The most repulsive of them all would be Lotte Lenja [sic], the widow of Kurt Weill, evil incarnate and an efficient member of the international crime organization ”Spectre” who are also out to get the Lektor.
In the middle of all this nonsense, a glimmer of something truly cinematic shines through as is often the case with rudimentary pulp thrillers such as this. But [the film] is dreadfully simple and unpleasant to watch.
Written by Bjørn Rasmussen
Translation by Bond•O•Rama.dk