Bond...and Beyond

The new James Bond film isn’t expected until November 7, and it has a really stupid name, Quantum of Solace. Also, it’ll basically cost twice as much, on a per-movie basis, as this series of six double-features (through Thurs., July 10). The Bond . . . and Beyond retrospective pairs straightforward espionage flicks with lighter, spoofier fare. Tonight begins with the 1966 kitsch artifact Modesty Blaise (at 4 and 8:15 p.m), based on a comic book, starring Monica Vitti as a super-spy. (She’s better with the outfits than with the English language.) But the real Cold War keepsake is 1963’s From Russia With Love, with Sean Connery as 007. It’s one of the toughest, leanest, least frivolous Bond flicks, less dependent on gadgetry and laughs than on our hero’s gritty resourcefulness on assignment behind the Iron Curtain. Robert Shaw is one blonde, icy killer, almost like 007’s Communist double—he’s all business and no kidding. His climactic fight with Connery in a train compartment is a muscular tango of testosterone and claustrophobia. It’s as though all the tension of the Cold War has come down to two combatants and their bare fists. Also, Lotte Lenya is a hoot as the tiny assassin with the famous knife-shoes, while Daniela Bianchi supplies the eye candy. (NR) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, $5–$10 (individual), $45–$50 (series). 2:10 and 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Sat., July 5, 2 p.m., 2008

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