The octopus: alien stranded on earth, creature with human-like intelligence, delicious sushi ingredient, or some combination of all three?
Although they are delicious when dipped in soy sauce, your average octopus has above-average intelligence, able to escape through small openings and open jars from the inside. The tentacled cephalopods are masters at manipulating their bodies to camouflage with their environment or use human tools to their advantage.
Perhaps all these amazing assets are why SPECTRE chose this inky species as their mascot. Like a devious octopus, SPECTRE blends in with its environment, equally playing both the British and the Russians in From Russia with Love as it attempts to heat up the Cold War. It also has gadgets and tricks to rival Bond's. With SPECTRE's tentacles wrapping the world, no one's safe.
007 is no slouch himself in the manipulation department. He manages Tania throughout the film through good cop/bad cop behavior, minimizing the risk to himself while getting all the love. And he plays to Grant's greed in getting him to open the rigged briefcase, even while just on this side of getting his own brains blown out.
Nothing is really what is seems in this film, and that's the point.
Questions About Manipulation
- Which party do you believe is ultimately pulling the strings? How do they succeed or fail?
- Does Bond love Tania or is he manipulating her to get the Lektor machine? What about Tania? Where does manipulation end and love begin?
- Does the behavior of the Russians in Istanbul confirm your beliefs about the Cold War? In what ways is From Russia with Love an accurate depiction of Cold War espionage?
Chew on This
Everyone's using everyone else in this movie. They're spies, and that's what spies do.
Bond and SPECTRE aren't that much different. SPECTRE manipulates Grant and Tania and tosses them out when they're of no use to them. Bond does basically the same to women in his life.