- "The first one won't kill you; not the second, not even the third... not till you crawl over here and you KISS MY FOOT!"
- ― Donald "Red" Grant to James Bond.
From Russia with Love is the second film in the James Bond film series, and the second to star Sean Connery as Bond. Released in 1963 in the UK, the film earned over $78 million. It was written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood and was based on Ian Fleming's fifth Bond novel of the same name.
James Bond is sent to Istanbul on a mission to obtain a highly sought-after Lektor decoder device from stunning Russian defector Tatiana Romanova, but the spy's predicament is actually a ruse devised by crime cartel SPECTRE as an attempt to gain revenge for his previous killing of their operative, Dr. No.
Late one night, British Agent James Bond 007 sneaks through a hedgemaze, stalked by Red Grant, a SPECTRE assassin. Grant eventually gets the jump on him and garrotes him to death with a wire concealed in his watch. As the garden lights up, it is revealed that this "Bond" is actually a man wearing a prosthetic mask - it was all a SPECTRE training exercise.
SPECTRE's expert planner Kronsteen has devised a plot to steal a Lektor cryptographic device from the Soviets and sell it back to them while exacting revenge on Bond for killing their agent Dr. No. The SPECTRE Number 1 puts ex-SMERSH operative and Number 3 Rosa Klebb in charge of the mission. Klebb recruits Grant as an assassin, and Tatiana Romanova, a cipher clerk at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul, as an unwitting pawn, as Romanova thinks Klebb is still working for SMERSH.
In London, M tells Bond that Romanova has contacted their "Station 'T'" in Turkey, offering to defect with a Lektor, which MI6 and the CIA have been after for years – but Romanova said she will only defect to Bond, whose photo she has allegedly found in a Soviet intelligence file. Bond then flies to Istanbul, where he meets station head Ali Kerim Bey. 007 is followed from the airport by an unkempt man in glasses and by Red Grant. The next day, after Kerim Bey's office is bombed, Bond and Kerim Bey spy on the Soviet consulate, where Kerim Bey sees rival agent Krilencu. At night, Kerim Bey and Bond go to a rural gypsy settlement, which suffers an attack by Krilencu's men, who wound Kerim Bey and nearly kill Bond, who is saved by a hidden Red Grant. On the following night, Kerim Bey kills Krilencu with Bond's sniper rifle. When Bond returns to his hotel suite, he finds Romanova in bed waiting for him, the two have sex, unaware that they are being filmed by SPECTRE, in hope to humiliate MI6 with a sex scandal before selling the decoder back to Moscow.
The next day, Romanova heads off for a pre-arranged rendezvous at Hagia Sophia. The bespectacled man who followed Bond to the airport tries to intercept Romanova's floor plan of the Soviet consulate, but is killed by Grant. Upon finding the body, Bond takes the floor plan, and brings it to Kerim Bey to devise their invasion. At the consulate, Kerim Bey sets off a smoke bomb to distract the Soviet personnel while Bond and Romanova steal the Lektor and escape through the ancient water tunnels under the city. After stealing the Lektor, Bond, Romanova, and Kerim Bey escape with the device on the Orient Express. On the train, Kerim Bey and a Soviet security officer named Benz are killed by Grant, who makes it appear as if they killed each other. At Zagreb, Grant boards the train and meets Bond pretending to be agent Nash from "Station 'Y,'" whom he killed moments before meeting Bond. He drugs Romanova at dinner, then overcomes Bond. Grant taunts him, boasting SPECTRE has been pitting the Soviets and the British against each other, and claims that Romanova thinks that "she's doing it all for mother Russia" when she is really working for SPECTRE. Grant also mentions the film of Bond and Romanova at the hotel suite, saying that after both are killed, Grant will plant it in her handbag along with a forged blackmail letter so it looks like it was a murder-suicide. Bond asks for a cigarette. Grant flatly refuses. Bond tells Grant he’ll pay for that cigarette with fifty Gold Sovereigns in his attaché case. Grant reaches for Bond’s attaché case and throws it to him. Bond opens it up to reveal that there are indeed fifty Gold Sovereigns in his case. Grant asks Bond if there are any more in the other case, Nash’s, to which Bond replies, “I should imagine so. It’s a standard kit. I’ll go have a look.” Grant stops him by saying, “Put your hands back in your pockets! Keep them there!” Grant opens up Nash’s briefcase the wrong way, causing it to explode with tear gas. Bond attacks him. In the ensuing struggle, Bond eventually manages to stab Grant with the knife hidden in the attaché case, and strangles Grant to death with his own garrote. At dawn, Bond and Romanova leave the train, hijack Grant's getaway truck, destroy an enemy helicopter, and drive to a dock, eventually boarding a powerboat.
Number 1 is very unhappy, and summons Kronsteen and Klebb. He reminds them that SPECTRE does not tolerate failure, and brings in agent Morzeny to then execute Kronsteen with a poisoned spike in the toe of his shoe. Number 1 tells a frightened Klebb that she now has total control of the mission and has one last chance. Klebb sends Morzeny after Bond with a squadron of SPECTRE's boats. Morzeny nearly catches Bond, but the agent sets his pursuers' boats on fire with a signal flare. Bond and Romanova reach Venice and check into a hotel. Rosa Klebb, disguised as a maid, attempts to steal the Lektor. She gets the drop on Bond, and attempts to kill Bond with both a gun and her poisoned toe-spike, but ends up being shot by Romanova. Riding in a gondola, Bond throws the film of him and Romanova into the water as they are rowed away.
Cast & characters
- Directed by: Terence Young
- Produced by: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman
- Written by: Ian Fleming
- Screenplay: Richard Maibaum
- Music composed by: John Barry
- Cinematography by: Ted Moore
- Film editing by: Peter R. Hunt
- Production design by Syd Cain
Following the financial success of Dr. No, United Artists greenlighted a second James Bond film. The studio doubled the budget offered to Eon Productions with $2 million, and also approved a bonus for Sean Connery, who would receive $100,000 along with his $54,000 salary. As President John F. Kennedy had named Fleming's novel From Russia with Love among his ten favourite books of all time in Life magazine, producers Broccoli and Saltzman chose this as the follow-up to Bond's cinematic debut in Dr. No. From Russia with Love was the last film President Kennedy saw at the White House on 20 November 1963 before going to Dallas. Most of the crew from the first film returned, with major exceptions being production designer Ken Adam - who went to work on Dr. Strangelove and was replaced by Dr. No's art director Syd Cain, title designer Maurice Binder was replaced by Robert Brownjohn and stunt coordinator Bob Simmons was unavailable and was replaced by Peter Perkins though Simmons performed stunts in the film. John Barry replaced Monty Norman as composer of the soundtrack.
The film introduced several conventions which would become essential elements of the franchise: a pre-title sequence, the Blofeld character (referred in the film only as "Number 1"), a secret weapon gadget for Bond, a helicopter sequence (repeated in every subsequent Bond film except The Man with the Golden Gun), a postscript action scene after the main climax, a theme song with lyrics, and the line "James Bond will return/be back" in the credits.
Ian Fleming's novel was a Cold War thriller, however the producers named the crime syndicate SPECTRE instead of the Soviet undercover agency SMERSH so as to avoid controversial political overtones. The SPECTRE training grounds were inspired by the film Spartacus. The original screenwriter was Len Deighton, but he was ejected for lack of progress. Thus two of Dr. No's writers, Johanna Harwood and Richard Maibaum, were brought in, with the former being credited for "adaptation" mostly for her suggestions, which were carried over into Maibaum's script. Maibaum kept on making rewrites as filming progressed. Red Grant was added to the Istanbul scenes just prior to the film crew's trip to Turkey – a change that brought more focus to the SPECTRE plot, as Grant started saving Bond's life there (a late change during shooting involved Grant killing the bespectacled spy at Hagia Sophia instead of Bond, who ends up just finding the man dead). For the last quarter of the movie, Maibaum added two chase scenes, with a helicopter and speedboats, and changed the location of Bond and Klebb's battle from Paris to Venice.
Although un-credited, the actor who played Ernst Stavro Blofeld was Anthony Dawson, who had played Professor Dent in the previous Bond film, Dr. No. In the end credits, Blofeld is credited with a question mark. Blofeld's voice was provided by Viennese actor Eric Pohlmann. It is rumoured that author and James Bond creator Ian Fleming has a cameo appearance, in a location train scene, standing outside the train in grey trousers and a white sweater. Fleming reportedly visited the train set, and publicity stills exist of him alongside the Orient Express.
Peter Burton was unavailable to return as Major Boothroyd, so Desmond Llewelyn, who was a fan of the Bond comic strip published in the Daily Express, accepted the part. However, screen credit for Llewelyn was omitted at the opening of the film and is reserved for the exit credits, where he is credited simply as 'Boothroyd'. Llewelyn's character is not referred to by this name in dialogue (and would not be until The Spy Who Loved Me 13 years later), but M does introduce him as being from Q Branch. Llewelyn remained as the character, better known as Q, in all but two of the series' films until his death in 1999.
Many actresses were considered for the role of Tatiana, including Sylva Koscina, Virna Lisi, Annette Vadim, and Tania Mallet. 1960 Miss Universe runner-up Daniela Bianchi was ultimately cast, supposedly by Sean Connery's choice. Bianchi started taking English classes for the role, but the producers ultimately chose to dub her voice over. The scene in which Bond finds Tatiana in his hotel bed was used for Daniela Bianchi's screen test, with Dawson standing in, this time, as Bond. The scene later became the traditional screen test scene for prospective James Bond actors and Bond Girls.
Katina Paxinou was originally considered for the role of Rosa Klebb, but was unavailable. Terence Young cast Lotte Lenya after hearing one of her musical recordings. Young wanted Kronsteen's portrayer to be "an actor with a remarkable face", so the minor character would be well remembered by audiences. This led to the casting of Vladek Sheybal, who Young also considered convincing as an intellectual. Several women were tested for the roles of Vida and Zora, and after Aliza Gur and Martine Beswick were cast, they spent six weeks practicing their fight choreography with stunt work arranger Peter Perkins.
Pedro Armendáriz was recommended to Young by director John Ford to play Kerim Bey. After experiencing increasing discomfort on location in Istanbul, Armendáriz was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Filming in Istanbul was terminated, the production moved to Britain, and Armendáriz's scenes were brought forward so that he could complete his scenes without delay. Though visibly in pain, he continued working as long as possible. When he could no longer work, he returned home, and took his own life. His son, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., would later appear in Licence to Kill.
Most of the film was set in Istanbul, Turkey. Locations included the Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, and the Sirkeci Station which also was used for the Belgrade and Zagreb railway stations. The MI6 office in London, SPECTRE Island, the Venice hotel and the interior scenes of the Orient Express were filmed at Pinewood Studios with some footage of the train. In the film, the train journey was set in Eastern Europe. The journey and the truck ride were shot in Argyll, Scotland and Switzerland. The end scenes for the film were shot in Venice. However, to qualify for the British film funding of the time, at least 70% of the film had to have been filmed in Great Britain or the Commonwealth. The gypsy camp was also to be filmed in an actual camp in Topkapi, but was actually shot in a replica of it in Pinewood. The scene with rats (after the theft of the Lektor) was shot in Spain, as Britain did not allow filming with wild rats, and filming white rats painted in cocoa didn't work. Principal photography began on 1 April 1963, and wrapped in August 23.
Director Terence Young's eye for realism was evident throughout production. For the opening chess match, Kronsteen wins the game with a re-enactment of Boris Spassky's victory over David Bronstein in 1960. Production Designer Syd Cain built up the "chess pawn" motif in his $150,000 set for the brief sequence. A noteworthy gadget featured was the attaché case issued by the Q-Branch. It had a tear gas bomb that detonated if it was improperly opened, a folding AR-7 sniper rifle with twenty rounds of ammunition, a throwing knife, and 50 gold sovereigns. A boxer at Cambridge, Young choreographed the fight between Grant and Bond along with stunt co-ordinator Peter Perkins. The scene took three weeks to film and was violent enough to worry some on the production. Yet Robert Shaw and Connery did most of the stunts themselves.
After the unexpected loss of Armendáriz, production proceeded, experiencing complications from rewriting by Richard Maibaum during filming. Editor Peter Hunt set about editing the film while key elements were still to be filmed, helping to restructure the opening scenes. Hunt and Young conceived of moving the training exercise on a Bond double to preface the main title, a signature feature that has been an enduring hallmark of every Bond film since. The briefing with Blofeld was rewritten, and back projection was used to re-film Lotte Lenya's lines.
Behind schedule and over budget, the production crew struggled to complete production in time for the already-announced premiere date that October. On 6 July 1963, while scouting locations in Argyll, Scotland for that day's filming of the climactic boat chase, Terence Young's helicopter crashed into the water with Art Director Michael White and a cameraman aboard. The craft sank into 40–50 feet (12–15 m) of water, but all escaped with minor injuries. Despite the calamity, Young was behind the camera for the full day's work. A few days later, Bianchi's driver fell asleep during the commute to a 6 a.m. shoot and crashed the car; the actress' face was bruised, and Bianchi's scenes had to be delayed two weeks while these facial contusions healed.
The helicopter and boat chase scenes were not in the original novel, but were added to create an action climax. The former was inspired by Hitchcock's North By Northwest, and the latter by a previous Young/Broccoli/Maibaum collaboration, The Red Beret. These two scenes would be shot in Istanbul, but were moved to Scotland; the speed boats could not run fast enough due to the many waves in the sea, and a rented boat filled with cameras ended up sinking in the Bosphorus. A helicopter was also hard to get—the special effects crew nearly got arrested trying to get one at a local air base. The helicopter chase was filmed with a radio controlled miniature helicopter. The sounds of the boat chase were replaced in post-production since the boats were not loud enough, and the explosion, shot in Pinewood, got out of control, burning Walter Gotell's eyelids, and seriously injuring three stuntmen.
Photographer David Hurn was commissioned by the producers of the James Bond films to shoot a series of stills with Sean Connery and the actresses of the film. When the theatrical property Walther PPK pistol didn't arrive, Hurn volunteered the use of his own Walther LP-53 air pistol." Though the photographs of the "James Bond is Back" posters of the US release airbrushed out the long barrel of the pistol, film poster artist Renato Fratini used the long barrelled pistol for his drawings of Connery on the British posters.
For the opening credits, Maurice Binder had disagreements with the producers and did not want to return. Designer Robert Brownjohn stepped into his place, and projected the credits on female dancers, inspired by constructivist artist László Moholy-Nagy projecting light on to clouds in the 1920s. Brownjohn's work started the tradition of scantily clad women on the Bond's title sequences.
|In-Film Locations||Shooting Locations|
- Main article: From Russia with Love (soundtrack)
From Russia with Love is the first Bond film in the series with John Barry as the primary soundtrack composer. The theme song was composed by Lionel Bart of Oliver! fame and sung by Matt Monro, although the title credit music is a lively instrumental version of the tune beginning with Barry's brief James Bond is Back then segueing into Monty Norman's "James Bond Theme"). Monro's vocal version is later played during the film (as source music on a radio) and properly over the film's end titles. Barry travelled with the crew to Turkey to try getting influences of the local music, but ended up using almost nothing, just local instruments such as finger cymbals to give an exotic feeling, since he thought the Turkish music had a comedic tone that did not fit in the "dramatic feeling" of the James Bond movies.
In this film, Barry introduced the percussive theme "007"—action music that came to be considered the 'secondary James Bond Theme'. He composed it to have a lighter, enthusiastic and more adventurous theme, in order to relax the audiences. The arrangement appears twice on the soundtrack album; the second version, entitled "007 Takes the Lektor", is the one used during the gunfight at the gypsy camp and also during Bond's theft of the Lektor decoding machine. The completed film features a holdover from the Monty Norman-supervised Dr. No music; the post-rocket-launch music from Dr. No is played in From Russia with Love during the helicopter and speedboat attacks.
From Russia with Love is frequently considered the best of the James Bond film series by many fans and critics, and by actor Sean Connery (although even critical opinion varies greatly). The film is also often considered the ideal Bond film that each film strives to aim for. Michael G. Wilson once stated, "We always start out trying to make another From Russia with Love and end up with another Thunderball." In 2004, Total Film magazine named From Russia with Love the ninth-greatest British film of all time.
Vehicles & Gadgets
|1935 Bentley 3½ Litre - Contrary to the films, James Bond's official car in the Ian Fleming novels was a grey 1933 Bentley convertible. The car featured a 4.5 litre engine with the Amherst-Villiers supercharger. In the novels, no gadgets were installed as this was Bond's personal vehicle that in Casino Royale is mentioned as being a hobby that Bond enjoys working on. Its only armament, in the novels, is a high power revolver Bond keeps in the glove compartment. The novel version of the Bentley Mark IV was destroyed during a chase sequence in Moonraker. The Bentley is also seen in From Russia with Love. In the movie, the only gadget known to be included was a car phone. The film version of Goldfinger strongly implies that the Bentley was issued to Bond by Q-Branch.|
|Attaché case - This is Bond's first real film gadget. This briefcase given to Bond by Q-Branch contains a folding sniper rifle inside while ammunition, a knife and fifty gold sovereigns are contained in secret compartments accessible on the outside of the case. In addition, there is a safety mechanism that will detonate a gas bomb in the briefcase if opened improperly. This case is almost identical to the one described in Fleming's novel except the book added a cyanide capsule which Bond was to use to commit suicide upon capture (Bond immediately flushes it down a toilet).|
|Pager - Bond had one to notify him if he ever needed to contact MI6. It is worth noting that Bond also had a phone installed in his car as well.|
|Bug detector - A small device that is designed to detect the presence of a phone tap device in a regular telephone when placed against such a device.|
|Garotte watch - A wristwatch from which a wire garrote can be drawn. Used by Red Grant first to strangle a man dressed as Bond as part of A training exercise in the opening scene and later to attempt to strangle the actual Bond in the film's climax.|
|Tape recorder camera - A small reel-to-reel tape recorder hidden within a camera use to interrogate Tatiana.|
|Dagger shoes - Shoes with poisoned blades concealed in the shoes worn by Rosa Klebb. The blades would pop out of the front of the shoes, making kicks extremely dangerous. The poison killed within seven seconds.|
Differences with the Novel
- This film follows the plot of Ian Fleming's fifth Bond novel almost to the letter, with several lines of dialogue taken directly from the book.
- The major change between the cinematic and literary versions of the story is the villain, which is the Russian organization SMERSH in the book. This alteration was made because the Cold War was at its height at the time of this film's production and release, and EON Productions felt it inadvisable to cast the Russians as villains.
- This film features several minor changes from the book that were made in an attempt to integrate SPECTRE into the storyline, so that villainous henchman Red Grant is responsible for actions that are committed by other characters in the novel. Other than these topical changes, the film's plot is the same as the novel's.
- The valuable decoder device, a LEKTOR, is named Spektor in the novel. The change was made to avoid confusing the audience with the similarly named SPECTRE.
- Sylvia Trench does not appear in the novel.
Firsts & Continuity
- The criminal organization SPECTRE was previously introduced in Dr. No by the title villain in that film, Dr. Julius No. That movie also establishes the villain's position as an operative of SPECTRE. In From Russia with Love, SPECTRE's pursuit of revenge upon James Bond for killing Dr. No makes this film a sequel to the previous James Bond film.
- This film features the first appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Major Boothroyd, known as Q, the character he would play in nearly all of the series' films, until his death in 1999. The Q character appeared in the previous film, Dr. No, but was portrayed by actor Peter Burton, and was never referred to as "Q" by M, who addressed the character as both "Armourer" and "Major Boothroyd".
- This film features the first appearance of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, leader of SPECTRE, although he wouldn't directly confront Bond until You Only Live Twice, the fifth film in the movie series.
- Though From Russia with Love was filmed in the 1960s, before the invention of the pager, Bond carries one in this film, enabling MI6 to immediately contact him.
- Eunice Gayson returns as Sylvia Trench, Bond's girlfriend from Dr. No. Although the original plan was for Sylvia to be a regular, like Miss Moneypenny, this was her final appearance. Although return appearances by other characters have been considered over the years, and notwithstanding a photo of Vesper Lynd appearing in Quantum of Solace, Sylvia remains to date the only Bond girl to make an encore appearance.
- Reportedly, author and James Bond creator Ian Fleming makes a cameo in the Istanbul train scene (following Bond's stealing the LEKTOR decoder), standing outside on the right of the train, wearing grey trousers and a white sweater; some sources deny Fleming's appearance.
- Pedro Armendáriz, who played Kerim Bey, was sick with cancer during the production, and committed suicide after filming was completed. His son, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., later portrayed the President of the Republic of Isthmus in Licence to Kill, the 1989 James Bond film.
- Lotte Lenya's character, Colonel Rosa Klebb, often is cited as prototype of the Frau Farbissina character in the Austin Powers spy spoof series. Klebb would be the first of several Bond villains with ambiguous sexuality. Lotte Lenya was the widow of Kurt Weill. In the film "Undercover Blues" starring Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner, in the mock-torture scene, Dennis Quaid refers to Kathleen Turner (who was pretending to be a Russian doctor specializing in pain) as "Dr Lottelenya," a clear tribute to Lotte Lenya's portrayal of Rosa Klebb.
- The Bulgarian assassin Krilencu tries to escape from his apartment through a secret window in a billboard advertising Call Me Bwana, the only non-James Bond film produced by EON Productions.
- The "007" theme (the song played during the gunfight at the gypsy camp and also during Bond's theft of the LEKTOR) was used as part of the Eyewitness News format on Philadelphia television station KYW-TV.
- A version of the haunting "Stalking" track -- from the pre-credit sequence of From Russia with Love involving Connery and Shaw -- appears in The Spy Who Loved Me, when Bond (Roger Moore) and Anya Amasova (Agent XXX, played by Barbara Bach) confront Richard Kiel's Jaws character at a historic site in Egypt. Ironically, Spy was scored not by Barry but Marvin Hamlisch, one of only four times Barry did not helm the Bond music arrangements in the first 16 United Artists installments.
- Alfred Hitchcock was originally considered as director for the film version in 1958, with Cary Grant as Bond and Grace Kelly as Tatiana Romanova, but the deals fell through when the Hitchcock movie Vertigo performed badly at the box office. The helicopter scene in this film mimics a famous scene from the movie Hitchcock did instead, North by Northwest, in which the main character, played by Cary Grant, is chased by a cropduster.
- Years after this film's release, the scene in which Bond first encounters Tatiana in his hotel room would often be used to screen-test actors for the James Bond and leading lady roles. While Sam Neil was being considered for the role of Bond in 1987's The Living Daylights, he acted in the scene with Maryam d'Abo as Tatiana Romanova (even before she won the role of Kara Milovy). Pierce Brosnan also acted out this scene for his screen test.
- From Russia with Love (1963) at IMDb
- MGM's site on the film
- Ian Fleming Bibliography of James Bond 1st Editions
|James Bond films|
Dr. No (1962) • From Russia with Love (1963) • Goldfinger (1964) • Thunderball (1965) • You Only Live Twice (1967) • Diamonds are Forever (1971)
| George Lazenby |
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Live and Let Die (1973) • The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) • Moonraker (1979) • For Your Eyes Only (1981) • Octopussy (1983) • A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987) • Licence to Kill (1989)
GoldenEye (1995) • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) • The World Is Not Enough (1999) • Die Another Day (2002)
Casino Royale (2006) • Quantum of Solace (2008) • Skyfall (2012) • Spectre (2015) • No Time To Die (2020)
Casino Royale (1954) • Casino Royale (1967) • Never Say Never Again (1983)