|Terence Young Director||previously directed Dr. No|
From Russia With Love is the second official James Bond movie. In this outing, Agent 007 travels to Istanbul in order to obtain a decoding machine before it falls into the hands of the Soviets. However, he is unaware that it is a trap laid out by S.P.E.C.T.R.E..
The helicopter pilot from the end of the film nearly killed Connery by flying too close to him.7 More Trivia
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE is a sequel to DR. NO
|Sean Connery||James Bond|
|Daniela Bianchi||Tatiana Romanova|
|Pedro Armendáriz||Ali Kerim Bey|
|Lotte Lenya||Rosa Klebb|
|Robert Shaw||Red Grant|
|Eunice Gayson||Sylvia Trench|
|See Full Credits|
After the huge success of Dr. No the second Bond film From Russia with Love is rapidly put into production. In 1963 From Russia with Love was shot amongst tragedy, inclement weather, and internal arguing. In the end director Terence Young manages to pull off the film to even greater praise then it’s predecessor Dr. No.
Red Grant (Robert Shaw) quietly hunts a fake James Bond (Sean Connery) on a SPECTRE training ground. With the man in the Bond mask dead, Morzeny (Walter Gotell) confirms the conclusion of Grant’s training.
Visiting Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and the head of SPECTRE Ernst Blofeld, chess champion Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal) explains his plan to get the Soviet Union and the Western governments at each others throats. The idea is to use James Bond to get revenge for the death of Dr. No. Klebb flies to SPECTRE Island and makes sure Red Grant is up to the task of hunting Bond. In Istanbul Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) is also recruited by Klebb, who uses her previous position in SMERSH as a cover, to give false information to the English government through James Bond.
On vacation 007 is called back into duty. M (Bernard Lee) fills Bond in that Tatiana wished to defect to England and in return give their government a cipher, called the Lektor, which could decode Russia’s transmissions, and that she personally requested for James Bond to come and get her. At the meeting Q (Desmond Llewelyn) brings in Bond’s first gadgets, a specialized suitcase and AR-7 folding sniper rifle.
After an assassination attempt on Ali Kerim Bey he decides to take Bond to a secret passage in order to spy on the Russian embassy. There they discover that Russian assassin Krilencu is in Istanbul and is most likely responsible.
In fear of another assassination attempt Bond and Bey spend the night at a gypsy camp that is friendly to Bey. During their evening Krilencu finds Bey and Bond at the camp and assaults it with a platoon of men. During the fight Bond is nearly killed however his attacker is shot and killed by Red Grant unknowingly to Bond. The gypsy’s overcome the attacks leaving Bond and Bey able to enjoy the rest of the night.
Back in Istanbul Bond and Bey hunt down Krilencu and assassinate him as he tries to escape his apartment building. That night in his hotel Tatiana makes contact with Bond. They sleep together but are recorded from behind a one way mirror.
The next day at the Saint Sophie Mosque Bond once again meets up with Tatiana who has brought the blueprints to the Russian embassy so that they can sneak the Lektor out with some kind of plan. A Russian spy follows her forcing Bond to try and kill him before they are caught. Before he can do it however Red Grant kills the spy out of sight of Bond.
With all the information Bond can get out of Tatiana about the Lektor and the Russian embassy Bond gets the go ahead to steal it from M. Setting off a timed explosion Bond takes the Lektor and Tatiana. The two of them, as well as Bey, escape using a near by train heading to Athens so that they can take a plane to London.
On the train Bey discovers that a Russian security officer had followed them onto the train. Bond and Bey tie him up and Bey keeps him quiet for the rest of the trip. As Bond leaves Red Grant sneaks into the room with Bey and the officer. Later when Bond and Tatiana leave their room for dinner Bond is informed that both Bey and the officer have been killed. Bond grows suspicious that he is being used for something and that Tatiana knows something. He tries to get some information out of her but she is incapable of giving him the information he needs and confesses her love for Bond.
When the train makes its next stop an MI6 agent helps Bond report back to London. Red Grant witnesses the encounter and at the next stop intercepts the field agent and poses as him to make contact with Bond. Red Grant boards the train with Bond under the guise that he will help them escape into Athens. At dinner Bond becomes increasingly suspicious of Red Grant due to his lack of respect and witnesses him drugging Tatiana.
Back in the room Bond confronts Red Grant who reveals himself as an agent of SPECTRE. The plan was to keep Bond alive long enough to get the Lektor out of the country and get it SPECTRE. The film taken of Tatiana and Bond was also brought up as a plan to disgrace Bond in the public eye and create a legitimate story for both of their deaths.
Using the suitcases booby trap Bond is able to get the upper hand on Red Grant and in the ensuing fight Bond chokes Grant to death.
Using Grants escape plan Bond takes Tatiana and jumps off the train and hijacks Red Grants escape vehicle. On their way to the airport an attack helicopter attempts to stop them but Bond is able to defeat it with his sniper rifle. Still using Red Grants plan they use an escape boat to Venice.
Back at Blofeld's yacht Kronsteen is blamed for the failure of SPECTRE’s plain and is killed. Klebb is given orders to kill Bond once and for all and bring the Lektor back so that they sell it back to the Russians.
Still making their way to Venice several attack boats from SPECTRE hunt Bond down lead by Morzeny. Using his ingenuity Bond defeats Vavra and the SPECTRE agents escaping safely to Venice with Tatiana. In their Venice hotel Bond and Tatiana shows up disguised as a maid and attempts to steal the Lektor. In the fight Tatiana gets hold of a gun and must choose between Klebb and Bond. She chooses Bond who finally succeeds in getting the Lektor safely into England.
When From Russia with Love was published it was released to rave reviews and was listed as one of President Kennedy’s favorite books. This delighted producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. The second Bond film was practically chosen for them.
Luckily they still had both Sean Connery, director Terence Young and his entire crew still on board for the second film. With the rampant success of Dr. No From Russia with Love was given twice the budget of the previous film and put into production immediately.
The producers wanted to make From Russia with Love even better than Dr. No and decided to bring on J. M. Harwood to adapt the book and later brought back Richard Maibaum as well to finish up the script.
As the script was being worked on casting had already started. First was up and coming actor Robert Shaw for the part of the murderous Red Grant. For the role of Rosa Klebb they went in a more unlikely direction with cabaret star and Oscar nominated actor Lotte Lenya. And for the part of Ali Kerim Bey it was legendary director John Ford that suggested actor Pedro Armendariz.
The last part to cast was that of Tatiana the main female lead. The filmmakers turned to beauty pageant winners. Daniela Bianchi was a working model trying to break into acting when she was one of the runner ups for the Miss Universe pageant. An agent approached her asking if she wanted to be in films, she agreed and took on the agent. She did a few small parts until Terence Young came to Rome and asked if she wished to be in From Russia with Love. The screen test was arranged and she performed the famous bed room scene with actor Anthony Dawson who had played the ill fated Professor Dent in Dr. No. Yet the decision was not made to cast Bianchi until production was about to begin.
With the cast and crew ready to go there was still a missing element: the finished script. This was mostly due to the fact that no one could really agree on certain elements of the plot. Some believed it was to complex and that the inclusion of SPECTRE didn’t work with the rest of the film.
Nonetheless filming starts on April Fools day 1963 with the introduction of Q played by Desmond Llewelyn. Two days later the scene between Tatiana and Klebb was shot to high moods amongst the cast and crew. Lotte Lenya was a sweet person out of character and kept the spirits of everyone high. Terence Young also included the lesbian dominatrix subtext of the scene in a very risky period of time to do anything of the sort.
On April the fifth filming moves to Syd Cain’s chess tournament set that cost 150 thousand dollars. However the cost didn’t even include the ceiling which was filled in with a matte painting by artist Cliff Culley. For the scene Terence Young decides to recreate Master Chess player Boris Spassky daring move during the 1960 Spassky vs. Bronstein match.
In the famous bed room scene Bianchi was not the one that streaked across the bed room but was very concerned about keeping the blanket tight around her even though Connery didn’t make things easy for her.
The Tenth of April the first scene on Blofeld's boat was shot even though the scene was completely rewritten the day before. While filming Young had to change much of the scene by switching around dialogue. Anthony Dawson was hired to play the physical person that sat in the chair even though they redubbed his voice later.
With no other sets finished Young is forced to begin filming at night in the gardens of Pinewood studios for the opening scene of the film. It was Harry Saltzman that came up with the idea of a man in a Bond mask being killed in the opening of the film. However the man behind the mask looked to similar to Connery which the filmmakers didn’t realize until the entire crew had moved to Istanbul.
Just before the crew leaves for Istanbul Maibaum changes the script making Red Grant shadow Bond through the events of the film. While on location Young continues to make changes to the script supporting Maibaum’s new change. This suddenly gives the entire film a narrative push that was missing before. Bond isn’t in control but a pawn in SPECTRE’s game.
While the crew was on set James Bond creator Ian Fleming joins them in Istanbul site seeing with Broccoli’s wife and striking up a friendship with Pedro Armendariz.
Terence Young was not happy with the location however since the people of Istanbul were perhaps a little too friendly. By the hundreds they would show up and all wish to watch the filming of From Russia with Love. To film the train scene nearly 3500 people showed up making it impossible to shoot. Young schemes with stunt coordinator Peter Perkins to set up a distraction. Across the street Perkins hangs on the edge of a building and yells for help giving Young just enough time to finish the shot.
The rest of the shoot goes surprisingly smoothly even due to last minute script changes. It isn’t until they come to shooting the films climax do things begin to go sour. Plagued with bad weather, rusted boats, sea sickness, and ruff seas the boat chase sequence keeps being delayed and eventually has to be scrapped.
Only a day or so later Young began to notice a change in actor Pedro Armendariz. Fearing that he is gravely ill Armendariz becomes moody and at times hard to work with until Young confronts him about it. With the rest of the shooting cancelled in Istanbul the cast and crew move back to Pinewood studios were Young’s brother, a doctor, examines Armendariz discovering the actor had inoperable cancer. Armendariz approached Cubby Broccoli and told him that he wished to finish the film but was unsure of how long he had. A rush was put out to film all of Pedro’s scenes as soon as possible which consisted of enlisting the help of other studios. Within two weeks the Gypsy camp scene and the scenes on the train that contained Pedro were finished. However even during shooting Amendariz’s condition rapidly worsened to the point that they literally had to prop him up to finish some scenes. Once finished Pedro checked into the UCLA in Los Angeles. On June the 18th Pedro Armendariz commits suicide by gun shot devastating the cast and crew of From Russia with Love.
With the rest of the gypsy camp scene left to finish stunt man Peter Perkins carefully choreographs the cat fight scene with beauty pageant winners Aliza Gur and Martine Beswick. They rehearsed the scene well before they had to film the scene but once on set Young goaded the two girls to be more vicious at each other.
In mid June the fight of Red Grant and James Bond was filmed on the painstakingly recreated set of The Orient Express. For two days Peter Perkins plans out every single punch and grapple that takes place in the cramped train car. On the 20th and 21st Young uses three separate camera’s to film the entirety of the fight scene. Stuntmen are only used for a singular shot but the rest both Shaw and Connery give it their all in the brutal fight scene that some of the crew thinks goes to far.
In early July the helicopter fight scene is filmed in which Connery did much of his own stunt work. On July the sixth the filmmakers once again try to film the boat sequence that had failed earlier in the year. Young sets off in a helicopter to scout locations however the helicopter, to unknown malfunction, did not rise above thirty feet and crashed into the water. At first Young and the two others were stuck in the helicopter as it sank but were able to break the glass and make it back to shore with only minor injury’s. Within thirty minutes Young was setting up the first shot of the day without word of the incident.
The big explosion of the boat scene was the most difficult shot to muster since it called for hundreds of gallons of gasoline and a series of underwater charges to go off at once. The first attempt seemingly went off well until the boats that were meant to be in the explosion disappeared with the stuntmen still on board. In the end there was a miscommunication and the explosions were set off during a rehearsal. John Stears, who was in charge of the effect, had only twenty four hours to restock all the equipment and rig up the set again for the second try. At the last second they were able to pull it off.
On July the 17th the boat scene in Scotland was all ready to be wrapped up. On that day of shooting Daniela Bianchi was being driven to the set when the driver fell asleep and flipped the car landing nearly in a river. Connery, who was in another car behind them, ran in and helped pull both Bianchi and the driver out of the wreckage.
With the return to Pinewood From Russia with Love was still a disaster. Many of the big scenes of the film was missing crucial footage, the film was way over budget and the script was still unfinished. With only three months until the opening Terence Young is still confident and gives editor Peter Hunt free run to edit the movie however he could. It was here that Peter Hunt and Young decided to put the opening titles after the Red Grant hunting sequence starting the tradition of the pre title sequence in the Bond franchise. Also to clarify the story for audiences Hunt completely reverses the structure of the first twenty minutes of the film. Originally Rosa Klebb was to recruit Red Grant and Tatiana, afterwards would be the chess scene followed by the meeting with Blofeld. Instead the Chess scene and the Blofeld scene come before the recruitment scenes making it easier for everyone to follow.
All the way through the editing process Terence Young continues to shoot footage for the film. This includes reshooting the mask being taken off the fake Bond were Young puts a mustache on the actor to differentiate him from Connery.
With the film being turned in at the last second many believed that the second Bond film would be a disastrous bomb. However when the film opened on October the 10th 1963 From Russia with Love was a world wide success even greater than that of Dr. No.
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