From Russia with Love (1963)

Directed by Terence Young
Cinematography Ted Moore

From Russia with Love is a 1963 spy thriller film, directed by Terence Young, produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and written by Richard Maibaum, based on Ian Fleming‘s 1957 novel of the same name. It is the second film in the James Bond film series, as well as Sean Connery‘s second role as MI6 agent James Bond. In the film, Bond is sent to assist in the defection of Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where SPECTRE plans to avenge Bond’s killing of Dr. No.

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Following the financial success of Dr. No, United Artists greenlit 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. Nos 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.

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The film introduced several conventions which would become essential elements of the series: 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.

The Greatest Bond

15 November 2004 | by hoplite24 (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

This has to be my favorite bond. It mixes the best aspects of an action movie with the necessary espionage. Recent Bond attempts have moved away from the “spy-game” aspect and rely more on large explosions to dazzle the viewer.

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Kerem Bey, the Turkish spy leader, is as much a partner and foil for Bond as there ever was. Any movie with a gypsy fight, absurd helicopter assassination attempts, and boat chase has to be great.

Also, Daniella Bianchi is my favorite Bond girl. Her truceau is as sexy as it gets, though this is a subject every true Bond fan will debate about. The only objection is that they dubbed her voice into a more coarse, Russian accent. Overall, it is a wonderful movie that spans the globe and defeats SPECTRE. James Bond will return, but never with as much intrigue, beauty, and suspense as “From Russia With Love”.

Bond in a Cold Climate

8/10
Author: laika-lives from United Kingdom
21 May 2006

‘From Russia With Love’ is the second and last of the Bond films to be made without a rigid formula. With ‘Goldfinger’, the expected elements of the later films would all accrue in a single film, setting a template the series would struggle to escape from (and, for the most part, would not bother trying to). So, like ‘Dr. No’, there’s only a single sex interest (let’s not use the term ‘love’ too lightly), rather than the good-girl-survives, bad/tragic-girl-dies dichotomy that would later structure all the films (bar OHMSS and, interestingly, the Dalton films), and unlike ‘Dr. No’, the villainous plot is rather small beer and resolutely real-world – to steal a code machine and humiliate the British Intelligence community in the process. There’s also no bombastic theme song, although Matt Monro provides an easy-listening version of the theme tune at the end (it’s not half bad, actually, although Shirley Bassey’s brassy ‘Goldfinger’ makes it seem antediluvian in comparison).

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Effectively, this means that it’s the last Bond film in which the makers were trying to make a film, not a Bond film. It didn’t matter if the motifs were all there or not, it only mattered if it was a good film. Unsurprisingly, it has a good claim to being the best film of the series, and it’s certainly the least self-conscious (compare with ‘Thunderball’, an artificial attempt to replicate ‘Goldfinger’ but making everything bigger).

So, Daniela Bianchi isn’t really just the latest ‘Bond Girl’, but the character at the heart of this thriller – she pretty much is the story. Ursula Andress might have had an iconic entrance in ‘Dr. No’, but she was so much window-dressing, irrelevant to the plot, arriving late and with almost no agency in the events that unfold around her. By contrast, the crucial pivot of ‘From Russia With Love’ is whether Bianchi’s Tanya will side with Bond or SMERSH – the age old ‘love or duty’ dilemma.

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The film also takes time with detours that have little to do with the main plot – as in the sequence at the gypsy camp. There is a real feeling of a functioning world around Bond’s escapades, rather than just colourful ‘exotic’ backdrops.

There also isn’t an undue emphasis on big action set pieces – Bond’s encounter with a helicopter (very ‘North by Northwest’ – in fact Hitchcock’s influence is detectable throughout this film, from the Cathedral sequence, to the cool Blondeness of Bianchi, to the train setting of the second half) and the climactic speedboat chase are well-executed, but miniature next to those of later films. Tellingly, the best remembered action sequence is the fight between Connery and Robert Shaw on the train, and the series would never better this intimate, brutal struggle.

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Shaw is by far the best of the series’ bull-necked heavies – he’s intelligent and charismatic as well as forceful, almost a Bond-equivalent. Lotte Lenya and Pedro Armendariz are both excellent in their supporting turns, reminders of a time when the series actually featured fully developed supporting characters, and Bianchi is good – she may lack the overt sex appeal of Andress, but she’s a better actress, playing innocent without being either stupid or dull. Connery really grows into the role here, a long way from the pork-pie hatted clod he was in the first film but still untamed and prickly enough to be an exciting screen presence. It was a long slow decline from here to the tubby jobsworth of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’.

The early Bond films often escape the critical gaze, and when they are subjected to it, it is usually through rose-tinted spectacles. ‘Dr. No’ is dull and poorly acted, ‘Goldfinger’ fun but rather shapeless, and ‘Thunderball’ just tries too hard altogether. ‘From Russia With Love’ is a polished little gem, a cold-war thriller done with great style, and a minor masterpiece, irrespective of the series around it.

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Over-the-top James Bond movie in which he confronts Spectra and killer hoodlums around the world

7/10
Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
7 October 2013

James Bond (an excellent , as usual, Sean Connery) willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty (Daniela Bianchi who subsequently starred an Italian spoof titled OK Connery by Alberto Martino) in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by Spectre . The world’s masters (Lotte Lenya , Walter Gotell , Vladek) of murder pull out all the stops to destroy Agent 007 . Bond goes to Turkey , there he has an ally character called Ali Kerim Bey (final filmed appearance of Pedro Armendáriz , ill by cancer when he shot Conqueror of Mongolia along with John Wayne) . James is being lured into a deadly trap , and he will need all of his force , intelligence and cutting-edge technology to triumph over the enemies that seek to destroy him . Bond is pursued by a hulking blond assassin named Red Grant (Robert Shaw) , whose character provided a template for a number of blond European henchmen that would proliferate the James Bond series .

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This solid , slick thriller with magic mix of action-packed , dazzling stunts, gadgetry, and romance provided by sexy company as Daniela Bianchi . Sean Connery as James Bond is very fine , he does remarkably well , he has toughness , irony, humor and sympathy, however also has coldness ,cunning , intelligence and roughness . Sean Connery said that this movie was his personal favorite out of the Bond films he did . Here Bond is an efficient , relentless agent trying to chase obstinately the criminals , traveling around the world as always , as this time is mostly set in Istanbul , Turkey . Bond to achieve his aims , along the way uses violent means , pulling off brutal killings against enemies who wreak all sorts of havoc . As always Bond will use “state of the art” and fantastic gadgets provided by ¨Q¨ in his first intervention by Desmond Llewelyn , he would reprise the role of “Q” in 16 subsequent Bond films ; in fact , Bond’s trick attaché case is the first true Bond film gadget . In addition , there appears the usual as Lois Maxwell, ¨MoneyPenny¨ , Bernard Lee as M , and Walter Gotell (later played General Gogol) as Morzeny . Here appears three wonderful women ; both of them Beauty Pageant Queens are actresses in this film: Daniela Bianchi, Martine Beswick, Aliza Gur. Bianchi (Italy) and Gur (Israel) were roommates at Miss Universe 1960, which Bianchi won.

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The picture contains comic-strip adventure , sensational pursuits , silly set pieces, great stunts , tongue-in check humor ,frantic unstopped action , amazing gimmicks and stimulating images like are the spectacular chases , the overwhelming scenes, and the breathtaking fights . There is a love scene between Sean Connery and Daniela Bianchi , it caused censorship problems in Britain . In the scene, a sweating Spectre cameraman films James Bond and Tatiana Romanova in bed from a cabinet de voyeur and The British Board of Film Censors mandated to producers that the voyeurism in the scene was too explicit . As is like a roller-coaster , as is fast-paced , light, excitement, funny and entertaining ; it’s a winner for oo7 fans and non-fans alike . The chase and suspense formula wears strong in this entry . The action-packed includes : impressive helicopter chase scene that is a homage to Hitchcock’s cropduster sequence in ¨North by Northwest¨ , exciting battles at a gypsy camp , and fights aboard a train .

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Hoping for an end to the Cold War, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman didn’t want James Bond’s main enemy to be Russian, so for the film version his nemesis is the fictitious criminal organization Spectre , seeking revenge for the death of their operative . The budget was $2,000,000 , double that of ¨Doctor No¨ . Enjoyable title song and stirring musical score fitting to action by John Barry in his classic style . This is the first James Bond film to feature John Barry as the primary soundtrack composer ; the score allegedly still contains riffs from Monty Norman’s work on ¨Doctor No¨. Barry himself felt that ¨From Russia¨ was the first film in the series where he had complete creative control over the soundtrack. Riveting and fancy main titles by habitual Maurice Binder , furthermore eye-popping production design by Syd Cain . It’s brimming with colorful and fascinating cinematography by cameraman Ted Moore . Evocative photography ,much of the film was shot on location, with only a bare minimum of back projection used ; something quite unusual for a film of 1963. The motion picture was well directed by Terence Young ,author of three best James Bond films : ¨Dr No¨ , ¨Thunderball¨ and ¨From Russia with love¨ and directed to Audrey Hepburn in a good thriller titled ¨Wait until dark¨ and a failed film titled ¨Bloodline¨.

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