Published on September 6th, 2012 | by Ben Abbott0
Bond In Film: From Russia With Love.
Agent 007 – Sean Connery
Bond Girl – Daniela Bianchi
Villain – Lotte Lenya
Locations – Istanbul, Venice, London, Scotland, Pinewood Studios
Budget – $2million Gross – $78.9million
Only one year after the release of Dr. No, comes the all-important sequel in 1963. Some years later we would come to know sequels like Empire Strikes Back, Temple of Doom and Aliens which set the standard for a darker more dangerous adventure. However, From Russia With Love offers a more classy and exotic follow up to the already well-established character. With double the budget of Dr. No, Director Terence Young was under pressure to make a bigger and better film than the first, despite going over budget and over schedule, the film was a triumphant record-breaking success.
The opening sequence of the second Bond film gives birth to what is now a notorious cliché in spy films. Most laboriously featured in Jon Woo’s sequel to another classic original in a franchise, Mission Impossible, the old latex look-a-like mask reveal.
Bond willingly takes the bait of a naive Russian spy, the beautiful Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi). Attempt to retrieve a decoding machine called Lektor, Bond is being hunted by agents of the evil organisation SPECTRE, seeking revenge after the death of Dr. No. Ex-KGB agent Rosa Klebb (played by Oscar nominated Lotte Lenya) is a powerful and threatening villain whose sneaky poison tipped shoe gives Bond some strife.
From Russia With Love is a SPECTRE-acular example of great film making. At a time when action driven films still required a storyline, this Bond adventure certainly delivers a heavy punch. A fiery boat chase and a death-defying helicopter foot-chase (which put Connery’s life in real danger) that makes North By Northwest look like a walk in the park. This is the first film featuring the beloved Desmond Llewelyn as “Q”, who would reprise the role in every Bond film until The World Is Not Enough where he is training his successor played by John Cleese.
Something you may not know, President John F. Kennedy was a big fan of Ian Flemming’s novels, and listed From Russia With Love in his top ten books of all time. Producers of the films decided that it would be the second film released, upon its completion a private screening took place on November 20th in the White House and was in fact the last film Kennedy saw before his assassination two days later.
The film is also the favourite of some cast members, including Sean Connery and Lois Maxwell, who played Moneypenny in this, her first appearance in Bond films. For me though, I can’t say at this stage. I’ve seen all of the Bond films before, but haven’t played favourites. From Russia With Love is a great film, certainly a Bond film that stands alone as a masterpiece.
Our Bond in Film overview will return with GOLDFINGER.