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From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love (1963)

From Russia with Love is a 1963 British spy film and the second in the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions, as well as Sean Connery’s second role as MI6 agent James Bond. It was directed by Terence Young, produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood, based on Ian Fleming’s similarly named 1957 novel. 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.

Following the success of Dr. No, United Artists greenlit a sequel and doubled the budget available for the producers. In addition to filming on location in Turkey, the action scenes were shot at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire and in Scotland. Production ran over budget and schedule, and was rushed to finish by its scheduled October 1963 release date.

From Russia with Love was a critical and commercial success. It took more than $78 million in worldwide box office receipts, far more than its $2 million budget and more than its predecessor Dr. No, thereby becoming a blockbuster in 1960s cinema.

This film also marked the debut of Desmond Llewelyn as Q, a role he would play for 36 years until The World Is Not Enough in 1999.

Image result for The New York Times logo

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

James Bond Travels the Orient Express

Published: April 9, 1964

SECRET AGENT 007 is very much with us again, and anyone who hasn’t yet got to know him is urged to do so right away!
He is, of course, the snappy fellow who goes by the name of James Bond in Ian Fleming’s thrilling novels and is reproduced on the screen by an equally snappy actor by the name of Sean Connery. His reappearance in this instance is in the second delightfully wild film made from a Fleming novel, “From Russia With Love.”
Don’t miss it! This is to say, don’t miss it if you can still get the least bit of fun out of lurid adventure fiction and pseudo-realistic fantasy. For this mad melodramatization of a desperate adventure of Bond with sinister characters in Istanbul and on the Orient Express is fictional exaggeration on a grand scale and in a dashing style, thoroughly illogical and improbable, but with tongue blithely wedged in cheek.
Again good old “Double Oh Seven” is sent by his London chief, “M,” to look into a promised opportunity to tweak the hide of the Russians in the Near East. It seems there’s a secret mechanism called a Lektor that may be filched from the Soviet Embassy in Turkey, if the cards — and the cads — are smartly played. This means the agent who does it must work in consort with a beautiful girl and a Turkish voluptuary, which is right down old “Double Oh Seven’s” street.
Of course, he doesn’t know the whole set-up is a diabolical plant of that international apparatus, Spectre, aimed to snag Lektor for itself and also to place its favorite nemesis in the gravest jeopardy. And he doesn’t sense that the strange and solemn fellow who tails him all over the place is a homicidal paranoiac (“the best kind”) working for Spectre, until almost too late.
Well, there’s no point in trying to tell you all the mad, naughty things that take place — the meetings with mysterious people, the encounters with beautiful girls, the bomb explosions, the chases, the violent encounter of Bond with a helicopter, a motor boat race. Nor is there any point in trying to locate the various characters in the plot, all of whom are deliciously fantastic and delightfully well played.
There’s Lotte Lenya as an arch Spectre agent, Robert Shaw as the paranoiac, Pedro Armendariz as the jovial Turkish contact and Daniela Bianchi as the beautiful girl. And, oh, how beautiful, luscious and voluptuous she is! Even old “Double Oh Seven” cannot resist her, and takes her home at the end.
Terence Young has directed the whole thing grandly, with some color photography of Istanbul and surrounding country that gives it the proper key. Don’t ask any more. Just go to see it and have yourself a good time. It is at the Astor and other “showcase” theaters.

My Review

93%

Bond on the Orient Express What a marvelous movie, justifiably considered by many as the best of the entire series. As with its predecessor DR NO, this movie sticks close to the Fleming source novel, with one notable exception. In the novel the villain is SMERSH (a real-life Soviet operation), but in the movie the role of villain is occupied by SPECTRE. The move is not surprising since when Fleming wrote the book in 1957 he had not yet invented SPECTRE which would not rear its head until 1961 in the novel THUNDERBALL. The movie FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE excels at almost every level, we have a tightly woven plot, expert direction by Terence Young, a fantastic henchman/villain in Robert Shaw as Red Grant and a stunning Bond girl in Italian beauty Daniela Bianchi. The movie also introduces us to Desmond Llewelyn, as Q who delivers Bond with the first true gadget of the series, a briefcase with hidden knives, money and a nasty surprise to anyone who opens the case the wrong way. All in all a rousing success and an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.

Script
99%
Acting
90%
Directing
95%
Bond girl Appeal
90%

About The Author

Darren

Born on the English-Scottish border I emigrated to the US after graduating college in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in 2007. I have served in the U.S. military and my past positions include as an Assistant Managing Editor of The Washington Post Company, a technical writer working on technical documentation for both a construction company and a large government contractor, a graphic designer creating graphics in support of government contract proposals, and as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy. which included being assigned as the official writer for the Navy and DoD on the assumption ceremony of a new Secretary of the Navy. I am currently a Web Services Writer for a large government contractor in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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