Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

The fight to the death in rural Istanbul between two beautiful gypsy girls (Martine Beswick and Aliza Gur) who love the same man, in From Russia with Love. One of the James Bond series’ best moments takes place in art director Syd Cain’s sprawling gypsy camp, which was built in an area of Pinewood Studios called the “Pinewood paddock.” Peopled with an assortment of exotic characters, including 007 (Sean Connery), Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz), Vavra the gypsy leader (Francis De Wolff), and a belly dancer (Leila), this sequence benefits strongly from John Barry’s staccato theme music and the raw sexual energy that both girls brought to the battle.

Martine Beswick, who would go on to play 007’s assistant Paula Caplan in Thunderball, described the action in the girl fight: “We were like two wild cats, crashing about, crying out—all to the tune of Terence Young, who was terribly vocal. He was yelling all the time, saying things like ‘Kill her, Martine! Now hit her, get her foot, that’s right, now turn over. Go, Aliza! Jump on her.’

“Stuntman Peter Perkins was doing the same thing. Both of them were very involved. And it was wonderful that they did that, because it gave us the impetus to make it real. We needed that impetus, because it was cold out there at night, simply freezing, and all we had to wear were those torn scarves and rags. It was like running around in our bloomers.

“But we didn’t show a thing, and still it turned out to be a terribly erotic sequence. Just the sight of two women fighting like that at close quarters was a big turn-on to everybody on the set, including Sean Connery, who seemed to be having a ball.”[1]

[1] Martine Beswick, interview by Steven Jay Rubin, Los Angeles, November 12, 1977.


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