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

One of the most atmospheric sequences in the James Bond series, which takes place in From Russia with Love. Having tricked the Russians into following the wrong car, Kerim Bey (PEDRO ARMENDARIZ) takes James Bond (SEAN CONNERY) to visit his Gypsy friends on the outskirts of Istanbul.

An old friend of the family, Kerim Bey and Bond are allowed to stay, even though it is a bad night—two women in love with the same man must fight to the death. Bond and Kerim Bey are bidden to table, where they meet the Gypsy leader, Vavra (FRANCIS DE WOLFF), and a seductive belly dancer (LEILA). When the dance is over, the girl fight begins between Vida (ALIZA GUR) and Zora (MARTINE BESWICK).

Thanks to the perfect musical score provided by John Barry, the girl fight is a classic Bond sequence, pitting two voluptuous vixens in a clawing, strangling, pseudo-judo battle of wills. The fight is interrupted when Krilencu‘s (FRED HAGGERTY) Bulgar assassins attack the camp, precipitating a terrific battle sequence.

As Barry’s music picks up the pace, 007 goes into action, saving Vavra’s life and disposing of not a few Bulgars. Kerim Bey is wounded and unable to knock off his sworn enemy, Krilencu. SPECTRE assassin and 007’s “guardian angel” Red Grant (ROBERT SHAW) is perched unseen in an aerie of the ruined citadel that surrounds the camp, picking off a knife-wielding Bulgar who is about to stab Bond.

The Gypsies, thanks to 007, eventually drive the Bulgars off, tending to their wounded and a captured Bulgar, who is tortured into revealing that Kerim Bey was the murder target on this night. For saving his life, Vavra makes Bond his son. Bond thanks Vavra for the honor and instead asks that the girl fight be stopped. Vavra asks 007 to choose the winner himself. It’s a choice that Bond will take some offscreen time to make.


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