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

(MGM, 1959) Alfred Hitchcock’s classic suspense film, which inspired the helicopter chase in Richard Maibaum‘s From Russia with Love script. In the Hitchcock film, Cary Grant, portraying Manhattan advertising executive Roger Thornhill, is lured into the deserted flatlands of Prairie Stop, Illinois, by enemy agents who chase him in a crop-dusting plane equipped with a machine gun. The cat-and-mouse game ends when the crop duster slams into a tanker truck and explodes.

In screenwriter Maibaum’s sequence in From Russia with Love, which was not in the original Ian Fleming novel, the crop-duster plane in North by Northwest becomes a deadly SPECTRE helicopter carrying two blacksuited, grenade-equipped killers. After they straddle Bond’s Chevrolet stake-truck with grenades, 007 (SEAN CONNERY) takes off on foot across the Yugoslavian foothills.

In a manner similar to the Hitchcock film, the chopper plays with Bond before the villains prepare to do him in with a hand grenade. Fortunately, 007 has his folding sniper’s rifle with him, and he manages to shoot one of the killers, who promptly drops the grenade and blows the chopper to pieces.

Excellent special effects work by John Stears enhances this scene, as does Bond’s closing throwaway line, “I’d say one of their aircraft was missing.” Like the crop-dusting chase in North by Northwest, this helicopter cat-and-mouse chase sequence became a favorite scene in the film and one that was prominently displayed in all of the film’s coming-attractions.


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