James Bond Spy Movie Collectibles

Podcast Episode

James Bond Spy Movie Collectibles

Join Dan (Tom was on vacation during recording!) as he looks at some of the collectibles that SpyMovieNavigator owns from some of the James Bond movies! It’s a quick 14 minute look – take a listen! See video podcast on YouTube on our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies channel!

Join Dan (Tom was on vacation during recording!) as he looks at some of the James Bond collectibles that Spy Movie Navigator owns from some of the James Bond movies!   And the collectible concept from screen-used props, props made for films but maybe not used on-screen, and reproductions!   It’s a quick 14-minute look – take a listen!

Items from:

  • From Russia With Love
  • The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Octopussy
  • Licence to Kill
  • Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Casino Royale

Related Video:

Video: Click here to watch the video podcast! 

Related Content

Spy Movie Collectibles

James Bond collectibles are hot and it’s fun to have a few!  Here are a few of the favorites we have!

Hi, this is Dan Silvestri – while Tom Pizzato is traveling at the time of this recording – so I’m here solo, doing a podcast on some James Bond collectibles that are in our vault!  Think about owning a cool James Bond movie replica, or a prop manufactured for the movie that may have made it into the film or not, or an actual screen-used prop!  These are all fun to collect, so let’s take a look!

If you have listened to other podcasts of our, you know I am into collectibles, especially autographs.  But I have things from ancient Rome, NASA (US space program) collectibles and more.

So, naturally, I have some spy movie collectibles, especially Bond!

Autographs

Let’s start with a few autographs.

  • Sean Connery, one of my top favorite Bonds, is certainly an area of interest, and so I have a signed publicity still of Sean Connery as James Bond in From Russia With Love,in the train car.  This is very cool, and so I actually framed it myself and found a small, inexpensive digital recorder and speaker kit – I don’t even know if they make them anymore . . . and attached the kit to the rear of the frame (takes 4 double A batteries) and the “play” button to the side of the frame.   When you press the button on my Sean Connery signed and framed photograph, it is Sean Connery, as Bond, saying, “A martini, shaken, not stirred” with the James Bond theme music playing.  Very fun!
  • I also have a Pierce Brosnan signed photograph, and just recently bought a George Lazenby signed photograph from Anders Frejdh (FRAID). This last one was from the 50th-anniversary tour for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, one of my all-time favorite Bond films.   I’m going to try to get all of the Bonds – Timothy Dalton, Daniel Craig, and Roger Moore.
  • My favorite Felix Leiter before Jeffrey Wright is David Hedison.  I say before Wright, but I probably like them both equally.  So I have purchased a David Hedison signed check!  This is very cool. This item was purchased at auction and had a PSA/DNA Pre-Certified Status – meaning it was reviewed by experts at PSA/DNA and is guaranteed to pass final testing and marking.   And bank check are great – because they tell a story in themselves: this one is made out to the Beverly Hills Postmaster for $15, on October 25, 1968 – for stamps!
  • One of my favorite autographs is Caroline Munro’s!  Of course, she plays Naomi in The Spy Who Loved Me – Stromberg’s assistant who comes to collect Bond and Triple X (posing as Mr. and Mrs. Sterling) in Sardinia Italy and is later the helicopter pilot chasing bond driving the Lotus into the water, and the first woman Bond kills on-screen!  Tom and I met with her in London once for a few hours – she is a delight!  She signed a bunch of autographs for us, and we took pictures with her.  Wonderful woman!  Inscription on card: “Dear Dan – it’s so lovely to meet with you – your knowledge of Bond is amazing – Thank you so much for the lovely afternoon – All my Best Wishes, Caroline Munro as Naomi 007”   How lovely indeed!

Other things and props

I would love to own some screen-used props from the Bond movies – these are hard to come by and very expensive.   I know a guy who has one of the spearguns from Thunderball!  So, I have some stuff which is cool – made for the films and might be buried in some shots.

  • I have a $100 bill from Licence to Kill – you remember the shot where Bond highjacks Sanchez’s drug delivery plane, and Bond cuts open the packets of money and the bills are flying all over the place – I have one of those bills!  This one looks pretty good from a distance and does say on the upper left: “THIS IS NOT VALID.  IT IS FOR USE IN MOTION PICTURES ONLY AND IS NON-NEGOTiABLE.  ITS USE FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE WILL BE IN VIOLATION OF LAW.”    Its provenance is that the bill was originally obtained at the shooting location in Key West Florida (Sugar Loaf Key) at the airport office from the airport manager who was keeping a bunch as a collectible from the film.
  • I also own a $100 bill from the Pierce Brosnan Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies.  When Bond breaks into the safe, there are a few piles of bills stacked on the left side of the safe.  This one I have looks like a real $100 bill – except . . . it has printed in the upper right-hand corner: “For Motion Picture Use Only” – and if you notice in this scene in the film, the bills are stacked in piles strategically to cover the upper right corner of the bills!   This one is cool!  So maybe it as somewhere in one of those stacks!  It was originally obtained from Pinewood Studios.
  • In Licence to Kill, again, one of my favorite Bond movies, the title sequence shows a casino table, a roulette table to be specific, and there are chips all over the table.   I have two clay chips: a green $25 chip and a purplish $100 chip.  Again, there are piles of chips, and others made for the movie but these are marked Casino de Isthmus and have the top-hat and cane indented patterns along the edges, which were the ones used for the movie.   My contact says that these chips can be seen in the opening title sequence of the film.
  • From Octopussy,  I have a $100 Rupee paper money prop, issued from the fictitious Reserve Bank of Indapur.  The seller claims it was used in the film scene where Bond and Kamal Khan are playing backgammon, and Bond wins $200,000 Rupees.  Khan starts writing a check and Bond says, “I prefer cash.”
  • From Casino Royale, I have 4 playing cards that were made for the movie (probably nowhere on-screen) that have Casino Royale logo on the backside twice and the crown logo.   AND a $500 chip, with Casino Royale around the center, and the crown pattern along the edges.  Cool!  These were probably overruns, and never used in the film, or who knows – they could be in the background somewhere, or in the card shoe!  But fun to have!

Books:

I have one weird book that is apparently a collectible.   A friend found it in a used book shop, and it is a hard-cover only about 5.5  inches by 7.25 inches, it is entitled: “The Book of Bond – Or Every Man His Own 007” and is written as though it was by Lt. Col. William (Bill) Tanner *M’s assistant) who authored the book.     It is “written” by him – a fictional character!  It is a Viking Press book from 1965, and on the inside cover flap is priced at $2.50 US.  The book is broken up into chapters entitled things like, Drink.  Looks.   Smokes. Etc. and in the margins, to validate what is written, are the initials of the title of the relevant Bond story, like FRWL (From Russia With Love), along with a number indicating the relevant chapter.  And he does something similar for the short story collections.  And it really is about YOU becoming like 007 in all these chapter aspects, and more amusing than serious for sure.  This is really written by Kingsley Amis, who wrote three books including “The James Bond Dossier” and the first Bond continuation novel, “Colonel Sun”, under the pen name, Robert Markham.  Thanks to my friends on Facebook, Nick, Oliver and Daryl for this insight!  Very odd indeed!

If anyone knows more about this book, email me at Dan@SpyMovieNavigator.com – I have found some info on it but not a ton.   I know there were two different versions of the book.  On one version the cover reversed and the opposite side said the Bible – in case you wanted to read clandestinely!  My version, the cover does not have anything printed on its reverse side.  Even in this used book store, it was priced at $40!

Replicas

If you remember in Casino Royale (2006) when Alex Dimitrios is playing poker and Bond joins in at the Ocean Club, Dimitrios wants to up the stakes and throws in a keyring with an Aston Martin DB5, and car key, as part of the pot.   Well, I purchased the same kind of DB5 keyring along with the Lotus Esprit keyring – you remember the Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me that turns into a submersible.   These are VERY cool and are available with a lot of other reproductions and collectible at 007.com, and their US counterpart https://usa.007store.com/.   Tell them SpyMovieNavigator.com sent you!  They have a lot of 007 collectibles and are awesome to work with.

There are also other prop shops and online stores to purchase real movie props and additional replicas.   We will get you more info on these places, on our website.   Tons of fun stuff on the 007.com site!

Well, this concludes our quick look at some of the James Bond memorabilia that we have  – remember, there are lots of places online to purchase movie memorabilia.   We have a place near us in Chicago which we are going to visit, and the guy has tons of movie memorabilia, including spy movie stuff!  So look for that podcast soon, and maybe even a video!

This has been Dan Silvestri – and Tom Pizzato is still on vacation even after recording this – hah!  If you were listening to this podcast. Check out our YouTube channel.   We plan on shooting a video of the items for your viewing pleasure!

Have fun collecting, always ask about the provenance (history of ownership of the item,)  and have a great time!  Please tell your friends about our podcasts, and give us a 5-star rating!   Thanks!

 


More Episodes

Team Fukunaga and Waller-Bridge – Will This NO TIME TO DIE Team Work?

Join Dan and Tom as they dive into how Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Cary Fukunaga team up with two different backgrounds on NO TIME TO DIE. Will this team work?

NO TIME TO DIE – Decoding the Pluses and Minuses!

Vicky, Dan, and Tom decode NO TIME TO DIE. The good and the bad. We also have a review by Morgan Lisney.

James Bond’s LICENCE TO KILL Pre-Title Sequence Decoded!

Dan, Tom, and Vicky decode the LICENCE TO KILL pre-title sequence. They look at the filming location as well as the action and more.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

From Russia With Love: The United States was far From Russia With Love in 1963 – Part Two

Podcast Episode

From Russia With Love: The United States was far From Russia With Love in 1963 – Part Two

How would you feel about a love affair between the US and Russia in 1963? Well, it wasn’t likely, as then the United States was as far as it could be, From Russia With Love. James Bond at his best! Join Dan and Tom as they search for the love in From Russia With Love! This is Part 2 of a 2 Part show on From Russia With Love.

From Russia with Love is the second EON Productions entry into the film series and it is an outstanding film. Many choose From Russia with Love as one of their favorite James Bond movies, and we have to agree – this is definitely one of our top 5 Bond films ever made by EON Productions because of the screenplay, the cast, and just how well the story unfolds before our eyes. This is a top-notch Bond!

In today’s podcast, Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato will take an in-depth look at this movie.  They’ll discuss how many of the things that come out in this movie set the stage for later films in the franchise.  They’ll also look at how real-world events and scenes from earlier movies may have influenced From Russia with Love.

This is Part 2 of a 2 Part show on From Russia with Love.

Related Content

From Russia With Love

How would you feel about a love affair between the US and Russia in 1963? Well, it wasn’t likely, as then the United States was as far as it could be, From Russia With Love.

Join us now as we search for the love in From Russia With Love!

5th Ian Fleming James Bond 007 novel (1957), 2nd EON Productions James Bond 007 film (1963). When Ian Fleming wrote the novel, the Soviet Union had not yet launched Sputnik, the first satellite ever put into space. But by October 4th, 1957, Sputnik was successfully launched which began the official space race between the then Soviet Union and the United States – so the subject matter of the film was very much on everyone’s mind worldwide – what will happen in space, and what will tensions between the US and the Soviet Union bring to the world.   Another great choice by EON Productions to produce this film in 1963. Any advantage one super-power could gain on the other would be a strategic plus for that country.

The movie is all about James Bond heading to Istanbul to attempt to retrieve the Lektor, the top-secret Russian decoding machine.

Actors:

From Russia with Love is the second EON Productions entry into the film series and it is an outstanding film. Many choose From Russia With Love as one of their favorite James Bond movies, and we have to agree – this is definitely is one of our top 5 Bond films ever made by EON Productions because of the screenplay, the cast, and just how well the story unfolds before our eyes. This is top-notch Bond!

Here is as 2 minute plus a trailer to whet your appetite for the film, and to refresh your memory as to the tremendous number of great action shots and theatrical shots that we will see in many more spy movies to come throughout the next 5 plus decades.

The exotic locations, the tremendous explosions, the intrigue, the beauty of the photography and sets – all rolled up into one great film! The clip is fast-paced, as are many parts of the film. This is one of the best spy movies ever! The villains are true villains, from Red Grant, Kronsteen, to Rosa Klebb – and of course, Blofeld – who has people obeying orders in fear of death.

https://youtu.be/VqAOf66o1Wg

Pre-Title Sequence
In one of the most intriguing pre-title sequences, the mood is dark, the setting is dark, and we see Bond pursued by an agent (SPECTRE).

Pre-Title Sequence in a setting we are not familiar with and with a very perplexed and worried look upon James Bond’s face – he really does not look confident, which makes us viewers nervous.   He has a gun in hand, as he walks cautiously around these dark grounds with statuary and foliage – lot s of hiding places. Until, from behind, Bond is strangled to death.   For 1 minute and 52 seconds, he was pursued and killed.   Bond, dead. But wait… .ala Mission: Impossible’s use of masks, the mask is lifted off of Bond to reveal that it was really someone else. Note that the Mission: Impossible television series does not start until 3 years after the filming of From Russia With Love, so here, the film could have possibly influenced one of the major components of Mission: Impossible television series, and later the films! Of course, The List of Adrian Messenger was released in June 1963 and was the first we know of to heavily use make-up and facial masks as disguises, which are peeled off at the end of the film. So perhaps, From Russia With Love was influenced by The List of Adrian Messenger (not a spy movie per se) and then later influences the spy television series, Mission: Impossible and the subsequent films.

There is a great article written about some of this by Jeremy Dunns, April 14, 2015. Read it!

John F. Kennedy was President of the US then, and Ian Fleming actually met President Kennedy.   Kennedy was quoted as saying that From Russia With Love was one of his 10 favorite books.   The Fleming novels took off in sales after that.   Of course, later in 1963-1964, the film was released, but President Kennedy had been assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.

The subject matter of the film, obtaining a Soviet Lektor (which is an encoding device to protect communications – much like the Enigma machine in WW-II) which was stolen by SPECTRE, giving the West an advantage over the Soviets, was very much in vogue at the time. In the film, Russia is very much aware of James Bond already, and the pre-title sequence demonstrates how they are training to be able to kill Bond.   So, the tension of the film is established immediately.

SPECTRE Briefing

In this clip, we get a glimpse into the existence of SPECTRE and how SPECTRE works its evil plans.   We even see here a reference to Dr. No – and that by stealing the Lektor from the Russians, and setting up the plan for the Russian girl to theoretically defect and provide the Lector to the British, MI6 will most certainly send Bond, and then SPECTRE can exact their revenge on Bond for the death of Dr. No. So, we see for the first time a reference to a previous Bond movie – we will see others in future Bond movies. Here you see, Number One, stroking a white cat, but you never see his face.   Kronsteen in Number 2 and Rosa Klebb Number 3. High-level planning to get the Lector and kill Bond too.

The attention to detail for the sets continues EON Productions meticulous execution of fabulous sets, many built at Pinewood Studios outside London, and of course many scenes filmed on location – which SpyMovieNavigator is focused on with our videos.

Tatiana and Klebb (Head of Operations for SMERSH) Have A Meeting

Here we see the behind the scenes plan for getting the Lektor.   Tatiana Romanov works for Russia, and she thinks Klebb is still head of operations for the Russians (SMERSH). This set is in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and you can still find this very building (an inn) that was used to shoot this scene.   Again, a great set, nice lighting, a believable meeting. The set details make the movie most believable, and the locations feel very real. This scene sets up the rest of the movie, with two characters here who will appear at the very end of the movie as well. The atmosphere really shows at this moment, Tatiana is not in control, and the cat walking past her ads to the intrigue and dark atmosphere, as does the creaking door, all while Shaw watches her enter. Colonel Klebb, with a threatening baton/whip in hand, demonstrates that she is in complete control, and reinforces that with, after Tatiana says about making love to Bond, ”And if I refuse?” Klebb sternly rebukes, “Then you will not leave this room alive.” Note, when Klebb places her hand on Tatiana’s knee to wrestle complete control of the situation, Tatiana is very uncomfortable and shifts her legs. Klebb may have same-sex tendencies, and others have written at length about this. We think this scene might have been filmed in Istanbul as well, and we are investigating.   The exterior of the building it is said was Istanbul.

A Smart Looking Piece of Luggage: Briefcase

As Bond is called into M’s office to get the details of his assignment to Istanbul to recover the Lector, we see Q Branch, the quartermaster (Boothroyd), for the first time, played by Desmond Llewelyn. This first scene with Q is one of my favorite scenes in any Bond movie because you just have to love Q! I have loved Q played by Llewelyn from this moment forward, and enjoy every moment he is in a scene.   He is a special character and here we see him for the first time. Bravo, Desmond!

And Q does give Bond a rather smart piece of luggage, which, of course, will come in very handy.  From here on out, Q is very much in tune with what field agents might need!

https://youtu.be/Vu4yHOssCJA

Bond Lands in Istanbul
https://youtu.be/ahf_ceRT2EU

After leaving M’s office, knowing that he is Instanbul-bound, he signs the photograph that M wants back and gives it to Miss Moneypenny with the inscription, “With Love” to which Bond adds above it, “From Russia!”   Notice Moneypenny’s face – looking longingly at Bond. All the Connery movies have these playful interactions between the two. This is a very tightly written scene, reinforcing the rendezvous with Tatiana Romanov, the mission to get the Russian Lektor, and the title of the movie. Brilliant piece of writing here to get the viewer absolutely hooked, and one of the many reasons, From Russia With Love is a fan favorite.

At the airport in Istanbul, we are again left with unknows as there is a suspicious man following him out of the airport (the Bulgarian) and another in a car observing Bond. We will grow to know both of their roles very precisely soon. And, as in Dr. No, a driver is sent for him, but this time, through validation through a spoken code, it is an ally, not an adversary.

Bond makes it to the hotel safely, but tailed, and checks into Room 32.   He quickly searches for bugs and finds one behind a painting.   As if one bug is not enough, he keeps looking for more – in the chandelier and then checks the phone with an electronic device.   Of course, he will switch rooms.   This scene shows again the mystery of who is following him, and the thoroughness that 007 exhibits in the execution of his duties. Between Dr. No, and From Russia With love, we are beginning to learn who James Bond is: A tough assassin in Dr. No and a thorough, untrusting agent in From Russia With Love. 

James Bond and Karim at Cistern

Bond heads to Istanbul to meet Karin Bey the MI6 agent in Instanbul, and to talk about meeting Tatiana Romanov (who thinks she is working for Russia under Klebb who has defected to SPECTRE) who can get the Lektor. After a bomb goes off in Bey’s office, and he is wondering why the Russians are acting like this, Bond tells him maybe it is because he is here. Then SPECTRE will steal the Lektor and sell it. Here, Karim Bey takes Bond beneath his offices and to the underground cistern where he uses a periscope to spy on the Russian embassy.

This location is actually near the Aya Sofia Mosque. There is an entrance fee, but when you enter, you walk down the steps that Bond and Karim walk down in this scene.   Very cool!

The Gypsy Camp

Bey uses the gypsies for information. This has caused tension with the rival gypsy groups.   This is a beautiful scene on a beautiful evening, with belly dancing, and even a serious fight between two gypsy women . We quickly see that Krilencu is involved here as well, and it is also clear that Klebb’s assassin is nearby too, though Bey took precautions not to be followed.   The assassin is at this point protecting Bond because he needs Bond to get the lector first. Bey is wounded in the arm.

Krilencu was trying to kill Bey. So, next Bey and Bond head to where Bey knows Krilencu lives. Bey feels he better kill Krilencu before Krilencu gets another chance to kill Bey.   So, Bond, with his trusty Ar-7 briefcase rifle, heads to the known living location of Krilencu.

https://youtu.be/xsL7T32XG3M

Krilencu Hideout

https://youtu.be/iSUR050VECM

Here Bond and Bey take care of Krilencu so there is no other chance Krilencu will get Bey.   Bey’s sons are security police, in on the attack.   This is a touching scene, and you see how close Bond and Bey are – almost like a Felix Leiter kind of closeness.   It also highlights how much Bond and MI6 agents in the field are assassins.   This is a clear-cut assassination – shooting an unarmed nemesis as he escapes.   A perfect set-up.

 It’s the Right Size

https://youtu.be/jaA7_aOD2ig

When Bond gets a new suite at the hotel because of the bugged suite, he returns to it to find Tatiana Romanov in his bed.   This is the first time they meet when she says to him that she thinks her mouth is too big, and Bond says, “it’s the right size . . . for me that is.”   Again, we see Bond is flirtatious with women, and even while kissing her, he is asking her about the Lektor, where it is, and how she can draw a map of the consulate. It is obvious they will sleep together from the dialogue, and Tania (her friends call her that) looks fabulous and inviting – Daniella Bianchi is perfect for Tania.   We also discover that behind the mirrors, they are being filmed – part of a plan to do away with them both later in the film.

Red Grant Kills Foreign Agent

https://youtu.be/C96t9J5c6TU

Tania obviously got the plan of the consulate and will leave it at the Aya Sofia as Bond had suggested. The Blue Mosque is seen in the background as Tania approaches Aya Sofia. We see more intrigue here- nothing goes quite that simple in a Bond movie. You will see some familiar faces we saw at the airport when Bond landed in Istanbul. Remember, Tania is leaving the plan for the Consulate in a small container for Bond. But one of the guys we saw at the airport, is tracing her and goes to retrieve it before Bond.   But he is killed by the other man we saw at the airport following Bond – later identifying himself as Red Grant.   But he does not take the compact container – why not?

Remember, this is a complex plan – Tania thinks she is working for the Russians, and Klebb and Shaw have other plans. They want Bond to get the plan. And this all comes out in this scene. And you can still visit Aya Sofia and it is exactly the same as it was in the movie!

 Ferry Boat Encounter

https://youtu.be/S9yL6DAWYIg

Ferry Boat Encounter – In this clip, Bond is clandestinely meeting with Tatiana Romanova on a ferry boat in Istanbul, on the Bosphorus.    Here, he has a camera gadget that conceals a tape recorder and pretends to be taking pictures of Tatiana.   But in reality, he is recording her describing the physical attributes of the LEKTOR, the Russian decoding machine.

Bond is calm, cool, and very directive – completely in control of the encounter.  Watch his face, listen to the well-written dialogue.  He is in command.

She also describes where it is kept in the consulate, when it is used, and so on.  Clearly, Tatiana is starting to fall for Bond. We will see, of course, in many more Bond films, and certainly in other spy movies along the way – where the spy wins over a key ally in a woman.  This has happened in spy movies since the first one, The 39 Steps in 1935.

So check out the beautiful scenery, the Ferry Boat Encounter, as Bond advances the opportunity to get the LEKTOR.  We must call-out Daniela Bianchi, who is stunning as Tatiana, both in beauty and in her role.  She is voiced by British actress, Barbara Jefford.  Bianchi, an Italian actress, was 1st runner-up in the Miss Universe contest of 1960.  She steals lots of scenes in our opinion and was perfectly cast.

As a way to see Istanbul, this  Bosphorus River Ferry is a very good way to do it according to many who have traveled to Istanbul.

Russian Clocks are Always Right – Escape with the Lektor

https://youtu.be/EsAXWF9wDd0

The Lektor is the reason Bond is in Istanbul, and here he receives clearance from M to proceed with the mission.   Note Bond tells Kerim Bay that they will execute the plan for getting the Lektor out of the Russian Embassy on the 14th after Bey asks the 13th? Bey is to explode a bomb at 3 PM, and here Bond asks if the clock is correct as he checks his watch as well.   The gates when Bond walks through to access the Russian Embassy are still around, but not near the other filming locations. When the bomb goes off, chaos ensues, and Bond gets into the room where Tania has the Lektor, with team gas in the air, mask on Bond, and she says that she thought it was going to be the 14th but today is the 13th.   The question is why did Bond tell Karim in his office that it would be the 14th, but then they executed it on the 13th?   Perhaps they were being cautious in case anyone overheard, but it is not absolutely clear in the clip.

Train Fight
https://youtu.be/WmTs5bF0-mQ

One of the greatest train fights in all cinema, this one is brutal, painful, and dangerous. In 1935, in The 39 Steps, we see a train chase in a spy movie pretty much for the first time.   From Russia With Love takes this to new heights, which will impact many future spy movies – with tremendous train fights and chases like Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy, Mission Impossible (1996), SPECTRE, Bourne Ultimatum (2007), and others. This is one of the best train fights of all time.

The acting is superb by both Robert Shaw and Connery.   Shaw, as Grant, is tremendous, and you see the vulnerability of Bond clearly and also how Q’s gadgets can save the day when used properly.

This train fight is a tremendous scene and a turning point in From Russia With Love. Remember, in the pre-title sequence, Shaw was training to kill Bond, and his plan has worked flawlessly to this point.   But, when Bond gets the better of the ole boy, the tide turns. Grant is dead, not Bond.

SpyMovieNavigator has a signed Sean Connery photo of him in the train car.   Very cool.

Truck vs. Helicopter

https://youtu.be/4oD3vvgb3vk

In what will become a staple item in future spy movie films, this helicopter chase scene sets the stage for the rest of From Russia With Love, and for many spy movies to come.   The first helicopter searching for a “spy” is in The 39 Steps from 1935, a Hitchcock produced movie. It appears only for a few seconds, but it is the beginning of the use of this vehicle in pursuits throughout dozens of movies, and spy films for sure.   Many Bond movies, Mission: Impossible movies and more of the best of the rest.

This scene again shows how in tune Q is in what gadgets Bond might need for a mission, as his smart looking piece of luggage with the AR-7 comes in very handy once again.

SpyMovieNavigator was actually in Scotland looking for Bond locations, and we tried to find the rock that Bond was hiding under when he shot down the helicopter and we could not find it!   We were close to the location and should have been able to find it, but we could not.

 Death of Kronsteen

https://youtu.be/v7cEnaXU8Ec?t=4

We know very little about SPECTRE at this point, but this scene highlights how brutal and unforgiving SPECTRE is, and we get a glimpse of # 1, albeit from shoulders down, as he is stroking a white cat, as we flashback to the cat that walked by Tania as she was on her way to meet Klebb for the first time.   SPECTRE wants the Lektor as they have made arrangements with the Russians to return it to them, for a price. The atmosphere this scene creates is one of terror – terror for # 3 and # 5, but terror and tremendous tension for the viewing audience, as we realize the SPECTRE will stop at nothing, does not tolerate failure, and, as Blofeld says, SPECTRE always delivers what it promises.

Here we see for the first time, the poison blade that pops out of the shoe of the assassin here, as he kicks # 5 with it. How long does it take for Kronsteen to die? 12 seconds and # 1 is not happy that it takes that long.   Bond is up again an evil organization!

Klebb’s Final Assault
https://youtu.be/-SXbmeFCnTM

Just when you think it’s safe…Klebb shows up once again, in Venice, as Bond and Tania are ready to depart.   The thing to note here is that Klebb now has the poison shoe bald device that killed # 5 in SPECTRE # 1’s office. Here, she is willing to use it to kill Bond and retrieve the Lektor.   Here in the film, Bond escapes the poison blade, and Tania – who Klebb still thinks is on her side, foils Klebb’s plans to kill Bond.   Here in the film, Bond escapes without injury, though in the novel by Ian Fleming, Bond is punctured by the poison blade, and his fate is unknown.

In the film, as below, Klebb’s attempts to kill Bond with the poison shoe blade and with a pistol are foiled by Tania as she shoots Klebb.   Twice Tania reassures Bond that she knows nothing about Klebb being there, by shaking her head left and right while looking directly at Bond – twice – to show Bond her loyalty is to him.   We all feel relief that Tania is on the “good” side, and Klebb, evil incarnate – is finally dead. As in many Bond films, you never know when it’s over – but now, the danger is over at least!

Escape to Venice
After the helicopter chase scene in which Bond and Tatiana escape, they force the driver to take them to the dock where Red Grant was supposed to meet them and escape.   This scene was actually shot in Scotland, and SpyMovieNavigator has visited the dock location.

We could not find a clip of the pick-up truck arriving at the dock, but in our videos below this is what the dock and the bluffs look like now. In the movie, the pier is in great shape as the yellow truck drives onto the pier and stops at the end.   Then, Bond, Tatiana, and the truck driver board the escape boat on their way to Venice, Italy (this was supposed to be taking place in Turkey, but this scene was shot in Scotland)!.   The dock today is a bit dilapidated, and if you are watching this online, you can see that.   But we found the actual dock in Scotland, and this is the place where the final escape with the Lektor takes place, and the ensuing chase by the SPECTRE boats.   A very key location in the movie.   In our video, you can also see where. In the distance, the chase scene begins, as the bluffs and hills are pretty much the same.

You will see the bluffs and water that appear in our video above in the boat chase scene which appears in the film, below.   Very cool to be there, and Scotland is a beautiful country!

Venice – Canal Scene Ends the Movie

https://youtu.be/-Slk80uIzBg?t=6

The boat scene in Venice, when Tania and Bond are now relaxing with the mission complete, the establishing shots are of the Doge Place, the Bridge of Sighs, the Venice canals. It looks like green-screen stuff with eh actors super-imposed against the background. One of the things see here in the background, is the Bridge of Sighs – for a short time behind Bond and Tania.   The Bridge of Sighs, in olden times, was the bridge prisoners would cross over from the courtyard where they were sentenced to death or to prison and maybe even to the execution area – so they knew they would never cross that bridge again or see the beautiful view of Venice they could see through the bridges barred windows. Hence, the sighs.   Here, in From Russia With Love, there could be a couple of meanings: 1) That Bond and Tania are now beyond the danger zone – they passed under the Bridge of Sighs and the mission is accomplished; they are out of danger; 2) or, it can be a sexual symbol – Bond is reviewing the film of he and Tania making love in the bridal suite (that Tania did not know about as you recall) – and Grant was going to use this film as the reason Tania and Bond were dead – one was going to use it as blackmail against the other, then murder and suicide. So, the film had enough sexual content to be potent.   Bond is looking at it now and Tania asks what it is, and Bond just says that he will show her all as they pass from canal to canal – to the Grand Canal., which can be taken as metaphors or symbols.   It is a pleasant moment for the two of them, as they wrap up their mission, and their passion.   And they are now in the safety zone! And Daniella Bianchi as Tania was just perfect casting – she is stunning! Tell us what you think!


More Episodes

BONDage in Space – Tying Up the Gadgets in Moonraker!

Blast off with Tom, Dan, Vicky and Joe Pappalardo as we dismantle the gadgets in Moonraker!

James Bond’s OCTOPUSSY Pre-Title Sequence Decoded!

Join Dan, Tom and Vicky as they decode and take apart the pre-title sequence of Octopussy!

From Russia With Love: The United States was far From Russia With Love in 1963 – Part One

How would you feel about a love affair between the US and Russia in 1963? Well, it wasn’t likely, as then the United States was as far as it could be, From Russia With Love. Join James Bond at his…

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

From Russia With Love: The United States was far From Russia With Love in 1963 – Part One

Podcast Episode

From Russia With Love: The United States was far From Russia With Love in 1963 – Part One

How would you feel about a love affair between the US and Russia in 1963? Well, it wasn’t likely, as then the United States was as far as it could be, From Russia With Love. Join James Bond at his best! Join Dan and Tom as they search for the love in From Russia With Love!

From Russia with Love is the second EON Productions entry into the James Bond film series and it is an outstanding film. Many choose From Russia with Love as one of their favorite James Bond movies, and we have to agree – this is definitely one of our top 5 Bond films ever made by EON Productions because of the screenplay, the cast, and just how well the story unfolds before our eyes. This is a top-notch Bond! This is Part 1 of a 2 Part show on From Russia with Love.

In today’s podcast, Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato will take an in-depth look at this movie.  They’ll discuss how many of the things that come out in this movie set the stage for later films in the franchise.  They’ll also look at how real-world events and scenes from earlier movies may have influenced From Russia with Love.

Related Content

From Russia With Love

How would you feel about a love affair between the US and Russia in 1963? Well, it wasn’t likely, as then the United States was as far as it could be, From Russia With Love.

Join us now as we search for the love in From Russia With Love!

5th Ian Fleming James Bond 007 novel (1957), 2nd EON Productions James Bond 007 film (1963). When Ian Fleming wrote the novel, the Soviet Union had not yet launched Sputnik, the first satellite ever put into space. But by October 4th, 1957, Sputnik was successfully launched which began the official space race between the then Soviet Union and the United States – so the subject matter of the film was very much on everyone’s mind worldwide – what will happen in space, and what will tensions between the US and the Soviet Union bring to the world.   Another great choice by EON Productions to produce this film in 1963. Any advantage one super-power could gain on the other would be a strategic plus for that country.

The movie is all about James Bond heading to Istanbul to attempt to retrieve the Lektor, the top-secret Russian decoding machine.

Actors:

From Russia with Love is the second EON Productions entry into the film series and it is an outstanding film. Many choose From Russia With Love as one of their favorite James Bond movies, and we have to agree – this is definitely is one of our top 5 Bond films ever made by EON Productions because of the screenplay, the cast, and just how well the story unfolds before our eyes. This is top-notch Bond!

Here is as 2 minute plus a trailer to whet your appetite for the film, and to refresh your memory as to the tremendous number of great action shots and theatrical shots that we will see in many more spy movies to come throughout the next 5 plus decades.

The exotic locations, the tremendous explosions, the intrigue, the beauty of the photography and sets – all rolled up into one great film! The clip is fast-paced, as are many parts of the film. This is one of the best spy movies ever! The villains are true villains, from Red Grant, Kronsteen, to Rosa Klebb – and of course, Blofeld – who has people obeying orders in fear of death.

https://youtu.be/VqAOf66o1Wg

Pre-Title Sequence
In one of the most intriguing pre-title sequences, the mood is dark, the setting is dark, and we see Bond pursued by an agent (SPECTRE).

Pre-Title Sequence in a setting we are not familiar with and with a very perplexed and worried look upon James Bond’s face – he really does not look confident, which makes us viewers nervous.   He has a gun in hand, as he walks cautiously around these dark grounds with statuary and foliage – lot s of hiding places. Until, from behind, Bond is strangled to death.   For 1 minute and 52 seconds, he was pursued and killed.   Bond, dead. But wait… .ala Mission: Impossible’s use of masks, the mask is lifted off of Bond to reveal that it was really someone else. Note that the Mission: Impossible television series does not start until 3 years after the filming of From Russia With Love, so here, the film could have possibly influenced one of the major components of Mission: Impossible television series, and later the films! Of course, The List of Adrian Messenger was released in June 1963 and was the first we know of to heavily use make-up and facial masks as disguises, which are peeled off at the end of the film. So perhaps, From Russia With Love was influenced by The List of Adrian Messenger (not a spy movie per se) and then later influences the spy television series, Mission: Impossible and the subsequent films.

There is a great article written about some of this by Jeremy Dunns, April 14, 2015. Read it!

John F. Kennedy was President of the US then, and Ian Fleming actually met President Kennedy.   Kennedy was quoted as saying that From Russia With Love was one of his 10 favorite books.   The Fleming novels took off in sales after that.   Of course, later in 1963-1964, the film was released, but President Kennedy had been assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.

The subject matter of the film, obtaining a Soviet Lektor (which is an encoding device to protect communications – much like the Enigma machine in WW-II) which was stolen by SPECTRE, giving the West an advantage over the Soviets, was very much in vogue at the time. In the film, Russia is very much aware of James Bond already, and the pre-title sequence demonstrates how they are training to be able to kill Bond.   So, the tension of the film is established immediately.

SPECTRE Briefing

In this clip, we get a glimpse into the existence of SPECTRE and how SPECTRE works its evil plans.   We even see here a reference to Dr. No – and that by stealing the Lektor from the Russians, and setting up the plan for the Russian girl to theoretically defect and provide the Lector to the British, MI6 will most certainly send Bond, and then SPECTRE can exact their revenge on Bond for the death of Dr. No. So, we see for the first time a reference to a previous Bond movie – we will see others in future Bond movies. Here you see, Number One, stroking a white cat, but you never see his face.   Kronsteen in Number 2 and Rosa Klebb Number 3. High-level planning to get the Lector and kill Bond too.

The attention to detail for the sets continues EON Productions meticulous execution of fabulous sets, many built at Pinewood Studios outside London, and of course many scenes filmed on location – which SpyMovieNavigator is focused on with our videos.

Tatiana and Klebb (Head of Operations for SMERSH) Have A Meeting

Here we see the behind the scenes plan for getting the Lektor.   Tatiana Romanov works for Russia, and she thinks Klebb is still head of operations for the Russians (SMERSH). This set is in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and you can still find this very building (an inn) that was used to shoot this scene.   Again, a great set, nice lighting, a believable meeting. The set details make the movie most believable, and the locations feel very real. This scene sets up the rest of the movie, with two characters here who will appear at the very end of the movie as well. The atmosphere really shows at this moment, Tatiana is not in control, and the cat walking past her ads to the intrigue and dark atmosphere, as does the creaking door, all while Shaw watches her enter. Colonel Klebb, with a threatening baton/whip in hand, demonstrates that she is in complete control, and reinforces that with, after Tatiana says about making love to Bond, ”And if I refuse?” Klebb sternly rebukes, “Then you will not leave this room alive.” Note, when Klebb places her hand on Tatiana’s knee to wrestle complete control of the situation, Tatiana is very uncomfortable and shifts her legs. Klebb may have same-sex tendencies, and others have written at length about this. We think this scene might have been filmed in Istanbul as well, and we are investigating.   The exterior of the building it is said was Istanbul.

A Smart Looking Piece of Luggage: Briefcase

As Bond is called into M’s office to get the details of his assignment to Istanbul to recover the Lector, we see Q Branch, the quartermaster (Boothroyd), for the first time, played by Desmond Llewelyn. This first scene with Q is one of my favorite scenes in any Bond movie because you just have to love Q! I have loved Q played by Llewelyn from this moment forward, and enjoy every moment he is in a scene.   He is a special character and here we see him for the first time. Bravo, Desmond!

And Q does give Bond a rather smart piece of luggage, which, of course, will come in very handy.  From here on out, Q is very much in tune with what field agents might need!

https://youtu.be/Vu4yHOssCJA

Bond Lands in Istanbul
https://youtu.be/ahf_ceRT2EU

After leaving M’s office, knowing that he is Instanbul-bound, he signs the photograph that M wants back and gives it to Miss Moneypenny with the inscription, “With Love” to which Bond adds above it, “From Russia!”   Notice Moneypenny’s face – looking longingly at Bond. All the Connery movies have these playful interactions between the two. This is a very tightly written scene, reinforcing the rendezvous with Tatiana Romanov, the mission to get the Russian Lektor, and the title of the movie. Brilliant piece of writing here to get the viewer absolutely hooked, and one of the many reasons, From Russia With Love is a fan favorite.

At the airport in Istanbul, we are again left with unknows as there is a suspicious man following him out of the airport (the Bulgarian) and another in a car observing Bond. We will grow to know both of their roles very precisely soon. And, as in Dr. No, a driver is sent for him, but this time, through validation through a spoken code, it is an ally, not an adversary.

Bond makes it to the hotel safely, but tailed, and checks into Room 32.   He quickly searches for bugs and finds one behind a painting.   As if one bug is not enough, he keeps looking for more – in the chandelier and then checks the phone with an electronic device.   Of course, he will switch rooms.   This scene shows again the mystery of who is following him, and the thoroughness that 007 exhibits in the execution of his duties. Between Dr. No, and From Russia With love, we are beginning to learn who James Bond is: A tough assassin in Dr. No and a thorough, untrusting agent in From Russia With Love. 

James Bond and Karim at Cistern

Bond heads to Istanbul to meet Karin Bey the MI6 agent in Instanbul, and to talk about meeting Tatiana Romanov (who thinks she is working for Russia under Klebb who has defected to SPECTRE) who can get the Lektor. After a bomb goes off in Bey’s office, and he is wondering why the Russians are acting like this, Bond tells him maybe it is because he is here. Then SPECTRE will steal the Lektor and sell it. Here, Karim Bey takes Bond beneath his offices and to the underground cistern where he uses a periscope to spy on the Russian embassy.

This location is actually near the Aya Sofia Mosque. There is an entrance fee, but when you enter, you walk down the steps that Bond and Karim walk down in this scene.   Very cool!

The Gypsy Camp

Bey uses the gypsies for information. This has caused tension with the rival gypsy groups.   This is a beautiful scene on a beautiful evening, with belly dancing, and even a serious fight between two gypsy women . We quickly see that Krilencu is involved here as well, and it is also clear that Klebb’s assassin is nearby too, though Bey took precautions not to be followed.   The assassin is at this point protecting Bond because he needs Bond to get the lector first. Bey is wounded in the arm.

Krilencu was trying to kill Bey. So, next Bey and Bond head to where Bey knows Krilencu lives. Bey feels he better kill Krilencu before Krilencu gets another chance to kill Bey.   So, Bond, with his trusty Ar-7 briefcase rifle, heads to the known living location of Krilencu.

https://youtu.be/xsL7T32XG3M

Krilencu Hideout

https://youtu.be/iSUR050VECM

Here Bond and Bey take care of Krilencu so there is no other chance Krilencu will get Bey.   Bey’s sons are security police, in on the attack.   This is a touching scene, and you see how close Bond and Bey are – almost like a Felix Leiter kind of closeness.   It also highlights how much Bond and MI6 agents in the field are assassins.   This is a clear-cut assassination – shooting an unarmed nemesis as he escapes.   A perfect set-up.

 It’s the Right Size

https://youtu.be/jaA7_aOD2ig

When Bond gets a new suite at the hotel because of the bugged suite, he returns to it to find Tatiana Romanov in his bed.   This is the first time they meet when she says to him that she thinks her mouth is too big, and Bond says, “it’s the right size . . . for me that is.”   Again, we see Bond is flirtatious with women, and even while kissing her, he is asking her about the Lektor, where it is, and how she can draw a map of the consulate. It is obvious they will sleep together from the dialogue, and Tania (her friends call her that) looks fabulous and inviting – Daniella Bianchi is perfect for Tania.   We also discover that behind the mirrors, they are being filmed – part of a plan to do away with them both later in the film.

Red Grant Kills Foreign Agent

https://youtu.be/C96t9J5c6TU

Tania obviously got the plan of the consulate and will leave it at the Aya Sofia as Bond had suggested. The Blue Mosque is seen in the background as Tania approaches Aya Sofia. We see more intrigue here- nothing goes quite that simple in a Bond movie. You will see some familiar faces we saw at the airport when Bond landed in Istanbul. Remember, Tania is leaving the plan for the Consulate in a small container for Bond. But one of the guys we saw at the airport, is tracing her and goes to retrieve it before Bond.   But he is killed by the other man we saw at the airport following Bond – later identifying himself as Red Grant.   But he does not take the compact container – why not?

Remember, this is a complex plan – Tania thinks she is working for the Russians, and Klebb and Shaw have other plans. They want Bond to get the plan. And this all comes out in this scene. And you can still visit Aya Sofia and it is exactly the same as it was in the movie!

 Ferry Boat Encounter

https://youtu.be/S9yL6DAWYIg

Ferry Boat Encounter – In this clip, Bond is clandestinely meeting with Tatiana Romanova on a ferry boat in Istanbul, on the Bosphorus.    Here, he has a camera gadget that conceals a tape recorder and pretends to be taking pictures of Tatiana.   But in reality, he is recording her describing the physical attributes of the LEKTOR, the Russian decoding machine.

Bond is calm, cool, and very directive – completely in control of the encounter.  Watch his face, listen to the well-written dialogue.  He is in command.

She also describes where it is kept in the consulate, when it is used, and so on.  Clearly, Tatiana is starting to fall for Bond. We will see, of course, in many more Bond films, and certainly in other spy movies along the way – where the spy wins over a key ally in a woman.  This has happened in spy movies since the first one, The 39 Steps in 1935.

So check out the beautiful scenery, the Ferry Boat Encounter, as Bond advances the opportunity to get the LEKTOR.  We must call-out Daniela Bianchi, who is stunning as Tatiana, both in beauty and in her role.  She is voiced by British actress, Barbara Jefford.  Bianchi, an Italian actress, was 1st runner-up in the Miss Universe contest of 1960.  She steals lots of scenes in our opinion and was perfectly cast.

As a way to see Istanbul, this  Bosphorus River Ferry is a very good way to do it according to many who have traveled to Istanbul.

Russian Clocks are Always Right – Escape with the Lektor

https://youtu.be/EsAXWF9wDd0

The Lektor is the reason Bond is in Istanbul, and here he receives clearance from M to proceed with the mission.   Note Bond tells Kerim Bay that they will execute the plan for getting the Lektor out of the Russian Embassy on the 14th after Bey asks the 13th? Bey is to explode a bomb at 3 PM, and here Bond asks if the clock is correct as he checks his watch as well.   The gates when Bond walks through to access the Russian Embassy are still around, but not near the other filming locations. When the bomb goes off, chaos ensues, and Bond gets into the room where Tania has the Lektor, with team gas in the air, mask on Bond, and she says that she thought it was going to be the 14th but today is the 13th.   The question is why did Bond tell Karim in his office that it would be the 14th, but then they executed it on the 13th?   Perhaps they were being cautious in case anyone overheard, but it is not absolutely clear in the clip.

Train Fight
https://youtu.be/WmTs5bF0-mQ

One of the greatest train fights in all cinema, this one is brutal, painful, and dangerous. In 1935, in The 39 Steps, we see a train chase in a spy movie pretty much for the first time.   From Russia With Love takes this to new heights, which will impact many future spy movies – with tremendous train fights and chases like Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy, Mission Impossible (1996), SPECTRE, Bourne Ultimatum (2007), and others. This is one of the best train fights of all time.

The acting is superb by both Robert Shaw and Connery.   Shaw, as Grant, is tremendous, and you see the vulnerability of Bond clearly and also how Q’s gadgets can save the day when used properly.

This train fight is a tremendous scene and a turning point in From Russia With Love. Remember, in the pre-title sequence, Shaw was training to kill Bond, and his plan has worked flawlessly to this point.   But, when Bond gets the better of the ole boy, the tide turns. Grant is dead, not Bond.

SpyMovieNavigator has a signed Sean Connery photo of him in the train car.   Very cool.

Truck vs. Helicopter

https://youtu.be/4oD3vvgb3vk

In what will become a staple item in future spy movie films, this helicopter chase scene sets the stage for the rest of From Russia With Love, and for many spy movies to come.   The first helicopter searching for a “spy” is in The 39 Steps from 1935, a Hitchcock produced movie. It appears only for a few seconds, but it is the beginning of the use of this vehicle in pursuits throughout dozens of movies, and spy films for sure.   Many Bond movies, Mission: Impossible movies and more of the best of the rest.

This scene again shows how in tune Q is in what gadgets Bond might need for a mission, as his smart looking piece of luggage with the AR-7 comes in very handy once again.

SpyMovieNavigator was actually in Scotland looking for Bond locations, and we tried to find the rock that Bond was hiding under when he shot down the helicopter and we could not find it!   We were close to the location and should have been able to find it, but we could not.

 Death of Kronsteen

https://youtu.be/v7cEnaXU8Ec?t=4

We know very little about SPECTRE at this point, but this scene highlights how brutal and unforgiving SPECTRE is, and we get a glimpse of # 1, albeit from shoulders down, as he is stroking a white cat, as we flashback to the cat that walked by Tania as she was on her way to meet Klebb for the first time.   SPECTRE wants the Lektor as they have made arrangements with the Russians to return it to them, for a price. The atmosphere this scene creates is one of terror – terror for # 3 and # 5, but terror and tremendous tension for the viewing audience, as we realize the SPECTRE will stop at nothing, does not tolerate failure, and, as Blofeld says, SPECTRE always delivers what it promises.

Here we see for the first time, the poison blade that pops out of the shoe of the assassin here, as he kicks # 5 with it. How long does it take for Kronsteen to die? 12 seconds and # 1 is not happy that it takes that long.   Bond is up again an evil organization!

Klebb’s Final Assault
https://youtu.be/-SXbmeFCnTM

Just when you think it’s safe…Klebb shows up once again, in Venice, as Bond and Tania are ready to depart.   The thing to note here is that Klebb now has the poison shoe bald device that killed # 5 in SPECTRE # 1’s office. Here, she is willing to use it to kill Bond and retrieve the Lektor.   Here in the film, Bond escapes the poison blade, and Tania – who Klebb still thinks is on her side, foils Klebb’s plans to kill Bond.   Here in the film, Bond escapes without injury, though in the novel by Ian Fleming, Bond is punctured by the poison blade, and his fate is unknown.

In the film, as below, Klebb’s attempts to kill Bond with the poison shoe blade and with a pistol are foiled by Tania as she shoots Klebb.   Twice Tania reassures Bond that she knows nothing about Klebb being there, by shaking her head left and right while looking directly at Bond – twice – to show Bond her loyalty is to him.   We all feel relief that Tania is on the “good” side, and Klebb, evil incarnate – is finally dead. As in many Bond films, you never know when it’s over – but now, the danger is over at least!

Escape to Venice
After the helicopter chase scene in which Bond and Tatiana escape, they force the driver to take them to the dock where Red Grant was supposed to meet them and escape.   This scene was actually shot in Scotland, and SpyMovieNavigator has visited the dock location.

We could not find a clip of the pick-up truck arriving at the dock, but in our videos below this is what the dock and the bluffs look like now. In the movie, the pier is in great shape as the yellow truck drives onto the pier and stops at the end.   Then, Bond, Tatiana, and the truck driver board the escape boat on their way to Venice, Italy (this was supposed to be taking place in Turkey, but this scene was shot in Scotland)!.   The dock today is a bit dilapidated, and if you are watching this online, you can see that.   But we found the actual dock in Scotland, and this is the place where the final escape with the Lektor takes place, and the ensuing chase by the SPECTRE boats.   A very key location in the movie.   In our video, you can also see where. In the distance, the chase scene begins, as the bluffs and hills are pretty much the same.

You will see the bluffs and water that appear in our video above in the boat chase scene which appears in the film, below.   Very cool to be there, and Scotland is a beautiful country!

Venice – Canal Scene Ends the Movie

https://youtu.be/-Slk80uIzBg?t=6

The boat scene in Venice, when Tania and Bond are now relaxing with the mission complete, the establishing shots are of the Doge Place, the Bridge of Sighs, the Venice canals. It looks like green-screen stuff with eh actors super-imposed against the background. One of the things see here in the background, is the Bridge of Sighs – for a short time behind Bond and Tania.   The Bridge of Sighs, in olden times, was the bridge prisoners would cross over from the courtyard where they were sentenced to death or to prison and maybe even to the execution area – so they knew they would never cross that bridge again or see the beautiful view of Venice they could see through the bridges barred windows. Hence, the sighs.   Here, in From Russia With Love, there could be a couple of meanings: 1) That Bond and Tania are now beyond the danger zone – they passed under the Bridge of Sighs and the mission is accomplished; they are out of danger; 2) or, it can be a sexual symbol – Bond is reviewing the film of he and Tania making love in the bridal suite (that Tania did not know about as you recall) – and Grant was going to use this film as the reason Tania and Bond were dead – one was going to use it as blackmail against the other, then murder and suicide. So, the film had enough sexual content to be potent.   Bond is looking at it now and Tania asks what it is, and Bond just says that he will show her all as they pass from canal to canal – to the Grand Canal., which can be taken as metaphors or symbols.   It is a pleasant moment for the two of them, as they wrap up their mission, and their passion.   And they are now in the safety zone! And Daniella Bianchi as Tania was just perfect casting – she is stunning! Tell us what you think!


More Episodes

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Pre-Title Sequence Decoded!

Join us as we venture into Scaramanga’s Funhouse in our decoding of the pre-title sequence to the 1974 James Bond movie, The Man With The Golden Gun.

Robert Davi Interview! Licence to Kill’s Franz Sanchez!

Join us for our Robert Davi Interview. Davi played Franz Sanchez, who is one of our favorite James Bond villains, in LICENCE TO KILL.

Spy Movies & Real-World Connections – Part 1

Have you ever thought about how events in the real world and other movies could affect and work their way into some of our favorite spy movies? Well, think about it a minute because that’s what we are going to…

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Pre-title Sequence

In one of the most intriguing pre-title sequences, the mood is dark, the setting is dark, and we see Bond pursued by an agent (SPECTRE).  Pre-Title Sequence in a setting we are not familiar with and with a very perplexed and worried look upon James Bond’s face. He really does not look confident, which makes us viewers nervous. He has a gun in hand, as he walks cautiously around these dark grounds with statuary and foliage – lots of hiding places. Until, from behind, Bond is strangled to death. For 1 minute and 52 seconds, he was pursued and killed. Bond, dead. But wait...ala Mission: Impossible’s use of masks, the mask is lifted off of Bond to reveal that it was really someone else.

Masks in Use

Note that the Mission: Impossible television series does not start until 3 years after the filming of From Russia With Love, so here, the film could have possibly influenced one of the major components of Mission: Impossible television series, and later the films! Of course, The List of Adrian Messenger was released in June 1963 and was the first we know of to heavily use make-up and facial masks as disguises, which are peeled off at the end of the film. So perhaps, From Russia With Love was influenced by  The List of Adrian Messenger (not a spy movie per se) and then later influences the spy television series, Mission: Impossible and the subsequent films. There is a great article written about some of this by Jeremy Dunns, April 14, 2015. Read it! "From Russia With Love" was Ian Fleming’s 5th James Bond 007 book, published in 1957, and the second EON Productions film about our master spy hero. Timely released in 1963 during the ramp-up of the space race between the US and Soviet Union -  the two giant and powerful countries were at each other’s throats.

Fleming Gets a Boost from the U.S. President

John F. Kennedy was President of the US then, and Ian Fleming actually met President Kennedy. Kennedy was quoted as saying that "From Russia With Love" was one of his 10 favorite books. The Fleming novels took off in sales after that in the US.  Of course, later in 1963-1964, the film was released, but President Kennedy had been assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. The subject matter of the film, obtaining a Soviet Lektor (which is an encoding device to protect communications – much like the Enigma machine in WW-II).   It was stolen by SPECTRE,.  But if obtained by Bond it would give the West an advantage over the Soviets.  This topic was very much in vogue at the time. In the film, Russia is very much aware of James Bond already, and the pre-title sequence demonstrates how they are training to be able to kill Bond. So the tension of the film is established immediately.

SPECTRE Briefing

SPECTRE Briefing In this clip, we get a further glimpse into the existence of SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), and how SPECTRE works its evil plans. We even see here a reference to Dr. No – and that by stealing the Lektor from the Russians, and setting up the plan for the Russian girl to theoretically defect and provide the Lektor to the British, MI6 will most certainly send Bond.  Then SPECTRE can exact their revenge on Bond for the death of Dr. No. So we see for the first time a reference to a previous Bond movie – we will see others in future Bond movies. Here you see, Number One, stroking a white cat, but you never see his face. Kronsteen is Number 2 and Rosa Kleb Number 3. High-level planning to get the Lektor and kill Bond too.  And we will see the SPECTRE cat in future Bond movies as well. Why a cat?  Cats do have this aura of independence, superiority, ability to survive on their own and surviving dangerous situations - after all, cats have nine lives.   So, maybe that is why cats play a role in films and stories - sometimes as docile animals, and sometimes as a symbol.  The fact that he is stroking a white cat is of note.  Black cats often have had the label of evil, something bad lurking nearby to get you - black cats and Halloween, for example. But here, it is a white cat.  Much like on the original Dr. No publicity poster, where Dr. No was in white, and Bond in a dark suit, here we see white associated with evil.   Even in "101 Dalmatians, " Cruella has a white cat.  The times they are a-changing. The attention to detail for the sets continues EON Productions meticulous execution of fabulous sets, many built at Pinewood Studios outside London, and of course many scenes filmed on location – which SpyMovieNavigator is focused on with our videos.  This SPECTRE briefing is a key scene.

Tatiana and Klebb (Head of Operations for SMERSH) Have A Meeting

Here we see the behind the scenes plan for getting the Lektor. Tatiana Romanov works for Russia, and she thinks Rosa Klebb is still head of operations for the Russians (SMERSH). This set is in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.  And you can still find this very building (an inn) that was used to shoot this scene. Again, a great set, nice lighting, a believable meeting. The set details make the movie most believable, and the locations feel very real. This scene sets up the rest of the movie, with two characters here who will appear at the very end of the movie as well.

Tatiana Approaches the Building to Meet Klebb

The atmosphere really oozes out at this moment.  Tatiana is approaching the door she must enter to meet Klebb.  Tatiana is not in control, and the cat walking past her ads to the intrigue and dark atmosphere.  So does the creaking door, and we see that Red Grant (the one who killed "Bond" in the pre-title sequence) watches her enter. Colonel Klebb, with a threatening crop/whip in hand, demonstrates that she is in complete control.  She reinforces that with, after Tatiana says about making love to Bond, ”And if I refuse?” Klebb sternly rebukes, “Then you will not leave this room alive.”  Klebb played brilliantly by Lotte Lenya, is a vision of evil.  She oozes evil. Note, when Klebb places her hand on Tatiana’s knee to wrestle complete control of the situation, Tatiana is very uncomfortable and shifts her legs.  There are theories that Klebb had lesbian tendencies.  This playful and unnecessary touch of the knee fuels the theories as well as her looking at Red Grant at the training camp strictly as a tool to accomplish her mission and nothing else. We think this scene might have been filmed in Istanbul as well, and we are investigating. The exterior of the building it is said was Istanbul.

A Smart Looking Piece of Luggage: Briefcase

A smart looking piece of luggage - Bond is called into M’s office to get the details of his assignment to Istanbul to recover the Lektor.   We see Q Branch, the quartermaster (Boothroyd), for the first time played by Desmond Llewelyn. In Dr. No, we saw Boothroyd replace Bond's Beretta with a Walther PPK.   This first scene with Q is one our my favorite scenes in any Bond movie because you just have to love Q! Admittedly, I  have loved Q played by Llewelyn from this moment forward, and enjoy every moment he is in a scene. He is a special character and here we see him for the first time. Bravo, Desmond!

Gadgets - The Beginning of a Long Trend in Spy Movies - A Smart Looking Piece of Luggage

It's M's office, which we are familiar with now, and it is comfortable.   But, this is where dangerous missions are assigned.  And here, Q is offering up for the first time in a Bond EON Production film, gadgets he can use.  Dr. No did not have many gadgets - a geiger counter was the big one.  Here we see an array of cool things, all in a single briefcase. As we discover, this briefcase is "standard issue" because we will see another MI6 agent with one later.  So, gadgets will define many, many spy movies to come, not just Bond movies, mostly because of this scene! And Q does give Bond a rather smart piece of luggage, which, of course, will come in very handy.  An ordinary-looking briefcase, with a retractable knife, a collapsible AR-7 rifle, gold sovereigns.  Also, it has tear gas canister that is set-off by the latches that open the briefcase. Brilliant!  From here on out, Q is very much in tune with what field agents might need!  And somehow, most of Q's gadgets that he provides to Bond get used. This is a smart piece of luggage will come in very handy on the train when Bond and Red Grant get into one of the best train fight scenes ever filmed!

Bond Lands in Istanbul

Bond lands in Istanbul - After leaving M’s office, knowing that he is Istanbul-bound, he signs the photograph that M wants back and gives it to Miss Moneypenny with the inscription, “With Love” to which Bond adds above it, “From Russia!” Notice Moneypenny’s face - looking longingly at Bond. All the Connery movies have this playful interaction between the two. This is a very tightly written scene, reinforcing the rendezvous with Tatiana Romanov, the mission to get the Russian Lektor, and the title of the movie. Brilliant piece of writing here to get the viewer absolutely hooked.   And one of the many reasons, From Russia With Love is a fan favorite and was Sean Connery's favorite Bond film that he made.

Bond Lands in Istanbul

At the airport in Istanbul, we are again left with unknowns.  There is a suspicious man following him out of the airport (the Bulgarian) and another in a car observing Bond. We will grow to know both of their roles very precisely and very soon. And, as in Dr. No, a driver is sent for him.   But this time, through validation through a spoken code, it is an ally, not an adversary. Bond makes it to the hotel safely, but tailed, and checks into Room 32. He quickly searches for bugs and finds one behind a painting. As if one bug is not enough, he keeps looking for more – next, in the chandelier.  And then checks the phone with an electronic device (another gadget we have not seen until now). Of course, he will switch rooms. This scene shows again the mystery of who is following him, who knows he is there, and the thoroughness that 007 exhibits in the execution of his duties.  Of course, in the real-life spy world, the agent wants to blend in, almost disappear. Here, lots of people know Bond is in Istanbul.  Cover blown!  Compared to the Mission: Impossible movie series, where the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) is generally stealth, in many Bond films, Bond is well known, and the enemy often knows where he is! Between Dr. No, and From Russia With Love, we are beginning to learn who James Bond is: A tough assassin in Dr. No and a thorough, untrusting agent in From Russia With Love.

James Bond and Karim at Cistern

James Bond and Karim at Cistern - Bond heads to Istanbul to meet Karin Bey the MI6 agent in Istanbul, and to talk about meeting Tatiana Romanov (who thinks she is working for Russia under Kleb who has defected to SPECTRE) who can get the Lektor. After a bomb goes off in Bey’s office, and he is wondering why the Russians are acting like this, Bond tells him maybe it is because he is here.  Once again, where is all the clandestine cover?!  Then SPECTRE will steal the Lektor and sell it. Here, Karim Bey takes Bond beneath his offices and to the underground cistern where he uses a periscope to spy on the Russian embassy.

James Bond and Karim at Cistern

This location is actually near the Aya Sofia Mosque. There is an entrance fee, but when you enter, you walk down the steps that Bond and Karim walk down in this scene. Very cool!

SpyMovieNavigator On Location!

Again, one of our colleagues got these actual shots for us at the Cistern!  Beautiful! [caption id="attachment_3131" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Cistern, From Russia With Love Cistern - When Kerim Bey and Bond boat to the periscope![/caption]   [caption id="attachment_3132" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Cistern, Istanbul, From Russia With Love Kerim Bey and James Bond on in Cistern, boating way to spy on Russian Consulate with periscope[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_3130" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Cistern, Istanbul, From Russia With Love, Kerim Bey, James Bond Bond and Bey in the underground Cistern built in the 1600s, on way to spy on Russian Consulate.[/caption] Kerim Bey is played by Pedro Armendáriz, who is flawless.  He was suffering from cancer during the filming of From Russia With Love (one of the reasons he is limping in a lot of scenes).  But he wanted to complete it.  He ended up committing suicide not long after the filming was complete, knowing it was just a matter of time for him to die from his cancer.  Very sad.   He was tremendous in this film.  His son, as a tribute, later appeared in Licence to Kill in a small role. Also, Kerim's lover in a scene when the bomb goes off in his office, the one who calls him away from his desk, saving his life, Nadja Regin,  passed away in April 2019.   She also appeared in Goldfinger, as Bonita, the belly dancer.

The Gypsy Camp

The Gypsy Camp - Bey uses the gypsies for information. This has caused tension with the rival gypsy groups. This is a beautiful scene on a beautiful evening, with belly dancing, and even a serious fight between two gypsy women. We quickly see that Krilencu is involved here as well, and it is also clear that Klebb’s assassin, Red Grant,  is nearby too, though Bey took precautions not to be followed. The assassin is at this point protecting Bond because he needs Bond to get the Lektor first. Bey is wounded in the arm in the shootout.  Bond was almost shot, but Red Grant shoots the guy who was going to shoot Bond. Krilencu was trying to kill Bey. So, next Bey and Bond head to where Bey knows Krilencu lives. Bey feels he better kill Krilencu before Krilencu gets another chance to kill Bey. So Bond, with his trusty AR-7 briefcase rifle, heads to the known living location of Krilencu. The Gypsy Camp is a beautiful scene, with lots of scenic details, great close-ups, strong dialogue.  It was quite elaborate a scene for the time  - previous spy movies had much simpler sets in general.  It was filmed at Pinewood Studios, north of London.

Krilencu Hideout

Krilencu Hideout - Here Bond and Bey take care of Krilencu so there is no other chance Krilencu will get Bey. Bey’s sons are security police, in on the attack. This is a touching scene, and you see how close Bond and Bey are – almost like a Felix Leiter kind of closeness. When Bey tells Bond, I am already in your debt, Bond replies, "How can a friend be in debt?"  It also highlights how much Bond and MI6 agents in the field are assassins. This is a clear-cut assassination – shooting an unarmed nemesis as he tries to escape.  A perfect set-up.

The AR7 Rifle

The AR-7 collapsible rifle, that is part of Bond's briefcase kit, in real life is a small-caliber rifle.  Developed by Fairchild Engine and Aircraft Corporation's ArmaLite Division in 1959, it as designed as a .22 caliber rifle that can fire 8 rounds.   Bond's rifle, was theoretically rechambered for a larger caliber, like. 25 caliber, and for some reason is a single shot.   So, assassinating someone with a small-caliber single-shot rifle is questionable,  but in this case, Krilencu is climbing out a window and will fall a couple of stories after hit - and because Krilencu is screaming as he is falling, clearly he is not dead yet.   The impact is assumed to have killed him. The Krilencu Hideout is no more! The AR7 really is a survival backpack type of weapon. We will see this rifle again in the movie, as Bond eludes the helicopter chasing him, and he uses it to shoot one of the henchmen who is about to drop a grenade.  We also see it again in Goldfinger, as it is the rifle used by Tilly Masterson who tries to shoot Goldfinger from the hill, and almost hits Bond, and seen again in Bond's car in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  Keep an eye out for t! The AR-7 is also seen in many other movies and television shows, some related to spy stuff.

It’s the Right Size

It's the right size - When Bond gets a new suite at the hotel because of the bugged suite, he returns to it to find Tatiana Romanov in his bed. This is the first time they meet. When she says to him that she thinks her mouth is too big,  Bond says “it’s the right size . . . for me that is.” Of course, this is a sexual reference to the size of his manhood, and naturally, she says her mouth is too big, and Bond, knowing what size he is, says, "it's just the right size . . . for me that is."  Can't get more direct than that.   If she thought her mouth was too small, and he said it's the right size, what would we think?!  This is clever dialogue, which illuminates us as to how Bond works, gives us more details of his physique, and shows his confidence literally in bed with women. Again we see Bond is flirtatious with women, and even while kissing her, he is asking her about the Lektor, where it is, and how she can draw a map of the consulate, and that they should meet at Saint Sophia where she can leave the map. This is the next scene we will examine. Though he may be enjoying the moment, he knows what his job is and never forgets it.  It is obvious they will sleep together from the dialogue, and Tania (her friends call her that) looks fabulous and inviting.  Again, Daniela Bianchi is gorgeous and perfect as Tania. We also discover that behind the mirrors, they are being filmed – part of a plan to do away with them both later in the film.  Bond wants the Lektor - and whatever he must do to get it, he will.  And it is clear in this scene.  And, apparently it is the right size.

Red Grant Kills Foreign Agent

Red Grant Kills Foreign Agent - Tatiana obviously got the plan of the consulate and will leave it at the Aya Sofia as Bond had suggested. The Blue Mosque is seen in the background as Tania approaches Aya Sofia.

SpyMovieNavigator On Location!

One of our colleagues visited Istanbul and we have a couple of shots of the interior of Aya Sofia that appear in the movie, with Blue Mosque in background.  You can see this all inthe movie clip. Here is the Blue Mosque, which appears in the background as Tanya, then the Bulgarian spy enter Aya Sophia. [caption id="attachment_3092" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Blue Mosque, From Russia With Love, Istanbul Blue Mosque , in Shown in Background in clip as Tanya, then Bulgarian spy walk into Aya Sofia[/caption] Here is a shot of the two columns and archway that the tour group walks past near the beginning of the clip. [caption id="attachment_3096" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Aya Sofia, Istanbul From Russia With Love Tour group in clip walks past these columns and archway.[/caption] Once inside Aya Sofia, in the clip, Tanya is standing right where we indicate with the yellow arrow! [caption id="attachment_3093" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Aya Sofia, Istanbul, Fromm Russia With Love In the clip, when Tanya walks into Aya Sofia, she is right where our yellow arrow is indicating! We were there![/caption]

Tanya Enters Aya Sofia

We see more intrigue here - nothing goes quite that simply in a Bond movie. You will see some familiar faces we saw at the airport when Bond landed in Istanbul. Remember, Tania is leaving the plan for the Consulate in a small container for Bond. But one of the guys we saw at the airport, is tracing her and goes to retrieve it before Bond. Note that there is a tour group going through Saint Sophia, led by a guide who is telling them all about the history of the columns they are seeing and more.   Reports are it was a real tour group!  EON Productions and the writers are brilliant again.  This is a tense scene, and Bond is hoping that Tania and he can pull this off .  Can she leave the plan, and can Bond retrieve it unknown to anyone. While Tania is about to hide the plans near a column, the tour guide is pointing out a particular column, the "wishing column" where tourists have come for centuries, pacing their right hand and middle finger in the hole, making their wish.   No coincidence that he is saying this as Tania is hiding the plans, and Bond is wishing all goes well with this plan.   Once again, something happening as a backdrop is meaningful to what we see happening on the screen.  Simply and elegantly done.

Red Grant Kills Foreign Agent

But he is killed by the other man we saw at the airport following Bond – later identifying himself as Red Grant. But he does not take the compact container – why not? Remember, this is a complex plan – Tania thinks she is working for the Russians, and Klebb and Shaw have other plans. They want Bond to get the plan. And this all comes out in this scene. And you can still visit Aya Sofia and it is exactly the same as it was in the movie!

Ferry Boat Encounter

Ferry Boat Encounter - In this clip, Bond is clandestinely meeting with Tatiana Romanova on a ferry boat in Istanbul, on the Bosphorus.    Here, he has a camera gadget that conceals a tape recorder and pretends to be taking pictures of Tatiana.   But in reality, he is recording her describing the physical attributes of the LEKTOR, the Russian decoding machine. Bond is calm, cool, and very directive - completely in control of the encounter.  Watch his face, listen to well-written dialogue.  He is in command. She also describes where it is kept in the consulate, when it is used, and so on.  Clearly, Tatiana is starting to fall for Bond. We will see, of course, in many more Bond films, and certainly in other spy movies along the way - where the spy wins over a key ally in a woman.  This has happened in spy movies since the first one, The 39 Steps in 1935. So check out the beautiful scenery, the Ferry Boat Encounter, as Bond advances the opportunity to get the LEKTOR.  We must call-out Daniela Bianchi, who is stunning as Tatiana, both in beauty and in her role.  She is voiced by British actress, Barbara Jefford.  Bianchi , an Italian actress, was 1st runner-up in the Miss Universe contest of 1960.  She steals lots of scenes in our opinion, and was perfectly cast. As a way to see Istanbul, this  Bosphorus River Ferry is a very good way to do it according to many who have traveled to Istanbul.

Russian Clocks are Always Right – Escape with the Lektor

Russian Clocks are Always Right  - The Lektor is the reason Bond is in Istanbul, and here he receives clearance from M to proceed with the mission. Note Bond tells Kerim Bay that they will execute the plan for getting the Lektor out of the Russian Embassy on the 14th: after Bey asks the 13th? Did he change the date just in case?  Or was this a precaution on Bond's part in case there were any bugs planted?  Even Tania, as we see, thought it was going to be the 14th. Bey is to explode a bomb at 3 PM, and here Bond asks if the clock is correct as he checks his watch as well. The gates when Bond walks through to access the Russian Embassy are still around, but not near the other filming locations. When the bomb goes off, chaos ensues, and Bond gets into the room where Tania has the Lektor, with tear gas in the air, mask on Bond, and she says that she thought it was going to be the 14th but today is the 13th. The question is why did Bond tell Karim in his office that it would be the 14th, but then they executed it on the 13th? Perhaps they were being cautious in case anyone overheard, but it is not absolutely clear in the clip.  But the fact that it happens the day before it was expected to, indicates perhaps that Bond trusted no one, and maybe Tania would leak out the plan, or someone in Bey's organization would.  And if it leaked out that it would be the 14th, well, too late.  Bond gets the Lektor on the 13th.   Obviously, Bey knows the exact date and time since he explodes the bomb precisely at 3 PM... on the 13th! And yes, Russian Clocks are Always Right!

Train Fight

Train Fight - One of the greatest train fights in all cinema, this one is brutal, painful, and dangerous. In 1935, in The 39 Steps, we see a train chase in a spy movie pretty much for the first time. From Russia With Love takes this to new heights.  This will impact many future spy movies with tremendous train fights and chases like Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy, Mission Impossible (1996), SPECTRE, Bourne Ultimatum (2007), and others. This is one of the best train fights of all time. The acting is superb by both Robert Shaw and Connery. Shaw, as Red Grant, is tremendous, and you see the vulnerability of Bond clearly and also how Q’s gadgets can save the day when used properly.  Both are trained, cold killers.  This scene is violent, perfectly done. No movement is wasted.  And Grant is as cocky as them come.  We see that in a lot of villains in films, especially in spy films as the protagonist is always super-confident, cocky and assured.  Goldfinger, in the next Bond film released, has the same cocky arrogance. This train fight is a tremendous scene, brutal, and a turning point in From Russia With Love. Remember, in the pre-title sequence, Shaw was training to kill Bond, and his plan has worked flawlessly to this point. But, when Bond gets the better of the ole boy, the tide turns. Grant is dead, not Bond. SpyMovieNavigator has a signed Sean Connery photo of him in the train car. Very cool.

Truck vs. Helicopter

We call this clip Truck vs. Helicopter. This helicopter chase scene sets the stage for the rest of From Russia With Love.  And, we will see this in many spy movies to come.  Helicopter chases are now a staple item in spy movie.  The first helicopter searching for a “spy” is in The 39 Steps from 1935, a Hitchcock produced movie. It appears only for a few seconds, but it is the beginning of the use of this vehicle in pursuits throughout dozens of movies, and spy films for sure. Many Bond movies, Mission: Impossible movies and more of the best of the rest use helicopters in chases.  Check The Spy Who Loved Me, SPECTRE, M:I Fallout and others. Of course, this scene is inspired by the airplane chase scene in the 1959 Hitchcock movie, North By Northwest.

Q Gadgets and Scotland

This scene again shows how in tune Q is in what gadgets Bond might need for a mission, as his smart looking piece of luggage with the AR-7 comes in very handy once again.  Bond shoots one of the henchmen just as he is about to drop a grenade.  Instead, getting shot, he drops the grenade in the helicopter and it blows up. SpyMovieNavigator took a trip to Scotland looking for Bond locations.  While there, we tried to find the rock that Bond was hiding under when he shot down the helicopter and we could not find it! We were close to the location and should have been able to find it, but we could not. SpyMovieNavigator did find the pier that Bond drives the truck onto, when he and Tania escape by boat, only to be chased by SPECTRE boats.  This was supposed to be in Istanbul, but was actually shot in Scotland!   See our related videos and podcasts.  This Truck vs. Helicopter is a future scene in a lot of spy movies!

Death of Kronsteen

Death of Kronsteen - We know very little about SPECTRE at this point, but this scene highlights how brutal and unforgiving SPECTRE is, and we get a glimpse of # 1, albeit from shoulders down, as he is stroking a white cat, as we flashback to the cat that walked by Tania as she was on her way to meet Klebb for the first time. SPECTRE wants the Lektor as they have made arrangements with the Russians to return it to them, for a price. So, the atmosphere this scene creates is one of terror – terror for # 3 and # 5, but terror and tremendous tension for the viewing audience.   We realize the SPECTRE will stop at nothing, does not tolerate failure, and, as Blofeld says, SPECTRE always delivers what it promises.

Death of Kronsteen - Poison Kills . . . in . . . listen to it . . . 12 seconds

Here we see for the first time, the poison blade that pops out of the shoe of the assassin here, as he kicks # 5 with it. How long does it take for Kronsteen to die? 12 seconds, and # 1 is not happy that it takes that long. Notice the musical dings - there are 12 counting down his death!  Bond is up against an evil organization!  The death of Kronsteen shows how evil SPECTRE is.   The only way out of SPECTRE seems to be death. There are many real-life incidents in the spy business where poison is used to try to eliminate the enemy.  From this,  many scenes in spy novels and movies take their origin.  Remember, Ian Fleming was a Naval Intelligence office and very involved with secret agents, plots, and plans in World War - II.  It has happened often in real life.   Listen to our podcast about How Real Life Events Affect What Goes Into Spy Movies. We will see the poison shoe blade again.  In the novel, "From Russia With Love," there were poison knitting needles as well.

Klebb’s Final Assault

Klebb’s Final Assault -  Just when you think it’s safe...Kleb shows up once again, in Venice, as Bond and Tania are ready to depart. Rosa  Klebb draws a pistol on Bond and directs Tania to open the door.  Twice Tania reassures Bond that she knows nothing about Klebb being there, by shaking her head left and right while looking directly at Bond – twice – to show Bond her loyalty is to him.  Look for this subtle gesture in the clip.  We all feel relief that Tania is on the “good” side. In real life, there are spy defections and good guys going to the bad side, or bad guys going to the good side - depending on your perspective.    As Mathis says in Quantum of Solace, in Talamone, Italy:  "When one is young, it is very easy to distinguish between right and wrong, but as one gets older, it becomes more difficult.  The villains and the heroes get all mixed up."  That sums up the spy business. Klebb then, for some reason, takes Bond's pistol out of his shoulder holster and throws it on the floor.   Why not just shoot him right then and there?   She took a chance that Bond may overcome her as she reaches for his pistol.  And why take the pistol if you are just going to shoot him anyway?  But she does. But at least she was going to shoot Bond and not have some elaborate scheme for him to die.  Then she backs to the door, and is about to shoot him - and Bond is pretty calm.  Of course, Tania to the rescue. The thing to note here is that Klebb now has the poison shoe blade device that killed # 5 in SPECTRE # 1’s office. Here, she is willing to use it to kill Bond and retrieve the Lektor.  She knows the price of failure.  Here in the film, Bond escapes the poison blade, and Tania - who Kleb still thinks is on her side, foils Klebb’s plans to kill Bond. Here in the film, Bond escapes without injury.  However, in the novel by Ian Fleming, Bond is punctured by the poison blade/needle, and his fate is unknown. In the film, as below, Klebb’s attempts to kill Bond with a pistol and with the poison shoe blade are foiled by Tania as she shoots Klebb, and Klebb, evil incarnate.  Klebb’s final assault is her final assault - and she is finally dead. As in many Bond films, you never know when it’s over - but now, the danger is over at least!

Venice – Canal Scene Ends the Movie

Venice – Canal Scene  - The gondola scene is in Venice, andTania and Bond are now relaxing with the mission complete.  The establishing shots are of the Doge Place, the Bridge of Sighs, the Venice canals. It looks like green-screen stuff with the actors superimposed against the background. One of the things we see here in the background is the Bridge of Sighs – for a short time behind Bond and Tania.

Some Venice History

Historically, The Bridge of Sighs, in olden times, was the bridge prisoners would cross over from the courtyard where they were just sentenced.  Maybe sentenced to death or to prison and maybe even to the execution area.  So, they knew they would never cross that bridge again or see the beautiful view of Venice they could see through the bridge's barred windows.  Hence, the sighs. Here, in From Russia With Love, there could be a couple of meanings: 1) That Bond and Tania are now beyond the danger zone – they passed under the Bridge of Sighs and the mission is accomplished; they are out of danger;  ahh! 2) or, it can be a sexual symbol - Bond is reviewing the film of he and Tania making love in the bridal suite (that Tania did not know about it as you recall) – and Grant was going to use this film as the reason Tania and Bond were dead.    Grant would stage it so it looked like one was going to use it as blackmail against the other.  Then murder and suicide. So the film had enough sexual content to be potent. Bond is looking at it now and Tania asks what it is, and Bond just says that he will show her,  all as they pass from canal to canal – to the "Grand Canal," which can be taken as sexual metaphors or symbols for certain parts of a woman.   Or sometimes a canal is just a canal! In conclusion, the Venice – Canal Scene is a pleasant moment for the two of them, as they wrap up their mission, and their passion. And they are now in the safety zone!  And Daniela Bianchi as Tania was just perfect casting – she is stunning!  Tell us what you think!

How Events in the Real World Affect What Goes Into Spy Movies!

Related: Why Dr. No is Dr. YES for Spy Movie Fans

Related: Spy Movies & Real-World Connections – Part 1

Related: Spy Movies & Real-World Connections – Part 2

Contributed by: Daniel Silvestri and SpyMovieNavigator.com

Posted on
Have you ever thought about how events in the real world and other movies could affect and work their way into some of our favorite spy movies?  Well, think about it a minute because that’s what we are going to explore today on Spy Movie NavigatorDownload our podcast for more details. At Spy Movie Navigator.com – the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans –we are going to look at this now!

Real-world and spy movies

Let’s start by looking at some of the Bond films -  the most successful franchise in all of the spy films and a few others. The first real fact is, of course, Ian Fleming got the name James Bond from one of his favorite books, Birds of the West Indies, by…. James Bond. Dr. No was written in 1957 by Ian Fleming, published in 1958, and was his 6th James Bond novel.   The movie Dr. No, EON Production’s first Bond movie, came out in 1962.   So, here is the first instance of the real world affecting this spy movie:
  1. By 1962, both the Soviet Union and the USA were launching astronauts into space, so far ahead of the theme in the novel where the USA was launching test missiles.  In the novel, Dr. No says he is working with the Russians to disrupt American test missiles, in the movie, he is disrupting American space flights.  Also, in the movie, both the East and the West have rejected his services, and so he is a member of SPECTRE ( Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), and not working with the Russians.  The cold war between Russia (the Soviet Union) and the US in real life was heating up by the time the movie came out, so here, the movie was influenced by real-world happenings.
  2. And, in a subtle nod to life happening,  the painting of the Duke of Wellington by Francisco de Goya was stolen August 21st, 1961 from the National Gallery in London.   It was still missing when EON Productions was filming No.  So,  In Dr. No, when Bond is in Dr. No’s [caption id="attachment_3830" align="alignright" width="229"]Duke of W@ellington National Gallery, London[/caption] lair, he walks through the lair about to step up a couple of steps, stops and looks at a painting on an easel – it is the Duke of Wellington!  So, if you are watching Dr. No and don’t realize the painting he stops to look at is this real-life stolen Duke of Wellington, you just think, ah Bond finds that painting interesting.   Once you know the real-life incident, then this adds a brilliant glow to this scene, where the writers for EON Productions were indeed very clever and inventive.   By the way, the painting was eventually recovered in real-life and now hangs in Gallery A at the National Gallery in London once again – we saw it there while visiting Gallery # 24 wherein SPECTRE, Bond meets the new Q.
From Russia With Love1963 – released in 1963 by EON Productions as their second James Bond film, and Ian Fleming’s 5th James Bond novel published in 1957 (the year the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite), was heavily influenced by the times – and the Cold War.   The tensions between the US and the Soviets were at an all-time high.  Remember, the Cuban Missile Crisis (the showdown between Russia and the US) was in October 1962, the year EON was filming From Russia With Love.  So, once again, EON Productions was brilliant in their release of From Russia With Love!
  • In addition, check out the book, “For Your Eyes Only – Ian Fleming + James Bond” by Ben Macintyre.  Here he tells of the attempt to murder Bond on the Orient Express by SMERSH was based on a US Naval attaché in Romania, Eugene Karp, who was more than likely trying to escape from Russian agents.  He boarded the Orient Express in Bucharest in February 1950, and his body was found in a railway tunnel near Salzburg.  It was never proven the Soviet assassins did it, but it is highly probable.
  • Even SMERSH is from the Russian Smyert Shpionam = “death to spies” – and we will see this is The Living Daylights.
  Goldfinger – 1964 released in 1964 by EON Productions as their third James Bond film, based on Ian Fleming’s 7th novel of the same name, published in 1959.  In the pre-title sequence in the movie (not written in the novel) is James Bond in a wet/dry suit emerging from the water, setting explosives, and then removing his wet suit to reveal a perfectly neat and crisp white dinner jacket, bow tie, etc.    Ah, you are thinking like we were thinking – what is the chance of that really happening or being able to happen?! Well, let’s talk to MI6 about a similar WW-II operation!  In an article by David Harrison in April 2010 for The Telegraph, he reveals that a Jeremy Duns,  a British writer, was researching a new book.  He found out that a Dutch spy used a very similar technique to infiltrate a German-occupied mansion in the Netherlands during WW-II.   From the water, he emerged in a wetsuit.  Underneath this specially designed wetsuit, he wore the evening wear.  His eveningwear would make him look like he belonged, and he could slip past the guards into the party.   He was supposed to extract two comrades and escape.   Well, Jeremy Duns thinks that a Brit screenwriter, Paul Dehn, who was called in to polish up the Goldfinger script, knew about this WW-II incident because he was a former intelligence officer in WW-II.  Hmm!   The original script did not have this scene, and, as said, it was not in the novel.     He feels it is too much of a coincidence that this scene was written into the screenplay by Paul Dehn, who most certainly was aware of this WW-II operation!  True real-life incident put into the movie! Skipping ahead, at the point in the film where Bond is captured by Goldfinger’s henchmen after another great car chase scene, Bond finds himself strapped to a metal table, as Goldfinger is about to demonstrate his new toy – a laser beam.  Here in the film, the laser beam is directed at the base of the table and is guided to rise-up between Bond’s legs, into his crotch and eventually kill him.   In the book by Fleming, published March 23 1959, there were no lasers yet – and so this device was a table saw. The laser was not invented until 1960.   And the first working laser was built on May 16, 1960, by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories based on the theoretical work of Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow. The term laser came to be an  acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”   Again, EON Productions was brilliant at integrating a real-life happening, the invention of the laser, into this film which was being shot in 1963 for release in 1964.  And at the time, this was a very high-tech scene in Goldfinger!  We cannot think of another film of any kind using a laser before Goldfinger, so here is another first for EON Productions! This scene is famous the world over for the laser, and for the dialogue: Bond: “ You expect me to talk?”  Goldfinger” “No, Mr. Bond I expect you to die!” Thunderball – 1965 Thunderball was Ian Fleming’s 9th James Bond novel, published in 1961, and EON Production’s 4th James Bond 007 movie, which opened in 1965.   Thunderball probably would have been the first movie produced but there were some copyright issues that were delayed in the settlement.  Kevin McClory and Fleming had worked on a script that never made it to production. Fleming used part of it for Thunderball, and eventually, a settlement was reached.  Thunderball is the only early EON production movie where the producers are not listed as Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.  Here they are listed as Executive Producers (which is a lesser status) and McClory is listed as the producer.   Also, McClory got the right to produce his own James Bond film based on his Thunderball contributions and eventually did Never Say Never Again which is basically the same story. But we digress!   In Thunderball SPECTRE is at it again.  So, we get away from the US versus the Soviet Union and have this other entity as the enemy again.   Remember in Dr. No we were introduced to SPECTRE. Of course, by 1961 when the novel was published, we had lots of atomic bombs in the world, and there was an arms race between the Soviet Union and the US.  So, atomic weapons were on everyone’s minds.
  1. The basis of this story is based on real-life – people were worried about nuclear war and atomic weapons. Here, two atomic weapons are hijacked by SPECTRE who threatens to destroy a major city either in the US or in the United Kingdom.  So even though EON Productions did not make this their first Bond film, in 1965 the world was very aware of the threat from major powers building up supplies of nuclear weapons.    So, the topic was hot.
  2. The skyhook, which recovers Bond and Domino at the end, is an actual real-life device developed by Robert Fulton for the CIA in the 1950s. By letting up a line from the ground with a self-inflating balloon, a specially equipped plane can fly by and scoop up the line and the one or two personnel it was designed to retrieve.  Cool!  A real-life gadget at the time.
  3. In 1956, a Soviet cruiser came to Britain, with Nikita Khrushchev on a state visit to Britain. He was the former Premier of the Soviet Union.  It was also in 1956 where, Khrushchev said: "We will bury you” while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow on November 18, 1956.  So Soviet/Western relations were not good.   So on this visit to Britain, Britain wanted to get a look at this new Soviet ship – some reports say to examine for mine-laying hatches or sonar equipment, and other reports, like from Peter Wright’s book, “Spycatcher,”  Britain’s Naval Intelligence wanted information on the potential new propeller system this ship had.  So MI6 sent a scuba diver down (actually, two were reported as being sent) and one was a great diver, Lionel Crabb.  Crabb never returned from this mission, and a headless, handless body was found 14 months later dressed in the scuba gear he had worn on that date (April 15, 1956).  MI6 covered up the mission, saying Crabb was lost in some underwater exercise.   Many theories floated about, one being that Soviet sentries were stationed underwater to guard the ship, caught Crabb, cut his air hose and brought him aboard and he later died.  Other theories say he was shot underwater by a Soviet sniper.
Now, you will remember in Thunderball, Bond is sent to inspect the hull of the Disco Volante, Largo the villain’s boat.  Bond is discovered too by Largos frogmen, as Bond was taking photos of the hull to determine if there was an underwater hatch.   Bond, more luck than Crabb, escapes.  The photos showed an underwater hatch which leads Bond to think Largo’s entire operation (the theft of the plane carrying to nuclear missiles) might be underwater – including the plane that was hijacked.  Is there a connection between the Crabb event and these scenes in Thunderball?  The MI6 officer in charge of the Lionel Crabb underwater deployment and mission was Nicholas Elliott – a friend of Fleming’s!
  1. In the 1958 movie, Silent Enemy, (based on a true story) - 2 British battleships are sunk in Alexandria by explosives set under their hulls. The explosives, in real life, were being set by Italian scuba-divers, who were launched from a submarine using what they called, “underwater chariots” – which in Thunderball and other spy movies to come – were the underwater sleds used to transport the bombs, get divers to certain locations underwater, etc.!  In real life, they were using these underwater chariots to bring frogmen to the British ships where they would attach torpedoes and mines.  The British had to figure this out and stop it – and here, Lionel Crabb (who we mentioned earlier) was in charge of the operation to infiltrate the enemy ship, destroy their capabilities of continuing to blow up British ships!   So, in this movie we see real-life events.  Of course, we see in The Spy Who Loved Me, Stromberg’s (the villain) ship, the “Liparus,” has underwater bow hatches that capture the Soviet and US submarines (with nuclear weapons aboard).
In the same movie, Silent Enemy, ALSO, there is a great underwater battle of frogmen, cutting breathing hoses and more – just like in Thunderball and additional spy movies to come.   The Thunderball underwater scenes, filmed in the Bahamas, were set the standard for future underwater battles, and the potential connections to real-life events from World War 2 make Thunderball underwater hull investigations, and underwater battles with frogmen and underwater sleds even more grounded in reality. Also, in Thunderball, the jet pack was real and flown by Bill Suiter, who demanded using a helmet which is why Sean Connery as Bond puts on a helmet when he takes off.
  1. Though the movie came out in 1965, Fleming’s 9th novel was published in 1961. And it foreshadowed the threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis to the US Florida cities (like Miami, Cape Canaveral, etc).
  You Only Live Twice1967 Ian Fleming’s 12th novel published in 1964 (counting the For Your Eyes Only collection of short stories, and it’s the last novel published before his death), and EON Production’s 5th James Bond 007 film which opened in 1967.  The movie has little to do with the actual novel.   Here, the beginning of the movie depicts the death of James Bond, complete with an obituary in the newspapers.   There is a burial at sea for Commander Bond, and when the body sinks to the bottom of the ocean, scuba divers retrieve the body and bring it to the awaiting submarine where it is taken aboard, the wrappings open, only to reveal a live James Bond who quips, “Request permission to come aboard, Sir.” Thank God Bond is alive – we were worried, right?   His death was faked to throw off the enemy .  Of course, that means they knew who James Bond was, which is often the case, but that’s another podcast!
  1. The faked death of spies is definitely grounded in reality. Google Arkady Babchenko, faked his own death because being very critical of Vladimir Putin, he was certain that he would be killed by the KGB.  In a huge real-life situation in World War-II, Operation Mincemeat (Google it!) the Allies floated the body of a dead man with fake papers identifying him as a Captain who the Germans had been tracking. With papers indicating an invasion of Sardinia Italy and Greece instead of Sicily, to mislead the Germans.  Some stories say the fictitious name of the dead man was Captain William Martin, while other reports say the Germans were aware of the supposed dead man and felt he really knew something.  Regardless, the deception worked.  And the source of the plan came from Rear Admiral John Godfrey and his assistant, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming.    Yep!
  2. We all remember Henderson, the contact Bond meets in Japan and who has key information, was based on Richard Hughes, a reporter and double agent who worked for Ian Fleming at one point during WW-II. Hughes did a lot of Bond-like things.  Hughes spent a great deal of time in Japan.   Hence, a great place to film this movie.  Google The extraordinary untold Japan story of ‘You Only Live Twice’ by Damian Flanigan, special to the Japan Times.   Great story!
  3. “Little Nellie,” the one-man autogiro that Bond flies to do surveillance in Japan was a real-life invention, developed by Ken Wallis, a Royal Air Force guy, in the early part of the 1960s. The one used in the movie was modified, of course.
  4. Of course, the Space Race played a part here too – the US and Soviet Union at the time were racing each other for outer space advantages and achievements. So, SPECTRE capturing Soviet and US space capsules is natural, given the times in 1967, two years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin will land on the moon on the US Apollo 11.
  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service1969 Ian Fleming’s 11th novel, published in 1963; and EON Production’s 6th James Bond 007 movie, showing in 1969.  The first Bond movies without Sean Connery, George Lazenby steps in to be Bond and to be bonded – married – to Teresa Di Vincenzo (Tracy) – played by Diana Rigg. In his mountain-top laboratory, posing as an allergy clinic, at Piz Gloria (Schilthorn, Switzerland  Blofeld is brainwashing young women to deliver a chemical agent that will stop plants and animals from reproducing- creating a tremendous food crisis.  The setting is spectacular – we have been to Piz Gloria about 10,000 feet up!
  1. In 1968, there was an experiment done by the US Army at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. Through a malfunction of a spraying nozzle, a toxic chemical was released and almost 30 miles away, over 6,000 sheep were found dead.   There was no definitive connection to the agent released and the sheep deaths, but traces of the toxic chemical were supposedly found on the carcasses.   So, draw your own conclusion!   So, when OHMSS comes out in 1969, chemical warfare and potential devastation to life through chemicals were very much real.
  2. The Soviet Union was ramping up chemical warfare research, while the US began to downgrade ours. Again, what Blofeld was thinking was not out of the realm of possibility!
  Diamonds Are Forever – 1971 Published by Ian Fleming in 1956 as his 4th James Bond novel, EON Productions made it into their 7th James Bond 007  movie, introduced in 1971.    Here, Bond – Sean Connery comes back - infiltrates a diamond smuggling ring and prevents Blofeld and SPECTRE from developing a space-based laser weapon with the diamonds that could blow things up.  Blofeld was going to sell it to the highest bidder, so Bond had to stop the plot.
  1. So, Ian Fleming writes "Diamonds Are Forever" only 9 years after a woman copywriter for an ad agency wrote “A Diamond is Forever” for a DeBeers ad campaign, in 1947 – and it’s been in DeBeers campaigns ever since! See a great online article on this in the New York Times by J. Courtney Sullivan, May 3, 2013.
  2. The Burton-Taylor diamond, like 69 carats, purchased in 1969 made world-wide news. That, combined with Jacqueline Kennedy’s jewelry (diamonds and emeralds ) in the early 1960s put diamonds on the mind of everyone.  Coincidence or great timing by EON, the subject of diamonds was ripe for the 1971 launch of Diamonds Are Forever.
  3 Days of the Condor 1975.  Intense movie.  Influenced by Watergate (no trust of people in power) and the oil shortages prevalent in the mid-1970s. Moonraker – 1979 -  Moonraker,  Fleming’s 3rd novel, was published in 1955.   Rockets were just being developed after von Braun’s success with the Germans in World War II.   The novel is about a rocket being developed and that will be tested by Drax’s organization, with support of the British government.   By the time the movie was made by EON Productions in 1979,  the writers had to change the story.   It was 1979 and man had already been to the moon and back, the space shuttles were under development,  a story about a missile test would not cut it.   Trust me, the novel is a great read, and when you consider the times, it was very exciting.   So, the first real-life incident to affect this movie was
  1. The story is changed completely, except keeping Hugo Drax as the main villain, because of the rapid development of rockets, manned space flight, the moon landings and the development of the shuttle (which first flew in 1981).
  2. Secondly, the novel plot is a great one but dated for the EON Productions 11th James Bond movie in 1979. EON had originally planned to film For Your Eyes Only after The Spy Who Loved Me (one of my all-time favorite Bond movies).  But because of the development of the Shuttle in real life, and the popularity of two of the biggest science fiction films released in 1977, Star Wars (with a second planned for 1980) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  So, EON Productions, once again being clever and watching the real world and what was successful and popular, moved Moonraker up ahead of For Your Eyes Only to take advantage of the popularity and success of science fiction movies, and actual NASA advancements in space technology.
  3. Also, the concept of a space station, used in Moonraker, was based on real-life as well – the Soviets had Salyut 1 space station in 1971, and the US had Skylab up in 1973.
Once again, real-life influences major elements of the spy film genre!   The Living Daylights – 1987 death to spies, Smert Shpionam.  And the idea of a spy defecting, of course, is based on real stuff – spies defect in the real world.  In fact, Nikolai Khokhlov was a Soviet spy who defected to the west in 1953 and brought with him all kinds of spy gadgets which we will talk about in a moment.   Licence to Kill – 1989
  1. The whole premise of the film is dealing with a drug lord from South America. In 1972, then President of the United States Richard Nixon said drug abuse was “public enemy number one.”    In 1986, President Reagan of the United States called for a “nationwide crusade against drugs.”  So, drugs infiltrating and affecting thousands of lives was definitely a popular topic during the decades surrounding the release of Licence to Kill.
  2. So, Franz Sanchez, being a major drug dealer, would have garnered a lot of attention if the Department of the Drug Enforcement Administration knew of his whereabouts. So, the DEA response to Sanchez being tracked to the United States would have warranted the response it got in the movie – and probably a whole lot more.
  Mission: Impossible - 1996 Between Goldeneye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) comes the first in the series of Mission: Impossible movies based on the 1960s television show.   So, 1996 was a great time to capitalize on the spy movie fans waiting for another Bond movie, and since Bourne Identity was not born until 2002. The Mission: Impossible TV show, which I loved, certainly had an influence on the creation of the movie.   Many fans of the TV series were looking forward to the first movie.   While Phelps was the only character kept from the TV series, the mission was to be fresh, full of action and intrigue.  The concept of a rogue agent trying to make things right was not new, but this mission was done with passion. MacGyver-like gadgets, and to some degree sophisticated gadgets, masks and deception all came from the TV show.  The original show was more like an O’Henry play, with surprise endings for the bad guys, and Martin Landau (who played Rollin Hand in the original TV series) said when interviewed after the first Mission, the original was not an action-adventure, it was more of a “mind game.  The ideal mission was getting in and getting out without anyone ever knowing we were there.” ( quote from, Martin Landau Discusses 'Mission: Impossible' Movies (blog), MTV, October 29, 2009, archived from the original on December 28, 2009)   The non-stop action is truly new to the movie. So, we think the first film of the Mission: Impossible series was influenced by
  1. The TV show, for basic concepts, self-destructing mission messages, music, etc. and
  2. The timing, in between Bond films.
  3. The worldwide locations, like shooting in Prague, was definitely Bond–influenced, as were the opening scenes during the credits, giving glimpses into the action about to unfold.
Of course, the real Cold War spying  - going after atomic data, and lists of spies - was a regular mission of spies.   Even in 2015, the US CIA was concerned that China had stolen info on US federal employees that might expose the real names of our spies abroad.   So, the basic concept of the mission in the first Mission: Impossible movie is very grounded in reality.   The Bourne Identity2002.  9/11 made the producers think that the script, with the CIA looking like the bad guy, might be too sensitive for audiences in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.   They actually filmed alternative opening and ending sequences, but when the original was tested with audiences, they seemed to accept it very well, so the alternative opening and closing scenes were relegated to the bonus section of the DVDs (See “Fifteen Things You Didn’t Know About the Bourne Franchise”  by Josh Roush, July 29, 2016, online article.   Casino Royale – 2006 – certainly the popularity of Texas Hold’em worked its way into the film, instead of the as-written Chemins de Fer/baccarat game in the Fleming novel.   Also, the more realistic approach of The Bourne Identity movie may have influenced Casino Royale to more grounded in basics – although, for a reboot of the Bond franchise, one would think they would stick closely to the novel which, as the first novel, was very straight-forward, with few gadgets, and basic in execution.   Bond on Skis:  George Lazenby, who was an avid skier, is the first James Bond in EON Productions films to take to skis, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), with many of the scenes filmed in Murren, Switzerland – which we at SpyMovieNavigator have been too!  It is about 5,000 feet below Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) where Blofeld’s “allergy research institute” was located in the film.   In a night scene, Bond begins to ski down Piz Gloria, and of course is shot at, then pursued by Blofeld’s henchmen on skis.  Even Blofeld joins the pursuit, on skis.  With flares and machine guns, they pursue Bond – and of course, they know the mountain better than Bond, so they are in hot pursuit.  Great chase scene, with well-trained and skilled agents in pursuit on skis. And in the 1977 Bond film, in the pre-title sequence of The Spy Who Loved Me, we have one of the best snow ski sequences in any spy movie film – in any film for that matter.   He gets a message from MI6 saying they need him, while he is sleeping with a woman in an Austrian winter mountain chalet.  So he leaves, with a red backpack on his back, and skis.  She immediately radios her counterparts to say he is leaving, and we have another ski chase scene, pursuers shooting at him, and at one point, Bond turns around and shoots one of the foreign agents with his ski pole gun.  Then he continues, eventually skiing off the mountain with thousands of feet beneath him – only to pop a parachute with the Union Jack to land safely.  A great pre-title sequence that has become an iconic scene around the world!  Reported filmed in Canada, the stunt man who did this, Rick Sylvester, did this in one take.  They had to wait for the weather to be just right, and not too windy.   Again, skiing and pursuit by trained assassins on skis.   In For Your Eyes Only,    Bond is pursued by sharpshooter skiers and enemy agents on specially equipped motorcycles, with spiked wheels and guns, down the mountain and eventually into a lift heading to a ski jump.   Of course, Bond must do the jump, as his pursuers wait at the bottom of the ski jump hill. The pursuit continues again on the special motorcycles chasing Bond on skis., which even includes skiing down a bobsled run. In A View to a Kill,   Bond does it all on snow – from skiing to snowmobiling to riding one of the runners from the snowmobile as a snowboard!   Here pursued by a helicopter, snowmobiles, skiers – every well-trained assassin – but he finally escapes and to a British sub disguised as an iceberg.  Cool.   But he had a talented mob of agents, trained for winter pursuit, behind him all the way. Of course, even The Living Daylights has a snow pursuit, as Bond and  Kara Milovy escape using her cello case as a sled, and cello to steer, they are pursued by trained agents on snow. SPECTRE has snow scenes as well.   So, what is happening here? In real life, of course, there were and are specialty teams in various military branches throughout the world who are expert at traveling on skis, infiltrating locations on skis, and doing other espionage stuff that very much depends on how well trained they are on skiing and moving through heavy snow conditions. For example, in WW-II, the U.S. did not have a mountain division in their military.   Inspired by the Finnish mountaineer troops, Charles Mynot Dole – who was head of a ski patrol, an Olympic skier, a climber – began the U.S. military ski troops, brought into action just before Pearl Harbor.     They trained at 13,000 feet in the Colorado mountains, at – 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-34.4 degrees Celsius) with 90 pounds of gear – just the men, packs and skis – pushed to the limits.  This will turn out to be a true “mission impossible” in World War II as this became the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army.  They were engaged against the Japanese when Japan invaded two islands off Alaska – Attu and Kiska.  Landing in fog and snow, they were able to make the Japanese retreat but confused, our troops were shooting at each other and 18 were killed.   They went back for more training, with mock battles, in sub-zero conditions. They were called upon in 1944 in Italy, where the Allies were bogged down trying to take the Apennine mountains.  The 5th Army could not advance towards Germany.   Each ridge in the mountains had additional German defenses.  The 10th Mountain Division assessed what was needed, decided they had to take Mount Belvedere and to do that had to take Riva Ridge first.  2,000 feet up, steep, 3 – 4 feet of snow.  They climbed the unclimbable and took Riva Ridge, and the engineers erected an ingenious tramway to move the wounded and the supplies up and down the mountain.   This is the REAL stuff!  The pursuing assaults were successful, and the path open to Germany thanks to this 10th Mountain Division – trained to battle in treacherous snow conditions.   They prevailed at great cost for the campaign – with 975 killed, 3,871 wounded and 20 prisoners of war.  But they prevailed.

Another Real World War II Example

In another World War II real life adventure, the Germans controlled a heavy-water plant in Norway, and heavy-water was needed to make nuclear weapons.  On February 16, 1943, Operation Gunnerside began.  6 Norwegian commandos were dropped by parachute to join the ‘Swallow’ team on the ground.   After a few days of cross-country skiing, they joined the Swallow team.  The final assault on the heavy-water plant was set for February 27/28 1943.  The Germans controlled the plant and wanted to produce the heavy-water and ship it to Germany.   The heavy water plant was protected by mines, lights and more due to an earlier failed raid.   The Swallow team, with the 6 paratroopers, ford a winter river in a ravine and climbed a steep hill.  They followed a railway track right to the plant – because a Norwegian agent inside the plant supplied a detailed layout of the plant as well as a schedule.  This is very much like From Russia With Love, as Bond was to retrieve the consulate plans from Tania. Except here, it is real life!  The team entered the plant by a basement cable tunnel, set explosives and escaped.  They left behind a Thompson submachine gun to make it look like British forces did it and not local resistance to avoid reprisals.  It worked! Desperate, the Germans loaded some heavy water on a ferry bound for Germany, and the Norwegian resistance sank the ferry and all the heavy water!   Google: Gunnerside. So, the bottom line is, many of the scenes we have seen in spy movies, and above the Bond movies, have a basis in reality – people are indeed specially trained for these special operations, and so the specially trained personnel in the Bond movies for all the winter pursuits are believable.   Some of the stunts are fantastic, but so were some of the real-life challenges that were overcome by the 10th Mountain Division and the Norwegian troops!   Gadgets: Lastly let’s look at gadgets.  As we know, gadgets are prominent in the James Bond 007 movies by EON Production, as Q proves quite the inventor.  They are also present in the Mission: Impossible series, with masks, high-tech devices like the climbing gloves, the camera glasses in Mission Impossible 1 and so on. In the Ian Fleming books, gadgets were less prominent.   In Casino Royale, the first James Bond 00 novel, there are some gadgets, but spectacular.  Le Chiffre carries razors in various places, and one of the high-tech gadgets was a cane that doubled as a gun - which really was how they tried to first kill Bond at the casino table.  It goes on in other Fleming novels as well, with underwater equipment, the briefcase in “From Russia With Love” – which is different than what it contains in the movie.   But they are there, but less obvious and less of a focus.   There really was a Q Branch in MI6, and they came up with gadgets.  It was operational at the time Fleming was writing, and run by Charles Fraser-Smith, who Fleming knew. Again, in this really cool book, “For Your Eyes Only – Ian Fleming + James Bond” by Ben Macintyre, he suggests that Fraser-Smith made things like a hairbrush that has a map and a saw, cameras hidden in cigarette lighters, invisible ink, magnetized matches that could act as a compass, and so on.  So, there was real stuff, and that real stuff influenced the movies, and served as a basis of many extraordinary gadgets to come in the films. We mentioned a defector spy from the Soviet Union who defected to the West, Nikolai Khokhlov.  In the same book mentioned above, Macintyre suggests that when Khokhlov came over, he brought a lot of spy gadgets with him, including a miniature revolver that could fire toxic bullets, guns housed in cigarette lighters and lots more – for real! Thanks for spending time with us at SpyMovieNavigator.com – the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans – Spy Movie podcasts, videos, discussions and more!

Related Content

Why <em>Dr. No</em> is Dr. YES for Spy Movie Fans

Dr. No, EON Productions first James Bond movie based on Ian Fleming’s sixth James Bond 007 novel gets a big YES from movie-goers at the time of release in 1962, and has been a staple of Bond movies ever since.…

Spy Movies & Real-World Connections – Part 1

Have you ever thought about how events in the real world and other movies could affect and work their way into some of our favorite spy movies? Well, think about it a minute because that’s what we are going to…

Spy Movies & Real-World Connections – Part 2

Have you ever thought about how events in the real world and other movies could affect and work their way into some of our favorite spy movies? Well, think about it a minute because that’s what we are going to…

The Hotel Excelsior

They are to meet someone who is working both sides and can help them. They are in rooms 234 and 235. This is where Ashenden meets his “wife” Elsa, all part of the cover. Of course, we think of The Spy Who Loved Me where Agent Triple X is posing as Bond’s wife, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling, and From Russia With Love where Bond is traveling with his wife, the Russian cipher clerk, Tatiana Romanova, as Mr. and Mrs. David Somerset. Even in You Only Live Twice as Bond "marries" Kissy Suzuki. There are many instances where events in an older spy movie will influence future spy movies, like this! In the clip below, Brodie (Ashenden) meets his "wife", and another gentleman, Marvin, for the first time. Notice the lighting and the camera angles all add to the mystery, confusion, and intrigue in this scene.

From Russia with Love

From Russia With Love, editorial content, 007, James Bond, spy movie podcasts, EON Production movies, espionage, Sean Connery
From Russia With Love poster

From Russia With Love is the 5th Ian Fleming James Bond 007 novel (1957), 2nd EON Productions James Bond 007 film (1963).

In this curation of the movie, we talk about other movies as they relate to From Russia With Love and lots of other insights into the scenes like:

  • The Pre-title sequence is unique – and we discuss the use of masks here, and how The List of Adrian Messenger, and later Mission: Impossible TV series and movies use masks.
  • President Kennedy boosts Ian Fleming book sales
  • No throwbacks
  • Cats in films
  • Istanbul – Klebb demonstrates same-sex tendencies
  • Bring on the gadgets
  • Mission: Impossible versus Bond
  • On location at some film sites
  • AR-7 rifle specs
  • Bond and Tania sex talk
  • On location at the Blue Mosque
  • Bosphorus River Ferry
  • Fight to the death on the Orient Express
  • Other movies mentioned here in relation to From Russia With Love: The 39 Steps, The Spy Who Loved Me, SPECTRE, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, North by Northwest, Quantum of  Solace
  • SpyMovieNavigator on location in Scotland
  • SPECTRE – a job for life. . .
  • Venice gondola scenes and Venice canals, Bridge of Signs, – a discussion of potential meanings

The last 13 minutes

Elsa thinks Marvin was so kind, and she sees him on the train and tells him she is alone. She looks worried and goes to a berth (1A) with Marvin, who says to her: “I don’t trust you – you’re in the spy racket too. The lovely neglected wife and I fell for it.” He pulls a gun on her and asks if the other two are on the train. If so, he says, they are dead. Elsa is trying to play her role. Marvin was going to have the train searched when she tells Marvin she knows who he is and loves him. Chaos outside as the air force is shooting at the train. He kisses her. We see Ashenden (Brodie) and The General go into the same car with Elsa and Marvin. Marvin quips, “I congratulate you all – especially Madam. When does the shooting begin?” Ashenden tells Elsa to wait outside, as The General says, “It is my job.” In a surprise move, Elsa pulls a gun on Ashenden (Brodie) and The General, as a flashback to what she told Brodie earlier – “I’d rather see you dead than go through with this.” Elsa is with Marvin when the planes start bombing the train – he whispers in her ear: “Chivalrous German spy saves British lady from British bombs. “ Just then, bombs wreck the tracks just ahead of the train, and it derails, before The General can take care of Marvin. In the ensuing wreckage, Marvin shoots The General, then both die. Elsa and Brodie survive. The General at the beginning of the movie who got Elsa and Brodie to agree gets a note (a lot of notes in this movie): “ Home safely but never again. Mr. and Mrs. Ashenden” The scene shifts to newspaper headlines with the successes of the Allies! Again, following Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps the year before (where we saw the first train scene in a spy movie), we see additional train scenes in this movie, and of course in many spy movies to follow like From Russia With Love (Bond and Red Grant, and Tee Hee), Mission Impossible- 1996 (Hunt vs. Phelps, and the helicopter chase), Bourne Ultimatum (Waterloo station and Russian railway station), The Spy Who Loved Me (Bond and Jaws), SPECTRE (Bond and Mr. Hinx), Skyfall, Octopussy and many more.

The final scene

The movie ends with Bourne finding Marie in a shop/restaurant selling on a Greek island. The shop rents scooters and has a restaurant. This scene ends with Jason and Marie hugging and pulls out to show the island. It rolls right into the ending credits and song. Remember, this is one of the few spy movies without a pre-title sequence since From Russia With Love introduced the concept of a pre-title sequence in spy movies. As a nice touch, the red bag that Bourne got at the bank and had carried the money is hanging behind the cash register and is being used as a planter with some flowers.

Subscribe to our Podcast: Cracking the Code of Spy Movies

Never miss an episode - be in the know!