C2E2 Show Chicago: What Do Real Spy Movie Fans Think?

Podcast Episode

C2E2 Show Chicago: What Do Real Spy Movie Fans Think?

In our new segment, Opinions of Real Spy Movie Fans, we talk to a bunch of real people who attended C2E2 about what spy movies they like!

Tom and Dan head down to the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo in Chicago to try to find some real spy movie fans!

In our new segment, Opinions of Real Spy Movie Fans, we talk to a bunch of real people who talk about what spy movies they like!

NOTE: No Time To Die release has been postponed until November 2020.  At the time of this recording, it was scheduled for April 2020.

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North By Northwest (1959)

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller, North by Northwest is a movie about an advertising executive who gets caught up in the world of spies. A case of mistaken identity early in the movie sets Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) and the audience up for a thrilling journey across America.

In this curation (and in the podcast), we examine things beyond just the scope of the movie, and its interrelationship with other movies and events:

  • A crafty, yet charming villain, much like Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill
  • Suspense on a train
  • How the henchmen put Thornhill in the car which foretells a scene in James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
  • An unknown criminal organization – Can you say Spectre or Quantum?
  • Stars from the television shows “Get Smart” and Man From U.N.C.L.E. are the good guys in this movie year’s before their tv spy-dom
  • A joke that is told is based on an old vaudeville routine and first showed up on film in the 1945 movie Ziegfeld Follies
  • Airplanes trying to run the hero down, a la James Bond in From Russia With Love
  • And many others

RELATED CONTENT:


Spies in Disguise – A Quick-Fire Look

Podcast Episode

Spies in Disguise – A Quick-Fire Look

The latest animated spy movie just released. It's called Spies in Disguise. Tom and Dan Crack the Code of this spy movie and look at it's relationship to other spy movies.

Join Tom and Dan, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies as they take a Quick-Fire look at the animated kids’ spy movie, SPIES IN DISGUISE, looking at how it relates to other spy movies, the plot, music, and message!  And there’s stuff in here for adults too!

Fun movie!  Take a listen!

Click here to see the Official Trailer

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Dan Silvestri:
Hi, this is Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato, join us as we’re Cracking The Code Of Spy Movies. Check us out on our website https://spymovienavigator.com and please subscribe to our show through your favorite podcast app. Happy holidays to all our listeners all around the world. We appreciate you listening and happy new year. Today we’re going to take a quick-fire look at the movie Spies in Disguise, which was released in the US on Christmas Day 2019.

Tom Pizzato:
This one’s a bit different than our normal movie discussion is. Spies in Disguise, it’s an animated movie really geared for kids. And Dan, as you know, we normally have been talking about non-kid based movies. Now this movie was actually based on this short animation film called Pigeon: Impossible which should kind of give you a hint as to what they were thinking. And that’s only a six-minute video. You can find it on YouTube.

Dan Silvestri:
All right: Now we’re not going to do one of our in-depth shows on this movie, but this movie is a great intro to spy movies for kids and adults have something to see here as well. Right, Tom?

Tom Pizzato:
Yeah, absolutely. This is definitely a movie that there’s stuff in there for the adults as well as the kids.

Dan Silvestri:
Now, Tom saw the movie, I’ve watched all the trailers and read some articles on the movie but Tom actually saw the movie. So he’s going to go through most of this stuff here. And I just want to say during the holiday season here, I’m just finishing off a pack of red velvet pizzelle Italian cookies, Tom, and yeah, you want one here? I’ve got the package here. Have some.

TOM: Yeah. I’m ok.

DAN: They’re delicious. They’re Italian waffle cookies by the way. And a cup of coffee. It’s like, Oh, that’s great. But I digress just a bit.

TOM: That’s a good way to go ahead and record a podcast, Dan, eat something.

DAN: So Tom’s going to tell you about the movie.

Tom Pizzato:
I’m going to actually start off by saying I saw the 2D version of this movie. There is a 3D version of this and from what I’ve heard online, you know, looking at reviews and listening to podcasts on it, the 3D is actually really good. Unfortunately, the timing we had on Christmas day, which is when I went the only one available at the time, we could go was the 2D showing. So you know, I can’t, I can’t really comment on the 3D but I have read good things about how they did that.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah, now Tom, you went with a family member to see Spies in Disguise. We talked about it a little bit before, but why did you go see it? And it really is a kid’s movie, right?

Tom Pizzato:
Yeah. It’s a cartoon. But why did I go to it? I believe our website is called SpyMovieNavigator.com. And this is a spy movie. And I think we shouldn’t really distinguish between whether it’s an adult movie or a kid movie. And so I wanted to see what it was and quite honestly, I was pretty curious after looking at the trailers how this thing was going to work out.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah. Yeah. And you, like I said, there’s, there’s stuff in here for adults too, right?

Tom Pizzato:
Oh yeah, there’s, there’s definitely stuff that’ll keep the adults happy that they went, okay. So yeah, if you look at what we do on our podcast, we’re looking at how spy movies have influenced other spy movies or how real-world events have influenced spy movies. And there’s definitely some homage paid in this movie to other spy movies and the whole genre in general. So it’s actually kind of interesting to see, okay. Even though this is a cartoon based for kids, how they bring some of that stuff together. So we decided that a quick-fire sounded like a good idea to do for this one. Although this is geared at kids, this is an animation movie and Dan as, you know, I’m a big fan of animated movies. Again, adults do have something to see here. And we went on Christmas Day and I don’t know if in other countries if the movie theaters are even open there, but in the US actually, Christmas is a fairly big day for the movie theaters.

Tom Pizzato:
It was fairly full for the showing we went at three o’clock in the afternoon showing. And it was interesting to me because at one moment I thought there was a kid’s laugh track because the laughter was so loud and I’m looking around and the kids just love this thing. And actually, after the movie was over I went up to the bunch of parents because you don’t want to approach the kids and ask them, you know, what’d you guys, what’d your kids think of the movie? And with one exception they were all like, Oh I love it. I love it, I love it. The one small exception was there was a really small child there who told me that it was bad “because there was a bad guy in it, but that it got better when they caught the bad guy.” That’s cute.

Tom Pizzato:
But also, if you’re a parent trying to figure out if you’re going to take your kid to this in the US this is rated parental guidance or PG, there’s a bad guy. There’s some a few explosions in it. So you know as you’re trying to figure out whether you bring your kid or not. Just realize that this isn’t a G-rated movie, it’s a PG-rated movie because there is some of this, some of this stuff in there. Not a lot, but again, this one little kid was a little taken back by it.

DAN: Yeah. So, there are references though. Like you, I think you’re hinting that there’s references to other spy movies in this movie.

TOM: Yeah. And I was totally looking forward to how they were going to do that. How are they going to tie that stuff in?

Tom Pizzato:
There is a pre-title sequence that just like a lot of other spy movies do, this thing really feels like a BOND set up in terms of the way the pre-titles work. It does have a, it looks like it’s opening with like this fuse kind of a thing, and then they pull back and it’s a laser.

DAN: kind of like a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE thing.

TOM: Yeah. So it felt kind of like, Oh, they’re starting like with this MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE thing. They pull back and it’s a laser. Now we do actually have, if you go out to our YouTube channel, we do have a video, “The Top 12 Uses of Lasers in Spy Movies”. It’s fun. It’s a fun video. Shows you other, other places that lasers were used in spy movies. Now there’s also a knock off of the: “Bond, James Bond” line from the BOND series. And that got a bigger response from the parents as most of the kids wouldn’t know “Bond, James Bond”.

DAN: Okay, so the adults in the audience, are going okay I know that. So what is the line? Can you say what the line is?

TOM: I’m not going to give it away.

DAN: Oh, come on.

TOM: No. Walter says it in the movie and Walter is, and I’ll explain who the characters are, but he’s this nerd, younger person who is the gadget geek guy.

DAN: So he’s kind of the Q guy.

TOM: Yeah. He’s kind of like the Q guy and he’s the, he’s the nerd science guy. I don’t want to give away the line because if you, when you’d go to it, if you understand science, you’ll catch it. If you don’t, you might want to look it up.

DAN: That’s all you’re going to say. All right.

TOM: That’s all. That’s all I’m going to say. Cause it was actually, I thought it was fairly clever the way they did it for the Walter character.

DAN: Okay. Alright.

TOM: As I mentioned before, there are some explosions. Nothing major, but there are some in there, there are underwater sequences that kind of, you know, we’ve seen in different spy movies,

DAN: Thunderball.

TOM: yeah, in Thunderball and others. However, we had just done a quick-fire last month on Charlie’s Angels where the whole movie seemed to be a regurgitation of other spy movies. This one wasn’t like that. There was definite homage paid to BOND, HUNT, and BOURNE, but a lot of this movie really felt fresh.

DAN: All right, Tom. I know the directors of this film watched all of the BOND films, all the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and all the BOURNE movies to prep themselves for this film. So I read that in an article on syfy.com and it was a great little article by the way. Go read that if you like to go find it. Can you give us like an example of what some of the homages paid were here or what’s,

TOM: Yeah, we’ll go through a bunch of those as we go through this podcast and I’ll say in that article they actually expressly mentioned the pre-title sequence and how they designed that to really have a Bondian feel. It really does in the way they set it up and go right into the titles and the music and they really nail that pretty well in my opinion.

Tom Pizzato: Now, the basic premise of this movie, again, it’s a kid’s movie, is that the super spy drinks a potion and turns into a pigeon,

DAN: turns into a pigeon, right? Yeah. Yes. I’ve seen that in the trailers.

TOM: one of those darned birds.

DAN: Right. And the trailers are, we have a trailer actually on our homepage, on our website. If you want to take a look at it now. Wow. So he turns into a pigeon.

TOM: He turns into a pigeon.

DAN: Now, is that the disguise?

TOM: It’s not really a disguise. But, from a disguise perspective. What a beautiful way for a spy to go anywhere he or she wants to go. You become a pigeon. You’re not going to be known, I mean, there’s a scene in the Piazza San Marco in Venice where there’s just a ton of pigeons. You want to be unobserved.

Tom Pizzato:It’s a great way to do it. And actually, the Walter character says “pigeons are everywhere and nobody notices them. They’re the most perfect form a spy can take”. At least it beast swimming with a bird with a scuba mask on.

DAN: Oh, you mean the like the one BOND where it’s coming out of the water in the beginning of Goldfinger. That’s what you’re talking about?

TOM: Yeah, exactly.

DAN: I was a little confused there. I was like, what? I got it. All right.

TOM: Now, the basic premise of this movie is there’s the superstar spy named Lance, and he’s voiced by Will Smith. And it’s interesting when they drew him, they wanted to draw him kind of like martini glass shaped. So he’s got very big shoulders, very, very narrow. As he comes down.

Tom Pizzato:
Now he meets this young gadget guy named Walter. Now let’s think about this. We have Lance and we have Walter kind of sounds to me like Walter Lanz. So I think this was a shout out to the great cartoonist, Walter Lanz who directed the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit series and gave us Woody Woodpecker. So I think that was one of those little when I saw or heard these names, I’m like, that’s Walter Lanz.

DAN: These guys are clever with stuff like that. So that’s good that.

TOM: They absolutely are. Now Lance, the superspy, accidentally drinks a potion that Walter was working on and it turns Lance into a pigeon. But Walter doesn’t have the antidote for this. So, he’s a pigeon for a lot of the movie and he’s on the trail of a bad guy named Killian and Lance is used to doing everything on his own.

Tom Pizzato:
He’s a super spy. If you think about Bond. Bond doesn’t really use a lot of support from a lot of people. There’s a little bit there, but not a ton. If you think about Bourne, it’s the same type of thing. And Ethan Hunt has the team, so he’s not quite as out on his own. But again, remember Lance turns into a pigeon and at one point he says, “I fly solo”.

DAN: All right, that’s a good line.

TOM: So it’s, it’s pretty good, but he eventually has to get realizes since he’s now in a pigeon form, he needs some help. And Walter’s the guy who’s going to do this. Nice. Now, one of the things, where they took an idea that was used in other spy movies that they bring forward in here, is the concept of the double pursuit. And we’ve talked about this in the past in our 39 Steps, The 39 Steps podcast.

DAN: Yeah, Check out our podcast on The 39 Steps (Link). We talk a lot about the double pursuit idea here. And it’s really is a cool idea and a lot of spy movies do use this concept.

TOM: So this movie, the super spy, Lance, his agency thinks he’s gone bad because they can’t find him cause he’s a pigeon.

DAN: Oh, an agent gone rogue.

TOM: Yeah, they think he’s an agent gone rogue. So they’re trying to catch him and then you still, and you have the pursuit with the, with Killian the bad guy, right? So you’ve got the double pursuit where the bad guy wants him and the, and the agency wants Lance as well. So it’s kind of interesting from that perspective. There are also high-end car chases, submarines, some muted explosions and a lot of the fun stuff we’re used to seeing in spy movies. Toward the end, Walter figures out the antidote and Lance is brought back to his human form.

Tom Pizzato: However, Lance needs to go back to the pigeon form to save Walter who had been grabbed by Killian. So we actually see Lance’s conflict of should I use this potion again or not to go on should I become a pigeon again or not.

DAN: That’s a nice little built-in conflict there. That’s kind of cool. Yeah, I like that.

TOM: Now, especially for the kids. Walter’s character is really good. He’s this gadget guy and I really imagine him as a young version of Ben Whishaw, his version of Q in JAMES BOND. Not really a Desmond version, but if you take, if you take Ben’s version of him,

DAN: Yeah, I can see that in the trailers and I was actually thinking that in the trailers. I said this is kinda like the new Q, Ben Whishaw’s Q. Yeah. That’s good.

Tom Pizzato:
Yeah. So, and now there is a gadget lab in the movie, which I love. So they’re walking through there. It’s very close in concept to the old Q labs in the pre-Daniel Craig BOND movies where they walk through and there’s all this stuff happening in the background. And so Lance walks through it, we get to see all of that stuff as well. So it’s kinda, it’s kinda cool to see that brought forward.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah, I read this other article, and I, and I think maybe from these articles, at least it’s, there’s, there’s always a hidden message in this movie of promoting the kids and making them do good things and whatever else. And so in this one article, I just read about this said the gadgets were actually rooted in, in science, so, and they’re again trying to show or encourage kids that they can go pursue a science career and so on. So you think in the whole movie, Tom, that there are these messages that are going through this that are these positive messages for kids?

Tom Pizzato:
Oh, absolutely. There’s a lot, there’s a lot of it. It’s great. It’s great to be weird. Is one of the things they talk about because Walter’s this geeky science guy, right? And so there’s parts of that that are, are put through here. Even if you take the take-off, they take on “Bond, James Bond”, there’s a science bent to that. So this is Walter’s a science guy who wants to take and create these gadgets to help the world. But unlike in the adult-oriented spy movies, the gadgets are much cuter and in fact, none of them can hurt people. So they’re their gadgets designed to incapacitate or freeze or deflate a human body.

DAN: That sounds bad.

TOM: force someone to tell the truth or stun them. I mean, there’s this one device called Kitty Glitter and they use it in the movie a lot and it’s used to distract people from whatever they were doing and pretty much stops them in their tracks and they get a smile on their face. You can think of glitter in the air with cat images. All right. I mean, it sounds odd, but this is an animated movie for kids and it actually works in this movie. There’s even a trick pen type of a gadget that’s used to do some of this stuff as well. But again, it’s all harmless stuff showing how we can use science to do good and use it also to help fight crime.

Dan Silvestri: All right, There was another article I read in the LA Times that said, one of the things that directors wanted to highlight is that violence is not the answer. It’s the kind of fighting, the idea of fighting another kind of fighting the idea that maybe Lance had to fight fire with fire kind of thing. You know, that they were saying that violence doesn’t always make sense. And so this obviously makes perfect sense with Walter ‘s gadgets not hurting anyone.

TOM: Well, yeah, and that’s Walter’s gadgets, right? So Killian has some stuff that does blow things up. Ah, okay. All right. So there’s even a gadget that just really cracked me up. It’s, it’s called the Inflatable Hug and this thing, when I saw that they get instantly,

DAN: That’s a great name again, I’ve got to give credit to whoever came up with that.

TOM: So yeah, it’s cute. It doesn’t hurt you. It’s very similar to a gadget that was used in the James Bond movie. The World is Not Enough, and I don’t remember what they called it in that movie if they even gave it a name, but it was the inflatable jacket thing. That saves Bond and Elektra when they’re in that avalanche, like puts that bubble around them. Oh yeah. So, it’s used differently in this movie, but it looks similar and its goal is to protect whatever’s in it, just like in The World is Not Enough. And now when I saw that I was just like wow. Instantly it took me back to that film. So it was really cool to see that.

Dan Silvestri:
So there, they’re probably obviously conscious of that whole scene in The World Is Not Enough. And they’re kind of rolling it in. {pun intended}

Tom Pizzato:
yeah, they’re exactly rolling it in and they roll it in a couple of times without overdoing it. But it’s actually, I actually thought it was really cool. There’s also the line, “I need a code name” and that plays directly into the code name theories with JAMES BOND and more directly into the BOURNE movies. With Jason Bourne being the code name for David Webb.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Again, I read another article at headtopics.com and it said the directors, was it Quane and Bruno, right, Quane and Bruno. They wanted to dig a little bit into the idea that sometimes the only thing separating heroes and villains is perspective and so this whole good versus evil kind of good and bad stuff. They wanted to kind of dig into a little bit in this movie and when I read that I thought, well that’s again, you look at Quantum of Solace with Bond when Mathis and bond get together in, in the, in his home, in Italy on, he’s trying to get Mathis to help them and Mathis tells Bond. He says, when one’s young, it seems very easy to distinguish between right and wrong, but as one gets older it all becomes more difficult to villains and heroes get all mixed up. So it’s the same kind of look. It sounded like they were doing again, certainly know about Quantum of Solace and wanted to kind of touch on that in this movie about this good versus bad kind of thing and dig into that a little bit. So you see that kind of thread going through there too, Tom?

Tom Pizzato:
Oh, absolutely. Especially with the double pursuit. Yeah, because to the agency Lance’s a bad guy. Yeah. Right. They’ve got to capture him even though he’s out trying to be the good guy so that it does get, you know, what is your perspective, which way you see this? One of the things we see in this movie that we see fairly often in other spy movies is the spy seeing the bad guy coming at him through a reflection. Somebody is coming at the spy from behind and the good spy sees the bad person coming in the reflection of something. So if you think back to the pre-title sequence of Goldfinger and Bond is looking into, in the pre-title, he’s looking into her eyes and he sees the guy getting ready to hit him from behind. Yeah. This technique’s used a few times in Spies in Disguise as well. Like some other spy movies. There are quite a few quips in this thing. And we also hear the line, “I’m taking everything from you”: which is similar to things we’ve heard in some spy movies like in Mission: Impossible III, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character uses a similar line like that. Spectre or even in the trailer to No Time to Die. You get that theme come through. And that comes in this movie as well.

Dan Silvestri:
So, Tom, I’ve watched all the trailers and I wanted to ask you about the music because, in the trailers it sounded, it sounded pretty cool.

Tom Pizzato: Yeah, I think they did a really good job with the music in this. It sets the mood of the scenes very well. It’s generally uplifting. Most of it’s unique but very modern. But I did feel a hint of Lalo Schifrin’s “Theme from Mission: Impossible” a couple of times. Which was, which was kind of fun. It wasn’t quite it, but it was kind of, it kind of had that feel to it, which I really enjoyed.

Now I mentioned that there’s a villain in this and this guy’s a medicine guy. He’s got a robotic hand. Think Dr. No, but much more functional. He has an eye that glows red and is just pretty nasty. Plus just like in a lot of spy movies, the villain doesn’t do the dirty work.

DAN: You mean the big villain.

TOM: Yeah, the big villain. He or she has people do the dirty work for him or her and in this case, Killian has an army of drones which blow things up. They attack people and do other things like that and to me, it’s a really good thing if we look at how real-world impacts and how other movies impact these spy movies, there’s a proliferation of drones that’s happening right now in the world. Sure. Kids have seen that. A lot of kids have probably played with drones. So bringing this into the movie brings a real-world aspect.

Dan Silvestri:Yeah. And we had, the military has drones that actually do go blow things up. So

Tom Pizzato:
absolutely. It’s not just pizza delivery.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah. Yeah. Tom, Spiderman, I think earlier in this year, earlier in 2019 we had the movie a Spider-man: Far From Home. And in that movie, Spiderman has to fight off an army of drones. So kinda, it’s kind of a touch of irony, the actor here, isn’t it? The guy Tom Holland was the Spiderman guy, right?

Tom Pizzato: Yeah. So Tom Holland played Peter Parker in Spider-man: Far From Home. He’s also the voice of Walter in Spies in Disguise.

DAN: That’s a cool connection there.

TOM: And he had to fight an army of drones in both movies. So kind of a nice little, nice little tie in here.

Now, one opportunity I totally think they missed here. And again, it’s, I’m a, I’m an animation film fan. So to me, it’s like, I look for things like this, but they didn’t have a song in here. And we talked about the music a second ago. They didn’t have a song in here, like the “Friend Like Me” song in Aladdin.

DAN: Oh, I love that song.

TOM: And to me like that movie or “Under The Sea” in The Little Mermaid. If they had a song, something like that, they could’ve flashed all these animated characterizations that kind of were paying homage to all different spy movies and all different movies.

Tom Pizzato:
I mean, you think about what you can do with animation there and tying, you know, you might have an image that’s on the screen for a second or a second and a half and then you’re onto the next one. I really think they missed an opportunity by not doing that.

DAN: Oh, that would’ve been fun.

TOM: Because if you talk to a kid about those two movies of, The Little Mermaid or Aladdin, those are two of the songs they’ll talk about.

All right. So that was a missed opportunity in my opinion. But there was one thing that they did in the end credits. The kind of irked me a little bit. First, a little bit of background about me. I’m an animation film fan and I collect animation cell art. These are the pictures that make up one frame of an animated movie. So, especially in the old school days, they would literally paint the picture onto a piece of acetate and take its picture.

Tom Pizzato:And that would become a frame in the movie. Now, in my opinion, the animation artist is equal, if not more important than the voice talent and the creation of a movie when it’s an animation film. So if you think, if you think about the animated movies by Disney, before Robin Williams was the genie in Aladdin, can you name two other voices in a Disney movie prior to Robin? Most people can’t unless you’re a geek like me and I know most of them. Okay. But you know the characters by sight, you know, you know the visual of the character that the animator created by sight.

In many JAMES BOND movies, the actor who physically performs the role may not be the actor whose voice you hear. So do you know who dubbed the voice for Honey Rider in Dr. No? Or Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service?

Tom Pizzato:
Or did you know that Michael Collins dubbed the English version of the voice of Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger? Yes. The voice talent is important and needs to be credited, but so do the animation artists or directors or the animation directors for the various characters in an animated movie. Unfortunately, EON Productions hasn’t done that with the BOND character voices. They’re all uncredited. Spies in Disguise doesn’t credit the artist with their character. What I really like to see is in some of the Disney films, they actually credit, you’ll see it in a box where it’s like, here’s the character and then here’s the voice, here’s the animation team behind it to really give the crediting and the fact that both pieces are pretty much equally important and I think that’s a good practice. I wish they had done it here. Okay. Now this whole dialogue about the voice talent here and crediting is all about the credit.

Tom Pizzato:
I’m not saying the voice casting wasn’t good. It was actually very good. It really was. And you know, like Will Smith,  I go hot and cold with Will Smith. He voiced this really well.

DAN: Yeah, I thought all the trailers I saw were well done.

TOM: And Tom Holland voices Walter really well. Rachel Brosnahan, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire, Karen Gillan there, and others voiced the large roles and they did a really good job. I just wish that the crediting for the animator who was there. So I’m going to get off my soapbox now.

DAN: I was going to say, take a step down.

Tom: I’m sorry. I just that’s one of those things that just annoy me. I think Spies in Disguise does what it tries to do quite well. It’s a spy movie that’ll get many kids hooked on spy movies. You should be happy to take a kid to see it.

Tom Pizzato: Keeping in mind that it in the US is rated PG, not G, so there is a bit of violence or nothing rough and a few explosions and a bad guy. There are a couple of adult-themed innuendos that are in here. There’s one if you’ll see the trailer for it and right when he takes the potion that starts to turn him into a pigeon, his hands shrink and then he looks down his pants. It’s, it’s quick, but it’s one of those things that, you know, little kids won’t catch it, but the little bit older kids will snicker at it. And then again, there is a villain here. The movie does pay homage to the real world and other spy movies without feeling like it was trying to rip anything off: Unlike Charlie’s Angels. And it really was fun to watch.

Just don’t expect to see the same level of film you’re going to see if you’re going to a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE or a JAMES BOND film. Now, if you aren’t going to go with a child, you might not want to run out to see it. And I’m not sure it was, it was fine. I enjoyed it. But like, you know, Dan, you didn’t run out and see it because you didn’t have it. Right. But if you have kids or nephews or nieces, you can go ahead and take them and have a guilty pleasure. So let’s go ahead and end this thing. I need to get some Kitty Glitter.

Dan Silvestri:
All right, that’s good. This has been Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato. We appreciate you listening as together. We’re Cracking the Code of Spy Movies. Check us out at our website. https://spymovienavigator.com. Please subscribe to our show through your favorite podcast app. Participate in our podcast by sending us a voice message through our website or a message through Facebook about any of our podcasts. Questions you’d like answered, comments or podcasts you’d like us to do.

 

 


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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!


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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!


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