From Russia with Love is a 1963 British spy film and the second in the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions, as well as Sean Connery’s second role as MI6 agent James Bond. It was directed by Terence Young, produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood, based on Ian Fleming’s similarly named 1957 novel. In the film, Bond is sent to assist in the defection of Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where SPECTRE plans to avenge Bond’s killing of Dr. No.
Following the success of Dr. No, United Artists greenlit a sequel and doubled the budget available for the producers. In addition to filming on location in Turkey, the action scenes were shot at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, and in Scotland. Production ran over budget and schedule, and was rushed to finish by its scheduled October 1963 release date.
From Russia with Love was a critical and commercial success. It took in more than $78 million in worldwide box-office receipts, far more than its $2 million budget and more than its predecessor Dr. No, thereby becoming a blockbuster in 1960s cinema.
This film also marked the debut of Desmond Llewelyn as Q, a role he would play for 36 years until The World Is Not Enough in 1999.
Seeking to exact revenge on James Bond (007) for killing its agent Dr. No and destroying the organisation’s assets in the Caribbean, the international criminal organisation SPECTRE begins training agents to kill Bond. Their star pupil is Donald “Red” Grant, an Irish assassin who proves his mettle by killing a Bond impostor in 1 minute and 52 seconds on a training course with a garrote wire concealed in his wristwatch.
Meanwhile, the organisation’s chief planner, a Czech chess grandmaster named Kronsteen (Number 5), devises a plan to play British and Soviet intelligence against each other to procure a Lektor cryptographic device from the Soviets. SPECTRE’s chief executive, Number 1, puts Rosa Klebb (Number 3), a former colonel of SMERSH (the counter-intelligence branch of Soviet Intelligence) who has defected to SPECTRE in the West, in charge of the mission as chief of operations. Klebb chooses Grant to protect Bond until he acquires the Lektor and then to eliminate 007 and steal the cipher machine for SPECTRE. As part of the scheme, Klebb recruits the beautiful Tatiana Romanova, a cipher clerk at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul, who believes the ex-colonel is still working for SMERSH.
In London, M informs Bond that Romanova has contacted their “Station ‘T'” in Turkey, claiming to have fallen in love with Bond from his file photo. She offers to defect to the West, and will bring a top-secret Lektor with her to sweeten the deal, but only on the condition that Bond handle her case, personally. Prior to his departure, Bond is supplied by Q with an attaché case containing a concealed throwing knife, gold sovereigns, a special tear gas booby trap connected to the lock mechanism, and ammunition for an included ArmaLite AR-7 folding sniper rifle with an infrared night scope.
After travelling to Istanbul, Bond heads into the city to meet with station head Ali Kerim Bey, tailed by Bulgarian secret agents working for the Russians. They are in turn tailed by Grant, who kills one of them after Bond is taken back to his hotel, stealing their car and dumping it outside the Soviet Consulate to provoke hostilities between British and Soviet Intelligence. In response, the Soviets bomb Kerim’s office with a limpet mine; Kerim, however, is away from his desk for a tryst with his mistress. Bond and he then investigate the attack by spying on a Soviet consulate meeting through a periscope installed in the underground aqueducts beneath Istanbul. Thus, they learn that the Soviet agent Krilencu is responsible for the bombing. Kerim Bey declares it unwise to stay in the city under such circumstances and takes Bond to a rural gypsy settlement. However, Krilencu learns of this and promptly attacks a gypsy feast, where Bond and Kerim are honoured guests, with a band of hired Bulgarian fighters. Much to Bond’s confusion, he is saved from an enemy fighter during the attack by a distant sniper shot from Grant. The following night, Bond and Kerim Bey track Krilencu to his hideout, where Kerim Bey kills him with Bond’s rifle.
Upon returning to his hotel suite that night, Bond finds Romanova waiting for him in his bed and has sex with her; neither is aware that SPECTRE is filming them. The next day, Romanova heads off for a prearranged rendezvous at Hagia Sophia to drop off the floor plans for the consulate, with Grant ensuring Bond receives the plans by killing the other Bulgarian tail who attempts to intercept the drop. Using the plans, Bond and Kerim Bey successfully steal the Lektor, and together with Romanova, escape with the device onto the Orient Express. On the train, Kerim Bey quickly notices a Soviet security officer named Benz tailing them, prompting him and Bond to subdue him. When Bond leaves Benz and Kerim Bey alone together, Grant kills them and makes it appear as though they killed each other, preventing Bond from leaving the train with Romanova to rendezvous with one of Kerim’s men.
At the railway station in Belgrade, Bond passes on word of Kerim Bey’s death to one of his sons, and asks for an agent from Station Y to meet him at Zagreb. However, when the train arrives at the station, Grant intercepts Nash, sent from Station Y, killing the agent before posing as him. After drugging Romanova at dinner, Grant overpowers Bond before taunting him about SPECTRE’s involvement in the theft. After disclosing that Romanova was unaware of what was truly going on, believing she was working for Russia, Grant reveals to Bond his plans to leave behind the film SPECTRE took of him and Romanova at the hotel, along with a forged blackmail letter, to make it appear that their deaths were the result of a murder-suicide, to scandalise the British intelligence community. Bond quickly convinces him to accept a bribe of gold sovereigns in exchange for a final cigarette, tricking Grant into setting off the booby trap in his attaché case. This distracts Grant enough for Bond to attack him in a brutal brawl. In the ensuing fight, Bond narrowly gains the upper hand, stabbing Grant with the case’s concealed knife before strangling him with his own garrotte. Bond then drags the barely conscious Romanova from the train, which has been stopped by a SPECTRE accomplice, where he hijacks Grant’s getaway truck and flees the scene with Romanova.
Upon hearing the news of Grant’s death, Number 1 calls Klebb and Kronsteen onto the carpet to explain what went wrong and remind them that SPECTRE does not tolerate failure. Kronsteen is executed by the henchman Morzeny with a kick from the poison-tipped switchblade in his shoe. Klebb, however, is given one last chance to make good on the mission and acquire the Lektor (which has already been promised to the Russians in a sell-back scheme).
The next morning, Bond’s stolen truck is intercepted along its escape route by a SPECTRE helicopter, but 007 destroys the attacking aircraft by shooting its co-pilot with his sniper rifle, causing the man to drop a live hand grenade in the cockpit. Thus, Bond and Romanova make it to Grant’s escape boat on the Dalmatian coast and steal that, too, only to be pursued by Morzeny, who leads a squadron of SPECTRE powerboats. Bond, however, escapes by dumping his own powerboat’s fuel drums overboard and detonating them with a Very flare to engulf all the chase boats in a sea of flames.
Eventually, Romanova and he reach a hotel in Venice, where they believe themselves to be safe. Klebb, however, disguised as a maid, makes one final attempt on Bond and the Lektor. Klebb tries to kick him with a poisoned switchblade shoe, but Romanova shoots her with her own dropped gun. With the mission accomplished, Bond and Romanova leave Venice on a romantic boat ride, in which course Bond throws Grant’s blackmail film into the canal.
From Russia with Love is the soundtrack for the second James Bond film of the same name. This is the first series film with John Barry as the primary soundtrack composer.
John Barry, arranger of Monty Norman’s “James Bond Theme” for Dr. No, would be the dominant Bond series composer for most of its history and the inspiration for fellow series composer, David Arnold (who uses cues from this soundtrack in his own for Tomorrow Never Dies). The theme song was composed by Lionel Bart of Oliver! fame and sung by Matt Monro.
Following the decision of the producers not to use Monty Norman, though keeping his “James Bond Theme”, Harry Saltzman decided on using the then popular Lionel Bart of Oliver! fame. Bart was unable to read or write music, but he offered to compose the music and lyrics for a title song to the film.
The producers chose John Barry to score the film. Barry had not only arranged and conducted the “James Bond Theme” from the previous film, but had already scored some films such as Beat Girl and Never Let Go. Barry’s group also charted at No. 13 in the November 1962 UK charts with a different arrangement of the Bond theme from that heard in the film.
The title song was sung by Matt Monro. Monro’s vocal version is played during the film (as source music on a radio) and properly over the film’s end titles. The title credit music is a lively instrumental version of the tune preceded by a brief Barry-composed “James Bond is Back” then segueing into the “James Bond Theme”. On the original film soundtrack, Alan Haven played a jazzy organ over the theme but this version was not released on the soundtrack album. The tune also appears in a soft string arrangement as a theme for Tania. In Germany, the original release featured an end title track cover version called Die Wolga ist Weit sung by Ruthe Berlé.
Originally planning to use local Turkish music as Norman had used Jamaican music on Dr No, Barry accompanied the film crew to Istanbul, however he found nothing suitable for the film.
Recalling his visit to Istanbul, John Barry said, “It was like no place I’d ever been in my life. [The Trip] was supposedly to seep up the music, so Noel Rogers and I used to go ’round to these nightclubs and listen to all this stuff. We had the strangest week, and really came away with nothing, except a lot of ridiculous stories. We went back, talked to Lionel, and then he wrote ‘From Russia with Love.”
The soundtrack’s original recordings are thought to be lost and did not appear when the Bond soundtrack albums were issued in remastered form on CD. The album is different from the film with the album’s recording of the main titles sounding slower and not featuring the organ played by Alan Haven. Several tracks on the album do not appear in the completed film. The album was the last of the Bond soundtrack albums to feature more than the usual six tracks per record side.
The soundtrack album reached No. 28 on the Variety charts in March 1964 with the title song becoming Unart Music’s most recorded song. Other cover versions of the “James Bond Theme” were also released to coincide with the film. Barry also released different cover versions of the title song and “007” on his Ember records for the pop charts. The Roland Shaw Orchestra performed cover versions of most of the music of Barry’s soundtrack on several albums. (by wikipedia)
The cover images include Sean Connery as James Bond, and Daniela Bianchi.
Unknown orchestra conducted by John Barry
Matt Monro (vocals)
01. James Bond Is Back – From Russia With Love – James Bond Theme (Bart/Norman) 2.26
02. Tania Meets Klebb (Barry) 1.31
03. Meeting In St. Sophia (Barry) 1.09
04. The Golden Horn (Barry) 2.25
05. Girl Trouble (Barry) 2.27
06. Bond Meets Tania (Bart) 1.20
07. 007 (Barry) 2.47
08. Gypsy Camp (Barry) 1.17
09. Death Of Grant (Barry)
10. From Russia With Love (Bart) 2.35
11. Spectre Island (Barry) 1.19
12. Guitar Lament (Barry) 1.12
13. Man Overboard – Smersh In Action (Barry) 2.19
14. James Bond With Bongos (Norman) 2.33
15. Stalking (Barry) 2.05
16. Leila Dances (Barry) 1.57
17. Death Of Kerim (Bart/Barry) 2.31
18. 007 Takes The Lektor (Barry) 3.03
19. Die Wolga ist weit (German version of “From Russia With Love” (Bart/Hertha) 2.27