Released in 1963, From Russia with Love is the second installment in the Bond series, and sees 007 on a mission to escort a defecting Soviet consulate secretary and a Lektor cryptology device from Istanbul to England. But things aren’t quite as they seem, as it’s all part of a devious plot by SPECTRE, who are seeking revenge for the killing of their operative, Dr No. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the film.
1) The KGB really used knife shoes
One of the most memorable weapons in the film was the poisoned knife shoe. It’s used by an unnamed Spectre goon to disperse of Kronsteen at Blofeld’s request, and it’s also used by Rosa Klebb at the end of the film, when she tries to kill Bond and Tatiana in their room. But it’s not actually very far fetched. The KGB did use shoes with retractable blades concealed inside!
2) Leg double
One scene involves Bond and Ali Kerim Bey standing in the catacombs underneath the Russian embassy in Istanbul, and spying into one of the rooms above with a periscope. The legs of Tatiana are quite centric in this scene. However, the director didn’t like the look of actress Daniela Bianchi’s legs, and so used a different actress as a leg double for the periscope shots.
3) From Russia With Love was Sean Connery’s favourite Bond movie
From Dr No through to Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery has appeared in six official Bond films, plus one non-official outing. Out of these seven appearances as 007, Connery has stated that From Russia with Love is his favourite film.
4) The film introduced Spielberg to Robert Shaw
After watching him as Spectre agent Donald ‘Red’ Grant in From Russia with Love, Steven Spielberg became convinced that he needed to cast Robert Shaw in his 1975 shark thriller, Jaws. He gave the actor the role of drunken old seafarer Quint.
5) The helicopter pilot got way too close
After Bond and Tatiana depart from the train, they are pursued by a helicopter. The pilot of the helicopter was actually inexperienced – particularly when it came to stunt work – and he got much closer to Sean Connery than the production had planned. Fortunately, Connery wasn’t harmed, but you can see that he got a little too close for comfort in the finished film.
6) Ian Fleming was won over by Connery in this film
When Connery was given the role of Bond back in Dr No, Ian Fleming expressed great dislike for the casting, and his opinion didn’t change much even after seeing the film. It wasn’t until From Russia with Love came out that Fleming was really won over by Connery. He loved his performance as 007 so much, in fact, that in his final James Bond book, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, which was published posthumously in 1966, Fleming gave the character Scottish ancestry in honour of Connery.
7) The train fight scene took three weeks to film
Although the fight scene between Bond and Grant only lasts a few minutes, and sees the two men tumble around the train carriage, it actually took a whopping three weeks to film. It’s worth noting that the pair rarely used stunt doubles for the scene, and much of the fighting you see on screen is the two top-billed actors.
8) Robert Shaw had to stand on an apple crate
Because Robert Shaw was four inches shorter than Connery, he had to stand on a wooden crate in scenes where he was acting opposite the Scottish actor. The character of Grant is a muscular, well-trained killing machine, so if he were to appear smaller than Connery, he would lose some of his physical threat.
9) The rats in From Russia With Love were covered in chocolate
For the rats in From Russia With Love, the crew originally tried using lab rats, as they were easy to obtain, and were much less likely to be diseased. However, the lab rats looked too clean to be sewer rats and so the crew covered them in chocolate to make them look dirty and grotty. But instead of running as they were supposed to, the rats lay around licking chocolate off themselves. The idea was abandoned and was filmed later in Spain.
10) Daniela Bianchi’s car accident delayed her scenes
Aged just 21, Bianchi is the youngest actress to play a leading female role in a Bond film. Whilst taking her to an early shoot one morning, her driver nodded off behind the wheel, and crashed. Bianchi had such bad bruising and contusions that her scenes had to delayed weeks.
There you have it – 10 things you may not have known about From Russia With Love. Check out our James Bond section for more 007 articles!
From Russia with Love Trailer
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