MI6 looks back to the filming of "From Russia With
Love" in Istanbul, where Ian Fleming and intrepid
reporters we on location to report on Bond's latest
big screen adventure...
Time Tunnel: On The Set Of "From Russia With
26th February 2007
On April 20th 1963, the production of "From
Russia With Love" arrived in Istanbul, Turkey to start location
filming on the second James Bond film. The crew, led by director
Terence Young, started shooting on April 22nd at Saint Sophia
and were accompanied by the
creator of 007 - Ian Fleming.
Filming in Turkey presented many problems,
most of them stemming from the inexperience of local crews
and their inability to meet the standards set by Young
and his crew.
The sequence at Istanbul's Sirkecki Station,
for example, was a nightmare to shoot. Generators had to
be set up aboard the train being used for the sequence
and left in the hands of a Turkish engine driver who was
supposed to pull into the station and hit a predefined
mark. The engineer constantly overshot the mark, snapping
the generator cables and plunging the location into darkness.
Above: Fleming posing on the train
It was during the filming of the city scenes when members of
the international press were invited to spend some time with
the production on location.
Above: Rare shot of Ian Fleming walking
in Istanbul with Pedro Armendariz and Robert Shaw
Above: Sean Connery, Harry Saltzman
and Ian Fleming in 1963
Time Magazine reported that "Turkish
crowds are so interested in following the progress of the
shooting that they have nearly choked it dead. They pay
no attention when asked to keep quiet, and even swarm in
front of the cameras. To get some scenes shot, Director
Terence Young has to stage noisy fake scenes near by, complete
with wailing fire trucks and stunt men on high ledges,
to decoy the Turks away from the real action. The crowds
were even there one day at 3 a.m. last week to see Bond
shoot a Russian coming out of Anita Ekberg's mouth....
[Fleming and Connery] sit around between takes sipping
viscous coffee and devising fresh ways to avoid paying
taxes. Connery says he won't continue to play Bond for
more than seven years because he is afraid of getting typed."
Once the Istanbul scenes were completed,
production moved on to the climactic boat chase sequence,
and yet more problems plagued the crew: the speed boats
constantly broke down; Turkish production assistants put
kerosene in the tanks instead of gasoline; the weather
was inclement; Daniela Bianchi was struck down with seasickness;
and eventually an exasperated Young decided to call it
a day and abandoned the location at Pendik in Turkey in
favour of Scotland.
Despite all the set backs and constant interference
by the Turkish locals, director Terence Young delivered one of
the most critically acclaimed films in the franchise, and Sean
Connery's favourite outing as 007.
Russia With Love - Movie Coverage
Fleming On Set: From Russia With Love