MI6 looks back to 1963 and the observations of the press whilst the world awaited 007's return in "From Russia With Love"...

Time Tunnel: Setting The Formula
26th May 2007

With "Dr. No" under wraps, the production team at EON turned their attention to choosing the next Bond adventure to adapt for the big screen. Their choice was "From Russia With Love", a gritty heart-of-the-cold-war thriller and Ian Fleming’s fifth literary outing.

As much of "From Russia With Love" is set behind the Iron Curtain and 007 does not make an appearance until a third of the way through, the filmmakers constructed an entertaining spy-thriller to rival "Dr. No" from selected aspects of Fleming’s novel.

1963 was a pivotal point and press agencies reporting on the success of the second Bond film, rightly point out that this was the make-or-break point for Bond becoming a long running series.

Time reported, "Doctor No, the first of Fleming's novels to be filmed, was shot as a straight thriller, but most spectators took it as a travesty and had a belly laugh. The reaction was not lost on Director Terence Young."

"From Russia, his second treatment of a Fleming fiction, is an intentional heehaw at whodunits, an uproarious parody that may become a classic of caricature."


It was clear to press of the day that the Bond creative team must quickly find a winning formula and stick with the things that work. Reporters remarked on the way the second 007 outing gelled together whilst keeping true to the spirit of Fleming, and vitalised "From Russia With Love" for the big screen.


"Once more unto the breach, dear friends,’ the hero (Sean Connery) announces as the story begins.

He means, somebody hastens to explain, a breach of Soviet security; a libidinous Russian cipher clerk (Daniela Bianchi), who has somehow heard of Bond's charms, informs the British Secret Service that for one night with him she'll do anything—like turn over the latest Soviet cipher machine. Obviously a trap, but Hero Bond steps into it as casually as he steps into his rep silk undershorts”

Terence Young in particular was under the microscope. He must direct 007 to success and much of the legacy of the films rely on his unique eye, and a passion to bring cinemagoers something different.

“Director Young is a master of the form he ridicules, and in almost every episode he hands the audience shocks as well as yocks. But the yocks are more memorable. They result from slight but sly infractions of the thriller formula.

A Russian agent, for instance, does not simply escape through a window; no, he escapes through a window in a brick wall painted with a colossal poster portrait of Anita Ekberg, and as he crawls out of the window, he seems to be crawling out of Anita's mouth.”

In modern times James Bond is seen as a historic legend, an icon of the cinema glory days, but in the early 1960's, Bond was breaking all the boundaries and twisting all the rules.


“Well, not really. But fast, smart, shrewdly directed and capably performed. And though the film will scarcely eradicate the sex and violence that encumber contemporary movies, it may at least persuade producers that sick subjects may be profitably proffered with a healthy laugh.”

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