MI6 looks back to 1963 and the observations of
the press whilst the world awaited 007's return
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 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
most spectators took it as a travesty and had a belly laugh.
The reaction was not lost on Director Terence Young."
Russia, his second treatment of a Fleming fiction, is
an intentional heehaw at whodunits, an uproarious parody
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.
unto the breach, dear friends,’ the hero (Sean
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
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,
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
“Director Young is
a master of the form he ridicules, and in almost every
he hands the audience shocks as well as yocks. But the
yocks are more memorable. They result from slight but sly
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
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.”
Russia With Love - Movie Coverage