MI6 revisits the 1963 royal premiere of "From Russia With Love" and rounds up a series of capsule reviews for the second 007 outing...

From Russia With Love: Premiere & Press
20th October 2011

On the 10th of October 1963, the second screen James Bond adventure, "From Russia With Love" made its worldwide debut. As usual, the action centred in on Leicester Square, London, where the famed Odeon cinema was host to the cast and crew of "Russia".

As early as 12 noon, the fans gathered for the long wait, claiming prime positions to view the celebrity arrivals later that night. The Bond producers Albert R. Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were in attendance, accompanied by their leading man, the now-famed Sean Connery and his Italian co-star for this second adventure, Daniela Bianchi. The Duke and Duchess of Bedford were the royal guests of honour.

The production, which suffered more of its fair share of setbacks and misfires cost EON Productions a (approximated) total of $2m to make (a modest $11.5m of today's funds, when adjusted for inflation). From that budget - twice that of "Dr. No" - Terence Young and his creative team managed to earn an impressive $24.79m at the US box office. To top off the US success, "From Russia With Love" stole an impressive $78.9m at box offices worldwide.


The US national premiere was held a whole six months after Connery and co-stars strutted down the red carpet in London. April 8th, 1964, saw the opening of the movie across the Atlantic at the Astor Theatre in New York.

What The Critics Said...
"Connery is well served by some crisp wise-cracking dialog by Richard Maibaum [in his script adapted by Johanna Harwood]. Robert Shaw is an impressive, icy, implacable killer and the late Pedro Armendariz weighs in with a formidable, yet lightly played, performance as the man who knows the sinister secrets of Istanbul." - Variety

"Don't miss it! This is to say, don't miss it if you can still get the least bit of fun out of lurid adventure fiction and pseudo-realistic fantasy. For this mad melodramatization of a desperate adventure of Bond with sinister characters in Istanbul and on the Orient Express is fictional exaggeration on a grand scale and in a dashing style, thoroughly illogical and improbable, but with tongue blithely wedged in cheek." - Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

"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..."
- Time


"It is neither uplifting, instructive, nor life-enhancing. Neither is it great film-making. But it sure is fun."
- Richard Roud, The Guardian

"Incredible twaddle it may be, but I for one find such twaddle irresistible."
- Cecil Wilson, Daily Mail

"What sort of people are we becoming if we can accept such perversions as a giggle?"
- Nina Hibbin, Daily Worker

"If Odeon cinemas really think the new Bond film is nice clean fun for all the family, then Britain has some pretty kinky families... or soon will have."
- Films and Filming

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