Thursday, 12 December 2013

Most Secret - From Russia WIth Love

A busy year for World events; the Cold War rumbled along, with the assassination of the South Vietnamese President Diem. Rumours of CIA involvement were hotly denied. At home, the CIA was busy forming its Domestic Operations Division. Kim Philby, the English double agent is given asylum in Moscow. The US Navy's nuclear Sub Thresher was lost with all hands 200 miles East of Cape Cod, while the USSR Nuclear Sub K-33 limped back to port after colliding with a Finnish merchant ship. Nuclear concerns were evident in London, with 70,000 attending a Ban the Bomb march from the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermarston. President Kennedy delivers his famous speech in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. To a massed audience – and to the World, he pronounces “Ich bin ein Berliner”.

Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space, in Vostok 6. Legendary US pilot Chuck Yeager is nearly killed in an incredible brush with death. While testing an experimental Rocket-Boosted Aerospace Trainer over twenty MILES up, the craft goes dramatically and totally out of control. Yeager fights for control all the way down to below 9,000 feet when he ejects – incidentally becoming the first pilot to sucessfully eject in a Spaceman-style high-altitude pressure suit. Back on Earth, the Moscow-Washington hotline is established – actually a teleprinter link, popular fiction has it as a red telephone. The Tat-3 atlantic communications cable is laid, the Arecibo Observatory opens in Puerto Rico (The dish was featured in the climax of Goldeneye) and AT&T customers were offered a World first; push button dialling.

The Beatles debut album Please, Please Me s recorded at Abbey Road studios.
Cinema: new this year, the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece The Birds, Cleopatra and the United States release of Dr.No.

In Birmingham, Alabama segregation protests reached fever point with the arrest of Martin Luther King. Newly-elected Governor Wallace's inauguration speech featured this beauty; "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!". The ironically-named Public Safety Commissioner orders fire hoses and police dogs to be used against protestors – many of them schoolchildren hoping for equal education and status. By contrast, President Kennedy gave his Civil Rights Address, outlining a Bill of Civil rights. Martin Luther King, standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial gives a speech including the immortal words “I have a dream...”

In England, sixteen year old Pauline Reade is abducted and murdered. She becomes the first victim of the Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, who kill their second (of five total) victim, John Kilbride later that year. Christine Keeler, the English call-girl is jailed for her part in the Profumo affair. The first episode of the science fiction show Doctor Who is broadcast in the UK. Frank Sinatra, Jnr is kidnapped at Lake Tahoe. An earthquake in Yugoslavia leaves 1,800 dead, whilst Hurricane Flora kills 7,000 in the Cuba area. In Italy, the Vajont Dam overflows after a landslide, over 2,000 are dead. Still in Italy, the luxury car maker Lamborghini is founded.

On November 22nd, the Beatles second album, With The Beatles is released. The day will forever be remembered for another reason. In Dallas, the US President John F. Kennedy is shot and killed – the assumed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald is himself gunned down days later.
Births and Deaths; In came Steven Soderbergh, Eva Cassidy (Songbird ), Michael Jordan, William Baldwin, Quentin Tarantino, Jet Li, Mike Myers, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Whitney Houston, Rod Schneider and our very own James May, one of the presenters of British motoring show Top Gear.
Out went Patsy Cline – in a plane crash, Bluesman Elmore James, French singer Edith Piaf, Aldous Huxley, Guy Burgess (One of the Cambridge spy ring), Sherlock Holmes actor Henry Daniell and fellow Brighton-boy and Music Hall comedy legend, Max Miller.

...and on October 10th the second James Bond film From Russia With Love had its UK premiere
Below: Kronsteen and Klebb 

What's the plot, then? - (Filmed in SpoileramA)

Night-time, in the ornamental gardens of a country house, not at all Pinewood House... James Bond emerges from the gloom, his face unusually tense, nervous. He's being stalked... but by whom?. Quint from Jaws, apparently, only blonder, younger. Jumpier than usual, 007 fires into the shrubbery. Qui-I mean the stalker, pulls out a cord from his watch. Will it play a tune? NO! - it's a garrotte. The blonde killer strangles Bond, the unfortunate agent's life fading as the scene is lit stark by a dazzling array of floodlights, revealing a sinister crowd of onlookers, dress code; ninja. Walter Gotell then turns up with a stopwatch, revealing the dead 'Bond' was merely a double in a mask. But what kind of organisation commits murder to train their stranglers?...

The opening credits and the theme tune blares out, a sensual overload of colour and light with the credits projected over the bodies of Turkish dancing girls. Robert Brownjohn takes over the job after Maurice Binder fell out with the producers over the sequence. (An extraordinary figure, Brownjohn was an American Junkie, who came to the UK after hearing about the methadone programme. After his memorable work on Goldfinger, he snubbed Broccoli and Salztman's offer of his own production company and died, aged just 44 in 1970.)

To Venice – and the International Chess Grandmasters Championship. Kronsteen of Czechoslovakia faces Macadams of Canada. We barely have time to admire the Octopus pinky ring Kronsteen sports before the Czech calls check. The packed crowd of aficionados sits in expectant silence, silently expecting... A waiter delivers Kronsteen a glass of water on a coaster. There's a message; he is required at once – ooh look, there's even a little octopus!. What can be this important?. Whatever, Kronsteen makes a move and the Canadian is forced to concede... To rapturous applause, the cold Czech strides loftily from the room, disdaining the crowd.

A large motor yacht sits at anchor. In the stateroom a lugubrious figure, his face unseen sits, petting a white cat (Bells ringing yet?) that eyes a fish-tank hungrily. In the tank Siamese fighting fish are living up to the name, while a plain woman (In Britain, the popular descriptives 'A face like a bag of smashed crabs' or a 'freshly dropped pie' both suit) looks on, fascinated. We learn 'Number Three' as she is known came over from the Russians, plus the mystery man – Number One - is sporting one of the snazzy Octo-rings, his in jet or perhaps onyx. A press of a button admits Kronsteen, aka Number Five. SPECTRE – yes, them again, are planning to steal a Lektor decoding machine from the Russians. Kronsteen is head of planning – and it's a doozy; using a girl selected from the Cryptographic service of the Russian consulate in Istanbul by Number Three. Three used to be head of Operations for Soviet Intelligence, indeed her defection is a State Secret, known only to a few members of the Soviet Presidium. The girl she has selected will therefore believe she is working for Mother Russia – and the other part of the plan requires the co-operation of the British Secret Service... and the death of James Bond.
On Location in Istanbul
The blonde assassin lies on a towel in the heavily patrolled grounds of the house. A pretty girl walks up, strips to her bikini to give him a massage, keeping his finely honed body in peak condition. (And her body has a few fine peaks of its own.) A heliflopter roars in to land, carrying Number Three, who is met by Morzeny, (Walter Gotell) in charge of training on what we learn is SPECTRE island. He shows her blondies' dossier; Donald Grant, convicted murderer, escaped Dartmoor prison 1960, recruited in Tangier in '62... homicidal paranoiac – superb material!. Number Three asks to see this murderous looney, which means a stroll through; the training area. These scenes are always great value – think of the Ninjas busily training in YOLT and you get the idea – personally I think the SAS training area in the Lewis Collins pose-fest Who Dares Wins was the zen... but here on SPECTRE island they aren't far behind, with operatives energetically machine-gunning, crossbow-ing, karate-chopping and flame-throwing as if their lives depended on it. The scene is so much fun the group appears to walk past it twice... Number Three examines Grant, stood to attention in just a towel. Sneaking on a pair of brass knuckles, she gives him a sucker punch to the stomach, which he doesn't seem to notice. I'd have farted a kidney. She approves! - he's to report in Istanbul in 24 hours.

Istanbul, that dazzling metropolis on the Bosphorus. Previously Byzantium, then Constantinople the city has seen empires rise and fall. (Exotic and mysterious locations – irresistible pulls for Bond producers, who returned for The World is Not Enough, and last years smash Skyfall.) A group of girls is leaving, their working day over. An extremely attractive blonde follows her instructions, which take her to a foreboding old apartment building. Am I the only one thinking Midnight Express?. Her knock is answered by Number Three, in a natty Soviet uniform. The girl introduces herself as Corporal of State Security, Tatiana Romanova, who knows Number Three only as Colonel Klebb, Head of Operations for SMERSH, the Russian equivalent of MI6. Klebb eyes the girl up – she makes little effort to conceal which bus she's on – asking her of love and showing her a photo. Could she love the man in the picture?. It seems she could... if he was kind and Kulturny (A man of culture, breeding). The Colonel tells the girl her mission is to give false information to the enemy, if she refuses, she will be shot!.

Meanwhile in England, the traditional summer pastime of punting on the river, a young couple glide upstream, their radio playing Matt Munro singing From Russia With Love – what are the odds? - as another couple busy themselves with that other tradition... James Bond is in the arms of his girl, Sylvia Trench (The trouser-steamingly hot Eunice Gayson reprising her role from Dr.No). But what's that squawking? - it's Bond's terribly futuristic pager, which means he has to make a call from his car phone. Its the office – namely Moneypenny and there's a flap on. (A note for archivists here; Sylvia mentions it's been six months since James went off to Jamaica.) Bond then gives us one of those 'I'll be there in an hour – make it an hour and a half' bits. Poor Sylvia! - she's waited six months and she's only worth half an hour?. He puts the top up on the Bentley and I'm not making any dogging jokes...

Bond is summonsed into 'M's office where his boss outlines the mission. Apparently, Tatiana is in love with 007, from nothing more than a file photo... she has promised herself to him with one of the highly sought-after Lektor decoders as a sweetener. As Kronsteen had predicted, they smell a rat, but also as predicted, they can't turn up the chance to get one of the precious machines. Bond is already booked on a flight to Istanbul, where he is to make contact with Kerim Bey, head of Station T. Before he leaves, though, M sends for the Equipment Officer from Q-Branch – and yes, it's the debut of Bond legend Desmond Llewelyn. He demonstrates the new standard-issue briefcase for the Double-O section. The case contains hidden ammunition tubes, a throwing knife, fifty gold sovereigns with an exploding tear gas gizmo, as well as a natty 'takedown' rifle. Open the catches the usual way and you get a face-full of nasty. (For the geeks; the AR-7 takedown rifle was a compact small-calibre weapon intended for pilots and the like; space in cockpits prohibiting bigger weapons. The stock contains the barrel, magazine etc which then screw and clip together for use. Self-defence and hunting small game for survival; not a sniper rifle as stated by the Equipment Officer )

Istanbul – and Bond is met at the airport by Kerim Bey's man, complete with code-word greeting, Chauffeurs uniform and a smacking great black Rolls Royce. They are followed by a moody looking old Citroen – the driver tells Bond their tail is routine; Bulgarians working for the Russians. Bond is taken through a bustling bazaar to a carpet seller – the cover for the office of Kerim Bey. All warmth, Bey is immediately likeable – revealing that his many sons make up the bulk of his staff, blood being the best security. Bey explains the state of truce in Istanbul; both sides making it easy to keep tabs on each other. Agreeing with Bond that the whole affair is a trap, his advice is to spend a few days in Istanbul and then go home. With the Citroen following, the Rolls takes Bond to his hotel. However, Red Grant is driving the Citroen, it's Bulgarian driver beaten and bound in the back.

Now, I'm guessing that even in the drab early sixties, checking into a classy, foreign hotel wasn't exciting enough to warrant the Monty Norman James Bond theme playing – frankly, it just seems bizarre. James Bond's in a hotel room, dan da-na nee-na naa... now he's in the bathroom dan da-na nee-na naa... weird!. The place is wired for sound – a quick sweep with a bug detector and Bond calls down demanding another room. Outside the Soviet Embassy, Grant leaves the body of the Bulgarian in the Citroen. Klebb is pleased – the Russians will surely suspect the British and retaliate. This isn't long in coming, as Kerim Bey's office is blown up, right in the middle of expanding the family business. Bey is unhurt, but puzzled; why would the Russkis break the truce?. He shows Bond through the Basilica Cistern, the subterranean chambers holding the reservoir built on the orders of the Emperor Constantine, to the space beneath the Russian Consulate. Bey unveils a periscope, 'a present from your Navy'. A heated meeting is in session in the conference room above – Bey identifies Krilencu, a Bulgarian killer and old adversary and the shapely legs of the Romanova girl. Bey decides Bond would be safer staying the night with some friends of his...

At a heavily guarded gypsy compound, deep in Iver Heath... Kerim Bey and his British guest are made welcome by a rough band of Gypsies. The entertainment?; a belly dancer then a fight to the death. What now? - yes, it seems two girls (Martine Beswick and Aliza Gur play Vida and Zora) have become enamoured of the same man. Meantimes, the Bulgarian, Krilencu and his band of goons are approaching, intent on finishing the job on Kerim. The two hellcats set at each other and its tooth and claw, a vicious spectacle – interrupted only by gunfire as Krilencu's men attack. Neither side is aware that Grant is watching dispassionately from the sidelines. In the Western-style melee that ensues, Kerim takes one in the arm from Krilencu, while Bond strides through the action picking his targets carefully, using his Walther to lethal effect. (Connery is brilliant here, giving a natural's portrayal of a man in danger using all his senses to survive a deadly assault.) From his elevated position, Grant has a perfect shot at Bond. A machete-wielding killer drops from a roof onto the straw behind 007 and Grant fires, twice... to save Bond!. Vavra, the leader of the Gypsies declares that for saving his life, Bond is his son. James asks a favour; could he stop the girl fight?. Vavra agrees, but Bond must choose the winner, both girls being brought to his tent for the decider. It's a hard life, eh?. (And somewhat of a miracle the man in question doesn't stab Bond for cuckolding him...)
Back to business; that Krilencu has definitely got to go; Kerim Bey and 007 go to the Bulgarian's safe-house, Bond assembles his AR-7 and gives Kerim a squizz through his 'infra-red' lens. (Which shows a red image, unlike the grainy black-and-white of actual infra-red scopes.). Krilencu, the wily old Bulgarian has a secret hatch, opening in the middle of a movie billboard, no less. Kerim cannot stand it; despite his wounded arm, he must take that shot himself. Bond understands; after all, the man has tried to kill his new friend twice since he's been there!. Two of Bey's many sons ring the doorbell, dressed as Policemen to spook the target. Right on cue, the secret hatch opens... amusingly in the giant mouth of Anita Ekberg. Kerim takes careful aim - and shoots Krilencu, a death that 'pays many debts'. Bond can't resist a throwaway; 'She should have kept her mouth shut.'
ABOVE: Terence Young Directs and Ian Fleming visits the production
Back at Le Hotel and even 00-men need a bath sometimes. Of course, theirs must come with extras; a hit-man hiding in the cupboard or a pretty girl. Ahh, it's the latter, definitely; former Miss Italy Daniella Bianchi and wearing very little indeed; a pair of hold-ups and a velvet choker. Daniella – I mean Tatiana introduces herself, as does James. They kiss – with Bond questioning her about the whereabouts of the Lektor before they make sweet love under the MOST obvious two-way mirror not actually in a movie police station. Yep; behind the glass a camera whirs and the repulsive Klebb smokes as she watches the great British spy compromising himself. What can the plan be? - is SPECTRE going into the Stag film market?.

The Hagia Sophia has been a church, cathedral and a mosque, but now its a museum. Trust me, I Google'd it. Bond wanders around, apparently in tourist mode. Tatiana shows up, but Bond is wary – a bit of 'tradecraft' is in order. He signals her to draw out any pursuers – and there's a pursuer pursuing her alright; a vulgar Bulgar!. She leaves her compact by a column and the Bulgarian goes to retrieve it, but Grant shows up from nowhere and he likes chops. Japanese style... Leaving his victim dead, the assassin walks off into the gloom, allowing a bemused Bond to recover the compact, which contains a sketch of the layout of the Soviet Consulate building and a handy 'X' showing the Lektor's whereabouts. Conferring with Kerim, the map seems legit – the Turk is worried for his new friend, fearing a trap. (The rapport between both men is one of the finer in the series; not until Topol's friendship with Moore's Bond is it even rivalled – opinion, of course.)

Bond takes a ferry ride on the Bosphorus, the ancient splendour of the former Constantinople laid around the waters. Look closely and you can see the tower where Pierce Brosnan will shoot Sophie Marceau in 1999... but enough of that, here's Tatiana. At the stern of the ship, they pose as a couple on holidaze, Bond pretending to take her picture with his cine-camera. Naturally; it's a tape-recorder disguised as a camera. Maybe they didn't do sound models back then. He gets her to describe the merchandise and we see the tape being played back in London for M and a room packed with Boffins and experts from the Military. We hear Bond extracting the vital technical stuff, but Tatiana wants to talk about love. Moneypenny sits dutifully taking notes, but is dismissed just as the tape gets spicy. The goods appear kosher, so a cable is sent to 007; proceed with the deal.

Bond enters the Soviet Consulate and queues for a visa. They were queuing to get IN?. Anyway, it's bang-o-clock and upski goes the place-erm, ski, courtesy of Kerim and some handily placed dynamite and tear gas in the sewers. Amidst the dust, rubble and chaos, startled Soviets run around a bit and 007 slips through to the signals room to nab both Lektor and the girl. Down into the subterranean chambers and Kerim is there to lead the way. There's a LOT of rats all legging it from the explosion, but he gets them to the station in time to catch the Orient Express. This is the first of such trains that Bond seems to find himself on from time to time. Tatiana spots Benz, a Russian security man, who just makes it onto the train as it pulls out revealing Red Grant is already aboard.

Kerim has fixed everything, handing the fugitive couple their new passports and showing them to their connecting cabins. David and Caroline Somerset are returning to Derbyshire from a business trip. The plan is simple; the Conductor will arrange to stop the train near to the Bulgarian border allowing the Somersets to alight. Yet more of Kerim's impressive output will be manning the rendezvous and then its a drive to the airstrip... what could go wrong, eh?. First, though, and the Russian – Benz. Although on the train he can hardly have had time to alert the Russians, so Kerim holds him at gunpoint until the time to disembark. Meanwhile, Tania has been trying on some of the frillies James has bought for her. After (presumably) making love, Mr. and Mrs.Somerset are heading for the dining car, as arranged. The Conductor hurries up with awful news; there has been a terrible 'accident'!.

Kerim and Benz lie dead in the carriage where Bond left them – a large knife embedded in Bey's back. They must have killed each other... hmm. Bond bribes the guard to keep mum and the train roars past the arranged rv point, two of Bey's boys left in confusion. Convinced Tatiana was in on this, 007 turns his anger on her. In an ugly scene, he grabs her and knocks her down, but the helpless girl professes only her love; she hints at a plot and promises to tell him everything once they are back in London. Bond is sickened by the whole thing and with no stomach for more, takes the Lektor to the adjoining cabin. The great train thunders along, with a travelling map superimposed (It's compulsory in any great travel movie). Belgrade and Bond, like any heavy smoker is the first to alight. Sorry. Shadowed by the imposing figure of Grant, 007 is contacted by ANOTHER of the late Kerim's sons. If that knife hadn't got him, exhaustion would have... Bey Jnr uses a code-greeting and Bond tells the young man the awful news before asking for help getting over the Yugoslav border and to send a message to M; send someone from Station Y to meet him in Zagreb. Touchingly, he hands him his father's effects; his wallet, cigar holder and watch. As the train pulls out, it is apparent Grant overhead the whole conversation.

Zagreb. Anagram; Gezbar. First off is Grant, who spots the obvious Brit with the Double-O briefcase, uses the code-greeting and knocks him off in the Gents. Inexplicably, 007 is slow off the mark even allowing for the crowded platform, which allows Grant to approach him and pose as the late British liason man. On the train, 'Captain Nash' presents his credentials and Bond outlines his requirements. 'Nash' is famished, so they agree to meet up the dining-car for dinner, allowing Bond to quickly rinse through Nash's case. Ordering grilled sole all round Grant makes a faux pas – Red Chianti with fish!. This and the 'Old Man' routine Nash seems to think is 'Officer Class' alerts Bond's suspicions. Grant then speaks with his mouth full. It's a wonder Bond doesn't shoot him.

Much has been made of this by contemporarial authors; British snobbishness and barriers of Class left over from Empire. Perhaps, but any British Officer would know it's white for fish and 007 would be an idiot not to notice the gaffe. Grant is, remember, a Common criminal, with the emphasis on the capital. This might only work for you if you are British, but you get the point. Hit the 'play' button, would you? - there's a good chap... (or girl)

Contriving to knock Tania's glass over, Grant drops a pill into her drink and heading back to the sleeping-car she faints. Putting her to bed, Bond takes 'Nash' through to the adjoining cabin and the latter admits drugging her, claiming his escape route is only for one. Bond seems convinced and allows Grant to show him a map, letting him see the alleged escape route and stars from the whack over the nut he gets from the killer's gun. 007 wakes up and is made to kneel, hands in (emptied) pockets at gunpoint. His assumption Grant is from SMERSH provokes dry amusement – which tells Bond the worst; SPECTRE!. Penny dropped: SPECTRE has been playing both sides, making fools of both. Admitting he killed Kerim, Nash et al, Grant then reveals the recognition code was 'sweated out of' a British agent in Tokyo before he died. He also reveals that he saved Bond's life back at the gypsy camp, but only to get his hands on the Lektor. Bond's suspicions about Tania are settled too; she thinks she's doing her duty to Mother Russia, not knowing she's been working for SPECTRE all along. There's more: Rosa Klebb's defection and the dastardly plot to discredit Bond and, by extension, MI6 with the roll of film he produces. Bond and Tania in flagrante and even a convincer; a blackmail letter from Tania to Bond threatening to give the film to the press unless he marries her. You can indeed imagine the headlines. Bond employs one of his simplest weapons; goading his captor with a Lunatic Asylum remark that provokes a stinging slap.
By now, Grant's lunacy begins to seep out, as if he is unable of containing it for any amount of time. Bond wants a smoke, offering fifty gold sovereigns for a cigarette. Opening his case he shows the loot to Grant, who realises there are probably another fifty in his own case – the one stolen from the unfortunate Captain Nash. Bond offers to look, but Grant is no fool!, he opens the case himself – SHOOSH: tear-gas and Bond is on him like an angry Scotsman. (The fight doesn't have the cleverness of Jason Bourne or Craig in Skyfall, but watch it closely and you can see the bruises and the boot going in. This scene reportedly took three weeks to film, with Shaw and Connery doing the lion's share of the stunts and fighting.) Grimly, the two killers batter each other, until Grant gets behind Bond to throttle him with his watch garotte. 007 scrabbles frantically for the nearest briefcase, pressing the secret button for a throwing knife. Sticking Grant in the arm, he turns his own garotte onto him and strangles him.

The train is forced to stop for what seems to be a broken-down pick-up; 'Nash's' escape route. Rousing a still-sleepy Tania, Bond gets her off the train. There's only one man and Bond has him knocked out and tied up in no time and Tania in the bed sleeping it off. They drive through into the morning, the mountainous Balkan landscape looking like Argyll, Scotland. Just like, as in identical. A SPECTRE helicopter roars in to the attack, dropping grenades!. 007 tells Tania to hide under the truck and runs off to draw their fire, the chopper all but mowing the heather as it passes. Bond ducks behind a rocky outcrop and quickly assembles his AR-7. Just as the henchman is about to drop a grenade, Bond takes aim and fires, the wounded man dropping the grenade into the 'copter. KA-BOOM!. The getaway continues by boat, destination: Venice.

Back aboard SPECTRE HQ – and more cat-stroking, Kronsteen and Klebb have been summoned to explain the failure of the plan. Both blame each other, but Blofeld – let's just go with that, shall we? - Blofeld isn't impressed; he's already negotiated a price with the Russians for the return of the Lektor. A button calls Morzeny (Gotell) and we get the first of those quality moments where it all points to Number X, but it's actually Number Y that gets it. (See the Thunderball SPECTRE scene for a quality reprise of the theme). Morzeny has a poisoned blade that flicks from his boot and Klebb is reminded of the price of failure... by watching Kronsteen's agonising death. Drily, Blofeld remarks that they must find a faster acting venom.

Meanwhile, aboard the SS-Connery, James and Tatiana enjoy a leisurely cruise, when - Ahoy, Mister Bond! - Morzeny and his henchies swoop in three motor-boats and chase is given, rifle-grenades (A curious pre-cursor of todays grenade launchers notable for being crap AND dangerous) and MP-40s. (As these are so readily-identified with the Third Reich they make excellent bad-guy weapons.) There's a bit of odd comedy here as Morzeny barks instructions with his loud-hailer. The guy sounds like a school sports master trying to control a canoe lesson. Luckily for Bond, WWII German sub-machine guns weren't especially noted for accuracy and one henchman manages to rake the whole rack of spare fuel drums conveniently mounted on a rack to the stern. Luckily?, it gives Bond the idea to dump them over the stern and pretend to surrender while Tania hands him the Verey pistol (Flare gun). WHOOMPH-WHOOMPH up goes all that fuel, with boats exploding and lots of 'Aieeee's. We see Morzeny go up in flames and his boat does a KA-BOOM!. Was it related to the Helicopter?.

Venice, that exotic city with canals for streets. (Bond returns here for both Moonraker and Casino Royale) Bond and Tania enjoy the luxury of the famous Hotel Sessanta Carta da Parati. It's check-out time and Bond calls for a Porter as the maid comes in. We notice three things; with it's case open, the Lektor looks like a cross between a typewriter and a cash register, plus Bond seems remarkably care-free about who sees him with a shoulder holster on. Perhaps Venecian hotels allow firearms. Oh, and the maid is Rosa Klebb. Tatiana recognises her, but Klebb silently warns her not to raise the alarm as she tries to half-inch the Lektor while Bond is engrossed in a rather-careless courtesy call to the British Consul's office. He is stopped in his tracks by the gun pointed at him and now he recognises Klebb. Klebb disarms him and ordering Tania to take the Lektor, she takes careful aim at Bond. Just in the nick, Tania throws her jacket down hard and Klebb's gun is sent tumbling onto the carpet. With a sinister SNICK, Klebb reveals she gets her shoes at the same place as the late Morzeny and the nasty old broad goes kicking for Bond, who is forced to grab a chair and pin her to the wall. Tania has grabbed Klebb's gun and shoots her.

With Matt in the background, Bond and Tania take a romantic motor-gondola ride, Bond pulls out the reel of film (An odd cut here as if the censor disapproved of the dialogue) and kisses Tania, throwing the incriminating film into the canal.

James Bond will return in the next Ian Fleming thriller.. “GOLDFINGER”.

Random stuff wot you ort to know:
From Russia With Love was the last film Kennedy saw at the White House.
Publicity shots show Connery with an unusual long-barrelled pistol – the Walther PPK from props failed to arrive in time for the shoot, so the Photographer, David Hurn used his own Walther – an LP-53 air pistol.
The billboard in which Krilencu's escape hatch was hidden was for Call Me Bwana – look carefully to see the film's producers; Harry Saltzmann and Cubby Broccoli.
As the fire engines arrive at the Soviet Consulate, you can see a father turning to show his small son the cameras. (There are many goofs and continuity errors, but they are mostly niggly – concerning which hand Bond has the Lektor in; I don't have the time.)
Barbara Jefford (uncredited) provided Tatiana's voice – Bianchi's voice being heavily accented.
 Above: Eunice Gayson as Sylvia Trench, The young Lotte Lenya and Italian beauty Queen Daniella Bianchi
Lotte Lenya who played Klebb was the widow of composer Kurt Weill. Weill's works included the song 'Mack the Knife' – as she was in the studio at the time he recorded it, Louis Armstrong's version famously features a mention of her.
I can't leave out a mention of the courage of Pedro Armendáriz. The actor playing Kerim Bey, Armendáriz was diagnosed with terminal cancer during the shoot. He worked as long as he could, but the producers had to complete his scenes using doubles, including Director Terence Young. Armendáriz took his own life in a hospital in Los Angeles.
The Toys: From Russia began several 007 traditions; the pre-credits teaser sequence, the Helicopter scene, boat chases and, of course, the gadgets. As already mentioned, it's the first film to feature the Equipment Officer from Q-Branch and the gadgets are fairly down to earth. The phone-bug detector we see is actually a device for measuring the thickness of paint, but the other gadgets are practical, especially the AR-7 rifle which actually floats in water. The car-phone in Bond's Bentley and his Pager were cutting edge for the day.

Is it any good, then?
Glad you asked; it's marvellous. Quite simply put, one of the finest Cold War thrillers made and an escapist one to boot. It manages to be a 'proper' Bond while keeping one foot grounded in reality; the real-life killing of a US Naval attache on a train by a communist agent inspired Fleming's original work and it keeps the flavour of the time wonderfully. It doesn't matter if you only like Jetpack Bond or Quantum car chases, because you have to see this one to understand what Fleming's Bond was like. The real James Bond.

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