Fifty years ago today saw the world premiere of From Russia With Love at the Odeon Leicester Square.
With a few notable differences, including the substitution of SPECTRE for SMERSH, the film closely followed Ian Fleming’s novel and following on from Dr No, a year earlier, was eagerly awaited by audiences hungry for 007.
From Russia With Love remains one of the films in the Bond series that is still held up as a model for what a James Bond film should be, and included for the first time a number of key elements; a John Barry score, the pre-titles sequence and the introduction of Desmond Llewelyn as Q. It also features the famous bedroom scene between Bond and Tania, which has remained the producers’ casting standard.
As well as Sean Connery the cast includes, memorably, Pedro Armendáriz as Kerim Bey, Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb, Robert Shaw as Red Grant and Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova, as well as a return for Bernard Lee as M and Desmond Llewelyn’s first appearance in the series.
The film went on general release in the UK on 11th October 1963 and finally hit the US on 8th April 1964.