Cast and Crew: Ian Fleming (Novel); Richard Maibaum (Screenplay); Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman (Producers); John Barry (Score); Bernard Lee, Eunice Gayson, Walter Gotell, Lois Maxwell, Martine Beswick, Anthony Dawson, Desmond Llewelyn
What It’s About: SPECTRE, still smarting from losing in Dr. No, sets a trap for James Bond (Sean Connery). The bait? A Russian Lektor encryption machine and Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), its beautiful operator who wants to defect because she “fell in love with James Bond’s photograph.”
Why Watch it Today?: Director Terrence Young, who directed today’s movie, Dr. No, and Thunderball, died on this date in 1994. From Russia with Love is my personal favorite Bond film, combining a plot that almost counts as real espionage, a great villain (Rosa Klebb, played by Lotte Lenya), the first (and best) counter agents in the series (Grant, played by Robert Shaw), and John Ford Company All-Star Pedro Armendariz as my all time favorite “local contact”, Turkish intelligence operative Kerim Bey. Throw in a battle at a gypsy camp (complete with belly dancing and cat fighting), Bond outwitting pursuers on boats and in a helicopter, the Orient Express, and the first (and best) train fights in the series and you have one hell of a movie.