“Tell me, which lunatic asylum did they get you out of?”
BOND 2 . FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Terence Young . 1963
In trying hard to make the first 007 film,, rival producers Kevin McClory and Cubby Broccoli both wanted to kick off with the same book, From Russia With Love. And the same Bond - Cary Grant, a virtual 007 template in Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious. And directed by Hitch, why not. After all, he had virtually made the first Bond film. with North By North West.
“It's a good idea and I like it,” Cary told Cubby about Russia . “Just the one, no sequels.” Ah...!
[Photo: courtesy Daniel Bouteiller/Telé Ciné Documentation]
Shooting began at Pinewood Studios on April 1, 1963 (a full month before the Dr No premiere) when this became the second film after 007’s biggest fan, President John F Kennedy, included Russia in his top ten favourite novels. It’s the film that decided Bond’s creator Ian Fleming that Sean Connery was a wondrous Bond. It was also the also the last Bond film seen by Fleming, dead by 1964 - and the last film seen by JFK in the White House, on November 20, 1963… two days before Dallas.
James Mason had been set as Bond in a 1958 TVersion of this book.
Cary Grant was keen on being Broccoli’s Bond
- “just the one, no sequels”
with Grace Kelly coaxed out of her Monaco
by the proposed director: Alfred Hitchcock!
Tatiana Romanova . “The author visualised his heroine as a rather more buxom Garbo, a blonde,” said Terence Young, checking through some 200 beautuous Euro-actresses - all in their early 20s. “We have long since abandoned that hope. All we want now is a very exciting woman, a raving beauty with impact.”
This was the first of the great Bond Girl Hunts. Most of the Euro girls seen started out in Herculian musclebound numbers - and had to put up with second best in the spy game: Italy’s agentes segreto 077 and 777 or the French 0SS 117, Hollywood’s Get Smart (two of the girls, plus Thunderball villain Adolfo Celi found themselves in Diabolik). And they usually finished up in good marriages or bad porn, soft or in the sad case of of Austria’s Marisa Merll, hard-core (watching, not participating).
As well as MM, Terence Young searched for the Garboesque Tatiana among... Germany’s Elga Andersen from the French nouvelle vague... Hélène Chanel, French but of Russian descent (her family name was Stoliaroff)… Norma Foster from South Africa, who made ten UK films, including Ring of Spies with Bernard Lee, aka M... Russian Maria Kazan, she made three films in London and disappeared from view after 1966... Polish Magda Konopka worked with Patrick McGoohan’s Danger Man instead of Bond… and Italy’s Yugoslavian star Sylva Koscina got a call-back, but two years later for Thunderball. She didn’t win Domino, either...
Margaret Lee was Wolverhampton’s gift to Italian movies, 70 of them… an Italian-born UK TV actress Gabriella Licudi... Pia Lindstrom, aka Ingrid Bergman’s daughter… Italian Virna Lisi, three years before turning blonde for Hollywood glory in How To Murder Your Wife... Lucia Modugno was a Roberto Rossellini discovery whose Bond test led her, poor baby, into Her Private Hell in Soho... British Tabitha Pol, to be found in Barbarella, wed Sir Paul Getty and died far too young... Marilù Tolo came from Fellini’s Giulietta deli spiriti - Young remembered her for his UN thriller, Poppies Are Also Flowers… and the Greek entry, Maria Zen,was never heard of again
“I think my mouth is too big.”
“No, it's the right size...
for me, that is.”
And a certain Nikki Van der Zyl... who dubbed Ursula in DrNo (and Casino Royale) among other Bond Girls. For £50 a session. Two sessions were enough. Usually.
The British-Russian actress-turned-model-turning-actress-again, Tania Mallet, also tested for Tatiana - and was called back to become golden Shirley Eaton's lesbian sister, Tilly Masterson, in Bond 3: Goldfinger.
Among those testing for Kerim’s girl (won by Nadja Regin) were French brunette Dominique Boschero, known for her giallo and spaghetti Westerns, and British Sally Douglas, who had walk-ons in most of her 36 films until Tony Newley chose her for his actor-ditecting debut: Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? In 1969
One only of these gorgeous girls actually got into the movie. This was the fiery Israeli, Aliza Gur. Rather than Tatiana, she became one of the fighting gypsy girls - and then took her Bond kudos into Hollywood spy spoofs, The ManFromUNCLE and Agent From HARM with the 1967 Casino Royale’s Moneypenny, Barbara Bouchet.
Aliza was the 1960 Miss Israel and, depending upon which publicity release or media story one read, there was some dispute about if she was the first runner-up (there were four) to Miss Universe that year - or another would-be Tatiana, from Italy, Daniela Bianchi. (The answer is Daniela; Aliza was simply among the ten semi-finalists).
Terence Young (who survived a nasty chopper crash during the Scottish locations) found La Bianchi in an Italian magazine and invited her to London. She stayed the course to the last three contestants... and won. She started work at Pinewood Studios on April 1, 1963. Like Ursula, she was dubbed (by Barbara Jefford).
What Young got for all his efforts, in fact, was the housewives’ favorite. Women love this film, they can see themselves more easily in the place of Daniela... than Ursula Andress. For, if nothing else, La Bianchi had never read an Ian Fleming thriller either!
Journalists, too, fell forthe Italian beauty. “Please, I’m not used to questions, I feel like a little girl in confession. Please be gentle with me... Why all the time cameramen want me in the black stockings for the newspaper? It is not in film. I would not undress for camera. In Rome, where I live with my mother and father, I know that always in the street men take off my clothes with their eyes. But I am not, how you say - yes, I hope that is the word - prudish. I think I am gay, maybe. Yes!”
The decidedly more fluent (and more stunning) Sylva Koscina joined Richard Johnson in the Bulldog Drummond comeback, Deadlier Than The Male. Like the men from UNCLE, Our Man Flint, Dr JasonLove and Hollywood’s Matt Helm.
Richard Johnson found copying Bond was simple
(for Betty Box, the producer who’d passed on 007)
but matching his success was something else again.
Rosa Klebb . Before signing Lotte Lenya (Kurt Weill's widow), Broccoli, Saltzman and Young had talked of the Greek Oscar -winner, Katina Paxinou, for Rosa Klebb - aka Frau Farbissina in Mike Myers' Austin Powers spoofs...
Q . Major Boothroyd, of Q Branch (who told Bond to drop his ladies' Baretta in favour of the legendary Walther PPK in Dr No) was taken over from Peter Burton by Welshman Desmond Llewelyn. He was still Q at age 85 in 1999, totalling17 performances as Q. No other actors has made more Bond films, nor played the same role so many times in movie history.
Both Burton and Llewelyn knew Terence Young from his Welsh Guards' war film, They Were Not Divided, 1950 - headlined by an early idea for Bond, Edward Underdown. Young tried Boothroyd with a Welsh accent: Look you, got this luvvvely brrrriefcase, 'ere. “Just didn't work,” said Llewelyn. Besides one regional burr was enough in Bondland.
Llewelyn really came of age when the Aston-Martin - “with modifications” - and the tart rejoinders - “I never joke about my work, 007!” - arrived in the next one. For many, the best. Goldfinger.