Study Guide

From Russia With Love Director

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Terence Young

British director Terence Young had his own ties to M-15, working as an intelligence officer during WWII. Like Bond, he had a reputation for enjoying "fine dining, expensive clothes, and beautiful women" (source). Sound familiar?

In fact, the story is that it was Young who taught a not-exactly-debonair Sean Connery how to be James Bond:

When Connery arrived, far before filming began, Young saw his best opportunity to mold the actor in his own image. As Lois Maxwell related in one of Connery´s many biographies, "Terence took Sean under his wing. He took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, how to talk, even how to eat.' Some cast members remarked that Connery was simply doing a Terence Young impression, but Young and Connery knew they were on the right track. Then, late in pre-production, when Connery was almost ready to make his debut, Young took Connery on a lunchtime trip into downtown London, to his own tailor on Saville Row. It was time for Connery to "put on the suit' as it were. It was time for Connery to become James Bond.

By the time Connery showed up for his first days filming, Young had changed everything about him. Connery no longer talked with his hands, one of Young´s most infamous pet peeves. He still moved perfectly, but Young had coached him on WHEN to move. Connery was already far from being a hack actor when he came to the series, but Young knew how to make Connery shine, and he did. Young had taken elements of his own personality and passed them on to Connery. He had turned Connery into a gentleman, and then he turned that gentleman into James Bond (source).

Young started his movie career as a screenwriter in the 1940s and jumped into directing in 1948. He first teamed up with producer Albert Broccoli in 1955 for war film The Red Beret, released in the U.S. as Paratrooper. (From Russia With Love screenwriter Richard Maibaum wrote that one, too.) When Young was asked to direct Bond's debut, Dr. No, he must have jumped at the chance. He knew the territory.

After the blockbuster success of Dr. No, Eon Productions brought Young back for Round 2. Why mess with perfection?

Young, though, wasn't content to offer a carbon copy of Dr. No. He tweaked a few things and some of those changes became staples for the Bond series. For example, Young added a dramatic, if ridiculous, pre-credits sequence, the first in the Bond franchise's history (source).

Speaking of dramatic, yet ridiculous, Young encountered a ridiculous problem while filming one of his dramatic chase sequences. At one point in the film, Bond's escape is thwarted by a flood of rats. A weirdly specific English law prohibits the use of wild rats in filming, so the production crew dyed tame rats brown by dipping them in cocoa (um, can we have this job?) But when the rats preferred licking off the cocoa than stampeding through the sewers, the whole production had to move countries to get the scene right (source).

What we do for art…

Young went on to a long directing career after helming three of the early Bond movies, (Thunderball was his last), but none gave him the fame of his Bond projects.

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