Study Guide

From Russia With Love Production Design

Production Design

Bond films are known for letting viewers travel without needing to leave their seat. From Russia with Love transports audiences to exotic locales like Venice, Istanbul, and a rat-infested sewer.

From Russia with Love was shot on location across Istanbul, filming Sean Connery in the bustling Grand Bazaar and in the solemn elegance of the world-famous Hagia Sophia. Imagine how thrilling it must be to be an actor and get to travel the world for a film like this.

But did you know that Bond films also allow the actors to travel without leaving the set? The Venice scenes were actually filmed by a camera crew, adding Sean Connery and Daniela Bianchi afterward, pasting them in front of a rear projection. If we found out we'd be traveling under a virtual Bridge of Sighs, the sighs would be real.

Pinewood Studios outside of London stood in for M16 headquarters, the Gypsy camp, and SPECTRE Island. But few stuntmen stood in for Connery and Shaw; those tough guys performed many of their own stunts, including their big fight scene on the train. According to the director's commentary on the 2006 DVD release, Terence Young was worried someone was going to get seriously hurt.

Young and film editor Peter Hunt stitched together the film in less than six months (source). Hunt was responsible for establishing Bond's breakneck globetrotting pace in Dr. No, and the master would go on to edit all of Connery's outings as Bond.

Hunt pioneered what he called "crash cutting," a quick-edit style that all action films use now to ramp up the pace of the action and induce vertigo in anyone over the age of 35 (source). Seriously, have you seen The Bourne Ultimatum ?

In a Bondworthy life-imitating-art scenario, director Young and assistant director Michael White nearly died in a helicopter accident when a sudden gust of wind sent their copter crashing into the ocean. Young got stuck in the passenger compartment and had to be rescued from under the water. But like 007, they brushed off the near-death experience and got right back to work (source).

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