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File 007 | Moscow Contra 007 (1963) – Meet the second film in the James Bond Spy franchise

007 – No Time to Die, the twenty-fifth official film in the longest-running cinema franchise, is set to open on September 30, 2021 – after being postponed last year due to the pandemic. In order to heat up the engines of this new overproduction, which, as said, is part of one of the biggest, most traditional and beloved film franchises in the history of the seventh art, we decided to create a new series of materials dissect a little bit all the previous films, bringing you countless curiosities and a lot of information.

Here we continue with the first sequel to the character’s film franchise from the pages of spy books, written by British author Ian Fleming. Moscow Contra 007 took the game even higher, hailed by all fans as superior to the original, and establishing much of what would be part of the character’s mythology in his cinematic trajectory. Check.

Read also: File 007 | The Satanic Dr. No (1962) – Meet the first film in the James Bond franchise

Production

With the success of 007 Against the Satanic Dr. No (1962), the first James Bond spy film in theaters around the world, it didn’t take long for producers to shoot a streak. In fact, confidence in the film series was so great that production of the second 007 had already started before the first feature film was released in UK theaters. And as Dr. No’s result denounced, James Bond would return to Moscow against 007 (From Russia With Love). The choice of the next book to be adapted for the cinema was The Potato, since Moscow had been elected by US President John F. Kennedy as one of his favorite books, and this popularity was what put water to the mouth of the producers to adapt to the cinema the works of the author Ian Fleming.

At twice the budget provided by EON compared to the original, Moscow Contra 007 was also the last film released with author Ian Fleming still alive.

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Having worked perfectly well on paper, it is clear that Sean Connery would come back to the character who made his career. And not only that, the result of the second film pleased his interpreter so much that Connery did not hide his predilection for this feature film. For the actor, as well as for many fans, Moscow Contra 007 is the favorite film of the franchise. It’s so true that Sean Connery will come out of retirement in 2005 to voice the character in a video game adaptation of From Russia With Love.

Even with such passion, Connery, realizing how much producers earned with the work in connection with him, the star, already at this time expressed dissatisfaction with the salary, having even signed a contract for five films. Thus, the producers decided to guarantee him, during this second incursion, a bonus of US $ 100,000 in addition to his salary.

Secret mission

The theme here is revenge. But not the revenge of James Bond, but the revenge of the criminal organization SPECTER on the villain of the original film, Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman), a member eliminated by 007. Thus, acting on all fronts, the organization engages a murderer to eliminate the agent, in addition to a Femme fatale to serve as bait and facilitate the death of the unbeatable subject. Despite being a target of SPECTER, Bond is in the trap and ready to participate in this masquerade and turn the tables on his enemies. One of the fans’ most memorable moments is the assassin hand-to-hand combat, which takes place inside the Orient Express – the train to which, oddly enough, Connery would return years later in the adaptation of ‘Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

Another curiosity is that author Ian Fleming was tired of the character when he wrote this book, so he decides to kill him in the end. Of course, with the hype generated by President Kennedy’s statement, in a maneuver typically used in the comics, Fleming is bringing back the character, Vivinho da Silva, in new books.

Bondgirls and allies

When it comes to James Bond’s “romantic interest” in the second film, it’s safe to say there’s an upgrade. While Ursula Andress and her Honey Ryder are more iconic, this film’s bondgirl, Russian Tatiana Romanova, is a much more interesting and layered character. Played by Italian beauty Daniela Bianchi, Tatiana is said to be a Russian deserter, who needs to be protected by Bond in order to provide a technological device capable of compromising her government during the current Cold War. Of course, she’s the “bait” mentioned earlier, and it’s all just a SPECTER plan in a trap. And Bond is well aware of that, but that doesn’t stop him from having a little fun with the girl. However, there is a conflict in Bondgirl here, to serve her country or to do what is “right”.

Apart from that, if in the first film we immediately won the first appearance of Bond’s American “partner”, Agent Felix Leiter (in the form of Jack Lord), it is in this second that we have the Bond’s loyal tech squire first appearance. , Major Boothroyd, popularly known as Q – since that date, played by actor Desmond Llewelyn, who will remain in the role until the stage of Pierce Brosnan.

The villains

Compared to the original, Moscow Contra 007 also gives an upgrade in its villain gallery. Here is, for example, the first “appearance” of James Bond’s nemesis, the head of the SPECTER criminal organization, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Well, or almost, since we only have a glimpse of her hands stroking the famous white kitten and we never see her face. At this point, he was also called only “Number 1”. The “face” of the organization in the second film is that of Rosa Klebb (and her “deadly blade shoe”). The film is even praised for not having “fetishized” its villain, since Klebb is played by the Hungarian “little lady” Lotte Lenya. Klebb is number 3 in the organization. And yes, that was the inspiration for the Austin Powers parody for villainous Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling).

But the main antagonist of Moscow Contra 007 is the anti-James Bond: murderer Donald ‘Red’ Grant. Inhabited by Oscar-nominated actor Robert Shaw (who would be immortalized as an uncompromising fisherman in Tubarão, 1975), Red Grant is almost an ‘evil carbon copy’ of 007. As good, tough, and efficient as 007, he’s the killer designated to kill the spy. Which makes for one of the more visceral actions in the franchise and certainly of the Connery era, with the two battling each other in deadly hand-to-hand combat aboard the Orient Express.

Report

I believe that even the most enthusiastic of Dr. No (1962) ultimately prefers Moscow Contra 007 (1963). This sequence is a superior movie in every way. As said, he remains the favorite of many every movie in the franchise and was the favorite of the man himself, Sean Connery. This second 007 is yet a more intimate film, with Bond becoming more vulnerable as he is the target of murder. Apart from that, we take a closer look at the criminal organization which is an integral part of the canon of the spy universe, and we realize how this terrorist agency works, in an extremely organized way. There are many pieces acting at the same time, all with the same purpose, to end the hero.

However, not everything is perfect. And just like Dr. No (1962) in his stereotypical racial portrayal of Asians and Blacks, Moscow Contra 007 (1963), not everything can degrade in relation to the female portrait. Well, it’s clear that was just the mentality of the day, and we’re talking about the 1960s here. Even so, be warned that anything presented in the feature film will not be acceptable by standards. today. The stretch that attracts the most attention as ‘painful’ is the struggle between two women in a nomadic community (the term gypsy is considered offensive today, and this is what led to the cancellation of the ‘actress Elizabeth Olsen). In the film, they fight for the affection of a man. In the middle of the fight, there is a SPECTER attack, which is stopped by Bond. To reward him, the nomads grant him a wish and he asks for an end to the struggle between women. Noble feeling. However, the local leader offers the two to take care of him ?! Well, you can imagine what will happen next …

Because it contains this scene, Moscow is also considered a precursor of the extremely sexual image that would be linked to the character, since in mid-1963, before the sexual freedom that would be established by the hippie movement, the film “suggested “Wide open to all those who wanted to see or understand, that James Bond was going to sleep with two women. A subject which would be recurring, but which would also change approach over the decades. But it is a subject for the next texts. of this series of articles – soon to return with 007 Contra Goldfinger (1964).

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