Tatiana Romanova - Daniela Bianchi
A corporal in Soviet Army Intelligence, Tatiana - assigned to the Soviet embassy in Istanbul - is used as a pawn in a murderous double-cross orchestrated by SPECTRE and Colonel Rosa Klebb. The innocent and naive Tatiana is ordered to seduce Bond, unaware of the extent to which she is being manipulated. Indeed, Klebb has their lovemaking secretly filmed as part of a planned murder and sex scandal - a rather daring concept for a 1963 film.
Daniela Bianchi, a novice actress and former Miss Rome, gives a sincere and totally credible performance and remains one of the more memorable of the Bond women. Supprisingly, she retired from acting only a few years after her success in From Russia With Love. She did, however, appear with other Bond alumni in the low-budget 007 spoof Operation Kid Brother in 1967.
Sylvia Trench - Eunice Gayson
James Bond's Dr No paramour makes her second and final appearance in a 007 film. As in the previous film, her romantic encounter with Bond (this time on the banks of a river) is interrupted by his assignment. Still, Bond makes time to 'entertain' her in the back seat of his Bentley before reporting to HQ. Director Terence Young envisioned that the character of Sylvia would appear in every Bond film. However, when Guy Hamilton took the director's chair for Goldfinger, the idea was permanently shelved. Perhaps there was concern that even Bond's libido could be overtaxed by the aggressive Sylvia.
Decades before female wrestling became an accepted spectator sport, 007 was already benefitting from an early incarnation of the ritual. While visiting a gypsy camp with Kerin Bey, Bond witnesses a rather brutal way of settling problems caused by a love triangle. Two gypsy women vying for the same man fight a fierce hand-to-hand battle to see who will claim him as her lover. The wrestling sequence was considered quite shocking for its time and still has considerable impact because it is masterfully choreographed and edited.
Kerim's Girl - Nadja Regin
Although seen only briefly, the sensual mistress of Kerim Bey inadvertently saves his life when she lures him away from his desk for an erotic interlude only seconds before a limpet mine explodes. Kerin's mistress is portrayed by Nadja Regin, who sultry good looks impressed the producers enough to cast her as the traitorous cabaret dancer who almost lures bond to his death in the next 007 film, Goldfinger. Regin therefore has the distinction of being the first actress to appear in a different role in another Bond movie.
Rosa Klebb - Lotte Lenya
Described in Ian Fleming's novel as a repulsive, 'toad-like' woman, SMERSH Colonel Rosa Klebb is one of the cinema's greatest villainesses. Unbeknown to her superiors, Klebb is SPECTRE agent number three, reporting directly to Ernst Stavro Blofeld and entrusted to Carry out the theft of the Lektor and the execution of 007. Klebb is humourless and quite masculine in behaviour and appearance. On the surface she appears to be asexual, but her brief and intimidating flirtations with Tatiana hint at lesbianism (whereas in Fleming's novel this is blatantly obvious). At the climax of the film, Klebb tries personally to murder 007 with the now famous shoe containing a poison-tipped knife but falls victim to Tatiana's gun.
The casting of Lotte Lenya as Klebb is truly inspirational. In reality a gentle, cultured woman who gained in popularity by teaming up with her husband composer Kurt Weill for memorable stage productions (including The Threepenny Opera), Lenya is absolutely riveting as Klebb. The actress always found it amusing that, despite her significant accomplishments dating back to the 1930s, she was best remembered for the mad woman of SPECTRE who, in the words of Bond, 'had her kicks'.
Donald 'Red' Grant - Robert Shaw
Arguably the most realistic and frightening of all the Bond villains, Grant was described as a 'homicidal paranoiac'. In other words, a perfect candidate for SPECTRE. Grant had escaped from Dartmoor prison in England at the height of the Cold War and joined the organization as an assassin. His total ruthlessness and superior skills make him both feared and respected by his superiors. Grant is also in peak physical condition, having completed SPECTRE's training courses with impressive results. He is chosen by Colonel Klebb to assassinate James Bond and Tatiana. After killing Bond's contact, Captain Nash, in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, Grant assumes the man's identity and lures Bond into his confidence and promises him a torturous death. Grant makes a fatal mistake by opening Bond's attache case, which results in a tear gas cartridge exploding in his face. The brutal hand-to-hand battle which follows, Bond succeeds in strangling Grant with this own garrotte.
Robert Shaw gives a brilliant performance as Grant, successfully alternating between a talkative, obnoxiously friendly type in his guise as Nash and a cunning ruthless killer. shaw, an award winning playwright, would eventually become a popular leading man in such films as Jaws and The Deep before his premature death from a heart attack in 1978.
Kronsteen - Vladek Sheybal
SPECTRE agent number five and director of planning, Kronsteen is also an internationally recognized chess champion. 'Moonlighting' in his criminal capacity, it is Kronsteen - reporting directly to Blofeld - who concocts the elaborate mission to lure James Bond into stealing the Soviet Lektor decoding machine. Warned that Bond is a worthy adversary, the egotistical Kronsteen replies, 'Who is Bond compared to Kronsteen?' Unfortunately, Kronsteen finds out when Bond tharts his foolproof shceme - leading to his falling victim to the latest in SPECTRE fashion, a shoe with a poison-tipped knife.
Vladek Sheybal, who played Kronsteen was a respected Polish actor and theatre director who was initially reluctant to appear in From Russia With Love. However, his friend Sean Connery convinced him to take the role, and Sheyball later professed to being amazed at the impact it had on his career. He also appeared as a villain in the 1967 Bond spoof Casino Royale and later starred as Sean Connery's brother in the 1975 epic The Wind and The Lion.
Krilencu - Fred Haggerty
This Bulgarian master of murder is employed by the Soviets to assassinate Western agents in Turkey. The arch enemy of Kerim Bey, Krilencu is ordered by SMERSH to interrupt an uneasy truce and kill Kerim, who they mistakenly believe has murdered several of their agents. In fact, both Krilencu and Kerim are unknowingly being pitted against each other by SPECTRE. After Krilencu makes two unsuccessful attempts on Kerim's life, Kerin shoots him with a sniper's rifle as the Bulgarian attempts to climb out of the window of his hide-out. This sequence contains an in-joke, as the wall of Krilencu's apartment carries a billboard of Anita Ekberg in the Bob Hope comedy Call Me Bwana, which was produced by Broccoli and Saltzman. (in the novel, the actress with the 'big mouth' was Marilyn Monroe.)
Morzeny - Walter Gotell
Head if the training school for agents on SPECTRE island, morzeny proudly escorts Rosa Klebb around the facility and introduces her to assassin Red Grant. Alas, Morzeny's career is cut short when he leads a flotilla of SPECTRE speed-boats to intercept James Bond, who is escaping to Venice with Tatiana. In a superbly staged sequence, Bond dumps fuel tanks into the ocean and ignites them by firing a flare into the petrol soaked water. Morzeny and his men perish in the resulting inferno, as Bond racks up yet another large entry in Blofeld's seemingly inexhaustible capital expenditures budget. Walter Gotell, who is silently menacing as Morzeny, would later appear as the charismatic KGB General Gogol in future Bond films.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld - Anthony Dawson
In his first screen appearance, the SPECTRE mastermind's face is unseen as he develops a murderous plot in conjunction with Rosa Klebb and Kronsteen. Blofeld is given no background in his screen debut, but traits which would become his hallmark are already established. For example, he has a habit of stroking his white Persian cat whilst planning diabolical schemes. He is devoid of any overt emotions and discusses matters of life and death as though he were commenting on the weather. He strikes fear into the hearts of even the most cold-blooded killers, and makes analogies about SPECTRE and the Japanese fighting fish he keeps in his office (both let their intended victims do battle with each other until they are too weak to defend themselves). After warning his underlings about the price of failure, he orders the assassination of the person who feels he is immune to the threat. (Blofeld would repeat this novel exercise in irony in Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.) Anthony Dawson, who portrayed Professor Dent in Dr No, played Blofeld in From Russia With Love, though his voice was dubbed by actor Eric Pohlman.
Kerim Bey - Pedro Armendariz
A former circus strongman, Kerim is a key member of MI6 and head of Station T in Istanbul. His head-quarters are hidden amidst a carpet shop located in a busy bazaar. From here Kerim directs activities designed to spy on the Soviets and their Bulgarian henchman. Controlling a large network of spies, his key employees comprise his sons (of whom seemingly has a never-ending supply). able to install a naval periscope underneath the Soviet embassy's boardroom, thus allowing him to spy on meetings. He and Bond fast become friends and allies, possibly because neither is immune to enjoy a good drink and a willing woman. Kerim plays a vital role in 007's theft of the Laktor and his knowledge of the ancient sewer system allows them to escape the enemy and flee abroad the Orient Express. Tragically, it is onboard the train that he is murdered at the hands of Red Grant.
Pedro Armendariz gave a wonderfully charismatic portrayal of Kerim, making him one of the most memorable characters to appear in a Bond film. The veteran actor, a one-time member of John Ford's famous 'stock company', was battling terminal cancer during the filming of From Russia With Love. He barely managed to finish the film befire he was hospitalized. Wracked with pain, he had a gun smuggled into his room and used it to commit suicide just weeks after completing his work in the 007 film.
His son Pedro Armendariz Jr appeared as a corrupt dictator in Licence To Kill (1989) called President Hector Lopez.
M - Bernard Lee
In his second screen appearance, Bernard Lee hones the role of M to perfection, with a slightly more benign attitude towards Bond than had been shown in Dr No. Amusingly, M - who disapproves of Bond's womanizing - has no choice but to order 007 to bed Soviet agent Tatiana Romanova in the hope that the seduction will allow British intelligence to gain access to a Lektor decoding machine. We almost get a rare glimpse into M's personal life later in the film. The MI6 cheif is surrounded by his top staff members as he plays a tape recording of Bond interrogating Tatiana, who is more interested in discussing 007's love life. When she asks Bond if he has had any experiences with oriental women, he begins to relate to a story about when he and M here in Tokyo. A red-faced M instantly shuts off the tape. While we don't hear the details, the very idea that he and Bond may have shared any type of sexual experience with Japanese women is too hilarious to contemplate.
Miss Moneypenny - Lois Maxwell
By Lois Maxwell's second screen appearance in From Russia With Love, the audience already had a picture of the Bond/Moneypenny relationship and fans would debate henceforth about whether they had ever been lovers. In this film, Moneypenny was still overt in her attempts to seduce 007. (She would become increasingly aloof as the series progressed.)
Boothroyd - Desmond Llewelyn
The transformation from Boothroyd to 'Q' is soon approaching. After actor Peter Burton became unavailable to repeat the role of the MI6 armourer he played in Dr No, Desmond Llewelyn accepted the part in From Russia With Love. He went on to become the person who would appear in more Bond films than any other actor. Although Q (not referred to by name yet) is still very much a peripheral character devoid of any memorable personality traits at this early stage, he does provide Bond with his first hi-tech gadget, the lethal attache case that will save Bond's life in his fight against Red Grant.
Donald 'Red' Grant
Ernst Stavro Blofeld