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From Russia with Love (1963) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • James Bond 007 is on the search for a Russian decoding machine, known as Lektor. Bond needs to find this machine, before the evil SPECTRE organization discovers it first. Whilst being romantically linked with Russian girl, Tatiana Romanova, Bond sneaks his way around Istanbul, whilst each SPECTRE agent tries to pick him off, including the over powering Donald 'Red' Grant and ex-KGB agent Rosa Klebb who knows all the tricks in the books and even possesses an incredible poison tipped shoe!

  • The SPECTRE Number 1 assigns the SPECTRE Number 3, Rosa Klebb, an ex-SMERSH operative before defecting from Russia, and the SPECTRE Number 5 and expert planner Kronsteen to plot a scheme to steal the Russian's Lektor decoder and revenge on James Bond for killing Dr. No. Rosa Klebb recruits the SPECTRE assassin Grant and lures the naive and loyal Russian Corporal State Security Tatiana Romanova, who works at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul and believes that Rosa Klebb still works for SMERSH. Meanwhile M summons James Bond and tells that Tatiana wants to defect to London and has offered the Lektor as part of the bargain. However, she wants to go to England with Bond. Bond and M suspect that it might be a trap, but Bond sees Tatiana's photo and decides to go to Istanbul, where he has the support of the local operative Kerim Bey. He meets Tatiana and they plot a plan to steal the Lektor and return to London. But they do not know that they are actually pawns in the scheme plotted by SPECTRE.

  • James Bond, 007, is sent on a mission to Istanbul to try and acquire a Russian cypher machine known as Lektor from a defecting Russian agent. However, the Russians have no knowledge of this as it is a S.P.E.C.T.R.E. ploy to lure James Bond into a trap - a fitting tribute to their now- dead agent Dr. No.

  • The evil SPECTRE organization has hatched a plan to steal a decoder that will access Russian state secrets and irrevocably unbalance the world order. It is up to James Bond to seize the device first, but he must confront enemies that include Red Grant and the ruthless Rosa Klebb -- a former KGB agent with poison-tipped shoes. Even as Bond romances a stunning Soviet defector, he realizes he is being lured into a deadly trap, and he will need all of his courage, ability and cutting-edge technology to triumph over the forces that seek to destroy him.

  • Evil crime cartel SPECTRE seeks revenge for the death of its operative Dr No and sets a trap to lure British agent James Bond to his death. The bait is a Soviet encryption machine called a Lektor, which the British Secret Service are desperate to get hold of.

  • James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • At the Spetsyalnye Metody Razoblacheniya SHpyonov (SMERSH), aka, Special Methods of Spy Detection, training facility, British MI6 Agent 007, James Bond, is making his way through the grounds. He is followed by a hulking, light blonde-haired man dressed in black, who effectively eludes him. The blonde-haired man emerges from behind a hedge, pulling a garrote wire from his watch, which he slips around Bond's neck. Bond is dead in a few moments. A rubber mask made to look like Bond's face is peeled from the dead man's face by the blonde-haired killer, revealing a nameless imposter. The assassin's supervisors emerge, documenting the mission time and revealing that the mission is a training exercise for SMERSH.

    At a championship chess match, Chief Planning Officer for the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion (SPECTRE), a Pole named Kronsteen, aka Number Five (Vladek Sheybal), wins the match and is called away to meet with the Chief of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, aka Number One (who's face remains unseen). Also at the meeting is ex-SMERSH Colonel, now Chief Operations Officer for SPECTRE, Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya), aka Number Three.

    Blofeld holds a white Siamese cat in his lap when he meets with his underlings. He also kept three Siamese fighting fish in an aquarium. Blofeld comments that the fish naturally fight each other, but while two are fighting, there's always one that holds back until the other two stop. Then, that cunning fish attacks the weakened victor and kills it easily. Thus SPECTRE's main strategy is to instigate conflict between two powerful enemies, hoping that they will exhaust themselves and be vulnerable when SPECTRE moves to seize power.

    Kronsteen devises a plot to steal a Lektor cryptographic device from the Soviets and sell it back to them, while exacting revenge on Bond for killing their agent, Dr. No the previous year. The plan is to trick Agent 007, James Bond (Sean Connery) into collaborating with a Soviet agent in stealing the Lektor from the Soviet embassy in Istanbul, which they will then take from Bond, while framing him and the Russian for the deed. Klebb will be in charge of the operation.

    To lure Bond into the trap, Klebb recruits Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), a cipher clerk at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul. Romanova is an unwitting pawn, as she thinks Klebb is still working for SMERSH. Tatiana's cover story will be that she is a Soviet consulate clerk in Turkey who wants to defect to England.

    In England, Bond is in a small boat near a river, making out with his sometime girlfriend, Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson), when he's summoned to MI6's London headquarters to meet with "M", Chief of British Intelligence, (Bernard Lee). As he enters the main office, Bond tosses his hat across the room and neatly onto the hat rack.

    M tells Bond that Romanova has contacted their "Station 'T'" in Turkey, offering to defect with a Lektor, which MI6 and the CIA have been after for years; however, Romanova has stated she will only defect to Bond, whose photo she has allegedly found in a Soviet intelligence file. M and Bond suspect a trap with this Lektor business, but M orders Bond to Istanbul anyway, telling him to meet with British Intelligence Station Chief in Istanbul, Ali Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendáriz).

    Bond's armorer, Major Boothroyd (Desmond Llewelyn), the head of Q Section, provides Bond with a briefcase containing a tear gas bomb that detonates if the case is improperly opened, a folding AR-7 sniper rifle with twenty rounds of ammunition, a throwing knife, and 50 gold sovereigns.

    At the SMERSH training facility, Klebb arrives by helicopter and meets with Morzeny (Walter Gotell), the SPECTRE thug who trains personnel on SPECTRE Island. Morzeny takes her to a man named Donald 'Red' Grant (Robert Shaw), the same hulking, blonde-haired assassin that killed the impostor Bond during the training exercise. Grant is in the process of getting a massage from a beautiful woman (Jan Williams) on the lawn outside at a small lake after an exercise workout. As Klebb walks with Morzeny and his chief aide through the training area, Klebb reads from the file that Morzeny gives her explaining that Grant is an Irish national who escaped from Dartmorth Prison in England back in 1960 where he was serving a life sentence for a murder charge and recruited by SPECTRE while he was hiding out in Tangiers the previous year in 1962. Morzeny describes Grant as being diagnosed as a "homicidal-paranoia" which is "superb materal" for SPECTRE, and despite Grant's lack of social skills and crude manners, his training as an assassin by SPECTRE has been remarkable.

    Klebb directs Morzeny to call Grant over. Grant hurries over and Klebb looks his body up and down, then slides some brass knuckles onto her fingers and delivers a solid blow to his solar plexus. Grant doesn't even flinch from the blow, so she decides he'll do, and she orders him to be sent to Istanbul by tomorrow, where he will be the second main player in her plot.

    A few days later, Bond arrives in Istanbul and is driven to Kerim Bey's offices. The car is followed from the airport, by both local Bulgarian operatives (who spy for the Soviets) and Red Grant. Bond's driver, Bey's son, assures Bond that there is no danger, as they and the KGB's operatives tail each other constantly in Istanbul. However, Grant ambushes and kills the Bulgar driver, leaving the body in the backseat of the car where it will be quickly discovered.

    Bond meets with Bey, who informs him that the Soviet embassy, though heavily protected, can be infiltrated and the Lektor can be stolen.

    Bond checks into his hotel, asking to be given another room when he finds a listening device behind a painting in his assigned room. He is told the bridal suite is the only other room available, so he accepts.

    That evening, Bey, relaxing with his mistress (Nadja Regin) at his office, is nearly killed when the retaliatory bomb goes off. Nadja had lured him away from the blast zone only moments before. The next morning, Bond goes to Bey's office, where he's briefed on the incident.

    Bey takes Bond to the city's underground reservoir below his offices. They climb into a rowboat and travel a short distance to the area directly beneath the Soviet embassy. Bey has installed a surplus British submarine periscope, which elevates under a table in the embassy's conference room. Bey and Bond then look to see who is meeting there.

    They identify Krilencu (Fred Haggerty), a Bulgarian assassin who works as a killer for the Soviets in the Balkans. Bey tells Bond that Krilencu has been gone from Istanbul for a year, so it's curious that he's returned. Bey suspects it must have been Krilencu who planted the bomb that nearly killed him. Bey desires revenge, but chooses not to, not wanting to do anything that might jeopardize Bond's mission. As Bond peers through the eyepiece, a beautiful woman walks in. Bond and Bey are unable to identify her because her face doesn't come into view.

    Bey takes Bond to a gypsy camp outside the city for the evening to hide out. Bond meets Vavra (Francis de Wolff), the chief of the tribe who does dangerous work for Bey now and then. After watching Leila (Lisa Guiraut), a belly dancer, perform, the chief of the camp orders two young women, Vida (Aliza Gur) and Zora (Martine Beswick), who both seek to marry his son, to be brought from their wagons. In accordance with Gypsy tradition, the two women must fight, with the winner to be the bride.

    Vida and Zora are in the early stages of their vicious cat-fight, when the camp is attacked by Krilencu and his Bulgarian thugs. In the ensuing gunfight and chaos, Bey is shot in the right arm and Bond is saved by Grant, who, from a hidden position observing the camp, shoots a man intending to attack Bond with a sword. Grant's purpose is to make sure Bond is able to complete his mission.

    After the KGB men withdraw, Vavra declares Bond to be one of his "sons," in honor of Bond's bravery and assistance. Bond thanks him, then requests a favor of the chief: he asks that the fight between the women be stopped. The man laughs, suggesting that Bond is too softhearted to be a gypsy, but he agrees to let Bond make the decision.

    The following night, Bey resolves to kill Krilencu. He and Bond go to Krilencu's hideout, where Bey has two of his operatives working as Turkish policemen. The policemen knock on the Krilencu's door, a deliberate move to force Krilencu into fleeing his hideout. They then see Krilencu attempting to use an escape hatch built into a large billboard on the building. Krilencu drops a rope along the outside the building and starts down. He's an easy target for Bey, who uses Bond's sniper rifle, with Bond's shoulder as support, to shoot Krilencu. Krilencu falls to the ground dead.

    Bond returns to his hotel room and is just about to take a relaxing bath when he hears noises in the main room. He puts on a towel and sneaks out of the bathroom, moving over to where he had set his pistol. He picks up his gun and then sees a human shadow disappearing out on the patio. He follows in that direction and into the adjacent room, where there's a beautiful young woman lying in her bed. It is Tatiana. She'd lured him over there.

    They introduce themselves and within minutes they are making love, deciding to discuss the details of how they'll go about obtaining the Lektor machine in the morning. The two are unaware that their encounter is being filmed from behind a one-way mirror by Klebb and a cameraman.

    The next day, Bond arranges to meet with Tatiana at the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, intending to receive a map of the Russian Consulate from her. Tatiana leaves the map at the base of a pillar, but a KGB agent, who was trailing her, reaches it before Bond can. Grant moves in and kills the KGB agent and again quickly slips away, unseen by Bond or Tatiana. Bond reaches the dead KGB man and finds the map still clutched in his hand. He takes the map and leaves, wondering who might have killed the agent.

    Bond takes the map to Bey, who determines that a bomb set off in the consulate would be enough of a distraction for Bond to enter the communications room, steal the Lektor, and escape with Tatiana into the caverns below the city.

    Bond later meets with Tatiana on a ferry, where he uses a tape recorder made up to look like a camera, to record Tatiana's description of the Lektor. The recording is subsequently listened to by M and several other high level officials, who determine that the device Tatiana speaks of is authentic. Q's secretary, Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell), was also listening to the tape, until M told her to leave, as Tatiana kept flirting with James in between her statements describing the Lektor. Miss Moneypenny is able to listen in via the office intercom. She seems both amused and jealous at what she's hearing.

    M orders Bond to go ahead with the plan to acquire the Lektor.

    Bond reports to the Soviet embassy at precisely 3:00 p.m. under the guise of the intent to purchase a visa for travel to the USSR. A few minutes later, a bomb goes off, having been placed near the wall to the communications room. The explosion breaks a hole in the wall of the room and Bond slips in easily, to grab both the Lektor and Tatiana, and they escape into the caverns. They are led outside by Bey.

    Bond's escape from Istanbul involves a lengthy ride on the Orient Express to Trieste in Italy. Bey has reserved a sleeper car for both Bond and Tatiana, who are posing as a married couple. Bey tells them they he will plan to stop the train at a certain point where Bond and Tatiana are to disembark and to meet another of Bey's sons, who will give them documents and assistance in smuggling the Lektor across the Italian border.

    On the train, Bey identifies a Soviet security officer named Benz (Peter Bayliss), who is tailing them. Bey makes it his duty to keep a close eye on Benz during the train ride. Bey and Benz later turn up dead in Bey's compartment. The train's conductor (George Pastell), believes they killed each other and he goes to Bond, whom he knew to be an associate of Bey, to let him know. Bond follows the conductor to Bey's compartment and witnesses the scene. He pays the conductor to keep the deaths a secret for the rest of the trip. Bey and Benz were actually the victims of Grant, who was also on the train. With Bey dead, as well as his plan for stopping the train dead with him, the train is forced to go on and does not stop at the rural place where one of Bey's sons are. Bey's men hurry away to find a telephone to find out what happened.

    Bond briefly suspects that Tatiana had something to do with Kerim Bey's death and roughly interrogates and even hits her, but she claims ignorance to anything going on. Not trusting her anymore, Bond secludes himself and the Lektor device away from Tatiana.

    That evening the train arrives at the Sarajevo train station in Yugoslavia. Bond briefly disembarks and meets with one of Bey's sons and, after regretfully telling the man that his father had been killed, asks him to arrange for an MI6 agent from Station Y to meet him at the next stop in Zagreb. They are both watched and overhead by Grant still in hiding on the train.

    A few hours later, Grant leaves the train when it stops in Zagreb and intercepts British Agent Nash, from Station Y, there to meet Bond. Grant kills Nash (off camera) and assumes Nash's place, stealing his hat, wallet, business card and briefcase. Grant then meets Bond for the first time and (speaking for the first time with a rich upper class English accent) introduces himself as "Captain Nash". Bond seems immediately suspicious of Grant, because he was late in coming to meet with him. After talking for a while in Bond and Tatiana's cabin, Grant invites Bond to dinner on the train and Bond accepts, but he sends Tatiana on ahead with Grant, telling them he had to tend to something first. Bond then opens the briefcase Grant had been carrying and checks the contents. Inside, he finds Nash's clothes and a pistol, but nothing out of the ordinary. Bond then heads for the dining car.

    Bond finds it curious that Grant orders red wine with his fish dinner, but says nothing. Toward the end of the meal, Grant drops a sleeping pill into Tatiana's drink. She becomes drowsy and falls asleep in their room. In the adjoining room, Grant deceives Bond into looking at a map. Then, while explaining how he plans to effect their escape across the border, he sneaks a pistol from an ankle holster and hits Bond over the head with it, knocking him out temporarily.

    When Bond comes to, Grant (now speaking with an Irish accent) reveals that he has been sent to kill both Bond and Romanov and steal the Lektor. Grant further taunts Bond, boasting that SPECTRE has been pitting the Soviets and the British against each other, and claims that Romanova thinks that "she's doing it all for mother Russia". He also tells Bond he plans to frame him for Tatiana's murder and cause a scandal involving Bond's earlier tryst with her, which was filmed by Klebb. He tells Bond that after he kills both of them, he will plant the film in her handbag, along with a forged blackmail letter, so it looks like it was a murder-suicide. Bond finally comes to the realization that Grant is not with SMERSH, but is working for SPECTRE. He is impressed by the genius of the plan.

    Bond offers to double whatever Grant is being paid by SPECTRE, but Grant isn't interested. In fact, he tells Bond that he intends to torture him before killing him. Trying to stall for time, Bond plays his final card; Bond asks for a cigarette, but Grant refuses. Bond offers to pay for it with some gold sovereigns he has in his briefcase. Grant tells Bond to show him the sovereigns. Bond removes the sovereigns from his briefcase (he'd actually transferred them from Nash's briefcase to his own). With a clear hint of greed in his voice, Grant then asks Bond if there are any more gold sovereigns in Nash's briefcase. Bond says 'yes', that it's standard issue briefcase. Bond offers to take a look, and it is here that Grant falls right into the trap. Thinking that Bond has a weapon hidden in the other briefcase (Nash's pistol) Grant decides to open the other case himself.

    Grant opens the other case the incorrect way (without turning the latches on the briefcase) and the tear gas canister explodes in his face and Bond attacks him. The two fight viciously, slamming each other around, into the room where Tatiana lay sleeping, and then back to the adjoining compartment. Grant attempts to strangle Bond with a garrote wire that he had hidden in his watch, but Bond is able to get to the knife hidden in his briefcase and stab Grant in the arm. Bond eventually strangles Grant with the garrote.

    One of Grant's cohorts parks a flower truck across the train tracks and forces the train to stop a few minutes later. Bond is barely able to revive Tatiana enough to jump off the train. He hides her behind some shrubs, then jumps back on the outside of the train as it starts up again, riding it just a few hundred feet to near the flower truck, that had been moved from the tracks by a couple of trainmen. James jumps off and the train continues on. The driver is calling out to Grant, wondering where he is. James rushes the driver and knocks him down and out. He binds the man's hands with a belt, then puts him in the cab of the truck and Tatiana in the bed of the truck, with the flowers.

    The next morning, Bond is driving the truck down the road when a helicopter approaches. There are two men, the pilot and one other. The passenger starts lobbing grenades down at the truck, trying to force it off the road, or at least to stop. James jumps out with his briefcase, puts Tatiana under the truck, then takes off running. He hides under a rock, assembles his rifle, and shoots the helicopter passenger just as he's preparing to toss another grenade at Bond. Bond hits the man's arm causing him to drop the grenade inside the helicopter. It explodes and crashes.

    At Number One's office, Klebb and Kronsteen are being admonished for the plan having failed. Number Five blames Klebb, while she blames him. Number One presses a button on a panel on his desk and Morzeny enters the room, coming up behind Klebb and Kronsteen. Number One tells them that SPECTRE does not tolerate failure, and he appears to be blaming Klebb directly. Klebb lowers her head and acknowledges, believing she's about to die. Morzeny releases a dagger hidden in the toe of his boot and prepares to kick out at Klebb, but at the last second, he twists his foot and stabs Kronsteen instead. The blade is tipped with a fast-acting venom and Kronsteen falls dead within 12 seconds. Number One remarks that they'll need to work on developing a faster acting poison. Number One then tells a frightened Klebb that she now has total control of the mission and has one last chance to get the Lektor and kill Bond in Italy.

    Meanwhile, Bond gets the flower truck driver to tell him that Grant was planning to escape by boat, so Bond drives there to a small dock. They get in the boat and head for Trieste. Bond asks the driver if he can swim, then unbinds his hands and pushes him overboard.

    A few hours into their long boat trip, Bond and Tatiana are intercepted by Morzeny and others, dispersed among three speedboats. They lob grenades and fire automatic weapons at Bond, trying to get him to stop. Some of the bad guys didn't particularly understand their objective, however, and end up hitting several large drums of fuel that were on Bond's boat. Bond releases the holds on the barrels, sending them into the water. When Morzeny sees the barrels floating by, he orders the boats to slow down. Tatiana then hands Bond a flare gun, which he uses to set all the floating fuel and the barrels on fire. Morzeny and his men, crashing into each other's boats, are either killed or forced to jump into the water, as the fire envelopes them.

    Bond and Tatiana reach Venice and are making preparations to leave for England when Klebb enters their hotel room, disguised as a maid. She holds Bond at gunpoint, ordering Romanov out of the room with the Lektor. Klebb then raises the pistol to kill Bond, but Tatiana rushes back into the room and knocks the gun out of her hand. Bond and Klebb fight. Bond has to grab a chair and pin Klebb against the wall with it, as she was attempting to kick him with the poisoned dagger in the toe of her shoe. Tatiana recovers Klebb's pistol and, after a brief and confused hesitation, shoots Klebb, killing her.

    In the final scene, Bond and Tatiana take a romantic pleasure cruise on Venice's Grand Canal. Tatiana returns the wedding band that MI6 had provided for the mission and Bond puts it in his pocket for safekeeping until he can return it. He then removes from his pocket the film of his and Tatiana's night together, pulling it out partway and examining some of the frames. He kisses Tatiana passionately and throws the film in the river.

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