Len Deighton on From Russia With Love

Len Deighton and Michael Caine


The Deighton Dossier blog has a new interview with author Len Deighton. You can read the entire interview by CLICKING HERE One thing that caught our eye was Deighton’s description of his work on From Russia With Love, the second 007 film.

The Q and A featured questions from readers. One of those readers was Jeremy Duns, journalist (he dug out Ben Hecht’s screenplay drafts for producer Charles K. Feldman’s Casino Royale) and spy author.

Richard Maibaum got the screenplay credit for From Russia With Love, with Johanna Harwood receiving an “adapted by” credit. Maibaum had a long association with Eon Productions co-founder Albert R. Broccoli. On the early Bond films, Harry Saltzman, the other Eon co-founder, was involved heavily in developing the scripts and often sought English writers such as Paul Dehn and John Hopkins. Saltzman later produced the Harry Palmer series, starring Michael Caine, based on Deighton novels.

Here’s how Deighton in the Deighton Dossier interview, prompted by a question from Duns, described his time working on the film:

I’m very interested in your work on From Russia With Love – do you have any surviving drafts of your script and how do you regard it?

Len: I went to Istanbul with Harry Saltzman, plus the director and the art director. As with virtually all movies, the producer is the driving force who gets the idea, buys the rights, commissions the screenplay, chooses the actors and employs the director.

Harry demonstrated this creative power. We took breakfast together every day so that he could guide me and teach me how film stories worked. It was a wonderful course in movie making especially as the rest of each day was spent roaming around Istanbul with Harry plus the director and art director talking about locations and building the sets back in England.

I’ve always been rather careless about typescripts and notes etc. And having a restless disposition I have packed, unpacked and repacked countless times as my family and I lived in different countries, I don’t have much written stuff left.

Terence Young directed the movie and Syd Cain worked as art director, with Michael White as assistant art director.

The Deighton Dossier and this blog, are members of the Coalition Of Bloggers wRiting About Spies. We noticed the From Russia With Love mention from Tweets by Jeremy Duns.

8 Responses

  1. Thanks for the pick-up on the interview. I had a long lunch with Len recently, with much Bond-related chat. I will have to see how much of my notes I can legitimately put online

  2. Len Deighton has already written a Sherlock Holmes short story, and an introduction to a forthcoming Fleming release, why not have him write a James Bond short story?

    If either Deighton or Glidrose is listening (which is bloody unlikely!) then go for it.

    I wanted to post this on Rob’s website but sadly he doesn’t allow anonymous comments.

  3. Hello, ‘anonymous’. Yes, it’s right, I don’t allow anonymous postings on my blog simply because I think it’s more polite and supportive of online conversation for people to provide a name or a moniker.

    I had a long conversation with Len last month about Bond stuff, talking about his recent introduction – I have seen the original text he provided, which was rejected – and other stuff related to his work on the Thunderball re-make. I don’t foresee – partly as he’s basically retired – Len stepping up to write a Bond novel or short story. However, it would be interesting.

  4. @Rob: We look forward to any posts on the subject you are able to do.

  5. Thanks for replying Rob! However, unless I’m mistaken one needs a google account in order to post to your site. Providing a moniker is no big deal. But registering with google seems a bit extreme.

    If I’m wrong please let me know.

  6. it’s hosted on Blogger – I’ve no control over what the registration policy is, as far as I’m aware, but I’ll check.

  7. Ah – there was a setting, I’ve changed. Now it just requires users to be registered. Sorry ’bout that.

  8. […] November 2012 post: LEN DEIGHTON ON FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE […]

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