** My formatting at the beginning got messed up… sorry ’bout it! Proofreading and final thoughts coming soon! **
I’ll waste no time. We have a lot to talk about.
From Russia with Love (1963)
Music by JOHN BARRY
Fig. 1 The cello part in the opening. Click to enlarge.
This scene is unbelievable. I absolutely love it. I watched it a dozen times because there’s so much to say. After a brief statement of the James Bond Theme (just the Guitar Part), the opening scene starts in silence. Bond is sneaking around and we only hear footsteps, birds, and crickets.
The bad guy steps on a twig- cue huge brass hit. Notice that it’s in the same key as the Bond theme. And this starts the music for the scene. It starts with a quiet, low, very slow cello line repeating six notes over and over (Fig. 1). It’s minimal to help us transition out of silence, but don’t take that to mean there isn’t depth. This is a simplified, slowed down version of the Guitar Part in the Bond Theme. What I mean by that is if you boil down the Guitar Part to its simplest form and leave out all repeated notes and chromatic passing tones, you are left with the pitches F G F Ab G F which is exactly what the cello plays. It’s no coincidence that’s the only part of the theme we’ve heard at this point in the film. It’s also still in the theme’s original key which makes the connection even stronger.