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It's fifty years since FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE premiered, and we sit down with actress Martine Beswick to talk about her iconic fight in the gypsy camp

Posted 14.11.2013

It’s one of the most frenetic scenes in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: Martine Beswick and Aliza Gur as two gypsy women wrestling to the death over the same man. Born in Jamaica, Beswick is the rare example of a Bond girl who has appeared in more than one of 007’s on-screen adventures, returning in THUNDERBALL to play Bond’s ill-fated assistant in Nassau. Here, she talks to us about that iconic gypsy fight

Q Even after 50 years, the wrestling match between you and Aliza Gur still looks intense. How did you train for that fight?

A We trained for three weeks and it worked like a dance routine, with punches. We had to learn to fall and learn how to miss. The whole point of those rehearsals was that Terence [Young, director on three Bond films] wanted to come in there close with a handheld camera and follow us, which gave that terrific fight its authenticity.

Q What was Terence Young like to work with as a director?

A He was very straight-forward but also had a wonderful sense of humour and a way of making things fun, even when there were serious things that we needed to do. Terence really was James Bond. He was the most elegant man I’ve ever known.

Q You also worked with Sean Connery on THUNDERBALL. How was your off-screen relationship?

There was this mischievous thing between us, a sort of ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’. It wasn’t at all sexual – I loved his wife Diane Cilento too, she was fabulous – it was just a fun relationship.

Q What was the atmosphere like on the set of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE?

A It was pretty amazing, but this was my first major film so I had no comparison. There was a buzz because of DR. NO, and around Terence and the actors involved. It was pretty fantastic being in this major movie so early on. Basically, I was spoiled.

Q Lots of fans think you were one of the dancing silhouettes in the credits for DR. NO, is that true?

A No. I don’t know who started that rumour. I was never even on set. I did go for the part of Honey Ryder in DR. NO, which was my first major audition after I came to London. That was when I met Terence, and he told me, ‘Go and get more experience, I want you in my next film’. I would own up to it immediately if I’d danced in that film!