“I forgot the gun” – The story behind the Connery poster mishap

Did you ever wonder why Sean Connery is not holding the iconic Walther PPK on the posters of ‘From Russia With Love’? The story behind the wrong gun will make you giggle

The year was 1963 and work on the second Bond film ‘From Russia With Love’ had just been completed. Eager to publicise, the producers hired British documentary photographer David Hurn to do a photo spread with actor Sean Connery and the actresses of the film.

The result was a series of pictures with Connery posing in the obligatory tuxedo and engaging smile. But something was off. The gun we see on the poster is not the standard weapon that his superior “M” had emphatically forced upon Bond in the first James Bond thriller ‘Dr. No’.

David Hurn

Celebrated photojournalist Hurn, who had gained his reputation for his documentation of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, saw himself confronted with a sudden dilemma when the prop master revealed that he had forgotten to bring the Walther PPK.

„We’re all in the photo studio, ready to shoot”, says Hurn. “Suddenly, the prop master says: ‚I forgot the gun. We don’t have a gun. And all these people have flown in from America.‘“ 

But Hurn had a solution. Being a hobby marksman, he got his Walther LP-53 air pistol and thus, unceremoniously, provided Sean Connery with a gun to pose with. The photo shoot could go ahead as planned. Slightly worried, the Bond producers were reassured by Hurn that nobody would spot the difference. “You just have to tell the graphic designers to remove the long barrel when they retouch the photos.”

Naturally, the graphic designers later forgot to remove it. By that, the poster went down in cinema history as the only time secret agent James Bond posed with an air pistol.

Here is what it might have looked like alternatively.

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