9 Jul 2017

North African Trade Convention - Tangier

In The Living Daylights, Bond goes to Tangier to watch the North African trade conference where general Pushkin is attending. Bond has learnt from general Koskov that Pushkin is going to be there to give new directives in a secret operation called Smiert Spionom. Bond is tailing Pushkin from the conference to find out where he is staying.

This scene was filmed in Tangier's old Medina, more accurately inside the Kasbah, which dominates the north section of the Medina. The building that was used as the trade conference building in the film, is the Kasbah Museum which still looks the same as it did in 1987.

Bond is waiting outside the conference building in an Audi 200 Avant Quattro. He has placed a press ID in the car window to avoid suspicion.

In the film, the entrance to the trade conference has been put in the location of the small door seen in the picture below. In reality, the main entrance to the museum is not facing the square but can be found in the alley to the left. This location is one of many from both The Living Daylights and Spectre that can be found in the Kasbah. Tangier is a very nice city and the locations are very memorable.

From the small cafe Le Salon Bleu, you have a nice view over this location, which is one of the key locations in the film.

As Pushkin and Rubavitch are driven off in the Soviet flagged Mercedes, Bond follows them up the road to the right of the square, which is Rue Riad Sultan. 

27 Jun 2017

Back to Tangier - Spectre

In Spectre, more than a few locations have been reused as locations for Bond, such as Austria, Morocco and the Thames in London. After finding Dr Swan in the Austrian alps, another Bond location re-used, she takes Bond to Tangier, to find her farther's hotel, L'Americain, covered earlier. In the first scene, Bond and Swan are walking up some stairs in the middle of that city.

These steps are called Escalier Waller and can be found on Rue de la Liberté. Bond and Swan are coming up from Rue Amerique du Sud and walk up the steps which ultimately intersects with Rue de la Liberté. The only thing that made this location possible to identify is the restaurant with the white marquis located on the right side as you look down the steps. This restaurant is called 'Restaurant Populaire Saveur de Poisson', which can be read on the white marquis. This name can namely be seen in the film as well, but on the wall opposite the restaurant.

The name of the restaurant "Saveur de poisson" can be read on the wall to the left.
I becomes evident on location that the nice view over the bay of Tangier, seen in the film, was created through CGI. You cannot see anything of the sea from these steps at this location. It is a pity since Tangier is such a beautiful city with lots of stunning locations that could have been used instead. They also added a "warm color" to the film in the scenes filmed in Tangier.

The restaurant Saveur de Poisson is a very good restaurant but very simple. There is no menu and a fixed price of approximately 200 Dirham, so you just wait at the table for the different courses to arrive, sometimes served in simple bowls with wooden spoons. But the food is excellent and there is always a queue outside so make sure to be there when they open. A visit is highly recommended.

19 Jun 2017

Venice - Bond's hotel suite

Establishing shot over Venice from 1963

The last scenes in From Russia With Love take place in Venice where Bond and Tania end up after escaping the Spectre agents on the Adriatic Sea. The establishing shot over Venice pictures the famous palazzo Ducale, the Doge's palace (which is the large pink/white palazzo in the middle of the top picture) and the Campanile on St Mark's Square (the large bell tower).

San Giorgio Maggiore is painted on the background
The island of San Giorgio Maggiore seen from St Mark's square - similar as "Bond's view"
Bond and Tania are staying in a hotel right by St Mark's square, with a nice view over the lagoon and the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Given the view from their balcony, they are probably staying at Hotel Danieli or another hotel close by the Danieli. The island San Giorgio Maggiore can be seen from both the Danieli and St Mark's square which are located on the largest, "main island", of Venice.

Since neither of the principal cast ever were in Venice for the filming of From Russia With Love, all the hotel scenes and the view through the window in Bond's suite were shot in studio in England. 

The view over Venice as you are about to land - always sit on the right side in the plane

11 Jun 2017

Bond and Tania meet in Hagia Sophia - Istanbul

In From Russia With Love, Bond arranges a meeting with Tatiana Romanova in the Hagia Sophia (saint Sophia) where Tania is delivering a plan of the Russian consulate to Bond. Bond is blending in with a tourist group and watches Tania leave a powder compact by a pillar, for Bond to pick up. She is unaware that she has been followed by one of the Bulgars.

Tania is coming in between the pillars from the south gallery as Bond and a group of tourists pass the alabaster urn in the north west corner. However, Bond spots a Bulgar who has been following Tania to the Hagia Sophia and he hides behind a wall. The Bulgar is standing close to the north gallery, where Tania is heading.

As Bond signals to Tania where she shall leave her powder compact with Bond's information, a few of the large windows on the north wall are visible.  

It was constructed in 537 AD. Until 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople. It had remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years. When the Ottomans took over the cathedral was converted to a mosque. It was finally opened as a museum the the 1930's.

Because of the history of Hagia Sophia, or the Aya Sofya in Turkish, it is even more interesting to visit the church than it is as a Bond location. Needless to say, a cathedral constructed over 1500 years ago and the largest cathedral for almost a thousand years is a must see when in Istanbul. There is old Christian mosaic art preserved inside that is over one thousand years old.

As a Bond location, the Aya Sofya is perhaps a little less interesting than the Basilica cistern but the fact that it is a museum keeps the Bond locations inside almost untouched and well recognisable.

23 May 2017

In loving memory of Sir Roger Moore, KBE.

14 October 1927 - 23 May 2017 
Today we received the tragic news about the passing away of the last gentleman. Sir Roger has died, 89 years old.

As the first Bond actor to pass away, leaving the other five behind, Sir Roger Moore has done a lot for the Bond series as well as the world and it is with a heavy heart that I note just a few of his more notable achievements. He remained active well into his 90th year and appeared in his last show in November 2016.

Sir Roger became a star in the early 60's, as Simon Templar in the TV-series The Saint which run between 1962-1969. During the early years of the 70's he starred alongside Tony Curtis in The Persuaders! playing the suave playboy Lord Brett Sinclair. Apparently the filming did not went very smoothly with Curtis frequently smoking marijuana and behaving badly throughout but it nonetheless seems like they were having a good time and Sir Roger proved that he was made for the role, delivering countless classics throughout the series.
"Brett to my friends, but you can call me darling..."

Sir Roger turned down a second season of The Persuaders! in anticipation of becoming Bond.  
"When I go, I go tidy..." - Lord Sinclair in the episode Five Miles to Midnight -
In 1973 he became James Bond, taking the mantle from Sean Connery after his return to the role after George's one time outing in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Thanks to Sir Roger's lighter touch, the Bond series survived the 70's and brought Bond back to his roots in the early 80's with For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy. Despite considering himself as highly overpaid and not a very good actor, Sir Roger undeniably gave us a few of the best Bond films in the series with For Your Eyes Only and The Spy Who Loved me.

Sir Roger became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 1991 after being urged by his friend Audrey Hepburn who also had worked for the organisation. He considered his passionate work for UNICEF to be his greatest achievement, for which he received a knighthood in 1999, fist becoming Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and then becoming a Knight in 2003. It was thanks to Sir Roger that I myself have supported UNICEF monthly since 2010.

Thank you Sir Roger. 

Saint, Persuader and the suavest James Bond is no moore. 

As a tribute I post Judi Dench's version of Send in the Clowns.

22 May 2017

Draco and M

During the wedding reception of Bond and Tracy, which takes place at Draco's estate in Portugal in one of the last scenes in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Draco and M find time to chat together and exchange a few business secrets in the garden. Despite being enemies in business, with Draco heading one of the biggest crime syndicates in Europe and M being responsible for the killing of three of Draco's best operatives, the competitors have put aside their rivalry on Bond's wedding day.

The steps where M and Draco were filmed drinking champagne and talking are located in the garden of the estate Herdado do Zambujal which was Draco's home in Portugal, in the film, covered in the earlier post here. The steps can be found immediately to the right of the main house coming from the entrance gate.

M talks to Draco about an operation known as "the bullion job" from November 1964 and is fascinated to know how much money Draco got away with at the time. The fact that it is called the bullion job and went down in 1964 can very well be a subtle reference to Goldfinger (produced in 1964) and maybe a hint that Draco was somehow involved with Goldfinger.

"-Yes, November 64, the bullion job! You got away with quite a chunk in the haul. Tell me, I've always wondered..."
                                 - M to Draco -