31 Dec 2011

Mi6 Headquarters / Old war office, Whitehall - London

The last entry of 2011 will cover a genuine London location in honour of SkyFall, which will also be set in Whitehall for a few scenes. SkyFall will premiere in 2012 (26 oct), the 50th anniversary of the cinematic James Bond.

The first time 'the old war office building' at Whitehall was used as the exterior of Bond's office was in Octopussy 1983. In some of the earlier films, various pars of London had been used to symbolize Mi6, though Bond has never been seen entering his office in the series. In the background you can see Trafalgar square and Lord Nelson.
The building is neo-baroque and was finished in 1906. It is still in use by the Ministry of Defence and therefore not open to the public.

The old war office building is situated at Whitehall, right across from the Horse Guards and housed the war office between 1906 and 1964. The War office was a department of the British Government. It was responsible for the administration of the British army for over 400 years, from the 17th century until it was abolished in 1964. Its functions were then transferred to the Ministry of defence. 

A view to a kill
In A view to a kill we briefly see a changing of the guards before the camera turns over to M's office window. A mounted trooper from the Blues and Royals is seen marching off. These mounted troopers are part of The British Houshold Cavalry which is made up of two regiments of the British armed forces. 
These two regiments are the Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons, called the Blues and RoyalsThe regiments have traditions dating back from 1660 and acts as the Queen's personal bodyguard.

In the middle of the street, between the old war office building and the horse guards is a statue of the 2nd Duke of Cambridge who served as Commander-in-Cheif of the British army between 1856 to 1895.
The Blues and Royals were formed in 1969 from the merger of the Royal Horse Guards, which was known as the Blues, and the Royal Dragoons, known as The Royals. The Colonel-in-Chief is Her Majesty The Queen and the mounted troopers can still be seen outside the horse guards and opposite the old war office today.

Licence to Kill
The old war office seen for the last time - 1989
In The living daylights, the Malaysia house at Trafalgar square, was used as the exterior of Mi6, but Whitehall would then return in Dalton's second and last film Licence to killWe only get a brief glimpse of the HQ and this is the last time 'The old war office' featured as Bond's office in the series. Six years later in GoldenEye and during the rest of the Brosnan era, the real Mi6 HQ at Vauxhall was used for the establishing shots of Bond's office. The real Mi6 Headquarters will be covered later.
You see less and less of the famous London doubledecker buses nowadays. Almost every bus have been retired and replaced with modern and more 'passenger safe' ones. But you can still see a few on some routes if you're lucky.

Mina vänner, Gott nytt år
Happy new year

23 Dec 2011

Montenegro train station / Mill Colonnade, Karlovy Vary

After a night on the train to Montenegro, Bond and Vesper arrive at the train station and picked up by a limousine from the Hotel Splendide. Most of the Montenegro scenes were filmed in and around the spa town of Karlovy Vary, in the Czech Republic.

One of the most beautiful buildings in the city is the Mill Colonnade. This is not a train station at all but instead it houses five of the town's hot springs that made Karlovy Vary famous. For centuries people have been coming to Karlovy for the medicinal salt, many spa resorts and the healing power of thermal spring water.

The Mill Colonnade is situated in the centre of the town and is only a few minutes away from both 'the Hotel Splendide' and 'Casino Royale'. Built between 1871 and 1881 it was designed by Josef Zítek, who also designed the national theater in Prague. It was originally intended to be a two storey building but lack of funds restricted it to one. Five of Karlovy's 13 most famous hot springs can be found inside the Colonnade. Each source emits water at a temperature between 53-65 degrees Celsius. Horse carriages, like the one seen on the bridge in the film, can still be found all around town.

Mill Colonnade and the beautiful surrounding city

-Do government agents pay tax?
          -It's unfair, isn't it..

One scene, where Bond and Vesper are seen arriving at the train station, was cut from the finished film. This was filmed inside the colonnade, where you get the feeling of a busy train station. They have a short conversation about government funds when walking to the limousine. The deleted scene is available on Blu-ray and the extended DVD.

20 Dec 2011

London calling - British Airways

British Airways Boeing 747-400 to London
When flying to or from London you shouldn't fly anything but British Airways, Britain's flag carrier since 1974. This is the only right choice for a true Englishman. Nevertheless it has only been Bond's choice of airline for two films during the Brosnan era. Aside from that, the logo has also featured in Moonraker.

     -Your drink sir!
           -Lucky I asked for it shaken...
British Airways first class
In Die another day, British Airways was the appropriate choice for Bond when flying home from Cuba.
Bond is flying on a Boeing 747-400. The tail number is G-BNLB and this aircraft was delivered to British Airways on 31 july 1989. Bond is flying first class and is served a vodka martini by the air hostess, played by no one other than Deborah Moore, Sir Roger Moore's daughter. Brosnan comments that it was lucky he asked for it shakend. Either referring to the fact that Deborah is shaking with her tray or that they've had a bumpy ride (even in first class). High Life is British Airways in-flight magazine and the one with Gustav Graves on the cover that Bond is reading was the november issue in 2002. Sadly this aircraft, G-BNLB, was retired and scrapped in 2011 and is no longer possible to fly with.

The British Airways scene is one of the highlights in the movie and The Clash's London calling is ideal when landing in London.

"-X-ray document scanner!"
British Airways Boeing 757 to S:t Petersburg
In GoldenEye Bond flew British Airways for the first time and this was only the second time in the series to feature the BA logo. The airplane is a Boeing 757 with the old BA livery. The tail number on Bond's plane is not visible but the flight number mentioned by Q is 878 to S:t Petersburg. British Airways last Boeing 757 in service was retired in 2010 and sold to FedEx. The airplane livery was changed into the design seen in Die another day, between 1997-2003

In Moonraker, a British Airways billboard was used as a joke when Bond disposes of one of the guards from the Rio ambulance. The British Airways stewardess featured on the billboard swallows the guard when he is coming down the mountain on a stretcher. Moore looks satisfied when he is taken care of by the British Airways friendly staff.
Moonraker is probably the film with the most obvious product placements in the series. Products and brands used in the movie include for instance Marlboro cigarettes, Christian Dior, Bollinger, 7up and no less than three airlines including Air France, British Airways and Varig airlines.

The tagline "We'll take more care of you" was used by British Airways as well as "the world's favourite airline" and "fly the flag". Two of the newest slogans include "upgrade to British Airways" and "to fly, to serve".

10 Dec 2011

No head for heights - The old fortress, Corfu part 3

Loque finally meets the end after Bond has chased him from the "Albanian warehouse". Bond comes out from a stone gate and takes a well-aimed shot at Loque's shoulder. The car crashes against a stone wall and stops just before going over. Bond avenges Ferrara by throwing in Loque's dove pin and kicks the car over the cliff.
This scene was filmed at the very eastern part of the old fortress in Corfu, covered earlier in part 1 and part 2. The area is closed nowadays due to the bad condition so you have to climb a fence to gain entry. But when you get there it is well worth your trouble. This is definitely one of the best Bond locations in Corfu and since the area is off limits for tourists, you are there all by yourself. This is truly a beautiful location with a view over both the Greek mainland and Albania.

                                                  You left this with Ferrara I believe...  

Sir Roger was reluctant to shoot the scene where he kicks the car over the cliff since he thought it wasn't something that his Bond would do. He thought it would be enough to toss the pin in the car and that the extra weight would make it fall over. But the director John Glen insisted on having Bond kick the car over and it would prove to be one of the strongest scenes in the film. The scene would be important because it was necessary to bring Bond back to earth after the comedy-like Moonraker.

Loque's Mercedes is coming at high speed and Moore takes aim. This area is not connected with the tunnels and steps that was used previously in the chase. The Mercedes is coming from a dead end from this angle and the cliff where Bond kicks the car over is actually behind the stone gate. Another example of excellent cutting by the filmmakers. Neither me or my friend could figure out how they even got the Mercedes up there.

For your eyes only remains one of the best films in the series and is definitely in the top five list. Sir Roger is very good in the film, it has beautiful locations and the classic spy story has influences from the cold war. Bill Conti composed a good soundtrack and the title song, established as a timeless classic, is probably the best song in the series.

4 Dec 2011

Air France Concorde to Rio

It's time again for another post in the travel section. When Bond takes "two weeks leave of abcence" on M's orders, he unofficially stays on the Drax assignment and travels to Rio. Bond arrives on the Air France Concorde at Galeão International Airport.

How do you kill five hours in Rio? If, you don´t samba...

The tail number on Bond's Concorde is F-BVFA and this was the first Concorde delivered to Air France in 1975. This plane made its scheduled maiden-flight, and the very first commercial passenger flight with Air France, on 21 January 1976. An interesting fact is that the maiden-flight was made from Paris Charles de Gaulle, via Dakar, to Rio. The very same route that Bond is traveling in the film. Air France had two weekly flights from Paris to Rio until 1982.

Welcome to Rio Mr. Bond.
An airplane from Varig, the leading Brazilian airline at the time, is visible in the background
A chauffeur driven Rolls Royce silver shadow picks up Bond at the airport and drives him to his hotel. Apparently the luggage was gone ahead... It becomes apparent that Dr. Goodhead is also flying with Air France to Rio when Bond finds her plane ticket when snooping around her hotel suite in Venice. If the CIA could afford the Concorde for their agent as well as Mi6 is unknown. (Jaws is flying with British airways to Rio as his flight number is called out to be "BA128 to Rio de Janeiro" at the airport when Jaws is walking through the metal detector.)

Sir Roger's Concorde, F-BVFA that was used in the film, made its final flight from Charles de Gaulle to Washington Dulles airport and the Smithsonian Air and Space museum on the 12th of June 2003, where it still can be seen today, retired.  The most beautiful aircraft ever built, and regarded by many as an aviation icon, made its final commercial flight (with British Airways) on 24 October from JFK to Heathrow. It touched down for the very last time on 26 November 2003.

*Concorde was the result of an Anglo-French government cooperation that started in the 60's. Combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and The British Aircraft Cooperation it entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years. It was a supersonic turbojet-powered passenger airliner that flew transatlantic flights in less than half the time of other airliners. Sadly, due to low passenger numbers after the only crash on 25 July 2000, the decrease in air travel after 11 September 2001 and rising maintenance costs, both British Airways and Air France ended their Concorde flights in 2003.*
The Concorde will be greatly missed
From Sweden
with love...

Grattis N!