29 Jul 2016

Squero di San Trovaso boat yard - The Gondola boat chase

During the gondola chase in Moonraker, Bond is quietly "gondoling" down the canals of Venice when he gets interrupted by a couple of assassins, who kill his gondolier Franco. Bond's gondola is however equipped with an engine, which enables him to escape and the boat chase through Venice begins. The entire gondola chase was filmed on several areas in Venice and there are several continuity errors if you know all the locations. Several more or less well-known sights are seen in the background during the chase.

Early on in the chase, Bond passes a boat yard, where gondolas are being made or renovated. This gondola boat yard is called Squero di San Trovaso, and is the oldest in Venice. After passing the boat yard, Bond then continues down Rio de San Trovaso, which ultimately ends up in the Grand Canal, and the two henchmen turn left into Rio del Ognissanti.

The henchmen turn left as Bond continues down Rio de S. Trovaso

In Venice today, there are about 400 active gondolas. This can be compared with the 16th and 17th centuries when there were around 10.000. Gondola construction and repairs are still supplied by a handful of boatyards (called squeri) in Venice and the Venetian Lagoon, and Bond thus passes the oldest. This is not an attraction open for tourists however, so you should enjoy this location from the other side of the canal, the same place where the camera was placed in the film.

The  Squero di San Trovaso boat yard seen briefly in the film was opened in the 17th century and is located in the southern part of Dorsoduro, which is one of the six sestieri (districts) in Venice. This location is actually quite close to both Ca' Rezzonico (the location of Drax's office) and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, where one of the final scenes in From Russia With Love was filmed.

Rio de San Trovaso 

24 Jul 2016

İstanbul Garı - Sirkeci Train Station

After escaping from the Russian consulate through Kerim's secret tunnel, Bond and his entourage come up very close to the Orient Express railway station in Istanbul, "İstanbul Garı".

As Bond, Tania and Kerim cross the street and run into the railway station, a fire truck is passing to give the impression that this place is located very close to the Russian consulate, where the fire is still going on. However, this location is on the other side of town from where the Russian consulate was located, namely in Sirkeci, a quarter located in the Eminönü neighborhood of the Fatih district.

The Terminal is located on the tip of Istanbul's historic peninsula right next to the Golden Horn and just northwest of Gülhane Park and the famous Topkapı Palace. The beautiful station, one of the most beautiful Bond locations in Istanbul, was built in 1890 by the Oriental Railway. Bond and Tania run across the street Ankara Caddesi and enter the station from the west entrance, and thus not the main entrance with faces the north. The kiosk where Kerim's men are waiting was located somewhere along Ankara Caddesi but the area has changed notably since 1963.

The Venice Simplon Orient Express still departs from the Sirkeci station and makes the famous original journey to Paris once a year.

Kerim's secret tunnel leads up to a small shop where his men are waiting. For some reason, the small kiosk apparently sells oranges and lemons (or fresh orange/lemon juice). Through the side door, Bond, Tania and Kerim come out on Ankara Caddesi that runs immediately in front of the Sirkeci station, from where the Orient Express departs. I have covered the station in an earlier post, here.

The kiosk where Bond, Tania and Kerim come out just opposite the railway station

18 Jul 2016

Landing at Gibraltar

The Living Daylights starts off in Gibraltar, where the 00-section has been chosen to participate in a NATO exercise with the S.A.S. Three 00-agents are supposed to infiltrate the radar installations of Gibraltar. At the same time, a Soviet operation is going on called Smiert Spionam, with the objective to kill a 00-agent. The exercise begins with three 00-agents parachuting down on the rock from a Hercules aircraft.

The three agents actually eject their parachutes after passing the north point as they continue down the steep mountain. The city and the harbour, visible to the right of the rock, is located in western Gibraltar. The view over the north point (from the south side) is also seen in the picture below.

One of the three agents is seen steering his parachute down on the east side, landing right above the water catchment, which used to collect rain water that supplied Gibraltar for decades. This large water catchment was dismantled between 2001 and 2006. The slope on which they sat is the "Great Gibraltar Sand Dune", an ancient consolidated sand dune which dominates the east side of the Rock of Gibraltar.

The sand dunes that used to hold the water catchment
The first agent landing on the east side of the rock 
The third agent landing on the west side, facing the city 
There are a few continuity errors in the landing scenes, because all three agents are ejecting their parachutes just above the north point of the rock, only to end up on both the east side and on the west side facing the city.

The north point seen from Spain, above which the three agents eject their parachutes

Gibraltar is a magnificent and surreal experience. This tiny part of the United Kingdom, actually a British Overseas Territory, is enthroned right by the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, and the mighty rock with its two points that rises from the sea watches over both the Mediterranean as well as Africa. The main city, spreading out on the west side is probably more British than London itself with red phone booths and police officers from the Royal Gibraltar Police have British police uniforms. There is no cultural connection to Spain whatsoever, and hence the food in Gibraltar is just as bad as in England. Do not expect to find any Spanish delicacies in the restaurants.

I visited Gibraltar in September, which probably is one of the better months to visit the Rock, since there are less tourists and the climate is much nicer than during the too hot summer months. Avoid June-August for your life. Since you want to do a lot of walking around on the rock and in the city, the temperature should ideally not be above 25-28 degrees.

Gibraltar was captured from Spain in 1704 by an Anglo-Dutch force. The territory was subsequently ceded to Britain "in perpetuity" under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. During World War II it was an important base for the Royal Navy as it controlled the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean. The Straight of Gibraltar is only 13 km wide at this point.

The main city with the marina - The runway to Gibraltar airport seen to the right

8 Jul 2016

Various airlines

In addition to the posts in the travel section on this blog, where some of the airlines from the films are described in more detail, a few other airlines with considerably less screen time (than for instance Pan Am or British Airways) will be covered here briefly.

Royal Air Maroc

In The Living Daylights, two Boeing aircraft, a 727 and a 767 from the Moroccan airline 'Royal Air Maroc' (RAM) are seen in the background at the airport in Tangier. This scene was actually filmed at the airport in Ouarzazate, in the south western part of Morocco and not Tangier. I do not know if RAM had a promotional collaboration with the film production, but it is likely since the two RAM airplanes are featured rather prominently in the film.

Royal Air Maroc - Boeing 727


Air France
A brand new Eurocopter EC 135 (worth £1.6 million at the time) had been flown in from France

When Q delivers the BMW to Bond at the airport in Hamburg, Bond takes it for a test drive in an adjacent hangar. A BAe 146 airplane from Air France Express, belonging to 'CityJet' or 'Jersey European Airways', is seen in the background. CityJet is a regional (Irish) airline that operated on the Paris - London route on behalf of Air France at the time of filming Tomorrow Never Dies. The airline is still in operation today and Air France was its main owner between 2002 and 2014 when it was sold to Intro Aviation. Jersey European Airways, today known as 'Flybe', is the largest independent regional airline in Europe, based in Exeter, that also had a code share agreement with Air France at the time of filming.

The British Aerospace 146 (BAe 146) is a short-haul airliner that was manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace from 1983 until 2002. Another BAe 146 airplane belonging to 'Titan Airways', which receives maintenance work, is also seen behind Bond and Q in the hangar.

An advertising poster for Air France is also visible at the entrance of Hotel Oriental, which is Bond's hotel in Bangkok in The Man With the Golden Gun. The text on the poster is promoting Air France's new airplanes and reads: "Europe and Far East - 5 Super B747's, 2 Boeing 707".

In Dr. No, a small flag with the winged seahorse, which is the logo of Air France, is visible on the reception desk at Bond's hotel in Jamaica, along with a few other props including Air India and Alitalia.

A Concorde from Air France also featured rather prominently in Moonraker as Bond lands in Rio de Janeiro.

                                                       KLM and Scandinavian Airlines 

West Berlin - The KLM office seen in the background

In Octopussy, Bond, posing as Charles Morton, and M are travelling down Kurfürstendamm in West Berlin. The headquarters or a travel agent belonging to KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines - is seen very briefly behind Bond and M through the rear window. This KLM travel agent was located at the intersection of Joachimsthaler Strasse 39-40 and Kurfürstendamm at the time of filming in 1983. Today the Azimut Hotel is housed in that building. 

The KLM logo would also feature in Never Say Never Again, as seen below.

KLM in front of Nicole and Bond - The SAS logotype is seen on the wall to the right

Produced in the same year as Octopussy, the logotype of KLM was visible above a travel desk at Nice airport in Never Say Never Again, where Bond meets with agent 326, after arriving from the Bahamas. In the same scene, a travel desk belonging to SAS - Scandinavian Airlines System - with the old Viking logo on the wall can be seen in the background.

3 Jul 2016

Through Cascais again - Bond in Portugal

Bond's Aston seen to the far left

The small coastal town of Cascais featured in the pre-title sequence of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, covered here earlier, where Bond is seen driving down a coastal road in his Aston Martin DBS. The same curve in Cascais is seen again, very briefly, following the main title sequence, this time with Bond driving in the opposite direction.

Why Bond is seen driving in both directions on this road is unclear. It is possible that the intention was that you would believe that this is another road. However, it is fairly obvious that these scenes were shot in the same location.

Right next to this location is a fortress located, named Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Luz and the citadel of Cascais, which was part of the strategic defence of the coast.

This scene is partly integrated in the beautiful main title sequence and is seen just before Bond arrives at Hotel Palacio in Estoril. The action starts to play through the sand in the hourglass as the clock is counting backwards.

The road that Bond is seen driving down in Cascais is called Avenida Dom Carlos I and is located in the central part of Cascais, easily found along the coast.