23 May 2017

Sir Roger Moore, KBE, has passed away

14 October 1927 - 23 May 2017 
Today we received the tragic news about the passing of the last gentleman. Sir Roger has died, leaving all of us with a heavy heart.

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


Sir Roger became a star in the early 60's 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 may 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 over the mantle from Sean Connery after his return to the role following 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. Despite considering himself as a highly overpaid 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, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, becoming a Knight in 2003.


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 - 




16 May 2017

Draco's estate - Herdado do Zambujal

On Her Majesty's Secret Service was filmed mainly in Portugal and Switzerland with a few of the very key sequences filmed in and around an estate called Herdado do Zambujal, a two hour drive outside of Lisbon. It is here that Bond and Tracy fall in love and ultimately celebrate their wedding at the end of the film.


The house is only seen briefly in the beginning of the film as Tracy arrives to Draco's birthday party. However, the exterior features more prominently during the wedding scenes. The wedding reception and the following party take place in front of Draco's house on the courtyard.




As Bond and Tracy drive away, Miss Moneypenny cries by the fountain in front of the house. She is however soon interrupted by M and Q.


"Ah, 007 never had any respect for government property!"




Several scenes, including Draco's birthday at the bull ring was filmed on and around this magnificent estate and much more will be covered from this classic and stunning location, given time. 




7 May 2017

Slumber Inc.


The exterior of the Slumber Inc. funeral parlor in Las Vegas, seen in Diamonds are Forever, was filmed at the Palm Henderson Mortuary and Cemetery in Henderson just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Palm Henderson is located only a short drive outside of the city and while on location, even the interior of the chapel is well worth a visit since it is very similar to the interior of the chapel seen in the film.

The chapel from Palm Henderson in 2016

It is hard to tell whether the interior shots of the chapel were filmed on a studio set since the chapel from the film looks very much like the real chapel found on location today. It is obvious that Ken Adam, the production designer, was inspired by the real chapel from his visit on location.


In the film, the body of Peter Franks is cremated in the chapel and Bond delivers the diamonds to a private niche in the garden of remembrance (actually filmed at another cemetery). Ultimately, Bond himself ends up in a coffin after being struck down by Wint and Kidd, ready to be cremated. In the last second he is pulled out by Mr Slumber and Shady Tree when they have discovered that the diamonds are phonies.


Palm Henderson Mortuary & Cemetery is located on 800 South Boulder Highway in Henderson.


"Now don't tell me. You're St Peter?"


30 Apr 2017

Noble House: Tin Hau Temple - Repulse Bay


In the brilliant mini series Noble House from 1988, covered earlier on this blog, Pierce Brosnan plays Ian Struan Dunross, the Tai Pan of one of the largest shipping companies in Hong Kong. When the Tai Pan finds himself in financial difficulties, he contacts the opium smuggler Four-finger Wu to ask him for a loan. They meet secretly at what appears to be an old Chinese temple on an island outside of Hong Kong. Four-finger arrives on a boat from his home in Aberdeen.

The Tai Pan meets with Four-finger Wu at the temple

The location however, can be found in Repulse Bay on the south side of Hong Kong Island. The temple is called Tin Hau Temple and even though you get the impression that the temple is located far from the city, you can find it right next to the beach in Repulse Bay. Today, there are condos and a large mall built right behind the temple.


The location however, is still very recognisable today although the fish seen to the left has been painted yellow. During our visit people desperately threw coins into the mouth of the fish, trying to get them to stay there (supposedly for good luck).




Repulse Bay is just a short bus ride from the Central district. The bay is spectacularly located framed by the mountains overgrown with high end condominiums and town houses. The symbolic for having the Tai Pan meeting Four-finger Wu at this location probably has to do with the history of Repulse Bay being an old pirate refuge, later "repulsed" by the British, hence its name.



The temple is named after one of Hong Kong's beloved gods, Tin Hau. Tin Hau is the Goddess of the Sea, overseeing and protecting fishermen and a large statue of Tin Hau can be found here.


Also seen in the film is an inscription on a stone plate, stating:

"Each time you cross this bridge your life will be prolonged 3 days"


This stone plate is placed on a bridge next to the temple, and can still be found on location today, on the same bridge. This is the Longevity Bridge which you must cross to add three days to your life.





27 Apr 2017

St Mark's Square, Venini and Piazzetta dei leoncini in Moonraker

Bond standing by St Mark's Square entering the smaller Piazzetta dei Leoncini 


In Moonraker, Bond, in the guise of Roger Moore, walks across St Marc's square on his way to Venini Glass, following a lead from California. A marble lion statue is seen to the right of Bond as he looks at his photos in front of Venini Glass. Venini is located by a small square called Piazzetta dei Leoncini, right next to St Mark's square.

Small steps leads up to Piazzetta dei Leoncini and Venini Glass

Piazzetta dei Leoncini is located on the north side of the St Mark's Basilica, immediately east of St Mark's square. 


On the morning after, Bond has called in M and the minister of Defense and alerted the local police about of Drax's secret laboratory. The police has sealed off the Piazzetta dei leoncini as Bond arrives with the two superiors. Just like in the film, the Venini Glass shop is located right by the square.




Earlier in the film, Bond drives across St Mark's square for another jolt, this time in his gondola-turned-hovercraft, one of the most stupid scenes in the Bond series.