11 Jan 2017

Tangier - Morocco

For celebrating the last days of 2016 and the new years eve, my last trip took me to Tangier, a two-time Bond location. In The Living Daylights, Bond travels to Tangier in pursuit of General Koskov who is hiding in the villa belonging to his accomplice, Brad Whitaker. An establishing panoramic shot over the city is seen twice in the film. The first establishing shot is filmed from the rooftops of a house by the old Kasbah, and pictures the city and a small par of the beach. The Kasbah is the ancient fortifications that were once in charge of the city’s defenses, and is one of the oldest parts of the city. A small part of the beach and the beach road is visible to the far left in the top picture.

In order to get this view, you can for instance visit the restaurant located right next to the entrance gate to the Kasbah named Bab el-Assa. This restaurant (picture below) has a nice balcony with a stunning view over the city. Why don't you stop here for a cup of medium sweet tea. The hotel Dar Chams Tanja has the same view from its rooftop and is located next to the restaurant. This building was also seen in Spectre.

For the next establishing shot in The Living Daylights, the filmmakers pictured the minaret that sits in the roof of the Kasbah Mosque. This scene was filmed from the same roof where Dalton later comes up after "killing" Pushkin at the trade conference.

In the far background, close to the harbour, a few characteristic houses with arched roofs are visible. These warehouses can still be found down at the harbour today as seen in the picture to the left. This roof offers a stunning view over the city of Tangier. The best way of getting up to the roof is asking one of the many "voluntary guides" that are walking around the Kasbah trying to guide you for money. They probably know someone who lives in the house or can take to someone who does.

Tangier in January 2017

The view over Tangier is magnificent and it is not hard to understand that two establishing shots, and the scene with Bond running over the rooftops, were included in The Living Daylights. You can get similar panoramic views over Tangier from several other places in the Kasbah.

7 Jan 2017

Bond in Rome - The Colosseum

For the first time in the Bond series, Bond visits Rome in Spectre. Urged by M in a video filmed before her death, Bond is attending the funeral of Spectre agent Sciarra in Rome, who Bond himself has killed in Mexico.

In the first scene, Bond is seen driving his Aston Martin DB10 down the road called Via di San Gregorio, that leads up to the Colosseum. This wide road is a popular parking for tourist buses since the Colosseum is only a few hundred meters away.

As the road turns to the right onto Via Celio Vibenna, the Colosseum is visible in the background as well as the Arch of Constantine, Arco di Costantino, which is located to the left of the Colosseum. The Arch of Constantine is the largest Roman triumphal arch. Bond is on the way to the funeral which in fact was filmed in the EUR district outside of Rome, covered here earlier, so Bond would actually not need to drive past the Colosseum in order to get to the funeral. But we are obviously supposed to think that the chapel and graveyard is located somewhere in central Rome.

In the film, the Colosseum is seen from the "back", probably because it is not possible to drive past the front side with a car.

Sadly, not much more of central Rome is seen during the day in Spectre. Bond later follows Sciarra's wife Lucia to her home located outside of Rome, before driving to the Spectre meeting, which of course was filmed at Blenheim Palace in England. Colosseum is, probably, the most famous tourist attraction in Rome and hard to miss when visiting the city. However, as a Bond location it is not the most exciting one in Rome. The front side of the Colosseum is also more preserved than the side seen in the film. 

18 Dec 2016

Play it again Sam... The Venice clock tower

In Moonraker when Bond goes to Venice to investigate Hugo Drax. After discovering the secret laboratory, Bond is chased through the glass museum and into a warehouse by Drax's henchman Chang. The fight ends behind a large clock that is supposed to sit on the building that houses the warehouse.

The clock however, is located right on the north side of St Marc's Square, at the entrance to the Merceria, which is the main street of the city. The clock sits on an early renaissance building that dates from the last decade of the 15th century. On a terrace at the very top of the tower are two great bronze figures, which strike the hours on a bell. These figures are also seen in Moonraker in the very first scene in Venice.

Bond fighting Chang behind the big clock
Through the lower two floors of the tower runs a monumental archway into the Merceria, which linked the political and religious centre at St Marc's square (the Piazza di San Marco) with the commercial and financial centre (the Rialto). In the film, a band is playing below the clock and a tenor is singing an aria during Bond's fight with Chang. 

The aria is "Vesti la giubba", the famous tenor aria from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci from 1892. "Vesti la giubba" is sung at the conclusion of the first act.

The archway however, is one of the busiest pedestrian passageways to St Marc's square and putting a stage in front of it would be highly unlikely. 

During the fight, Bond throws Chang through the clock, thus destroying one of the famous landmarks in Venice. Chang ends up in the piano on the stage in front of the archway, causing Bond to utter the famous line that actually never was in Casablanca.

"Play it again Sam..."

The clock appears much larger and higher up in the film, and it is questionable whether a fall from the real clock actually would kill you.

24 Nov 2016

Bond in Las Vegas - The Strip

The Union 76 gas station is now a Circle K

In Diamonds are Forever, Bond rents a car in Las Vegas and waits for Tiffany Case to meet him with the diamonds. Bond is waiting at the Hertz' car rental agency which is located along the famous Strip in Las Vegas. This location is possible to identify thanks to a few signs seen in the background as Felix Leiter's car arrives. The sausage shaped "Holiday sign" can still be found on location, today with the wording "Fun City".

A large sign that says Bagdad Inn can also be seen in the background as Felix arrives. Bagdad Inn was a motel dating from the 1950's that was located on 2211 South Las Vegas Blvd. That motel is now called Holiday House, seen in the picture to the left. However, it is the buildings and the chapel next to Bagdad Inn that can be seen in the film. Those are the green buildings with yellow and red doors across the street. Next to the green buildings is a small chapel located, called Chapel of the Bells.

In the film, the Hertz car rental agency was located next to a Union 76 gas station. That gas station can still be found at this location, although it has changed name to Circle K.  

The Union 76 gas station has changed name to Circle K

This location is very close to one of the landmark buildings in Las Vegas, the Stratosphere. The parking lot where Bond is waiting can be found on 2310 South Las Vegas Boulevard next to the Circle K gas station. Whether Hertz actually has an office at this location is unknown.

17 Nov 2016

Back to the Jewelry store - Joalharia Ferreira Marques

Before the marriage with Tracy, Bond drives back to the jewelry store in Lisbon, where he and Tracy earlier have spotted the ring that Tracy will receive as her wedding ring at the ceremony. The jewelry store is known as Joalharia Ferreira Marques, founded in 1926.

Bond is driving down on Rua Áurea and is arriving on Praça Dom Pedro IV where the shop is located. A taxi is seen in the background. The light green and black Lisbon taxis still have the same color scheme today. The shop is located in the Rossio district in central Lisbon, namely on Praça Dom Pedro IV,  No. 7-9. It is easy to find and a must visit when in Lisbon.

This shop has remained unchanged but the location has changed a little. The street in front of the shop where Bond parks his car has been converted to a pedestrian zone and is no longer possible to drive down. However, you can still park in the big square in front of the shop.

16 Oct 2016

From Russia With Love end Credits - St Marc's Square

In the last scene in From Russia With Love Bond and Tania are leaving Venice in a taxi boat after disposing of Rosa Klebb in Bond's hotel suite. Before the end credits, they are traveling down Rio de Palazzo under the famous Bridge of sighs, after which the boat taxi turns right and goes past the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), located right by St Marc's Square.

Bond and Tania sail away towards the horizon as the end credits are rolling, projected on the perhaps most famous view over Venice, the St Marc's Square and the landmark clock tower, called Campanile di San Marco. To get the same view as in the film, you can take a widely boat taxi like Bond (€60 for a trip) or just hop on the regular waterbus called Vaporetto which is much cheaper. There are several Vaporetto lines that run past St Marc's Square where you get the nice view over this very heart of Venice.

The Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) is located to the right
To the right is the large white palace that once was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice. It opened as a museum in 1923. The Doge's Palace or Palazzo Ducale was built in the 14th century although several reconstructions have taken place since then.

The Doge's Palace is one of the more notable landmarks in Venice, together with the Bridge of sighs and the clock tower seen in the background, St Marc's Campanile.

As the boat with Bond and Tania is turning right, the bridge crossing Rio de Palazzo o de Canonica is visible in the background. The Bridge of sighs that they have sailed under a few moments earlier, is also briefly seen in the background between Bond and Tania as Bond is about to show Tania what is on that roll of film.

                           "-He was right you know!
                                            -What is it?

                            -I'll show you..."

As Bond waves goodbye, the Palazzo Ducale is seen in the background
As Bond and Tania are disappearing in the distance, one other notable location is seen at St Marc's square, namely the big round clock (on the white building in the middle) that would also feature in Moonraker 16 years later. That location will be covered soon.