28 Sept 2011

Ministry of Defence - London, England

First Sea Lord and vice admiral sir.
In For your eyes only the First Sea Lord and vice admiral informs the Minister of Defence, Frederick Gray,  about the loss of their spy ship S:t Georges, in the Ionian sea. As an establishing shot the real Ministry of Defence was used. The headquarters, known as 'main building' are in Whitehall, on Horse guards avenue behind the old war office building in London.
Besides the fact that the facade has been given a good clean since 1981, the rest looks the same. It was originally built between 1938 and 1959.
The main thing different of course is the 'London Eye' visible to the left nowadays. This ferris wheel, once the tallest in the world, was erected in 1999 and is (unlike the ministry of defence) the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK. 
The minister's office is located behind the 9th and 10th window from the left on the 6th floor. Due to increased security it's no longer possible to park outside the Ministry and quite often you can see heavily armed police officers near the Ministry and Whitehall.
The same metal sign can be found on both sides of the entrance. The building itself is enormuos, and the best view point you get from 'London Eye'. The opposite (south) side of the building looks similar with the metal signs and same entrance, but it was the north side that was used in the film.

The northern entrance in Horse Guards Avenue is flanked by two monumental statues, Earth and Water, by Charles Wheeler.*

*information from wikipedia*

24 Sept 2011

Albanian warehouse / Old fortress, Corfu - part 1

In For your eyes only Columbo takes Bond to Albania in order to find Kritstatos' warehouse. In these scenes Corfu doubled for Albania and the warehouse/Mercedes car chase was filmed at the 'old fortress' that takes up the small island at the east end of Corfu town. 
The north side of the old fortress
Built by the Venetians in the 15th century to protect the town from enemies and pirates, the old fortress is still one of the most impressive fortification works in Europe. The building that's suppose to be the Albanian warehouse is actually a harbour house and part of a restaurant. The bar parasol visible to the left is a perfect place for a glass of ouzo out of the sun. 
The south side
This location actually served as the background for many sequences in the film. The first glimpse we get at the beginning of the film when Gonzales flies Melina over the old fortress and Corfu town, towards her parents. The entrance to the fortress is available through the pathway seen to the very left. This was built by the British in 1819 and leads to Spianada, the famous square of Corfu town. Here you can still see various teams play cricket, a very popular sport on the island, introduced by the British. 

The car/foot chase and the dramatic ending with Loque's Mercedes on the cliff will be covered at a later date.

James Bond locations will return

17 Sept 2011

Monte Carlo, Monaco - part 1

It appears we share the same passions...
"A very, thorough investigation..."
Few places are so associated with James Bond as Monaco and Casino de Monte Carlo. Although it was not until 1983 and the unofficial Bond film with Connery, Never say never again that Bond went to Monaco for the first time. The principality would later play a part in the beginning of Goldeneye, when Brosnan wore his black tie for the first time. This post will focus on GoldenEye and leave the Connery locations for another time. 
One of the best view points you will probably find at the Vista Palace Hotel on the Route de la Turbie/Avenue Agerbol. The road is very busy and it's not possible to stop at the real view point, but park your car and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the world. The car chase between Bond and Xenia actually took place on the roads above Nice in les Alpes Maritimes and Brosnan is not actually stopping at this view point in the film.
My favourite location in the world, and definitely one of the most luxurious places on earth. This legendary casino opened in 1863 and since then it has been a symbol of luxury and elegance. Bond meets Xenia for a game of Baccarat in the salon privée, even though that scene was shon in studio. But the scene where Brosnan is walking thru the casino was shot on location. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited inside the casino.  
View from the veranda of the restaurant Le Louis XV by Alain Ducasse

A drink in the Bar Americain at Hotel de Paris is definitely recommended. You can't find a bar with better service and the Hotel is truly one of the best in the world. You also avoid the tourists at Café de Paris, opposite the hotel. If you want to spend money on dinner, the restaurant Le Louis XV has 3 stars in the Michelin guide and a wine cellar with 400 000 bottles. If you're lucky enough to get a table at the veranda you can enjoy the amazing view and watch Aston Martins, Rolls Royce and Ferraris pass the Casino all night. This is also the hotel that Danny Wilde and Lord Brett Sinclair checked in at in the first episode of The Persuaders from the 70's, starring Sir Roger Moore and Tony Curtis.

The casino is located on Place du Casino and when driving to Monte Carlo you should arrive from the Grand Corniche on to the Boulevard du Jardin Exotique. After driving on the Boulevard Princesse Charlotte and on to Avenue Saint Michel you should turn right, down to the Casino in order to arrive the same way as Brosnan. Unfortunately, the valet parking isn't for everyone so don't be disappointed if Pierre is not there to take your car...

 James Bond locations in Monaco will return

11 Sept 2011

Grand Hotel Europe / The Langham, London

In GoldenEye the filmmakers made it easy for themselves and many locations in London doubled for Russia. In S:t Petersburg, Bond is staying at 'The Grand Hotel Europe'. For the establishing shot the filmmakers used the exterior of The Langham hotel in London, Europe's first 'Grand hotel'.

The Langham, London opened in 1865 and launched a new era in British hotel keeping. It was then the largest and most modern hotel in London, featuring water closets, bathrooms and the first hydraulic lifts in England. The five star hotel is famed as the place where the tradition of afternoon tea was born. Afternoon tea has been served here since the opening and in Palm Court you can still enjoy it today. In the evening you can choose a drink from the bar, or a glass of fizz from their extensive Champagne list, served in a striking bespoke coupe glass. The service is exeptional and a visit to the Palm Court is highly recommendable. 

The Russian and American flags have been replaced with the hotel's own flag and the EU.
The Langham is located on 1C Portland Place, Regent street, London. Even though the interior scenes with Brosnan was shot in studio it is definitely worth a visit when in London.

8 Sept 2011

Dryden´s office / Danube house - Prague, Czech Republic

Your file shows no kills...
Casino Royale was mainly set in Prague and Karlovy vary, two towns in the Czech Republic. Various locations in these two towns doubled for places in London, Montenegro and Miami. Dryden's office is the only building that is supposed to be located in the Czech Republic and was seen in the pre title sequence. Bond has to kill two people in order to receive his 00-status. Dryden, the section chief of Mi6 in Prague, is the second...

Where there's smoke coming out in the film, is actually a water fountain.
The scene was filmed at Danube house on Karolinská 650/1, the Karlín district in Prague 8, overlooking the Vltava river. Unless you're ready to drive over a small grass field, it is not possible to drive your car up to the entrance like Dryden did in the film. But the most fascinating thing about this location is not the exterior. It is the fact that the elevator scene and the interior shots also were filmed inside the actual building. This makes it a definitive must see for Bond fans scouting Prague. The main entrance hall has an information desk with staff and is open to the public but the elevator and the rest of the building is off limits unless you have access with a pass key. This is a problem you need to solve on your own. It is however possible to infiltrate when a big crowd is going in or out.

Third floor where Dryden is walking down.

The building itself has nine floors, and Dryden's office is located on the sixth floor. This is actually a mistake made in the film because Dryden is not walking down the corridor on the sixth but on the third floor. The view outside the window shows it. Another blooper is the fact that Dryden is walking towards the elevator rather than away from it. If you know the building you can see the elevator shaft to the right in front of Dryden.
Even the floor number seen in the elevator is filmed on location. You recognize the number 6 and the speaker next to it. Dryden is looking up at the number when going up to his office.

Another interesting fact can be found in the teaser trailer. A very short scene that was cut and didn't make it to the finished film shows Dryden walking through the entrance hall, also shot in the same building. Notice the information desk on the left and the canteen to the right of it. In the teaser you get a feeling that Dryden is walking outside, but it's actually set indoors.

4 Sept 2011

Gonzales' villa / Villa Sylva

    License to kill... Or be killed. Take him away..!

In For your eyes only the cast and crew traveled to Corfu, the Greek island close to Albania in the northwest of Greece. Several sites in Corfu doubled for locations in both Spain and Albania. The appropriate follow up to Danila village is the villa where Bond tries to find the Cuban hit man who killed the Havelocks. Bond tracks down Hector Gonzales "outside Madrid".
Gonzales and his guards are relaxing by the pool.
This scen was actually filmed at Villa Sylva in the east of Corfu close to Kanoni. Up the hill from Mouse island you pass Corfu Palace Hotel, where the casino is found today, and immediately past the hotel on your right there is a metal fence with a name plate in stone: Villa Sylva. Well hidden behind bushes and trees lies the 5 acres private residence that was used as the hideout for Gonzales where Melina later gets her revenge.
The villa is private and not accesible for the public, which makes it one of the most hard to visit Bond locations. If you do want a glimpse of this classic pool area you have to infiltrate it just like Bond. The best way is from the south side, the same way Moore took in the film. If you park your car at the Hotel parking lot you can gain access to a small road surrounding the villa through some bushes and over a small ditch. The guard that keeps an eye out for unwanted visitors in the film is actually guarding this road. From here you can take the steps up to the pool area or climb the 4 m high wall and take a look into the garden. Fortunately there are no armed guards in the bushes anymore. 
The pool has been remade and the springboard has been moved to the opposite side of the pool so it´s no longer possible to put an arrow in someone's back. Also a big pool house has been built since 1981. But despite the changes the pool still has salt water and the fact that you have to use the same way as Bond to get into the garden makes it even more interesting.

These steps leads the outpost where Gonzales' guard gets distracted by one of the girls.
In the garden you can find lime trees and on the sea side of the property there are steps that leads all the way down to the private beach area. This is a classic location that also is avaliable for rent. Prices between $24,500/week during low season and $45,000/week during high season.

Danila Village / S:t Cyrils Greece

That´s putting it mildly 007!

In For your eyes only Bond travels to greece and the beautifu island of Corfu to find the ATAC transmitter from the sunken British spy ship. In the village of S:t Cyrils, Bond meets Q in the town church to get some information. It also happens to be a wedding in the village at the time.
The greek wedding scene in S:t Cyrils where Bond meets Q
This scene was filmed at Danila village, in Corfu.  It´s not a real village but was built as an open air museum mainly for tourists. This amazing site has been almost untouched and is truely a rare location. Due to financial problems it has been closed for many years and is not accessible for the public, unless you are prepared to climb some fences. If you do, you can truly explore the small village in peace without any disturbing tourists and with not another human being in sight.

It is in front of this church that Michael G Wilson makes a cameo as the wedding priest

The financial problems in Greece are obvious and all the houses in Danila are in bad condition. Sadly it feels like the place is slowly falling apart. But it´s still a unique location since it has been mainly untouched since 1981. 

The still very recognizable town square

Danila village is situated a few kilometers inland from the town Gouvia, north from Corfu town. If you drive along the road you will find the place thanks to another For your eyes only location, the entrance gate to Gonzalez´s countryside villa. These gates actually surrounds Danila village and it was in front of them we saw Bond drive his Lotus when passing Loque´s Mercedes.

The site has been altered by nature for the past 30 years and the gate is in bad condition but still very recognizable. Loque´s Mercedes are driving thru these gates and the two black Peugeots are driving out to chase Bond and Melina.