7 Feb 2013

North Africa / Villefranche-sur-mer

Domino is brought out to be sold in "North Africa"
The stupid semi-ending of Never say never again takes place at Largo's residence 'Palmyra', supposedly located in North Africa. Bond is kept prisoner and Domino is being sold in some kind of town square below Palmyra. Some Africans are riding in to bid for Domino but she is rescued by Bond on a horse just before the most stupid chase in the Bond history begins.
Villefranche-sur-mer in the summer of 2010
The scenes were filmed in the south of France, namely Villefranche-sur-mer, between Nice and Monaco where the film team was based for about two months in the fall of 1982. The exterior of Palmyra is La Citadelle, a fortress built in the 1550's, just by the water in Villefranche-sur-mer. Today it is a parking lot where the podium was placed in the film. The fortress was in use until 1965 and was partially opened for visits in 1981.
Bond escapes with Domino on horse back
A lot of the scenes filmed in Villefranche have been covered earlier. The exterior of Fort Carré in Antibes was also used as the exterior in a few shots when we see Palmyra for the first time. The location of the horse back chase is hard to determine but it is fairly safe to assume that Connery at least didn't ride up on the Citadel himself.
When Bond escapes from Largo's prison cell he hangs out the window opening and pulls out one of the guards in order to escape through the door. This part of Palmyra can be found just behind the parking lot. It is fairly accurate since Bond looks out the opening and can see Domino from the cell, but in reality the facade is facing the wrong way. In the picture to the left you can see the small window opening and the fact that it isn't any water beneath it. Like most of the action, dialogue and the rest of Never say never again, these final scenes are very stupid and it's a mystery how they could end up with action like this. Not much in the film makes sense and if it would have the honor to be compared with the rest of the official films in the series, it would definitely end up last on the list (even though it is a close call with Diamonds are forever). That said, the film has a few memorable scenes, like the tango between Bond and Domino in Monte Carlo. Connery also appears to be more dedicated here and is definitely better looking than he was in Diamonds 12 years earlier.
Bond hangs out the window opening and waits for the guard to arrive
You get a very brief glimpse of the Citadelle from Largo's yacht when Connery drops in for lunch and the steward brings him up on deck. When looking back towards the Citadel from the water, like in the picture below, you get an overall view of the location.

The wall with the gate was built for the film and it is in reality just an opening towards the water. Even though the scenes from the French riviera are the most enjoyable to watch, the Citadelle is a rather boring location. However it is almost impossible to miss and Villefranche-sur-mer is a classic filming location featured in both The Persuaders and Ronin that is well worth a visit!
La Citadelle (Palmyra) to the right and Port de la Darse (where Fatima Blush gets the last bullet) to the left.  Largos yacht, the flying Saucer is anchored in the bay. 

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