15 Sept 2013

The Persuaders! - Stockholm, Sweden

Wilde arrives in a limousine taxi
Even though Sweden has been well represented in the Bond girl department throughout the series, Sweden itself has not yet featured as a Bond location. However, Stockholm was the destination for Lord Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde in an episode of The Persuaders! 1971. Today, our King Carl XVI Gustaf celebrates 40 years on the Swedish throne, therefore I could not resist to do a special post about one of the few Swedish locations with a Bond connection.

After his huge success with The Saint, Sir Roger Moore starred with Tony Curtis in The Persuaders!. Sir Roger chose to do only one season of The Persuaders! since he suspected that he would get the Bond role when Connery finally stepped down from the official series.
In the episode "The morning after" of The Persuaders!, Lord Brett Sinclair wakes up in his hotel room at Grand Hôtel and realizes that he has acquired a wife the night before. Wilde who has been in Finland on business has received a telegram from Brett, asking him to be the best man. Brett's "new wife", Kristin, is played by Catherine Schell, who of course played Nancy in On Her Majesty's Secret Service a few years earlierso there are several Bond connections to the series.
Grand Hôtel entrance. The National Museum is visible in the background.
Although not being a Bond location in any of the films, Stockholm was the place where Bond killed a Norwegian double agent in the Casino Royale novel in order to receive his double 0 status. Sadly in the film, Craig's second assassination takes place in Prague instead of Stockholm.

"I've got the corpses of a Japanese cipher expert in New York and a Norwegian double agent in Stockholm to thank for being a Double 0."
                                        -Bond to Vesper in Casino Royale, chapter 9 "The game is Baccarat"-
Lord Bret Sinclair is staying at Grand Hôtel in Stockholm, one of the finest hotels in Sweden and the only Swedish hotel that is a member of "Leading Hotels of the World". It is therefore not a surprise that this was the hotel of choice for Lord Sinclair. Wilde arrives and they set out to find the truth about Lord Sinclair's supposedly new wife. Grand Hôtel is located close to the national museum on Blaiseholmen, a peninsula in the Stockholm city centre. Opposite the hotel on the other side of the water is the Royal Palace.  The construction of the hotel started in 1872 and was completed in 1874. Since 1901, all the Nobel Prize laureates with families have been guests at the hotel.
Sweden's last contribution to the Bond series was of course Ola Rapace who played the assassin Patrice in Skyfall and Jens Hultén, another Swedish actor who got into some deep water with Craig in one of the final scenes in Scotland. As one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe, one can only hope that Bond will visit Stockholm in the future. The city was prominently featured in "The girl with the dragon tattoo" starring Craig and hopefully the Bond producers will realize Stockholm's potential as a Bond location.
In the Casino Royale novel, Bond describes his assassination of the Japanese cipher expert and the Norwegian agent when talking to Mathis in chapter 20.
"... It was a pretty sound job. Nice and clean too. Three hundred yards away. No personal contact. The next time in Stockholm wasn't so pretty. I had to kill a Norwegian who was doubling against us for the Germans. He'd managed to get two of our men captured - probably bumped off for all I know. For various reasons it had to be an absolutely silent job. I chose the bedroom of his flat and a knife. And, well, he just didn't die very quickly. For those two jobs I was awarded a Double 0 number in the Service. Felt pretty clever and got a reputation for being good and tough. A double 0 number in our Service means you've had to kill a chap in cold blood in the course of some job.
-Bond to Mathis, chapter 20, "The nature of evil"-

The parallel with Bond's two killings in the pre-title sequence of Casino Royale is obvious, even though the story has been changed slightly.

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