26 Jul 2015

The Russian Consulate / Şişli Mosque - Part 2

Quite a few scenes in From Russia With Love takes place in and around the Russian consulate in Istanbul. After killing the Bulgar who works for the Russians tailing Bond in Istanbul, Donald Grant parks the Citroën with the dead man outside of the Russian consulate on Klebb's orders, to cast suspicions on the British. The Russian entrance guard gets suspicious of Grant and walks up to the car, only to find the Bulgar dead.

The consulate is located along Halaskargazi Caddesi in the Şişli disctrict of Istanbul and in a few scenes you see a mosque visible in the far background. This mosque is called Şişli Merkez Cami and is located located in Şişli Square between the Büyükdere Avenue and the streets Halaskargazi and Abide-i Hürriyet. As seen from the above picture, a BP petrol station was located right opposite the consulate in 1963. This petrol station is gone.

The mosque is also visible when Bond arrives at the consulate in a taxi, and when Romanova leaves the consulate with her colleagues earlier in the film. Needless to say, the city has changed around the mosque, but the location is still recognizable and well-wort visiting. The fact that all the scenes outside the consulate and the actual consulate building are situated in the same place, and that they are still recognizable, makes it an exquisite location.

The Şişli mosque was the first mosque built Şişli Square during the Republican era in Turkey, after 1923. It was constructed between 1945 and 1950, due to the fact that the Şişli district was lacking a mosque at the time. It had thus only been open for about ten years at the time of filming of From Russia With Love. It is designed in the classical Ottoman architectural style.

After Grant parks the Citroën, he jumps into a taxi where Klebb is waiting, and they drive off along Halaskargazi Caddesi. During their taxi ride, another mosque is very briefly seen, covered here. This mosque is, however, located in another part of Istanbul, in the Beşiktaş disctrict by the Bosporus. Despite the vast change in the city of Istanbul, a few houses seen when Grant gets into the taxi can still be recognized on location today, for instance the beige building in the second picture below.

The entrance to the consulate garden is seen to the right.

19 Jul 2015

The Russian Consulate in Istanbul - Part 1

In From Russia With Love 1963, Bond is sent to Istanbul to meet with Tatiana Romanova in order to try to obtain the Lector decoder from the Russians. He does not know that Romanova is working under orders of Colonel Klebb. Romanova is working at the Russian Consulate in Istanbul where she, unknowingly, is recruited to SPECTRE by Klebb.

The entrance gates to the garden of the Russian Consulate is seen very early in the film when Romanova and her colleagues leave for the day and later when Grant parks the Citroën with the dead Bulgar outside the entrance gate, observed by the Russian guard.

From Russia With Love was filmed during the spring and summer of 1963, mainly on location in Istanbul. Here, in the Şişli district, you can find the entrance gate and the building used as the consulate in the film.

The "Russian consulate" can be found along Halaskargazi Caddesi, and the entrance gate has the number 161. The building is located at a very large property surrounded by big garden. This is the only villa along Halaskargazi Caddesi.
If you walk to the back of the house (to street that runs along the back of the property) and you take the first small street to the right of the building, you are walking down the street 'T.M. Ali Bey'. A funny fact coincidence considering the name of Bond's ally in the film, Ali Kerim Bey.

The entrance gate and fence surround a large building, also briefly seen later in the film. The villa and the neighborhood will be covered in more detail later. This is definitely one of the best Bond locations in Istanbul and well worth a visit.

The fact that the location has not changed notably since 1963 and the fact that you can walk around this location undisturbed, since this location is unknown and of no interest to the common tourist, makes it even more memorable. A taxi from the city centre (for instance Hagia Sophia) should cost less than 25-30 Lira.

11 Jul 2015

Via Veneto, Rome

I know that this post is rather far-fetched, but I think that there are enough Bond connections to Via Veneto in Rome in order for it to qualify as some kind of a Bond location. When Bond and Tracy are talking about getting married and settling down in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Tracy suggests Via Veneto in Rome. The street was made famous in the film La Dolce Vita in the early 1960's, by our Swedish actress Anita Ekberg, who of course also "played a part" in From Russia with love. 

Anita Ekberg was a frequent guest at the famous cafés and restaurants at Via Veneto and was immortalized in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita when bathing in the Trevi fountain. To Bond fans she is known from From Russia With Love, where she featured on the large movie poster for another film produced by Broccoli and Saltzman, namely "Call me Bwana".

Via Veneto became extremely popular in the 1950's and 60's when the European jet-set frequented the restaurants and cafes here. Even though the jet-set today is gone, it remains popular by tourists and it is definitely one of the more beautiful streets in Rome. However, today it would probably be regarded as somewhat tacky, and it is probably not an address that would have been favoured by Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo today. However, it remains one of the most elegant and expensive streets in Rome.

"-Mr and Mrs James Bond.
              -Of Acacia Avenue, Tunbridge Wells.
-Hmm, how about Belgrave Square?
             -Or the Via Veneto, Rome. 

-Paris, convenient for Le Touquet.
             -Monaco, handy for the Raniers. 
-I wonder how much they're asking for this place..."

Some of Rome's most renowned cafés and five star hotels, like Café de Paris, Harry's Bar, Regina Hotel Baglioni are located along Via Veneto. A walk along Via Veneto is highly recommended as well as a lunch or evening cocktail in one of the luxury hotels.

5 Jul 2015

Connery in Istanbul - Dolmabahçe Mosque

After picking up Donald Grant outside the Russian Consulate Klebb and Grant drive off in a taxi. During the ride through Istanbul one particular building is briefly visible. The same building does not feature anymore in the film but a few photos show that both Connery and Armendariz actually visited this location when filming one of the scenes that were deleted from the finished film, which were shot nearby this location. The building turns out to be one of Istanbul's many mosques.

The mosque visible behind Grant and Klebb in the taxi is the Dolmabahçe Mosque, located just by the Bosporus along the road 'Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi'. The mosque can be found in the Beşiktaş district, approximately 15 minutes by taxi from the Galata bridge. Immediately after passing the mosque, the taxi with Grant and Klebb takes off to the left on what appears to be the street 'İnebolu Sokak'.

"The cold war in Istanbul will not remain cold very much longer..."

However, it would probably not be worth the trouble to find this location if it wasn't for the picture below, namely the photograph with Sean Connery, taken during filming. In this picture Connery is standing on the street 'Dolmabahçe Gazhane Caddesi' with the mosque visible in the background. The reason for Connery's visit to this location was for the shooting of a scene that, sadly, was deleted from the finished film.

The mosque is located right next to the Dolmabahçe Palace, which was the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, and which certainly is a much more visited tourist attraction in Istanbul than the Dolmabahçe mosque. The easiest way to get here is probably to take a taxi to the Dolmabahçe Palace, but it is also possible to take one of the Bosporus ferries to the Kabataş station. From there it is just a short walk to the south.

The deleted scene that was shot here on location features Bond, Kerim and the Bulgar who is tailing Bond earlier in the film. Apparently, Bond is on his way to meet with Romanova and is trying to loose the mysterious Bulgarian pursuer. Bond hops into a taxi and takes control of the taxi's brakes, causing the Bulgar to run into the back of the taxi. A third car joins the pile-up and the driver of the third car turns out to be Kerim. As Bond makes good his escape in the Rolls Royce, Kerim simply says to the Bulgar: "My friend, this is life". This was supposedly a brilliant scene that Terence Young shot several times in order to get the long ash on Kerim's cigarette that Pedro Armendáriz insisted on. However, during a screening it was discovered that the Bulgar in this scene had actually been killed by Grant in the St Sophia earlier. Therefore, this scene was cut and to my knowledge only a few stills survived, such as the picture below. The fact that the Bulgar's Citroën appears to have crashed into Kerim's Ford in front of it, contradicts the story that Bond was in a taxi.

The Citroën and what appears to be Kerim's Ford is visible next to Connery.

"My friend, this is life."