29 May 2016

Drax's Venice Laboratory - Ca' Rezzonico

In Moonraker, Drax has set up a laboratory in Venice where the gas globes are being manufactured. Bond breaks in during the night and steals a sample of the gas. The morning after, Bond has alerted the local police and called in both M and the minister of defence but as they walk into the laboratory, Drax has had everything removed.

The laboratory has been removed during the night and Drax has instead fitted an office in the grand hall, leaving Bond and his company quite stunned.

Drax office was filmed in a palazzo in Venice called Ca' Rezzonico. Ca' Rezzonico opened as a public museum in 1936 and today it is one of the finest museums in Venice dedicated to 18th century Venice. Drax's office was created on the second floor in the museum in the grand ballroom. The palazzo is located on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro district.

"Frederick Grey! And in distinguished company all wearing gas masks. You must excuse me gentlemen not being English I sometimes find your sense of humor rather difficult to follow..."
                                            - Drax - 

Bond, M and the minister are walking into Drax's office from the little door down in corner (seen to the upper left as you enter the ballroom from the stairs). The chairs visible behind M can still be found on location, as well as some of the black statues and vases seen around the ballroom.

The Minister apologises to Drax before the company leave and in the next scene they are seen walking down a street in Venice next by the Teatro Fenice, covered earlier. Bond and M are yelled at by the Minister who orders M to take Bond off the assignment.

Bond looks around the room amazed

"On behalf of the British government, I apologise."
                    - The minister to Drax - 

The two grandiose chandeliers in gilded wood and metal with floral motifs were part of the original furnishings of the palazzo.

The Minister tells Bond that he has been playing bridge with Drax in the past and therefore does not want to embarrass himself. This is a reference to the literary Bond. In the Moonraker novel, Bond meets with Drax at the Blades club in London, where Drax regularly plays bridge and cheats during the game.

In 1935, after being in private ownership for several hundred years, Ca' Rezzonico was acquired by the City Council of Venice, after lengthy negotiations, to display the vast collections of 18th-century Venetian art. Ca' Rezzonico opened as a public museum on 25 April 1936. Today, it is one of the finest museums in Venice.

23 May 2016

La Clinica Alvarez - part three

In Die Another Day, Bond infiltrates the Alvarez clinic on the Island of Los Organos in Cuba. Bond finds Zao inside the clinic but he escapes through Dr. Alvarez's office window just before Jinx's telephone bomb explodes and blocks the window for Bond to get after him.

La Clinica Alvarez was constructed at the old fort Castillo de San Sebastián which is located in Cádiz, in the most western part of Spain. "Alvarez's office" is located in the most north western corner of the fortress. This appeared to be an empty part of the fortress during the renovation in 2014.

The window is supposedly located in Dr. Alvarez' office although the interior naturally was shot in studio created by production designer Peter Lamont. In 2014 the fortress was undergoing some kind of large renovation with a few of the buildings closed or not in use. The big cannons located on the wall where jinx later dives into the water had been removed and the entire fortress is hopelessly changed and has been given a brush-up since 2002 and the filming of Die Another Day.

As Zao jumps out the window he lands on the courtyard and runs for the helicopter where, for some reason, his men are waiting. On the rooftops above Dr. Alvarez office, seen in the picture below, is the location where Jinx ultimately dives into the water in order to escape the Cuban guards.

The Castillo de San Sebastian is the least interesting location in the city of Cádiz, where all the Cuban scenes were filmed. Cádiz is however, a wonderful city and definitely a must visit for any Bond aficionado. 

18 May 2016

Ponte 25 de Abril - Lisbon

In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond is holidaying on the Portuguese riviera, in Estoril. As Bond is abducted by Dracos men at the Hotel Palacio and taken to Draco, Draco's Rolls Royce is seen driving across the famous Ponte 25 de Abril (25 April Bridge) just outside of Lisbon. The action is likely supposed to be set on the French Riviera, but all action was shot on location in Portugal. Not much is made to get the audience to believe that you are in France.

Ponte 25 de abril with the Cristo Rei statue in the bakground 

The bridge is called Ponte 25 de Abril, and is connecting the city of Lisbon to the municipality of Almada on the south bank of the Tejo river. Tejo river forms the large bay which banks Lisbon is situated on. The city is vaguely visible in the background as Bond is driven across the bridge.

Driving across this bridge, coming from Lisbon, is a great experience and definitely a must see location if you are visiting Lisbon.

The city of Lisbon seen in the background 

  "-And where is the party this time?
                           -You have an appointment...
             -Business or pleasure?

Another landmark that gives away this location in the film, is the statue of Christ that can be seen in the far background, as the Rolls Royce is driving out on the bridge. This monument, known as Cristo Rei in Portuguese, was inspired by the more famous statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro and was inaugurated in 1959 following the approval of Salazar. You have a magnificent view over both Ponte 25 de Abril and the city of Lisbon from the viewpoint below this statue in Almada, which is only a 20 min drive from central Lisbon. The view over Lisbon both from the bridge and from the viewpoint is beautiful.

Lisbon can be seen in the background on the right side of the bridge.
The 25 April bridge was inaugurated in 1966, and was thus almost brand new at the time of filming On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The bridge was originally called Salazar Bridge, named after the Portuguese prime minister and dictator António de Oliveira Salazar who ruled Portugal between 1932 and 1968. Following the carnation revolution on 25 April 1974, which ultimately led to a free and democratic Portugal, the name of the bridge was changed to Ponte 25 de Abril.

The bridge would also feature during one of the final scenes in the film as Bond and Tracy are driving away from their wedding reception towards Tracy's inevitable death.

14 May 2016

Bond on holiday - Cascais and Estoril

In the pre-title sequence of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969, Bond is on holiday and, much to M's displeasure, is nowhere to be found. In the first scene M asks Moneypenny if she has checked with communications to which she says that the replies from their Cairo, Madrid and Amsterdam inquiries are all negative. No one has been able to locate 007. Bond, apparently working on a case known as "Operation Bedlam", has been trying to track down Blofeld for over a year and M is less than impressed.

In the following scene, Bond is seen driving his Aston Martin down the roads of a coastal town, supposedly located somewhere on the French Riviera with palm trees and beach visible in the background. However, this scene was filmed in the fashionable town of Cascais in Portugal.

 The road Parada da Artilharia Anti Aerea intersects with Avenida Dom Carlos I
This location can be found in the central part of Cascais along the beach road Avenida Dom Carlos I. Bond is first seen driving out from the small road Parada da Artilharia Anti Aerea, next to which is a parking lot. Bond then continues down Avenida Dom Carlos I along the sea. In the next scene Bond is found on the coastal roads outside of Cascais and Estoril, where he encounters Tracy for the first time.

This curve where Bond is driving down is still very recognizable with the parking lot to the right, and the distinct palm trees. However, the yellow house seen in the film has been replaced with a newer building.

This is the only scene that was filmed in Cascais. The rest of the action around the coast was set on the roads close to the Guincho beach further northwest of the town and in the other famous coastal town called Estoril, where Bond checks in to the famous Hotel Palacio later in the film.

Cascais is a coastal town and a municipality approximately 30 kilometres west of Lisbon. It is one of the richest municipalities in Portugal which gained fame as a resort for Portugal's royal family in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The former fishing village is still a popular vacation spot, especially for golfers, although the former glory of the Portuguese Riviera has faded slightly since the middle of the 20th century and the time for Bond's visit.

"What we want is a location fix on 007. Number 10 is making ugly noises about operation Bedlam".
                                                      - M to Q -