7 Feb 2017

Whitaker's villa - Palais Mendoub, Tangier

For the villain's lair in Timothy Dalton's first outing as James Bond in The Living Daylights, the filmmakers chose a magnificent palace in Tangier. The main villain, the arms dealer Brad Whitaker, is living in Tangier where he and the defected Soviet general Koskov is plotting to buy opium with Russian money in Afghanistan.

The large villa is located in the Marshan district in Tangier, which is a residential district to the west of the old medina. This area was settled around 1840 mostly by Europeans. It is apparent when you walk around this area that this is, or at least was at the time of filming, a very expensive residential area. Sadly, many of the beautiful mansions situated along the same road as Whitaker's villa are abandoned and in a decay.

In the film, the CIA are watching Whitaker from a neighboring house and a yacht sailing in the Strait of Gibraltar. A camera snaps pictures as general Pushkin enters the house. Whitaker's villa is in reality called Palais Mendoub and was at the time of filming a museum created by Malcolm Forbes, the American billionaire mostly known for being the publisher of Forbes magazine. Today the Palais Mendoub is owned by the Moroccan government and used as a residence for foreign dignitaries. The villa is thus heavily guarded and not accessible for the public anymore.

General Pushkin arrives with his KGB body guards in limousines
The neighboring CIA house from the film can be found right next to the villa and appears to be a private residence.

The Forbes museum included a collection of 115,000 models of lead soldiers, re-enacting the major historic battles in the world, from Waterloo to Dien Bien Phû, realistically recreated with lighting and sound effects. This inspired the filmmakers to include the model soldiers in the film and they made it part of the story as it became the hobby of the villain, Brad Whitaker.

The last time the exterior of the villa is seen in the film is during the night as Bond is about to infiltrate the house with the help of Felix Leiter.

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