27 Jun 2017

Back to Tangier - Spectre

In Spectre, more than a few locations have been reused as locations for Bond, such as Austria, Morocco and the Thames in London. After finding Dr Swan in the Austrian alps, another Bond location re-used, she takes Bond to Tangier, to find her farther's hotel, L'Americain, covered earlier. In the first scene, Bond and Swan are walking up some stairs in the middle of that city.

These steps are called Escalier Waller and can be found on Rue de la Liberté. Bond and Swan are coming up from Rue Amerique du Sud and walk up the steps which ultimately intersects with Rue de la Liberté. The only thing that made this location possible to identify is the restaurant with the white marquis located on the right side as you look down the steps. This restaurant is called 'Restaurant Populaire Saveur de Poisson', which can be read on the white marquis. This name can namely be seen in the film as well, but on the wall opposite the restaurant.

The name of the restaurant "Saveur de poisson" can be read on the wall to the left.
I becomes evident on location that the nice view over the bay of Tangier, seen in the film, was created through CGI. You cannot see anything of the sea from these steps at this location. It is a pity since Tangier is such a beautiful city with lots of stunning locations that could have been used instead. They also added a "warm color" to the film in the scenes filmed in Tangier.

The restaurant Saveur de Poisson is a very good restaurant but very simple. There is no menu and a fixed price of approximately 200 Dirham, so you just wait at the table for the different courses to arrive, sometimes served in simple bowls with wooden spoons. But the food is excellent and there is always a queue outside so make sure to be there when they open. A visit is highly recommended.

19 Jun 2017

Venice - Bond's hotel suite

Establishing shot over Venice from 1963

The last scenes in From Russia With Love take place in Venice where Bond and Tania end up after escaping the Spectre agents on the Adriatic Sea. The establishing shot over Venice pictures the famous palazzo Ducale, the Doge's palace (which is the large pink/white palazzo in the middle of the top picture) and the Campanile on St Mark's Square (the large bell tower).

San Giorgio Maggiore is painted on the background
The island of San Giorgio Maggiore seen from St Mark's square - similar as "Bond's view"
Bond and Tania are staying in a hotel right by St Mark's square, with a nice view over the lagoon and the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Given the view from their balcony, they are probably staying at Hotel Danieli or another hotel close by the Danieli. The island San Giorgio Maggiore can be seen from both the Danieli and St Mark's square which are located on the largest, "main island", of Venice.

Since neither of the principal cast ever were in Venice for the filming of From Russia With Love, all the hotel scenes and the view through the window in Bond's suite were shot in studio in England. 

The view over Venice as you are about to land - always sit on the right side in the plane

11 Jun 2017

Bond and Tania meet in Hagia Sophia - Istanbul

In From Russia With Love, Bond arranges a meeting with Tatiana Romanova in the Hagia Sophia (saint Sophia) where Tania is delivering a plan of the Russian consulate to Bond. Bond is blending in with a tourist group and watches Tania leave a powder compact by a pillar, for Bond to pick up. She is unaware that she has been followed by one of the Bulgars.

Tania is coming in between the pillars from the south gallery as Bond and a group of tourists pass the alabaster urn in the north west corner. However, Bond spots a Bulgar who has been following Tania to the Hagia Sophia and he hides behind a wall. The Bulgar is standing close to the north gallery, where Tania is heading.

As Bond signals to Tania where she shall leave her powder compact with Bond's information, a few of the large windows on the north wall are visible.  

It was constructed in 537 AD. Until 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople. It had remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years. When the Ottomans took over the cathedral was converted to a mosque. It was finally opened as a museum the the 1930's.

Because of the history of Hagia Sophia, or the Aya Sofya in Turkish, it is even more interesting to visit the church than it is as a Bond location. Needless to say, a cathedral constructed over 1500 years ago and the largest cathedral for almost a thousand years is a must see when in Istanbul. There is old Christian mosaic art preserved inside that is over one thousand years old.

As a Bond location, the Aya Sofya is perhaps a little less interesting than the Basilica cistern but the fact that it is a museum keeps the Bond locations inside almost untouched and well recognisable.