27 Dec 2014

Fast car to Cuba

In Die Another Day Bond drives across half of Cuba from Havana to the fictitious island Los Organos. Bond lends the car from his friend Raoul, a sleeper agent running a cigar factory. Because of the US embargo, fast cars are few in numbers in Cuba. Thus, Bond has to drive a 1957 Ford Fairlane through the Cuban countryside.

The road that Bond is driving on can be found along the coast outside the city of Cádiz in Spain. Naturally, none of the scenes in Cuba were actually shot on location. Instead the filmmakers turned to the south of Spain where the ancient city of Cádiz, together with the surroundings, provided the ideal setting for the film. This road can be found along the Camposoto beach which is located a ten minute drive outside the city of Cádiz.

When leaving the city by car, you drive on Avenida Vía Augusta Julia which connects with the main road, CA-33. After driving for approximately five minutes on CA-33 you will reach a gas station on the right side of the road. Take off here and take the first right in the next roundabout. After driving for less than two kilometers you arrive at the Brosnan road in the southern direction. However, Bond is driving north so drive all the way down and turn at the end of the road and you will drive in the same direction as Brosnan.

On both sides of the road people park their cars when going to the nearby beach. In order to get the clean and undisturbed view of the road, like it looked in the film, you should go there early in the morning and, preferably, off season. If you arrive at noon during the summer months, chances are you might not even be able to recognise the location.

                 "-I Could use a fast car.
                               -Ha, hmm..."

22 Dec 2014

Gibraltar parachute landing

During the exercise at Gibraltar in the pre-title of The Living Daylights, one of the 00 agents participating in the exercise makes a fairly poor parachute landing. He ends up in a tree somewhere at St Michael Road at the top of the rock.

From here you have a beautiful view over the entire city, a view that, unfortunately, was not used very much in the film. This location is easy to find when walking along St Michael Road. When visiting, I would definitely recommend to spend at least one day, or the better part of two days exploring the rock of Gibraltar. Not only because of all the locations, but because of the number of other attractions that should not be missed.

Immediately after landing, the 00-agent is surprised and shot by one of the S.A.S. guards patrolling the area. Glyn Baker, playing 002 in this scene, was cast because of his resemblance to Roger Moore. The other agent, 004, played by Frederick Warder resembled George Lazenby. They were both cast because the filmmakers wanted to play with the audience's expectations of which of the three 00 agents that in fact was Bond. It would however take a few more scenes before we get to see the new 007 for the first time.

"That's it chum! You're out of it..."
   - The S.A.S. guard to 002 -

Gibraltar is still a British Overseas territory, and has been since since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. This naturally, made it an easy and convenient filming location for the Bond crew in 1987.

Today, Gibraltar still has a handful of military units stationed in the territory. Since 2006, Gibraltar governs its own affairs, though some powers, such as defense and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government in the UK.

15 Dec 2014

La Clinica Alvarez - part two

After fighting Zao inside the clinic, Bond blows a hole in the wall and tries to catch the helicopter before Zao escapes. Jinx takes few shots at the helicopter as Bond follows her up on the wall. The entire action sequence was filmed at Castillo de San Sebastián in Cádiz, Spain. The part where Jinx dives in can be found on the most western part on the fort, just above the courtyard.

"- A so called beauty parlor. We've heard 
of such a place but didn't think it really existed. 
           - It doesn't anymore..."       

Jinx follows the helicopter as it leaves the courtyard, runs up a slope and takes one last shot at Zao before the Cuban guards arrive. Bond stops just before Jinx dives into the lagoon. She halts in front of one of the big cannons that were located on the western wall.

Unfortunately during my visit, the big guns had been removed, probably due to renovation. However, it was still easy to determine the exact position since the old holes are still there. One can only hope that the guns will be brought back after renovation, but give the condition of the fort, I fear that they have outlived their contracts. It appears that the fort is being turned into some kind of modern museum.

7 Dec 2014

La Clinica Alvarez - part one

The Alvarez Clinic, located in Los Organos in Cuba, plays a mayor part during Bond's visit to Cuba in Die Another Day. The clinic can be found in the north-western part of Cádiz, Spain. The mysterious clinic, specialising in gene therapy, is in reality an old fortification named Castillo de San Sebastián, dating from the early 1700's. 

You have the same view over the fort as Brosnan in the film, from the beach located along Avenida Duque de Nájera, called La Caleta. It was on this beach that Bond's fictional hotel, El Gran Palacio was located, so the real location was used in the film. However, the promenade that functions as a link between the fort and the city was edited out in the film (compare the two pictures above) to make it look as if the clinic was situated on an island. But you can, in reality, walk out to the fort.

Most of the action takes place in the courtyard, where Zao escapes with the helicopter and up on the wall from where Jinx dives into the lagoon. After finding Zao in the hospital, Bond loses him and Zao manages to escape through the office window of the late Dr. Alvarez, murdered by Jinx. When Jinx's mobile bomb explodes and a piece of the wall blocks the window, Bond has to find an alternative exit.

A fictitious helipad was constructed in the middle of the courtyard for the film. Jinx hides behind a piece of ruin left in the courtyard and takes a few shots at Zao as he gets into the helicopter. Unfortunately there is little left to identify this location since almost every facade have been renovated. The only thing that has survived is the Jinx's ruin.

When the helicopter escapes, Jinx runs up a slope towards the big guns located on the western wall.  There are also small steps next to the facade, where Bond later runs up after Jinx. Sadly both the slope and the steps are gone. It is possible that they were built specifically for the film. There is however another slant that leads up to the wall from the courtyard, visible to the very left in this left picture.