23 Feb 2015

Meeting with Colonel Klebb

One of the most fascinating Bond locations in all of Istanbul I dare say, must be the house where you can find the secret office of Colonel Klebb. Still believing that Klebb is the head of the Soviet intelligence, Tatiana Romanova is forced to lure Bond to Istanbul. The house with the small courtyard can be found in a most unexpected place, namely inside the Grand Bazaar.

These characteristic houses with a courtyard in the middle are called Hans and are part of the classic architecture of IstanbulThe Hans functioned as inns for traveling merchants for centuries. Here, the merchants could do business and rest over night. It is not surprising to find so many hans inside the bazaar, since the Grand Bazaar, naturally, has been a major hub for travelling merchants throughout the centuries. Most commonly, the Hans consisted of a courtyard with a fountain in the middle, just like this Han seen in the film. There were often an adjacent kitchen or tea house.

Today there is a lot of manufacturing going on in these Hans. The different Hans were often, and still are, dedicated to a certain craft, such as gold and silver manufacturing. You can primarily find chain manufacturing in the small shops of Zincirli Han. Both the courtyard and the second floor is open for tourists so you should take your time at this location. You may find some of the shops on the second floor open. The Zincirli Han is beautiful with its marble fountain and the tree in the middle of the courtyard.

Tania is coming up these stairs and continues down to the left as Grant hides behind the right pillar. The pink facade has been renovated and the old wooden doors have been replaced. The interior of Klebb's office was most likely shot in Pinewood Studios.

"Moscow has kept my defection secret from everyone but a few members of the presidium."
                - Klebb to Blofeld during the SPECTRE meeting -

Given the numbers of people that live, work or visit the Grand Bazaar every day, it is close to a city of its own in Istanbul. This is definitely one of the most interesting locations in the entire Istanbul, in part because it has been almost untouched since 1963, but also thanks to Lotte Lenya's splendid performance as the unpleasant and evil Spectre agent number three, Rosa Klebb. 

The bazaar is a maze and is rather easy to get lost in, but the Zincirli Han is fortunately well signposted. 

16 Feb 2015

Rolls Royce through Istanbul

After arriving in Istanbul, Bond is picked up by the chauffeur of Kerim and driven across town to Kerim's office. Kerim's car is a 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. On the way to the office they pass some typical Ottoman houses and large tower next to a big wall. This street can be found in the Sultanahmet District, right in the heart of the oldest part of Istanbul.

The larger street is Alemdar Caddesi and the Rolls is coming down Soğuk Çeşme Sokak. The wooden houses on the left side of the street are built in the traditional Ottoman style that still can be found in a few places throughout the city. The ground floor has been renovated since 1963 and converted to a cafe. The two minarets visible over the rooftops belongs to the Hagia Sophia, that is located only a few hundred meters from this location.

Right opposite the Ottoman houses is one of the famous round rococo kiosks that can be found throughout Istanbul. One of these kiosks also plays a part later in the film, as a cover for Bond and Kerim during the assassination of Krilencu.

"On one condition. That you went out to Istanbul and brought her and the machine back to England."
- M to Bond in London - 

The stone wall and tower to the left of the Rolls Royce is part the south western wall that runs around the Topkapi Palace. This palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years until 1856, when the ruling sultan decided to move the royal residence to the newly built Dolmabahçe Palace, on the shore of the Bosporus. The Dolmabahçe Palace is briefly visible behind Bond and Tania during their boat ride on the Bosporus and will be covered later.

The Rolls Royce street is today a walking street and not possible to drive down anymore. Other than that, this location has been fairly untouched since the 1960's, primarily because of its location in the oldest part of Istanbul. The cafe on the corner is a good place to have a break and to enjoy a medium sweet coffee and perhaps some Turkish delights. If you continue down the larger Alemdar Caddesi and take a left down on Ebussuut Caddesi you will, after a ten minute walk, reach the Sirkeci Railway Station, the end station for the famous Orient Express and the railway station from where Bond and Tania leave Istanbul. Another magnificent location that will be covered later.

8 Feb 2015

Searching for Klebb

One of the most secret and least known locations in From Russia With Love is the long forgotten stone path that Tania walks up in her search for the office of Colonel Klebb, in the beginning of the film. Klebb has summoned Tania and she is on her way to the secret meeting after finishing her job at the Russian consulate. In the background you see the Şep Sefa Hatun Mosque, and right next to the minaret, is the Galata Tower visible in the far background.

This location, probably the most forgotten in Istanbul, can be found in the Zeyrek neighborhood of the Eminönü District on the peninsula that makes up the old Istanbul. One can imagine that this truly was the outskirts of the city at the time of filming in 1963. However, today this path is located in a rather busy part of Istanbul, right next to the large Atatürk Boulevard that runs straight across the Fatih district from the south bank of the Marmara sea up to the Golden Horn. But more exceptional about this location is that it is still there untouched. The stone wall has survived the otherwise extensive redevelopment.

"-Did you tell anyone at the consulate that you were coming here?"

Apart from the trees, not much have change A few meters up the stone paved path, Tania meets with a police officer. She asks him about the address to Klebb's office. He points her towards a house down a small street. A few of the houses visible behind Tania and the policeman have disappeared but one of the big houses on the left side can be identified from the film.

The street to which the policeman points Tania is an alley located some ten meters up Tania's path and even though the old stone paving has been changed it is still recognizable. This alley is the beginning of the bigger street Ibadethane Sokak which intersects with this small alleyway. Fortunately, the stone wall and the old houses seem to have been spared during the redevelopment of this area, but behind the stone wall, once part of a house, is some kind of vacant building lot. Hopefully, the exploitation of this lot will not mean the tearing down of the ruins.

The mosque, Şep Sefa Hatun Camii, seen in the background behind Tania was built in 1787. It is situated along Ataturk Boulevard. Its construction was commissioned by Şebsefa Hatun, a wife of Abdulhamid I (1725 -1789). She had it built in commemoration of her son. There is one existing picture of Tania, taken with another camera that shows a little more of the background and that makes this place easier to determine.

You will easiest get to the location if you walk down the Ataturk Boulevard in the northern direction. If starting in the Sültanahmet district, near the Hagia Sophia, you can take the tram along the Ordu Caddesi, to the Aksaray tram station, where Ordu intersects with Ataturk Boulevard. If walking down this large boulevard you will also, after a few hundred meteres, walk past the Valens Aqueduct, one of the most important landmarks of the city. Some three hundred meters after the aqueduct, you find Tania's path on your left.

This Roman aqueduct which was the major water-providing system of Constantinople. It was completed by Roman Emperor Valens in the late 4th century AD. The aqueduct also provided water for the Basilica cistern, the location where Bond and Kerim Bey takes the boat to the Russian consulate.

Ataturk Boulevard passes under the Valens Aqueduct's arches

At the time of filming of From Russia With Love, only 2 million people lived in Istanbul. Today, the city has over 14 million inhabitants, and is one of the sixth largest cities in the world. Naturally, the Valens Aqueduct and Tania's path in her search for Klebb is a must see when in Istanbul.

1 Feb 2015

Gibraltar guard post

The car chase during the pre-title sequence of The Living Daylights starts off at a guard post somewhere on the top of Gibraltar. Bond hears the unknown assassin kill one of the S.A.S. soldiers and runs after him as he drives off in the stolen Land Rover. Just like in the film, the radar installations that can be found on the northern top of Gibraltar, is still patrolled by the British forces and not accessible for tourists. 

As Bond runs towards the gate, the S.A.S. guard shoots paint at Bond thinking it is part of the exercise. This guard post and the gate can be found on the northern part of the rock, more specifically where the 'Rock Gun Road' intersects with 'Signal Station Road' close to the northern top. The road up to the right, the road where Dalton is running, is still off limits for tourists. The blue/red/blue sign that can be found on the gate today, is the sign of the British forces in Gibraltar. This road is probably Ministry of Defense property.

The S.A.S. guard is played by the renowned stunt man and stunt actor Paul Weston. Paul had actually begun his career in The Saint with Sir Roger in the 60's and started working in the Bond series already in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969. But he would continue to do stunts for the Bond series for the next five decades.

       "Here, hold on you're dead!"

He doubled for Jaws, jumping between the cable cars in Moonraker, he fought Bond and Columbo at the monastery in For Your Eyes Only and he doubled for Sir Roger on top of the train in Octopussy. He returned for The Living Daylights and License to Kill and even came back to do stunts for Skyfall. He has been both a stunt coordinator and a 2nd Unit Director throughout his career.

Paul is charming and a great entertainer. I met him in September 2014 when he was in Stockholm for a charity Bond gala event in connection with the ten year anniversary of the Swedish Bond site "From Sweden With Love". He was there together with John Glen, Kristina Wayborn, Robert Davi, John Moreno, Mary Stavin and many other cast and crew from the Bond family. It was a great pleasure to see him teach the audience stunts on stage during the dinner.

Paul Weston is also a friend of Pierce Brosnan and did stunts in both Remington Steele, Death TrainRaiders of the lost ark among many many more.

But of all the dozens of movies during the past five decades, Paul will of course always be most appreciated and remembered for his work on the Bond series and it would be nice to see him on the big screen in another Bond cameo in the future.