25 Jan 2017

Slumber Inc. - Palm Henderson Mortuary & Cemetery

In Diamonds are forever, Bond smuggles the diamonds into the United States hidden inside the body of the late smuggler Peter Franks. Bond is greeted at the airport in Los Angeles by a hearse ready to bring the body to a funeral parlor outside Las Vegas named Slumber Inc. run by a Morton Slumber.

The Slumber funeral parlor is located in the Las Vegas suburb named Henderson, a couple of kilometers southeast of the Strip. The chapel is the 'Palm Henderson Mortuary & Cemetery' and is located on 800 South Boulder Highway.

As Bond arrives in the hearse to the mortuary, a small part of the cemetery is seen in the background. That cemetery is still there and looks just like the garden of remembrance where Bond later drops off the fake diamonds and is knocked down by Mr Wint and Mr Kidd. However, that scene was filmed at another cemetery, namely the Palm Downtown Cemetery located on 1325 North Main Street. That garden of remembrance will be covered later.

It is evident in the film that the outskirts of Vegas was just a desert in the early 1970's and practically nothing of the city of Henderson appear to have existed, apart from our famous mortuary. The road that the hearse is driving down when approaching Slumber Inc. is a small country road today, located alongside the highway leading into Las Vegas. Why anyone would go to Vegas from Los Angeles to cremate a body is beyond understanding, as is almost everything else in Diamonds are Forever.

The people working at the Palm Henderson Mortuary are very friendly and happy to show you the interior of the chapel if you ask. The gentleman showing me the interior was well aware of the establishment's prominence in the film.

19 Jan 2017

Hotel Île de France - French Consulate in Tangier

In The Living Daylights, Bond follows general Pushkin from the trade conference back to Pushkin's hotel. Pushkin is staying at a hotel called Île de France in central Tangier. Pushkin's Mercedes limousine drives up to the hotel entrance as Bond stops his car outside the hotel gate, watching as Pushkin's secretary and mistress Rubavitch enters the hotel.

The entrance is seen up close when Pushkin arrives later the same evening as the chauffeur is seen waiting outside. For the exterior of Hotel Île de France in the film, a magnificent property in central Tangier was used. The "hotel" is in reality the French consulate, conveniently located at 2 place de France, in central Tangier.

Pushkin's mistress Rubavitch waits in the hotel room for Pushkin to return. Right opposite the consulate is a cafe which is also seen in the film. The Gran Cafe de Paris.

 The Gran Cafe de Paris is visible as Bond stops his Audi outside
when Pushkin's limousine drives through the hotel gate.

This cafe is still located in the same place even with the name unchanged on the facade, although changed from red to green. This cafe is a perfect place to stop for lunch or a glass of mint tea while enjoying this wonderful location. The French consulate and the Gran Cafe de Paris is located in a very busy and central part of Tangier and it is impossible to miss while in the city.

The French consulate however, is not accessible for the public. There is tight security at the consulate with a Moroccan police car parked outside the wall at all times and chassis of the cars driving in to the premises are being checked underneath.

11 Jan 2017

Tangier - Morocco

For celebrating the last days of 2016 and the new years eve, my last trip took me to Tangier, a two-time Bond location. In The Living Daylights, Bond travels to Tangier in pursuit of General Koskov who is hiding in the villa belonging to his accomplice, Brad Whitaker. An establishing panoramic shot over the city is seen right before Pushkin arrives at Whitaker's villa in the film. The first establishing shot is filmed from the rooftops of a house by the old Kasbah, and pictures the city and a small part of the beach. The Kasbah is the ancient fortifications in Tangier that once were the city’s defenses, and it is one of the oldest parts of the city. A small part of the Tangier beach and the beach road is visible to the far left in the top picture.

In order to get this view, you can for instance visit the restaurant located right next to the entrance gate to the Kasbah named Bab el-Assa. This restaurant (picture below) has a nice balcony with a stunning view over the entire city. Why don't you stop here for a cup of medium sweet tea. The hotel Dar Chams Tanja has the same view from its rooftop and is located next to the restaurant. This building was also seen in Spectre.

In the same establishing shot the filmmakers pictured the minaret that sits on the roof of the Kasbah Mosque. This scene was filmed from the same roof where Dalton later comes up after "killing" Pushkin at the trade conference.

In the far background, close to the harbour, a few characteristic houses with arched roofs are visible. These warehouses can still be found down at the harbour today as seen in the picture to the left. This roof offers a stunning view over the city of Tangier. The best way of getting up to the roof is asking one of the many "voluntary guides" that are walking around the Kasbah trying to guide you for money. They probably know someone who lives in the house or can take to someone who does.

Tangier in January 2017

The view over Tangier is magnificent and it is not hard to understand that two establishing shots, and the scene with Bond running over the rooftops, were included in The Living Daylights. You can get similar panoramic views over Tangier from several other places in the Kasbah.

7 Jan 2017

Bond in Rome - The Colosseum

For the first time in the Bond series, Bond visits Rome in Spectre. Urged by M in a video filmed before her death, Bond is attending the funeral of Spectre agent Sciarra in Rome, who Bond himself has killed in Mexico.

In the first scene, Bond is seen driving his Aston Martin DB10 down the road called Via di San Gregorio, that leads up to the Colosseum. This wide road is a popular parking for tourist buses since the Colosseum is only a few hundred meters away.

As the road turns to the right onto Via Celio Vibenna, the Colosseum is visible in the background as well as the Arch of Constantine, Arco di Costantino, which is located to the left of the Colosseum. The Arch of Constantine is the largest Roman triumphal arch. Bond is on the way to the funeral which in fact was filmed in the EUR district outside of Rome, covered here earlier, so Bond would actually not need to drive past the Colosseum in order to get to the funeral. But we are obviously supposed to think that the chapel and graveyard is located somewhere in central Rome.

In the film, the Colosseum is seen from the "back", probably because it is not possible to drive past the front side with a car.

Sadly, not much more of central Rome is seen during the day in Spectre. Bond later follows Sciarra's wife Lucia to her home located outside of Rome, before driving to the Spectre meeting, which of course was filmed at Blenheim Palace in England. Colosseum is, probably, the most famous tourist attraction in Rome and hard to miss when visiting the city. However, as a Bond location it is not the most exciting one in Rome. The front side of the Colosseum is also more preserved than the side seen in the film.