Bond in the Alps
Locations of the James Bond novels and films
James Bond was created in 1952 by the author Ian Fleming for the novel Casino Royale. Fleming was born in 1908 and was educated at Eton and Sandhurst in the UK before going to Austria to attend the Tennerhof School in Kitzbühel, Munich University in Germany and the University of Geneva in Switzerland. This time spent in the Alps gave him a love for the mountains and made him an accomplished skier.
Fleming joined the Royal Navy shortly before the Second World War and worked for the Naval Intelligence Division (NID) where he had oversight of two intelligence units - 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. Fleming's time in NID was the inspiration for ten James Bond novels and a series of short stories. Two of his novels were made into films before Fleming died, aged 56.
Ian Fleming wrote 13 novels and 9 short stories about James Bond
To date there have been 25 James Bond films produced by EON films. Two other non EON films about Bond have also been made.
A view to a kill
The short story From a view to a kill didn't feature the Alps nor did it resemble the film that took (part) of its name. In the film, the last of the Roger Moore era, a pre-credits scene wassupposed to take place in Siberia but most of the scenes were filmed in Iceland. From there a ski chase that follows was shot on the Swiss/Italian border on the Lower Scerscen glacier.
Casino Royale was the first James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming although the Casino in the book is the fictional Royale-les-Eaux. In the first of the films to feature Daniel Craig as James Bond, Bond heads to Lake Como to recover from an encounter with the villain, Le Chiffre. Bond relaxes in the grounds of the Villa Balbianello with a fine view of the lake. The villa may look familiar to film fans as it is featured (albeit with some CGI) in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The closing scene takes place at Mr White's villa, where Bond takes White captive. The setting was Villa Gaeta on Lake Como with Monte Bregagno as a backdrop, which is also the start on the following film, Quantum of Solace
For your eyes only
In the Roger Moore film, Bond camps it up in the Italian resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Cortina is in the South Tyrol region of Italy and gets plenty of exposure in the the film from Bond arriving with his Lotus Espirit with skis on the roof, to a scene where a chase takes places with motorcyclists in the village centre. Other scenes are on the slopes where a biathlon, a ski jump and a bobsleigh run all get a look in. That year Cortina didn't do too well for snow coverage with a lot of snow brought in to patch it up.
From Russia with love
Towards the end of the book Bond takes the Simplon-Orient Express train through Switzerland. Fleming had taken this journey himself, although he didn't rate it as the restaurant car was closed. In the book the Simplon tunnel is where the Russian agent Grant plans to assassinate James Bond and Tatiana Romanova. In the film Bond is played by Sean Connery who also takes the Orient Express but in the other direction - from Istanbul to Venice past the Slovenian and Italian Alps. Bond only makes it to Trieste though thanks to Captain Nash - played by Robert Harris - who is an imposter with a bad accent. Bond leaves the train and fends off a helicopter in what should be the pre-Alps but the scene was filmed in Scotland thanks to film grants. Bond end up in Venice for the closing scenes.
Goldeneye is the name of Ian Fleming's estate in Oracabessa bay on the northern coastline of Jamaica and not a book. The film features Pierce Brosnan and in the opening scene we see Bond swan dive down the 220 metre high Verzasca Dam near Locarno in Switzerland. Filmed in March 1995, a 7000 kilogram crane was used to hold a bungee rope far enough away from the dam wall to stop stuntman Wayne Michaels hitting it on the way down. It is possible to recreate the scene thanks to a local company - you jump parallel to the dam face instead of straight out in front. Another scene has Bond in an Aston Martin DB5 racing with Xenia Onatopp in a Ferrari F355GTS. Onatopp is played by Famke Janssen and they race on the mountain roads around Gréolières-Les-Neiges, about 20 miles north of Nice in the Alpes-Maritimes. The road featured is the D2 and takes in parts of the Route de Gentelly, Route Gréolières and Route de Thorenc. Bond is also seen arriving in the DB5 at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Monaco's Port Hercules is also featured in the film and where Onatopp steals a stealth helicopter.
Octopussy is a short story by Fleming that is set in Jamaica and Austria. Major Dexter-Smythe was in Austria after the war and stole gold bars from the Nazis. He also murdered Kitzbühel mountain guide Hannes Oberhauser to get the bars. Bond visits Dexter-Smythe in Jamaica years later and he relates the story.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
In Flemings' novel the main action takes place at Piz Gloria, a name that originated as the mountain-top hideout of Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Blofeld's lair and is in the Languard range, above Pontresina in the Engadine region, where the Swiss language Romansh is spoken — piz is a Romansh term for a mountain peak. The film the plot is similar to the book. Bond is played by George Lazenby, his one and done outing. The location of Blofeld's lair was a partly constructed restaurant on the Schilthorn above Murren in the Bernese Oberland, where Romansh is not spoken. The movie production team found the restaurant and contributed financially to its completion in return for exclusive use in the movie. After filming was completed, the restaurant retained the Piz Gloria name and today still trades on the movie with a James Bond exhibition called 007 Walk of Fame. Filming took place at various locations with much of it taking place around Grindelwald. OHMSS was filmed during spring and the snow coverage wasn't that great - the bobsleigh run - which was also built for the film, required ice blocks to be brought in to make the walls. The avalanche scene in the film was made up of two-staged avalanches, the first turned out to be not dramatic enough and was merged with a second along with some stock footage. The car chase where Blofeld's car was to spin off was filmed at Stecklebergand and needed five lorry loads of snow to be brought in.
Quantum of solace
The film title comes from a Fleming short story and starts where Casino Royale ends with Bond taking Mr White to a secret site to be interrogated. The only location hitch is Bond has jumped a couple of hours from Lake Como to Lake Garda. A chase ensues with the DBS of Bond being chased by the Alfa Romeos of SPECTRE on the north of the lake outside of Malcesine through the many tunnels. The Alps make another appearance later in the film when Bond is tailing Mr Greene to Bregenz in Austria and visits a performance of Philip Himmelmann's 2007 production of Tosca on Bregenz's spectacular floating stage on Lake Constance. Some of the driving and chase scenes were shot in nearby Feldkirch.
In the film James Bond tracks down Dr Madeleine Swann, played by Léa Seydoux, to the mountaintop Hoffler Klinik. The Klinik is in reality the Ice Q restaurant at the summit of Gaislachkogl Mountain in Solden, Austria. Its temperature is kept at 1℃ to avoid tampering with its frosty foundation. The escape from the Klinik takes place on the mountains glacier road with a convoy of Land Rovers and a plane all involved in the snowy drama which unfolds. The restaurant and lift station used in the film is now the location of one of the best experiences for Bond fans. 007 ELEMENTS is a cinematic installation that features interactive exhibits of the action sequences from SPECTRE, shot in the area. One of the heavily modified Land Rovers sits on the top of the peak. This particular one was bought from the film by Harry Metcalfe, he made a video about visiting the resort that's available on Youtube.
The spy who loved me
The opening scene of the Roger Moore film culminates with Bond skiing off a cliff and then opening his a parachute which is the flag of the United Kingdom. While the jump scene was shot in Canada, the rest of the ski scenes were filmed high above St. Moritz in Switzerland, which is odd as in the film the whole thing is supposed to take place in Austria.
The world is not enough
The film features Pierce Brosnan in his third movie as James Bond. In the film Bond jumps from a helicopter and a ski chase takes place with various weird and wonderful ski based flying objects. Brosnan couldn't actually ski so all the scenes are film by a double. As ski scenes in Bond movies go, it's rather poor. The scenes were shot in the Chamonix valley in February 1999 at the same time of the terrible avalanche at Montroc.
You only live twice
In Ian Fleming's penultimate James Bond novel, You Only Live Twice, he reveals that Bond was orphaned at the age of 11. It's a rare look at the backstory of Bond and the Alps making a final appearance in the novels. James' father Andrew Bond was married to Monique Delacroix, a Swiss citizen, a storyline which was influenced by a romance Fleming had with Monique Panchaud de Bottens whilst studying in Geneva. Fleming goes on to describe the demise of his father and mother in a climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rouges, Chamonix on an unnamed route.