Top 10……Films Set Around Christmas!

It’s Christmas time and holiday cheer is very much on the horizon which often involves people watching classic festive films like ‘Scrooge‘, ‘A Christmas Carol‘, ‘Santa Clause: The Movie‘, erm ‘Jingle All The Way‘ or many of the special TV episodes filmed for this time of the year.

Others like ‘Home Alone‘ (1990), ‘Die Hard‘ (1988), ‘Gremlins‘ (1984) and ‘Lethal Weapon‘ (1987) which are just set during the Christmas season are also popular choices so I have delved into the archives to find some movies (of course ones that I have been to some filming locations of!) with seasonal connections whether it be a major one or a really tenuous link!

So here then, in no particular order, is the TF top 10……

1. In Bruges (2008) – Certainly not the first one that comes to mind when you think of films taking place at Christmas! Two Irish hit-men hide out in Belgium during the holiday season not that it’s at all important to the storyline. The woman at the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel, where they stay, is doing something with the Christmas tree in one scene and their angry boss, Ralph Fiennes, shouts at his wife in front of their tree and kids in another.

Dec2010-Jan2011 409 Dec2010-Jan2011 377

2. Ghostbuster II (1989) – The sequel is set in New York City during the Christmas period and culminates on New Years Eve as a crowd of locals sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’. A Christmas tree is visible during at least one scene and I guess one other festive link this has is that it was made (according to some critics!) to sell toys at Christmas time!

P1010316 ghostbustersfirehouse

3. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – This Stanley Kubrick-directed erotic thriller is not your traditional Christmas film in any way! It opens at a big Christmas party before  Tom Cruise’s jealous character goes on a sexual odyssey so that he can feel equal to his “cheating” wife. However, not all is straight forward as he soon witnesses a secret sex society and people begin dying. It’s lacking in festive tunes and the common joviality shown by many at that time of the year. Christmas trees can be seen throughout as London doubles up for New York in holiday season.

Dec2010-Jan2011 186 Dec2010-Jan2011 044

4. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – In his one and only appearance as James Bond, George Lazenby takes the reins of the double agent in the sixth 007 movie. Part of the film takes place at Grindelwald in Switzerland during the Christmas season snow is all around. Festive connections include a Christmas tree at the Piz Gloria clinic, presents for the ladies and there’s even a Christmas song called “Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown.”

Dec2010-Jan2011 157 Schilthorn-03_main

5. Love Actually (2003) – By far the most festive film in this list as a large group of inter-related people are followed for the five weeks leading up to Christmas, exploring their various love-states. An all-star cast take part in this feel-good film.

Dec2010-Jan2011 205 DSC07360

6. About A Boy (2002) – Bachelor Will (Hugh Grant) has no job and doesn’t need to have one as he can just live off the royalties of “Santa’s Super Sleigh”; a Christmas song his father composed in the past. Towards the end of the film we see Will hosting a Christmas gathering at his place with his new extended support system.

Dec2010-Jan2011 433 Christmas trip 2011-2012 423

7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) – Thirty-something singleton Bridget is introduced to Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) at her parents’ Christmas party and is not impressed. He’s snooty and wears Christmas jumpers but as we know that eventually changes over time among several pivotal holiday-themed/snow scenes.

Christmas trip 2011-2012 099 Dec2010-Jan2011 127

8. The English Patient (1996) – A Hungarian cartographer choosing to maintain the assumption by others that he is an Englishman is badly burned in a plane crash during World War II and relays parts of his past via flashbacks and one of these includes a Christmas party scene where amidst a chorus of Silent Night, Katharine (Kristin Scott Thomas) is seduced by Almásy (Ralph Fiennes).

Euro-Trip 2010 028 Tunisia Aug '09 072

9. When Harry Met Sally (1989) – Several Christmas and New Year’s-related scenes take place in this romantic comedy which spans over 15 years.

P1010450  P1010451

10. I am Legend (2007) – A viral outbreak occurs on Christmas Eve 2009 in Manhattan, and quickly spreads across the world. The epidemic seemingly begins in the lead up to the Christmas season and festive decorations can be seen throughout the early parts of this Will Smith movie.

P1010452 P1010344

Bonus: The Bourne Identity (2002) – Remember when Bourne and Marie seeked refuge in the French countryside? Well, they go to stay at her stepbrother’s place where Bourne notices the Christmas lights are still on. That sign of recent occupancy tells him that they have to leave before the owners return. It is also snowing throughout most of the film which is usually a good indication that it’s the holiday season.

Top 10……Movie Locations Where You Can Stay

Hot on the tail of the top (double oh) 7 hotels featured in James Bond films here are the top 10 recommendations for other places where you can spend a night amidst movie history. Just to get things clear you have to pay to stay in all of the listed accommodation rather than just rocking up and pitching a tent outside the filming location!! This list, which is in no particular order, will take you around the globe and offers the full spectrum of price range.

1. Sidi Driss, (from $9 per night) Matmatat-Al-Qadimal, Matmata (Tunisia): Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) – No surprise that this one is featured. Coach loads of tourists stop off here every day yet very few of them actually stay the night! That’s probably because it’s very dirty with poor service! I was the only guest when I stayed there…..but it was a privilege to spend the night at Luke Skywalker’s home! Cheap too!More details here.

Screen Shot 2012-04-20 at 14.57.08 Screen Shot 2012-04-20 at 15.00.28 Screen Shot 2012-02-18 at 21.40.21 Screen Shot 2012-02-18 at 21.39.23

2. On On Hotel (from $3 per night), 19 Phang-Nga Road, Talad Yai, Muang, Phuket  (Thailand): The Beach (2000) – Another ridiculously cheap place to stay. Leonard DiCaprio checks in to this rundown “Kao San Road” backpacker place but its nowhere near the legendary Bangkok spot where western travellers congregate. It is in fact way, way down south in Phuket town. More details here.

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 14.32.24 Screen Shot 2012-02-06 at 08.47.02

3. Imperial Palace (from $49 per night), 3535 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109  (USA): Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery (1997) – This Nevada state city has been used in many movies over the years and could probably have it’s very own top 10 list (now there’s an idea!) but just the single hotel for this entry and that’s Alotta Fagina’s penthouse suite where Austin shagged her rotten to use his exact words!! It’s since been re-named as The Quad Resort & Hotel. More details here.

austin28 USA August 2011 415

4. Tiki Motel (from $?? per night), 7301 Santa Fe Avenue, Huntington Park, Los Angeles (USA): The Terminator (1984) – John Connor was conceived at this very run-down in what is perhaps the most pivotal point in the whole Terminator franchise. You could stay in the same room where Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese did the deed but in all honesty you probably wouldn’t want to! More details here.

Aa Cc

5. Royal Eagle Hotel (from $627 per night), 26-30 Craven Rd, London W2 3QB (UK): Trainspotting (1996) – The boys take a break from Scotland and head down south to London to do a drug deal. Sick Boy leads the guys out of Smallbrook Mews, across Craven Road in a parody of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover. The “small-time wasters” then wander into the Royal Eagle Hotel. More details here.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 13.04.53 Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 13.05.25

6. Grand Hotel Evropa (from $30 per night), Vaclavske namesti 25, Prague (Czech Republic): Mission: Impossible (1996) – This was the headquarters of mysterious arms dealer Max (Vanessa Redgrave) in the first of this action spy film series based on the TV series from the 60’s and 70’s. More details here.

Dec2010-Jan2011 159 Dec2010-Jan2011 161

7. Westin Grand (from $274 per night), Friedrichstrasse 158 – 164, 10117 Berlin  (Germany): The Bourne Supremacy (2004) – The luxury hotel where Landy stays. Bourne cleverly finds out at reception that she is staying in room 235. He then watches her leave from his position on the 4th floor and then takes the stairs down and goes through the hotels revolving doors where he gets in a taxi and follows her to the CIA hub. More details here.

Screen Shot 2012-08-03 at 20.28.57 Screen Shot 2012-08-03 at 20.32.15

8. Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel (from $216 per night), Wollestraat 41-47, Bruges (Belgium): In Bruges (2008) – Dark, comedy thriller featuring Colin Farrell (Ray), Brendan Gleeson (Ken) and Ralph Fiennes (Harry) with the former two Irish hit-men lying low in the Belgian city at this canal-side hotel. More details here.

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 15.31.16 hotel

9. Four Season’s Hotel (from $750 per night), Teyfikhane Sok No 1 SultanahmetIstanbul 34110 (Turkey): Midnight Express (1978) – This used to be the infamous Sultanahmet jail depicted in this biographical crime drama. More details here.

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 16.46.18 Istanbul July 2011 070

10. Plaza Hotel (from $550 per night), 768 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (USA): Crocodile Dundee (1986) – What could be better than washing your backside in the same bidet that Mick Dundee (presumably) washed his posterior in? Well sadly that can’t be done here as the facilities don’t have bidets! The interior scenes were shot in the studio but you could still pretend and shout it from the window down to pedestrians on the street below!  More details here.

crocodiledundee02 crocodiledundee00

BTM Top 5……Indiana Jones Filming Locations

Poor old Indy! A classic iconic character from a highly popular franchise but belonging to a franchise that often gets forgotten about when everyone is going on about the Star Wars with regard to Disney’s acquirement of LucasFilm. When they paid $4 billion dollars to buy out the production company they also gained Indiana Jones too. With Walt Disney Studios announcing a week ago that it had reached a marketing and distribution agreement with Paramount Pictures for future Indiana Jones films the process of making and releasing Indy 5 should be much easier. To celebrate the news that there may finally be some more Indiana Jones material on the way, we have managed to cobble together some Indy locations for this feature! Here then, in no particular order, is the TF Top 5……Indiana Jones Filming Locations (that we’ve been to!!)

1. Petra (Jordan) – ‘Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade‘ (1989): The search for the grail leads Indy through the narrow Siq to the splendour of The Treasury at this world heritage site. It featured less memorably in ‘Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger‘ (1977) before our favourite fedora wearing doctor made it more famous over a decade later with Sean Connery, who played his father, by his side. More details here

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 20.33.16 Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 20.32.55 Jordan 2011 232 Jordan 2011 247

2. Sidi Bouhlel, Nefta (Tunisia) – ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark‘ (1981): When it comes to popular cultural references, yet again Indiana Jones lives in the shadows of ‘Star Wars‘ where the canyon memorably featured in the 1977 original film. George Lucas was obviously impressed with the area as he used it again years later for the scene where Indiana threatens to blow up the Ark. More details here

Unknown Tunisia Aug '09 028

3. Chiesa di San Barnaba, Venice (Italy) – ‘Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade‘ (1989): Indy finds an important clue relating to the numeral ‘X’ in this place which is a library in the film. More details here

Euro-Trip 2010 088 Euro-Trip 2010 080

4. Royal Horticultural Hall, London (UK) – ‘Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade‘ (1989): This place in Westminster on Greycoat Street portrayed Berlin Airport as it did yet again in ‘The Saint‘ (1997). More details here

425069335_85902476ef Christmas trip 2011-2012 259

5. Kairouan (Tunisia) – ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark‘ (1981): The streets of this Islamic holy city in Tunisia’s carpet capital represented Cairo in Egypt and many of these places look very similar today. Perhaps the most famous scene is the one in the market where Harrison Ford (kind of!) improvised a scene and just shot the sword-wielding assassin as the extreme heat was affecting his health and he just wanted a short end to the filming. More details here

84961848 images cap1_sized Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 22.43.15

I Did A Presentation At An English Club In Tokyo

The Kiyose International Club is a volunteer group that hosts events and parties for foreigners and neighbouring guests as well as also having Japanese classes, a choir and conferences for foreigners. One of my students is in charge of organising these events and often asks me in class to check posters and speeches for English mistakes. Inevitably, she got round to asking me to be a presenter at one of these events such is their desperation for native English speakers at these things!! Though not so keen at first I eventually agreed to do it as I was happy with the topic and having bored her this last year with tales  from my trips she knew I was a seasoned traveller with a few anecdotes up my sleeve to keep an audience awake!

Furthermore, I saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to do something different and see if I could actually entertain to any level beyond doing farting noises with a few five year olds!! It’s been a while since I did any kind of presentation. Ages in fact, as the last time was at University over 15 years ago when I had to regularly do them as part of my course.

IMG_3293 P1030397

My Travel Memories‘ was the theme for the one today (17th November) with the “My” referring to each attendee as well as the guest speakers. Having informed the organiser  that I wanted to do it about my trip to Tunisia in 2009 she thankfully gave it the green light and so my plan began to tell the story of travelling around a country in what was at the time for me an untouched continent. Oh and of course it gave me the chance to incorporate a bit of Star Wars stuff into the proceedings too!

Tunisia  Aug '09 347 Tunisia Aug '09 161

This was certainly not a Star Wars convention so I had to keep that part to a minimum and so instead focused on the other parts of the country (above) which often get forgotten about (especially by me!). My presentation was supposed to last about seven minutes but was more like 11 minutes with the first segment focusing on the nightmare of my birthday travelling between Tunis in the north and Tozeur in the south.

In the days preceding this event I spent a fair bit of time putting together some notes, remarks and photos together into a flashy Google Drive document but once I’d realised I would need wi-fi to go ahead with that I changed it to a more simplified iPhoto slide show. I needn’t have bothered though as on my arrival at the Naka-Kiyoto Area Civic Center we soon realised that there wasn’t the right cable to connect my laptop to the giant projector screen. I was a bit peeved with that not that I was ever really confident of such a thing ever working smoothly. Time for plan B!!

The event started at 2pm with my student giving the opening remarks followed by a few more speeches before the session leader David introduced us presenters and the foreigners present including people from Afghanistan, Korea, Philippines, Zambia and  Thailand. Following a short discussion on our tables an elderly Japanese guy Matsumoto-san (below left) kicked things off with his presentation about his time in Egypt with the main focus being the tipping culture differences.

P1030399 P1030400

A summary of my speech was given in Japanese beforehand (above right) which I thought a bit strange as it’s kind of a spoiler but I guess it has to be done to prepare the non-native speakers for what was about to come. Despite not being able to use the big screen for my presentation I decided to use my computer still though many would have needed binoculars to see what was on screen! I did have some larger copies of some of my pictures which I could hand to my student to show to the watching audience of fairly well-travelled people.

IMG_3289 P1030401  P1030402 P1030404

The speech seemed to go on for far longer than in my rehearsals but that didn’t matter. My voice just about managed to hold up for the duration and I got through everything I wanted to. The set-up wasn’t quite how I envisaged it but I muddled through and was just about able to juggle holding the mic in one hand, cue cards in the other whilst also having to do some technical wizardry on the computer (hit a button a dozen times or so!) which was facing the audience rather than me.

It was a shame I couldn’t use the big screen to display stuff as that meant I had to rely more than ever on my scripted “ad-libs” working better than they should have had to. I soldiered on though and thankfully there were a few questions at the end (about tipping, food & health, misunderstandings and something else which I forget) rather than silence!

P1030408 P1030409

Once I had done my presentation I could relax far more and really enjoyed talking in our groups about our own travels not that I added any further by way of my other experiences. The final presentation was by a Filipino lady called Rosevel (below) who gave a very entertaining and passionate speech on the cultural gap between her homeland and Japan. She put me to shame in terms of not showing her nerves so much but I guess she was performing on home turf whilst I was in unknown waters.

P1030410 P1030412

Overall, I had a lovely afternoon and it was nice to do something a bit different for once and I left with a very positive image of all those present who were very nice and welcoming to me and, though I thought I was a bit nervous at times, the feedback I got was all positive…not that you’d expect anyone to come up and say it was rubbish!!

IMG_3291 IMG_3292

‘Beyond The Movies’ – Behind The Scenes + Full Interview

‘Beyond The Movies’ is the title I’ve been using for the last few years on my Facebook film-related albums which feature mostly shooting locations but also include screenshots, memorabillia, exhibitions, toys, events and anything which takes the reader beyond the surface of that particular movie. These albums include Star Wars, James Bond, Jason Bourne, Terminator, Back To The Future, Mission Impossible, Super Heroes, Tokyo, Kansai, Asia, The USA, Australia, Europe, The UK and so on.

I often (well occasionally) get asked how I find out the details of each shot which I take so here, by way of a recent online interview I did, is a sneak-peak behind the scenes look at how things fall into place at the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre in Tokyo.

 

Here is the full transcript of the interview which will no doubt be edited down quite a bit when it finally sees the light of day later in the year.

How did this obsession come about? I’ve always been interested in seeing such locations but after years of travelling and seeing the usual stuff like waterfalls, beaches, churches, temples and so on I became a bit bored of just doing the sights when I visit a place so hunting down these famous filming locations allowed me to see places in different ways whilst getting off the well worn and proverbial beaten track at the same time.

Do you choose your holiday destinations based solely on films shot there? Apart from maybe Tunisia I have never solely gone to a place just for locations but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t play a major part. Its usually a combination of a few things.

What were the first filming locations you went to? The first one I really remember was one of the Fijian islands which was used in the Tom Hanks survival movie ‘Castaway‘ but that was way back in 2002. It wasn’t until a trip to Phuket in Thailand in 2008 with my mate Ethan that I realised I was more interested in seeing the island from the James Bond film ‘The Man With The Golden Gun‘ and the hostel and beach from ‘The Beach‘ rather than your typical usual touristy sights. Of course a couple of those places I’ve just mentioned are sights in their own right but the hostel certainly isn’t and that was fun.

What has been your favourite location? There have been many. Something like Petra in Jordan which featured in ‘Indiana Jones & the last Crusade‘ was great but that’s a famous sight in its own right so I’d have to say that its the Star Wars stuff in Tunisia. Random places completely unknown by locals who have never seen the saga.

 

What’s been the most difficult one to find? Some of the ones here in Tokyo actually. I needed help from a couple of Japanese people to help me find locations from ‘The Grudge‘ as there was nothing in English and my Japanese skills don’t quite stretch to searching pages and pages of information written in Japanese kanji.

Have you ever failed to track down a place? Yes and I’m still a little gutted about it as it was a big important one. My driver and I just could not locate the igloo in the south west of Tunisia which was the exterior of the Lars Homestead in Star Wars Episodes IV and II.

What preparations do you make in advance? I watch the film with a notepad and pen taking notes on the time of the scene and using the pause button regularly. I then draw a rough sketch of the scene I want to replicate. The end credits of the film sometimes give a bit of fairly vague info on the locations or who the producers thank can give a helping hand. Basically I utilise the DVD extras to maximum effect by watching ‘making of…’ documentary, deleted scenes & listening to the directors commentary. Computer-wise I used to copy photos of scenes from the web if they were available and then printed them out for comparison shots. In recent times I have become a bit more modernised and use my iPad or iPhone to store the pictures on which is far better than a badly printed screenshot picture. I have also used my PSP in the past for ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ and ‘Bourne Identity’ stuff but the UMD format is basically a failed one so isn’t going to be so beneficial as very few films were released as a PSP video.

  

What resources do you use to help you? Having decided where I want to go to on a trip I cross-reference that place with ‘The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations‘ (Tony Reeves) book and website which is the grandaddy of filming locations information. Furthermore, I search Wikipedia, YouTube and the net in general where other movie fans have posted their stuff online but its not always so easy as certain ones, particularly the ones here in Japan, are not detailed well. Imdb can sometimes be as vague as just saying the country name but its filming locations section occasionally if I’m lucky goes much further in detail and even gives addresses. I also search out books and programmes with Mark Dermul’s Star Wars books in particular assisting me for finding the exact points which George Lucas used.

You appear in a lot of your photos so who takes them for you? Apart from a few trips with friends the vast majority have been taken by myself using a tripod and timer. For the record I appear in my pictures to stop people wanting to steal them off the internet and pass them off as their own…and of course because I’m very vain! haha!

Where does the name Tokyo Fox come from? Well my team Leicester City, who play in the league below the Premier League, are nicknamed the Foxes and I live in Tokyo so there you go.

What kind of person looks at the Tokyo Fox website? Good question! Apart from my parents, who themselves probably skim over all the film stuff, I know of very few of my family or friends who regularly look at it. I get a lot of hits for the Star Wars, Bourne, Back to the Future, James Bond, Terminator locations in particular from like-minded fans scouring google in search of these places which have played a part in movie history. Of course theres other stuff on there about Japanese life and travel etc which is quite popular too.

Do you have any plans to release a book? Well I’ve certainly considered it a few times and did start work on a Japan filming locations title but as ever these things get put aside while other things in my life take over. I’d like to pull my finger out one day and get something published but whether it will happen I don’t know. Watch this space…

 

What locations would you like to see in the future? Hmmm, not too many must-sees left but I am going to New York next month which has more films set there than anywhere else. Other than that then maybe Guatemala to do a Star Wars shot and maybe some of central america may be of interest. I still have places to see in London and it would actually be nice to travel my own country a bit more in the name of shooting locations.

‘Star Wars Episode IV: ‘A New Hope’ Filming Locations

Following in the footsteps of my ‘Phantom Menace‘, ‘Attack of the Clones‘ and ‘Revenge of the Sith‘ (the latter can only be seen on Tokyo Fox’s sister site ‘Beyond The Movies‘) compilations comes the shooting locations of the original Star Wars movie which after its 1977 release was retitled ‘Episode IV: A New Hope‘. For this film the crew went on location to Guatemala and Tunisia with pick-up shots later done at Death Valley in California.

The first spaceship to be seen is the Rebel Blockade Runner, a.k.a. the Tantive IV and on 3 mins we are inside the ship with the guards awaiting the arrival of Darth Vader not that they knew he would be arriving. There is a set piece of this at the London Film Museum on Southbank next to the London Eye and it costs £7 per photo (two for £10) on top of the entrance fee. Richard Richard and I had no qualms about spending that money on the photos below.

   

C3P0 is seen in the Tunisian desert on 10 mins and that bit was filmed just behind the Mos Espa set in Nefta but when we see Artoo’s dunes seconds later its actually Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley, California making its debut.

   

A few more location switches occur as the story develops. Artoo’s Arroyo on 11 mins is Artists Palette which is one of the more beautiful spots in Death Valley. A minute later its back to Tunisia where the Jawa’s carry Artoo to this specific rock which is at Sidi Bouhlel more commonly known as Star Wars canyon to fans but certainly not to locals!

   

15 mins in and its Desolation Canyon in Death Valley where the sand crawler appears and this can only be matched up using the mountains in the background and the directions given on this article. A 1.6 yard-long radio-controlled model was used for the wide shots and whilst I did have droid figures with me I never gave a thought to bring my sandcrawler toy which would have been a good idea. Oh well! Furthermore I later noticed a mark on the camera lens which is now in a lot of my photos such as the one lower left which is a match-up of the screenshot above it.

   

Luke gets called by Aunt Beru on 17 mins as we see the Lars Homestead exterior for the first time which is in Chott el Djerid near Nefta but the next shots of him looking down into the underground home (below) were shot 300km away in Matmata.

     

However, one of the first time we were supposed to see Luke Skywalker were of him watching the ongoing battle in orbit between the Star Destroyer and Princess Leia’s blockade runner. He then takes his land speeder to Tosche station to tell his friends about it but by the time they go outside to look at it it’s all over and they think Luke was just making it all up. This scene was shot in the north-west of Djerba in Tunisia and ended up on the cutting room floor but appears in deleted scenes on the blu-ray.

One of the most famous scenes shot at Hotel Sidi Driss (a.k.a. The Lars Homestead) in Matmata is the dining room scene on 23 mins (below left) where Luke drinks blue milk and chats to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Its a new day on 27 mins as Uncle Owen walks through the courtyard of the hotel which was used in ‘Episode II: Attack of the Clones’ 25 years later.

        

Desolation Canyon in Death Valley appears again (above right) on 28 mins and its this place where the Bantha (a large native Tatooine animal with a long furry tail) filming took place which was basically just an African elephant in a costume! As the name implies this place was completely desolate and yes I did strip off for a photo which can be seenhere but the one on this page is a far more modest one.

Obi-wans house only appears on the original cut of the movie (below left) and not the special editions which I’ve been using the time codes of. It appears on 32 mins for a brief second. It can be easily found on the west coast of Djerba in Tunisia. George Lucas shot it at a low angle to make it look like it was in the middle of nowhere so its quite a surprise to find it next to the sea.

 

On 42 mins we see Ben Kenobi showing Mos Eisley. The lookout is at Sidi Bouhlel in Tozeur but the view we see is in Death Valley of Dante’s Peak which, unlike most Star Wars locations, is actually a major sightseeing attraction by its own right. It’s where Ben famously introduces Luke Skywalker to Mos Eisley spaceport by telling him ”You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy“. The screenshot is below rightwith my shot beneath it and the views were naturally way more impressive than what was described by Ben Kenobi.

  

Droids aren’t allowed in the Cantina bar so on 47 mins we see R2D2 and C3P0 waiting  outside it moments after Obi-Wan cut someones arm off and met Chewbacca. On 52 mins C3P0 is seen at the door of the cantina but in reality there never was a door for the building was given a fake entry during filming in 1976.

   

Aboard the Millennium Falcon we see the chess table on 55 mins (and again on 93 mins) as they escape with new pilot Han solo from the stormtroopers. Of course my photo on the Millennium Falcon is a set prop specially constructed for photo opportunities at the Star Wars Celebration Japan event in 2008. The blast off alley can be found a few streets away from the Cantina in Ajim on the island of Djerba in Tunisia.

   

Its studio-set space scenes all the way from thereon until 105 mins when Tikal in Guatemala is shown a few times but as I haven’t been there (yet!) I will include my friend Chris’s photos from that place until I have my own ones to replace them. He was in Tikal a couple of years ago but had no idea that this played any part in the Star Wars saga.

    

*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Naboo (a.k.a. Como, Italy) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Naboo (a.k.a. Villa del Balbianello, Italy) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Naboo (a.k.a. Seville, Spain) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Naboo (a.k.a. Caserta, Italy) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Naboo (a.k.a. Watford, England) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Tatooine (a.k.a. Tozeur, Tunisia) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Tatooine (a.k.a. Matmata, Tunisia) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Tatooine (a.k.a. The Ksours, Tunisia) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Tatooine (a.k.a. Djerba, Tunisia) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Tatooine (a.k.a. Death Valley, USA) here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – The Phantom Menace Filming Locations here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Attack Of The Clones Filming Locations here
*** You can see Star Wars Traveller – Revenge Of The Sith Filming Locations here

‘Star Wars Episode III: ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ Filming Locations

Ok so this entry is pretty lame and not such a serious one but as today (19th May) is the 7th anniversary of ‘Revenge of the Sith‘ I thought I might as well follow up my articles on ‘The Phantom Menace‘ and ‘Attack of the Clones‘. So here goes with all that I’ve managed to cobble together regarding the final piece of the Star Wars jigsaw.

Whilst Episodes I and II were filmed both in the studio and on location the third and final part of the Star Wars saga was filmed almost entirely in the studio. That studio was Fox Studio’s Australia which is in Moore Park in Sydney which I went by in March when I was on holiday down under.

Obi-Wan Kenobi makes his first appearance in this film on 3 mins and here is a Pepsi promotional can I have with his face on it. I did warn you that this would be full of some tenuous links!

Plate shots of Guilin in China and Phuket in Thailand were used to make up Kashyyk; the planet where the wookies including Chewbacca live. It seems that there is no information on the internet about what parts of these places were shot though the mountains of Guilin can be made out around the 49 minute mark. Not sure what part of Phuket was used so here is a random photo of me somewhere in the Thai place!

The Rebel Blockade Runner spaceship a.k.a. the Tantive IV, which first appeared in ‘Episode IV: A New Hope‘, is back on our screens on 86, 90 and 130 mins. There is a set piece of this at the London Film Museum on Southbank next to the London Eye and it costs £7 per photo (two for £10) on top of the entrance fee. Richard Richard and I had no qualms about spending that money on the photos below.

     

Undoubtedly the icon of the Star Wars saga is Darth Vader and in the scheme of things he first appears in ‘Revenge of the Sith‘ after 127 mins. I have met the evil with lord on various occasions and in many guises but I have limited it to these pictures taken at Star Wars Celebration Japan in 2008.

Finally a proper location appears for the films climax on 132 mins as Padme’s twins are delivered to their new families with Obi-Wan arriving on Tatooine at the Lars Homestead exterior in Chott el Djerid, Nefta. This Tunisian location was of course used far more prominently in Episodes I, II and IV. The picture of me in front of the binary sunset is undoubtedly just me taken in front of a big picture at the aforementioned Star Wars Celebration Japan event. You don’t need to be a Jedi to work that one out!

    

After the film came out ‘The Art of Star Wars’ exhibition was around in Tokyo for a couple of months which I went to with fellow SW fan and rival blogger Gideon.

The final tenuous link in this ever-so-lame feature on ‘Revenge of the Sith‘ comes by way of this FunFax file which I picked up in a second hand book shop a few years after the film came out.