Hong Kong Filming Locations: James Bond

The Man With the Golden Gun‘ (1974) doesn’t follow the original novel too closely as that was set in Jamaica whereas the film is located in the Far East. It is a fairly entertaining story for a number of reasons; a great villain in the form of  Scaramanga; a classic henchman in the shape of psycho dwarf Nick Nack; a beautiful Bond girl and of course the exotic locations of Thailand, Macau and Hong Kong.

The Peninsula Hotel (below) on Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui is just a stones throw from the ferry terminal on Kowloon and it can be seen after 27 minutes.

     

I even went inside the hotel and took the elevator up to the top floor to see the very room which Roger Moore’s 007 entered with a bit of help from a staff member. In the film it is where Bond tracks down Scaramanga’s mistress Miss Andreas Anders’ who had been collecting gold bullets at a Macau casino room. It is room 602 (below) where he puts pressure on her to inform him of Scramanga’s appearance and plans.

 

Bottoms Up bar, which can be seen on 33 mins, is long gone from its location at 14 Hankow Road and whats in its place really wasn’t even worth a photo as the area is pretty much unrecognisable to that seen in the 1974 movie. Not surprising I guess as it has been nearly 40 years!

Another Hong Kong location from ‘The Man With The Golden Gun‘ is Dragon Garden on Castle Peak Road in the New Territories area. This played the part of Thai entrepreneur Hai Fat’s house where Bond pretends that he is Scaramanga. It is seen quite extensively from the 44 minute mark when Bonds plan backfires as Scramanga himself is already at the same house. Scarmanga’s lair on Ko Khao Phing Kan near Phuket can be seen here.

In ‘Die Another Day‘ (2002) Hong Kong island appears as Pierce Brosnan’s Bond escapes captivity, jumps into the Harbour and emerges at the Hong Kong Yacht Club (27 mins) which is located on the north side of the island. However, this was not all it seemed as it wasn’t Kowloon that could be seen in the background but Hong Kong island itself. Obviously this was all faked on a movie set and furthermore the shaggily unshaven 007 turns up at the Royal Rubyeon Hotel which doesn’t exist at all.

 

Tomorrow Never Dies‘ in 1997 brought about a different kind of Bond girl and I’m not talking about it being the first time the lady was Asian but that she was a girl with attitude and an ability to fight unlike the typical dolly-birds who had preceded Michelle Yeoh. There is a waxwork model of the Malaysian actress outside the entrance to Madame Tussauds Waxwork Museum at The Peak. Yeoh, who also starred in ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon‘ (2000) and ‘Memoirs of a Geisha‘ (2005) among others, has a star with her name and handprint on the Avenue of Stars along Hong Kong’s famous harbour front.

 

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Tokyo Filming Locations Pt I: You Only Live Twice

One of the first major international films to use Japan’s capital as a backdrop was the 1967 James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’ starring Sean Connery. Despite being killed off before Nancy Sinatra’s beautiful 007 theme kicks in its just a crafy strategy. Bond goes on a mission to Japan 16 minutes into the film starting at the sumo arena (more commonly known as Kokugikan) in Ryogoku. He enters the changing rooms where yokozuna (‘grand champion’) Sadanoyama Shinmatsu gives him his ticket and the match is between Kotozakura Masakatsu and Fujinishiki Takemitsu which he seemingly only watches for a few moments before leaving with Aki. The address is 1-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida-ku.

   

The New Otani Hotel at 4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku near Akasaka-Mitsuke station plays the part of Osato Chemicals exterior for a few brief moments after 24, 28, 36 and 41 minutes. Its small, but peaceful gardens round the back are worth a visit for anyone wishing to take a break from the concrete jungle.

 

 

Bond escapes Osata Chemicals in a car with the help of Aki who avoids his questions which makes him suspicious and she flees to a secluded subway station which is Nakano-Shimbashi on the Marunouchi Line (28 mins). This is the private transportation hub of Japanese secret service leader “Tiger” Tanaka who many years later appeared in Raymond Benson’s ‘The Man With The Red Tattoo’ book. Bond is hot on her trail and follows her down the steps seen below right and on to the platform which is obviously a bit different these days. Believe it or not taking such simple photos wasn’t quite so straightforward as when I was down the far end of the platform a member of staff came down to tell me not to take photos. I asked him why not a few times before giving up as people just don’t question rules in this country. He must have seen me on the CCTV cameras but thankfully I’d got my shot just before he intervened.

      

On yet another escape from Osata Chemicals, Bond and Aki drive by Yoyogi National Gymnasium (above right) on 42 mins. This escape leads them well away from Tokyo to the docks of Kobe where he tries to dodge SPECTRE agents. The photo below left was taken in Kobe Harbour in May and the red bridge in the background appears briefly before the exciting roof-top scene below right.

 

The helicoptor flight (54 mins) was filmed above Ebino in Miyazaki prefecture. Himeji castle appears after 69 mins and is under extensive reconstruction at the moment but luckily I captured it back in 2005. This white castle is the Ninja training school where Bond turns Japanese and the shots below all get a second or two of screen time!

     

After Aki meets her inevitable demise, Bond limbers up (76 mins) in the West Bailey. When I was in Himeji back in May I had only one screenshot with me and was most surprised to see that the stone statue thing behind Sean Connery was still knocking about. Needless to say I was the only person in the whole place who took an interest in this piece of concrete!

 

Kirishima National Park in Kagoshima (on Japan’s southern main island) is the extinct volcano which can be seen briefly on 87 mins with the interior of Bolfeld’s hideout filmed back in the UK at Pinewood studios.

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Las Vegas Filming Locations: James Bond

Las Vegas figured prominantly as Sean Connery returned to the 007 role in ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971) which is far from my favourite Bond film but it does happen to have the finest theme song accompanying it.

On his arrival in this glossy location Bond goes to Willard Whyte’s house which is the Las Vegas Hilton and is slightly off The Strip so we didn’t bother going there. Besides it was the interior of Riviera Hotel & Casino at 2901 Las Vegas Boulevard South which was used in the scene where Bond wins $50,000 and meets the opportunistic Plenty O’Toole before taking her up to his room where smugglers are waiting and throw her out the window. Bond say that its lucky there was a pool down below to which the classic reply comes in the form of “I didn’t know there was a pool there!”

   

Riviera Hotel & Casino also featured in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ (1998), ‘Casino’ (1995) and ‘Oceans 11’ (1960).

Its quite a walk up The Strip but we did go to Circus Circus at 2880 Las Vegas Boulevard South which the owner allowed to be used in the movie as he was a fan of the franchise. This is where Bond meets up with Tiffany Case wanting to retrieve the diamonds at its casino.

   

Bond himself stays at The Tropicana on 3801 Las Vegas Boulevard South and this fairly dull looking hotel (well compared to the others in Vegas its appearance is not so flamboyant!) was snapped from the window of our room at the MGM Grand.

For anyone wondering why the parking lot of The Mint (where the car chase took place) isn’t included here that is because it was actually filmed on the backlot at Universal Studios. Now you know!

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