All Bond directors are indebted to Ian Fleming for having had more than a passing interest in travel ( vide THRILLING CITIES, 1959 ) and allowing us to roam the world filming his stories, always set in exotic locations. All the more exotic because in the 1960’s package tours and economy airlines had yet to appear and only a ticket to a Bond movie could take you to these exciting places.
James Bond always travels 1st Class, simply because Bond villains never reside in squalid or sordid settings – no, they inhabit the most exclusive hotels, the largest villa, a castle, yacht, plane. I even wanted a long, thin swimming pool that turned out to be in Mr Big’s personal Boeing 747 (Somebody thought that was silly).
Once the general outline of the plot had been agreed, the real hard work begins. To search high and low, far and wide for places and things that can be used in a Bondian way (in other words nobody else would ever think of using it that way) and incorporating these ideas into the script.
Fleming had set much of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER in Saratoga Springs in New York State which in prewar days had been a very smart centre for the horse racing community, gamblers, thieves and con men but had sadly fallen on hard times and out of fashion. Gambling, gangsters.. now where would you find that today? “Shall we have a look at Las Vegas.?”
Knowing my fondness for jazz, writer Tom Mankiewicz suggested a New Orleans jazz funeral.
“Great..but what else is there in New Orleans?”
“Bayous..how about a motor boat chase in the bayous. It would be even better if the boat could jump the levee.. Oh, look, there’s a crocodile farm.”
“How about marooning Bond on that little island and surrounding him with hungry crocs..? Great, but how does he get off? We’ll work that out later..we’ll think of something.”
Cubby Broccoli and I took a look at Lebanon, nice Casino but not much else.. Iran: a total washout, dreadful infrastructure, no place for a Bond unit. We moved on to Thailand and discovered Phuket and put that on the tourist map.
I just hope that the ON THE TRACKS OF 007 fans have as much fun as we did in hunting out our locations.. which are now yours.
Mallorca - June 2008