Casino Royale| 2006
One Bond tradition unchanged is the globetrotting plot and, once again, it's more deceptive than at first sight. There’s no ‘Madagascar’ and there’s no ‘Miami’. And no ‘Montenegro’. Most of the film was shot in the Czech Republic (with sets at Prague's famous Barrandov Studios) and the inevitable Bahamas.
The opening b/w sequence, in which Bond earns his licence to kill by – erm – killing, is honest enough. The office block is Danube House, Karolinská 650/1, a brand new office in the River City Prague complex on the banks of the Vltava River, in the Karlin district of Prague. You probably won't recognise this, but the same building went on to become the 'DeCobray Laboratories' in Stephen Sommers' G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra in 2009.
But the money deal of Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) in the rebel camp in 'Mbale, Uganda' is a little closer to Bond's traditional Pinewood Studios home. Not Africa, but the English Home Counties. Black Park, alongside the studios in Buckinghamshire, familiar as an 007 location since Goldfinger and often standing in for 'Transylvania' in many a Hammer pic.
It's a bit further from home for 'Madagascar', where Bond chases bomb-maker Mollaka from a snake-mongoose fight to the 'Nambutu Embassy'. The sunnier locations were found in another favourite Bond hangout, Nassau in the Bahamas. The construction site was an abandoned hotel site at Coral Harbour on New Providence Island that was under construction 30 years ago. It was used to film hotel rooms for the 1965 movie Thunderball and it was also used for 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me as a camera platform, with models and workshops. It is now part of a military base.
The book lined lobby is the Philosophical Hall in the famed Library of Prague's Strahov Monastery, Strahovské nádvorí 1/132. You can visit the historic library, which is open daily (admission charge). The same hall appears as the library inin Albert and Allen Hughes's From Hell, with Johnny Depp, while other parts of the library have previously appeared in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Dungeons and Dragons.
A little more honesty now as Bond hares off to Nassau for real. His laptop shows an accurate map of Paradise Island – a smart change of name for this one-time Thunderball location – which was once called Hog Island.
Bond gets an ocean-view villa (Villa 1085, if you want to stay Bond-style) at the luxurious One and Only Ocean Club (not too bad for a moment's notice). You'll find the resort, which opened as a hotel in 1962, on the eastern end of the island, across from Nassau Harbour. On his way to the poker game with Dimitrios (in the hotel's lobby), Bond passes through the Versailles Gardens, inspired by those of the Chateau de Versailles.
Although Bond is informed that the home of Dimitrios, owner of the smart 1964 Aston Martin, is “just up the beach” – it isn't. The minor villain's seafront property is the Albany Golf and Beach Club, a private luxury resort across New Providence Island, down on the southwest tip, part-owned by the probably un-villainous golfer Tiger Woods. This is where Bond emerges, Andress-style, from the sea.
Bond follows the ‘Ellipsis’ trail to 'Miami'. Well, no. The 'Miami' airport is Václav Havel Airport Prague (formerly Ruzyne Airport), the city's international airport, 17km to the northwest of the city. The runways, on which Bond saves the gigantic Skyfleet prototype from a bomb attack, however, is Dunsfold Aerodrome, near Guildford in Surrey.
And the 'Miami Body Worlds' exhibition? Not Florida, but Prague again. The exterior is the Ministry of Transport (Ministerstvo Dopravy Ceské Republiky), Nábrezí Ludvíka Svobody 1222 Praha 1, in Nové Mësto; while the interior is the National Monument, in Vitkov Park, on the hill between Zizkov and Karlin. Their are great views from the hill, and the monument is occasionally open for events. Coincidentally, both of these locations were previously featured in Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy.
Now it's off to ‘Montenegro’. The ‘Hotel Splendide’, into which Bond and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) check, can be found in the town of Karlovy Vary in Bohemia, west Czech Republic. It's the Grandhotel Pupp, Mírové námesti 2, 360 91 Karlovy Vary. This is also the hotel in which Queen Latifah thought she was spending her Last Holiday in 2006. Its design also inspired the look of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
‘Casino Royale’ itself is the old Kaiserbad Spa in the town. The picturesque town square in which Bond meets his contact Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), is the town of Loket.
The lakeside sanatorium at which Bond recovers, after having his itch scratched by Le Chiffre, may be familiar to movie fans. It's Villa del Balbianello, near the village of Lenno, about 15 miles north of Como on Lake Como's western shore. The villa, standing on the tip of a steep, wooded promontory, was the ‘Lake Country’ retreat in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
Bond and Vesper head to Venice, sailing their yacht along the Canal Grande between the Accademia and Rialto bridges. But even this is not so simple as it seems. You won't be able to stay at the venerable luxury hotel with its spectacular view of Piazza San Marco. You might recognise the hotel's grand lobby as the site of the disastrous operation at the beginning of Brian de Palma's Mission Impossible. It's Prague's Národní Muzeum, Natural History Museum, Václavské nám 68, on Wenceslas Square.
The palazzo which appears to collapse into the water, is on Venice's Canal Grande opposite the Rialto's vegetable market. Don't worry – it's still there. Its spectacular demise was, of course, reconstructed in the studio, on the 007 Stage at Pinewood in the UK.
Finally, the villa to which Bond traces the mysterious Mr White, is back on Lake Como. It's the 1920s faux-Medieval Villa La Gaeta, a private villa at Sant'Abbondio, on the edge of the lake in the shadow of the Bregagno, it is the mouth of the Val Senagra, a protected wildlife area still inhabited by deer.