Never Say Never Again | 1983
Amid a mess of copyright wrangles, the rights to Ian Fleming’s Thunderball suddenly became available and this ‘remake’ with Sean Connery went head to head with ‘official’ Bond movie Octopussy and Roger Moore’s 007. Amazingly, despite NSNA’s top-drawer cast, the below-par Octopussy won out.
‘Shrublands’, the health club to which Bond is sent by M (Edward Fox) to eliminate ‘free radicals’, is Luton Hoo, Hotel, Golf and Spa, near Luton in Bedfordshire. In its days as a stately home, it hosted loads of films, including Eyes Wide Shut, Pink Panther sequel A Shot in the Dark, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Wilde.
The ‘Flying Saucer’ yacht of Maximilian Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer) is the 300-foot Nabila, which belonged to Adnan Khashoggi but went on to become the property of Donald Trump – renamed the Trump Princess.
The motorbike chase was shot in the narrow streets of Villefranche-sur-Mer, a picturesque old fishing port east of Nice on the Côte d’Azur in the South of France. This apparently quiet village seems a dangerous place to cross the road – it was also the site of car chases in Ronin and Jean Claude Van Damme 1996 actioner Maximum Risk.
The 3-D Domination game between Bond and Largo was filmed in the French Rococo room of Waddesdon Manor, English home of the Rothschild family, seen also in Carry On – Don’t Lose Your Head and Isadora, and more recently in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows and as 'Buckingham Palace' in The Queen, with Helen Mirren. It’s at the west end of Waddesdon village, six miles northwest of Aylesbury on the A41, in Buckinghamshire, and it’s open to the public.
A 110-foot freighter was scuppered for the movie on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, at Clifton Wall on the south side.
The hotel where Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera) attempts to blow up Bond is the expensive, and revamped, British Colonial Hilton Nassau, 1 Bay Street at Marlborough Street west of Nassau Harbour, a 1923 Spanish-American style affair built on the site of the 17th century Fort Nassau. Bond walks through the Straw Market in Nassau, and the outdoor bar is on Nassau Dock.
Largo’s ‘Palmyra’ fortress (in Thunderball, it was on New Providence Island in the Bahamas) is the disused, star-shaped 16th-century Fort Carré d’Antibes, Route du Bord du Mer, north of the harbour at Antibes on the Côte d’Azur. The Fort, built on a rock 26m above the sea level on the peninsula of Saint-Roch, was built for King Henry II of France in the second half of the 16th Century, and later improved by Vauban, Marshal of France and the foremost military engineer of his age. It was used as a sentry post for the nearby border with the County of Nice – which used to be hostile.