CommanderBond.net
  1. Bond's Journey Down The Thames, Part 1

    Author of James Bond's London Gary Giblin has been nice enough to create this exclusive report for CommanderBond.net on the filming of the Pre-Title Sequence in The World Is Not Enough. All of this material comes from James Bond's London, and as you'll read below, it has been shortened for Internet purposes. To read the full material which I do strongly advise, you'll have to get your hands on James Bond's London from Spy Guise.

    I'd like to thank Gary for all the help he has offered on the matter. Stay tuned for more exciting information on James Bond's London. I'd also like to thank David Williams from BondPix for supplying the photos for this article, it's greatly appreciated.

    Also stay tuned for Part 2 of this report, coming soon to CommanderBond.net.

    JAMES BOND’S LONDON

    Prepared especially for CommanderBond.net by Gary Giblin

    As a film location buff, especially a London film location buff, I was thrilled to learn in early 1999 that the British capital was to feature prominently in the opening of The World Is Not Enough. Fortunately, I had contacts at both the London Film Commission (which helped coordinate the shoot) and on the production itself, so I could accurately detail the film’s amazing pre-credit boat chase for the book James Bond's London. Here, exclusively for CommanderBond.net, I have excerpted portions of the book for readers who would like to retrace Bond’s hectic ride down the Thames, and through the city’s historic Docklands.

    Note that the book itself contains detailed directions to all sites.

    River Thames and TWINE Boat Chase Route

    Although generally thought of as “London’s river”, Britain’s longest and most famous waterway actually rises in the Cotswalds, Gloucestershire, and meanders eastward through six southern counties (and several Bond locations in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) before it finally reaches the North Sea some 210 miles later… The Thames is … shown in the films Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only and, most dramatically, in The World Is Not Enough. In the latter, the river provides the setting for the spectacular pre-credit boat chase, which begins at MI6 and Vauxhall Bridge, after Cigar Girl’s assassination of Sir Robert King and attempted assassination of Bond himself. Bond launches the new, but unfinished, Q Boat from the bomb-damaged Secret Service HQ, while Cigar Girl speeds off in the sleek Sunseeker Hawk 34, customized with a one-of-a-kind machine gun and mortar-launchers. The two boats pass a number of riparian landmarks at a relatively leisurely pace, including: the Tate Gallery, MI5, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge and Victoria Embankment. Then, in rapid sequence, the chase encompasses Hungerford Bridge (23:1), TS Queen Mary, Waterloo Bridge, Waterloo Pier, Tower Bridge and St Saviour’s Dock. From here the action continues out of the river itself, first in Docklands, East London (Millwall Docks, Royal Victoria Dock, West India Docks and Tobacco Dock), then at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. Bond finally returns to the Thames at Trinity Buoy Wharf, then follows Cigar Girl to the Millennium Dome in Greenwich for the explosive climax of the sequence.

    MI6 (1994-present)
    Vauxhall Cross
    85 Albert Embankment, SE1

    … This “theatrically ominous” post-modern marvel, designed by Terry Farrell and said to have cost nearly $500,000,000, has been described as everything from an “architectural landmark” to a gaudy “Aztec or Mayan temple”. Either way, Vauxhall Cross is hard to miss… The striking green and beige-colored exterior … appears briefly in the film GoldenEye (the first time that the location of James Bond’s Secret Service coincided with that of the actual Secret Service), as well as in the pre-credit sequence of The World Is Not Enough. In the former, the shot is from Vauxhall Bridge, in the latter from Millbank, on the other side of the river. A red double-decker bus–the sine qua non of London establishing shots–crosses the bridge on both occasions. Later TWINE shots–of the explosion and Q Boat launch–utilized John Richardson’s magnificent quarter-scale replica, which at over 80 feet in length can scarcely be called a “miniature’! The dozen or so interiors, including M’s and Moneypenny’s offices, “Q Division” [sic], the security area and several corridors, were, of course, designed by Peter Lamont and built at Pinewood Studios (JBB).

    Westminster Bridge
    SW1, SE1

    This extra-wide cast-iron structure (its 84-ft width was considered exceptional at the time) may be seen in the establishing shot of the Houses of Parliament (27:18) in Goldfinger; when Bond’s helicopter passes the Houses of Parliament in the For Your Eyes Only pre-credit sequence; and as Bond overtakes Cigar Girl at–where else?–the Houses of Parliament in the TWINE boat chase. (Look for several shots of the bridge’s light green arches in the latter.) It is, without a doubt, the best place in London from which to view the Palace of Westminster.

    Hungerford Bridge
    WC2, SE1

    The Hungerford, also known as the Charing Cross Railway Bridge, marks the turning point of the Thames (see Charing Cross Station), and may be spotted as the top-most of the three bridges in the magnificent aerial shot near the beginning of the TWINE boat chase. It also marks the spot where Cigar Girl swerves to cut off Bond, splashes him and ends up crashing into Waterloo Pier, which is in fact located next to Waterloo Bridge, not Hungerford Bridge. This sequence occurs immediately after the pair pass beneath Westminster Bridge, which is, in fact, more than a quarter of a mile upriver. Those boats really do travel fast! See the next entry for the “missing” Queen Mary footage, which would have “linked” the bits at Hungerford and Waterloo Bridges.

    TS Queen Mary

    Victoria Embankment, WC2

    Commissioned as a Scottish pleasure steamer in 1933, TS Queen Mary was converted to a restaurant and conference center in the 1980s. The ship, along with a number of other Thames-side landmarks, was to have been featured in the pre-credit sequence of The World Is Not Enough. Specifically, after being cut off by Cigar Girl at Hungerford Bridge, Bond was to have maneuvered the tiny Q Boat past Cleopatra’s Needle and then through the narrow gap between the Queen Mary and Victoria Embankment, emerging unscathed on the other side of Waterloo Bridge. Though actually staged and filmed, this sequence was ultimately cut for time. Thus, in the finished film, the action skips immediately from the Hungerford to the Waterloo Pier bit. However, if you look closely, you can spot the Queen Mary in the background, under Waterloo Bridge, as Cigar Girl smashes into the pier.

    Waterloo Bridge

    WC2, SE1

    Waterloo Bridge is a great place from which to view the heart of London, with the Houses of Parliament just upriver, and the City just downriver. It is also a good place from which to survey both the TS Queen Mary and Waterloo Pier, two locales featured in the TWINE pre-credit boat chase. Waterloo Bridge itself provides a nice punctuation mark for the scene, as Cigar Girl smashes through the nearby floating shelter (see the next entry) with one of the bridge’s massive piers in the background. The high angle shot of the boats continuing downriver was taken from the bridge itself.

    Waterloo Pier
    Victoria Embankment, WC2

    Until November 1998, this was one of only two floating police stations in the world, the other being in Hong Kong. Waterloo Pier now serves as a mooring point and rest stop for the patrol craft of the Thames Division of the Metropolitan Police Service, whose headquarters is in Wapping High Street. In April 1999, the Met kindly obliged when the makers of The World Is Not Enough wanted to destroy the pier for the film’s pre-credit boat chase. In fact, what Cigar Girl’s Sunseeker smashed through was a small, breakaway “shelter” that the filmmakers added just for the occasion. To ensure that the wood, glass and polystyrene building disintegrated on cue, small explosive charges were placed beneath the windows and detonated at the moment of the boat’s impact. Supervising art director Neil Lamont explained that the original choice for this stunt was Charing Cross Pier, just upriver. However, when he and location manager Richard Sharkey went there on a recce, they happened to spot the Queen Mary and Waterloo Pier just downriver, and decided that the juxtaposition of the ship, bridge and pier might make for a more interesting set-up. Second-unit director Vic Armstrong agreed and the stunt was subsequently staged at the new location.

    Unfortunately, as noted in previous entries, much of this sequence ended up on the cutting room floor. Also shot here at the Waterloo Pier location was The Golden Salamander tourist boat, which pulled away just as Cigar Girl smashed into the pier. This bit, too, was deleted.

    That's all from Part 1 so look out for Part 2, coming soon! In Part 2 Gary will take us to St Saviour’s Dock, Millwall Docks, Royal Victoria Dock, West India Docks, Canary Wharf, Blackwall Basin, Tobacco Dock, Trinity Buoy Wharf and finally to The Millennium Dome where the Pre-Title Sequence from The World Is Not Enough climaxed!

    And don't forget, for the ultimate guide to the TWINE Pre-Title Sequence or many other Bond related locations from James Bond stop by Spy Guise and check out Gary Giblin’s James Bond's London.

    daniel @ 2001-12-23