Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Tokyo, Japan


     
The film YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is almost completely set in Japan. James Bond (Sean Connery) arrives on a secret mission to investigate the hijacking of an American spacecraft. The tracks lead him from Hong Kong to the Japanese capital Tokyo.

You Only Live Twice, 0:15:26
Filming took place nearly 50 years ago, between July 1966 and March 1967 to be precisely. Most streets with their neon adverts have changed beyond recognition and the arena where the sumo wrestling match is held has been replaced with a new building. The remaining locations in Tokyo are easy to find and have hardly changed since the movie was shot here.

During a visit to a sumo wrestling match James Bond meets secret agent Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) who introduces him to Dikko Henderson (Charles Gray), an agent of MI6. Before Henderson is able to tell what he knows he is being stabbed and James Bond goes after his killer. This nightly chase was filmed in the gardens of hotel The New Otani, which are open to the public for free. Because of the expansion of the hotel the gardens were redesigned in the ‘80s. A waterfall was added and there are less lawns but a few elements have remained. The statues of the two deer that can be seen when James Bond captures the killer are now placed next to a small restaurant, a bit hidden.

You Only Live Twice, 0:22:56
The New Otani gardens, Tokyo, 4 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:23:11
The New Otani gardens, Tokyo, 4 December 2014

When James Bond notices a getaway car waiting he disguises himself as the killer, acts as if he is wounded and enters the backseat. The stairs and the parking lot have been renewed but can still be recognized, although the stairs may have been moved.

You Only Live Twice, 0:23:14
The New Otani gardens, Tokyo, 4 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:23:53
The New Otani gardens, Tokyo, 4 December 2014

The gardens can again be seen briefly when the story is situated at Himeji castle in Hyōgo. This wooden castle is the location where James Bond receives his ninja training. Because the building was accidently damaged by a stuntman, permission to film was revoked. The scene with a member of SPECTRE attacking James Bond was completed in the gardens of The New Otani, that are much greener than those of castle Himeji.

You Only Live Twice, 1:17:00
The New Otani gardens, Tokyo, 4 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 1:17:16
The New Otani gardens, Tokyo, 4 December 2014


Hotel The New Otani, Tokyo, 4 December 2014
The car takes James Bond to Osata Chemicals, the company responsible for the theft of the spacecraft. In reality this is The New Otani hotel itself, which opened its doors in 1964. On top of the building is a revolving restaurant. In the film The New Otani is seen several times, first at night, then at daytime. The luxurious hotel was expanded several times with additional buildings. The fountain near the entrance has disappeared, it is now a small park.

You Only Live Twice, 0:36:17
Hotel The New Otani, Tokyo, 4 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:36:19
Hotel The New Otani, Tokyo, 4 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:36:24
Hotel The New Otani, Tokyo, 4 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:36:30
Hotel The New Otani, Tokyo, 4 December 2014

With the help of Aki James Bond escapes the building of Osata Chemicals when his identity is being discovered. She stops her car at a secluded metro station. When she enters James Bond follows her inside. These scenes were filmed at Nakano-shimbashi, a metro station that is part of the Marunouchiline. It was opened in 1961 and still functions as a station. The platforms have now safety fences. The warning signs that read (in Japanese) ‘Danger - do not try to cross the tracks’ are still present. During our visit renovation of the station had just started.

You Only Live Twice, 0:28:41
Metro station Nakano-shimbashi, Tokyo, 11 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:28:42
Metro station Nakano-shimbashi, Tokyo, 11 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:28:54
Metro station Nakano-shimbashi, Tokyo, 11 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:28:56
Metro station Nakano-shimbashi, Tokyo, 11 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:28:59
Metro station Nakano-shimbashi, Tokyo, 11 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:31:35
Metro station Nakano-shimbashi, Tokyo, 11 December 2014

When they are being chased by assassins hired by Osata (Teru Shimada), James Bond and Aki drive along the Yoyogi National Stadium that was built for the Olympic Games of 1964. The building is difficult to see from the road because of the many trees that since have been planted.

You Only Live Twice, 0:42:09
Yoyogi National Stadium, Tokyo, 10 December 2014

The assassins themselves are being chased by a helicopter with a magnetic grab. Their car is being lifted and dumped in the harbour area of Tokyo. The helicopter passes Tokyo Tower, an orange-white replica of the Eiffel Tower built in 1958. Since filming the harbour has been filled with buildings.

You Only Live Twice, 0:43:07
Tokyo, 5 December 2014
You Only Live Twice, 0:43:24
Tokyo, 5 December 2014
Thanks to Martijn Mulder and Dirk Kloosterboer, authors of the book On the tracks of 007: A field guide to the exotic James Bond filming locations around the world. Order the book here.

Screenshots © EON Productions

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

     
In the first scenes of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE the murder and funeral of James Bond (Sean Connery) is being staged. He is buried at sea, but when his body is at the bottom of the sea it is being taken by divers to a submarine. As it turns out, James Bond is unharmed and was able to breathe with an oxygen cilinder. These scenes are seen before and after the opening credits and are both situated in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, 4 November 2012
During the location shoot in 1966 Hong Kong was a British colony, since 1 July 1997 it is a special region within China. The centre is Victoria Harbour with Kowloon Peninsula on the one side and Hongkong Island on the other side. The island can be reached by subway or by ferry. The junks are a popular tourist attraction. The red seals form a sharp contrast with the city in the background, looking grey because of the smog.

Since the 1960’s the skyline of Hong Kong has changed drastically. Only the mountains in the background reveal that it is the same location. The 2012 photos were taken at the beginning of the evening. The tall building is the Two International Financial Centre, 415 meters high and the second tallest building in Hong Kong.

You Only Live Twice, 0:08:55
Hongkong Island, 4 November 2012
You Only Live Twice, 0:09:03
Hongkong Island, 4 November 2012



The skyline of Hongkong Island is seen again in DIE ANOTHER DAY when James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) escapes from the ship where he is being held captive by MI6, his own organization. He goes to the Kowloon Peninsula and walks to his usual hotel. These scenes where all filmed in England, on 8 July 2002.

Bank of China, 8 November 2012
The most recognizable building is the Bank of China. This skyscraper was designed by the Chinese architect Ming Pei and opened its doors on 17 May 1990. Back then the bank was the highest building of Asia, nowadays it does not even belong to the ten tallest structures. The facade is made up of triangular shapes that are being illuminated at night, still making the office building stand out from the surrounding buildings.

On the 43th floor is an observation deck which is open to the public. Every night at eight o’clock a spectacular lightshow is presented involving almost every building in the harbour. In the ten years that have passed since the movie was made, the skyline has changed again. Because space in Hong Kong is very valuable, buildings are still being demolished and replaced by offices and hotels that are higher than its predecessor.

Die Another Day, 0:25:29
Hongkong Island, 1 november 2012
Die Another Day, 0:25:42
Hongkong Island, 1 november 2012
Screenshots © EON Productions