Thursday, 12 February 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

To investigate a worldwide network of diamond smugglers, James Bond (Sean Connery) travels to Amsterdam in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. He disguises himself as smuggler Peter Franks (Joe Robinson) and meets his contact Tiffany Case (Jill St. John). The visit of James Bond to the Netherlands is brief, in the film it lasts less than ten minutes.

Dutch newspaper Leidsch Dagblad, 7 July 1971
When the announcement was made in April 1971 that Amsterdam was chosen as a filming location, it made headlines in the Dutch press, also because Sean Connery would return as James Bond. He stayed at the Esso Motorhotel at the De Boelelaan, which today is a Holiday Inn. There were rumours that James Bond would fall into a canal during a fight and that Schiphol Airport was one of the locations but these were not true.

Filming was done in a single day, on 3 July 1971, finally a sunny day after days of rain. Besides a film crew of more than 50 persons from Great Britain 25 extras from the Netherlands were hired and a Dutch supervising producer by the name of Jos van Weeren. The shooting of an international movie production attracted a large crowd but people were disappointed because there was little action to see and no gun was fired.

Shooting started at one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions, de Magere Brug (’Skinny Bridge’). Just as a canal tour is passing, the body of Mrs. Whistler (Margaret Lacey) is being lifted out of the water. Stuntman Malcolm Weaver had to jump in the Amstel river four times and every time the boat had to go back and forth before director Guy Hamilton was satisfied. The bridge has hardly changed in the passing years but one of the historic houses, the third one from the left on the first picture, has been replaced by a new building.

Diamonds are Forever, 0:16:20
Amstel river, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Diamonds are Forever, 0:16:26
Magere Brug, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

Standing on the bridge are Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) and Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) who are responsible for the death of Mrs. Whistler. In the background James Bond arrives in Amsterdam in his yellow Triumph Stag.

Diamonds are Forever, 0:16:54
Magere Brug, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

Coming from the Keizersgracht, James Bond arrives at the Reguliersgracht and goes to number 36, the house where Tiffany Case lives. It is not known why this particular house was chosen, at the time it was property of the owner of the Amstel Hotel. It still looks much the same, only the white parts have been repainted. No filming was done inside the house, this was all done at the studio.

Diamonds are Forever, 0:17:07
Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Diamonds are Forever, 0:17:15
Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Diamonds are Forever, 0:17:21
Reguliersgracht number 36, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

At night the real Peter Franks makes a visit to the house. James Bond is standing in front of number 34. When we took a photo of this house, one of the students living there came outside to tell us we were photographing the wrong house, not knowing that his house can be glimpsed in the movie as well. It was already a student house during World War II and a commemorative stone in the wall reminds of the people who where hid there during the war.

Diamonds are Forever, 0:21:49
Reguliersgracht number 34, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

The Polygoonjournaal, a Dutch cinema newsreel, made a short report of the filming at the Magere Brug (Dutch spoken, no subtitles).

Another Dutch report on the film was made by Simon van Collem for his television programme Avroscoop, broadcasted on 20 December 1971. It was broadcasted again as ‘Bond in Amsterdam’ on 4 April 1992 when Diamond are Forever was first shown on Dutch television (Dutch or English spoken, Dutch subtitles).

Screenshots © EON Productions
News paper © Leidsch Dagblad

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