Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Vienna, Austria


   
The fifteenth James Bond film, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, was made at the end of the Cold War and tells of KGB officer General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) defecting to the West. James Bond (Timothy Dalton) is assigned to aid the general and discovers that the young female cellist Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo) acts as a sniper.
   
Maria-Theresien-Platz, Vienna, 12 July 2014
On 5 October 1986 the main players were introduced to the press in Vienna where filming on location was done for the next two weeks. Because it was not possible in 1986 to film a Western spy movie in an Eastern bloc country - especially not a James Bond movie - Vienna was also used to stand in for the city of Bratislava, at that time part of Czechoslovakia and currently the capitol of Slovakia. Not a strange choice considering that Vienna and Bratislava are less than 80 kilometres apart from each other.
    
After the opening credits James Bond and his ally Saunders (Thomas Wheatley) visit a concert also attended by general Koskov. Above the entrance it says ‘Ľudové konzervatorium’ (‘People's Conservatory’), but in real life it is the Volksoper at the Währinger Straße 78. This opera building is easy to visit by means of the nearby metro station Währinger Straße-Volksoper. The building opened its doors in 1898 as Kaiserjubiläums-Stadttheater-Verein to commemorate the 50 year reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
The screenshots by night have been brightened for a better view, the Volksoper is also shown during daylight further on in the movie.

The Living Daylights, 0:13:54
Volksoper, Vienna, 13 July 2014
The Living Daylights, 0:13:57
Volksoper, Vienna, 13 July 2014
The Living Daylights, 0:34:10
Volksoper, Vienna, 13 July 2014

During the intermission of the concert the British spies cross the street to what seems to be an office of the communist party KSS, with the hammer and sickle on the balcony and the sign ‘KSS Agitačné Stredisko’ (‘KSS Agitation Centre’) above the door, but turns out to be a MI6 safe house. In reality a candy shop is located on the corner. It was closed when we visited but during opening hours a few photos from the movie are on display in the window. The building itself has been painted bright yellow since filming was done.

The Living Daylights, 0:11:41
Währinger Straße, Vienna, 13 July 2014
The Living Daylights, 0:11:44
Währinger Straße, Vienna, 13 July 2014
The Living Daylights, 0:11:46
Währinger Straße, Vienna, 13 July 2014

When James Bond and Kara finally arrive in Vienna the famous Giant Ferris Wheel can be seen in the background. At night they make a ride in the wheel that is also featured in The Third Man. The line "Ein balloon mein herr?" spoken by Necros (Andreas Wisniewski) is a direct reference to this film classic.

The Living Daylights, 0:52:33
Giant Ferris Wheel, Vienna, 12 July 2014
The Living Daylights, 1:01:13
Giant Ferris Wheel, Vienna, 12 July 2014

Earlier that day James Bond and Kara have made a ride through Vienna in a horse carriage, crossing the Maria-Theresien-Platz. On this square are the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History) and the Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History), two almost identical buildings. They pass the monument for Empress Maria Theresa from 1888, but since her statue is on top only the statue of one the four horsemen, the Austrian general Gideon Ernst von Laudon, can be seen. In the background the Hofburg Palace is visible, until 1918 home of the Habsburg dynasty of which Maria Theresa was a member.

The Living Daylights, 0:52:42
Maria-Theresien-Platz, Vienna, 12 July 2014

The horse carriage also goes to the Schönbrunn Palace and passes the back side where an orchestra is playing on top of the steps and a waltz is being danced. In the background the Neptune fountain and, on the hill, the Gloriette pavillion can be seen. During the end credits the front side of the palace is seen by night as well as the fountain dating from 1776 personifying the regions Galicia (Poland), Volhynia (Ukraine) and Transylvania (Romenia).
Both the palace and the gardens of Schönbrunn are open to the public.

The Living Daylights, 0:53:30
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, 10 July 2014
The Living Daylights, 0:54:03
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, 10 July 2014
The Living Daylights, 2:08:15
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, 10 July 2014

Screenshots © EON Productions