When M gives James Bond the
mission of intercepting a diamond heist, the spy protests, “But surely, sir,
there’s no need to bring in our section for a relatively simple smuggling
matter.” Little does Bond know that this “simple smuggling matter” will involve
super villain clones, the threat of mass destruction and a giant
diamond-powered laser -- all against the backdrop of the Nevada desert. Would 007
fans expect any less?
film Diamonds are Forever saw Sean Connery return to his role as the
international spy with a license to kill, a part he walked away from four years
prior (after having completed five films for the series). “Bond is back!” the
movie posters trumpeted -- to the considerable excitement of the many fanatics
who felt strongly that Connery was always the best man for the job.
are Forever, the actor’s illustrious return takes him to two dens of debauchery:
Amsterdam and Las Vegas. From the glistening canals of the former to the
shimmering lights of the latter, these locations fit the film like a glove.
his mission in Amsterdam, where the picturesque River Amstel
reveals the dead body of an elderly missionary from South Africa who was involved
in the diamond smuggling ring. Visitors can enjoy the river via canoe, kayak or
powerboat, or bike or hike the surrounding countryside, where 17th-century
houses dot the green landscape. For a room with a view of the canal, the Amstel Canal House offers cosy
accommodations with a modern aesthetic in the heart of the city.
We meet the
first Bond girl of the film (in various states of undress) in her apartment,
located at Reguliersgracht 36 on the third floor. After you snap a few shots of
the building, which appears more or less unchanged since the movie was shot,
head across the street to Barney’s Lounge for the full Amsterdam experience. Located
in a 500-year-old building, this stylish coffee shop features a chic interior and
a different DJ nearly every night.
Posing as a diamond
smuggler, Bond visits the Slumber Mortuary, a fictional Las Vegas-area morgue that
serves as the criminal operation’s front business, where the bad guys plan to
burn Bond alive in a crematorium. Just as the flames begin to engulf our woeful
hero, the henchmen discover that the diamonds he gave them are fakes, and they
are forced to open the chamber in order to find out where the real ones are. Exteriors for the scene were shot at the Palm Boulder Highway Mortuary and
Henderson, about 15 miles outside of Las Vegas. According to the Internet Movie Database, some parts of this
sequence were shot around the Las Vegas Visitors Bureau, today the Las
Vegas Visitors Information Center -- a great place to find out about shows and events taking place in
Much of the
film Diamonds are Forever takes place in the ever-shiny Sin City, with a heavy
focus on the glitzy hotels and casinos that Bond and Bond fans have come to
know and love. Several of the iconic hotels featured in the movie have long
since closed, including the Sands Hotel, the Dunes, the Landmark, the Mint and
the International Hotel, which plays the part of the Whyte House, home to
millionaire Willard Whyte (who ultimately helps Bond foil the evil plot of his
arch nemesis, Blofeld). The International, Sin
City’s first megaresort,
had only been open for about two years when the movie was released. The
property today is a new hotel, the Las Vegas
Hotel and Casino.
around today, though, are the Riviera Hotel and Casino -- where another Bond girl,
the none-too-bright Plenty O’Toole gets thrown out of a window several stories
up -- and the Tropicana, where Bond stays.
For a mere
$6,800, you and your favourite Bond girl (or guy) can experience Las Vegas in much
the same manner as 007 might with the Secret Agent 702 Tour. The trip includes a private
helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon (complete with Champagne for two, of
course), a 3,800ft zipline adventure, the chance to race Ferraris on the Las
Vegas Motor Speedway
and a stay in the boutique hotel on the top floor of the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, HOTEL32.
The big car
chase in Diamonds Are Forever sees Bond screeching through downtown Las Vegas along Fremont Street
in a red Ford Mustang. In another major action sequence, Bond steals a “moon
buggy” machine from Whyte’s laboratories for a medium-speed chase across
the Nevada desert. The Mojave Desert and the Black Rock Desert are both
featured in the film, the latter known in recent years for being the site of
the annual Burning Man festival, a week-long event during which
thousands of people camp out in the desert with the goal of creating a
temporary city based on principles of community and self reliance. Burning Man
2013 will take place 26 August through 2 September.
Diamonds are Forever may have boosted the visibility of certain products --
diamonds for the movie came from the David Morris brand and the cars used were
primarily Ford -- it was Nevada itself that received the utmost promotion.
After all, who better to bring to life the state’s sprawling desert landscape
and hedonistic crown jewel than Bond, James Bond?