Have tuxedo, will board private jet

21:53, Oct 30 2013
Bnod Landscape
PASSPORT TO PLEASURE: Olga Kurylenko and Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace.

He arrives blissfully jet lag free and ready for a fight, his dress unruffled from hours in the air and always unburdened by luggage.

He checks in at only the best hotels in town and beyond, has no difficulties gaining admittance to the most exclusive casinos and private clubs and has someone else always pick up the bill.

And, above all, he's more likely to cause a government travel warning than to consult one.

James Bond is the quintessentially sophisticated traveller we'd all (well, most of us) like to be, though perhaps sans the fisticuffs and the mandatory detention at the villain's lair.

Bond's frequent-flyer balance may remain, well, top secret, but you don't need to be a Q to know that 007 really gets around.

When asked in Thunderball, "What exactly do you do?", Bond replies, "Oh, I travel ... a sort of licensed troubleshooter."


Now, proving that we can never get enough of Ian Fleming's creation, even between films, a new exhibition, Designing 007 - Fifty Years of Bond, is about to open at the Melbourne Museum on November 1, which features more than 400 objects from the series.

It's all there on display: the rare costumes, atmospheric sets, iconic gadgets and original photographs, concept drawings and, yes, even a section devoted to Bond's travels.

There are the steel teeth worn by Richard "Jaws" Kiel in The Spy Who Loved Me (locations: Austria, Scotland and Egypt); the poker table in Casino Royale (locations: Iceland, Czech Republic, Uganda, Madagascar, Bahamas, US, Montenegro and Italy); and the attache case in From Russia With Love (locations: Britain, Croatia and Serbia, Turkey and Italy).

It all goes to prove that without the backdrop of the world's most exotic locations, James Bond, what with all those gadgets and girls, could be in danger of being rendered merely a geek and, well, a bit of a sleaze.

Designing 007 - Fifty Years of Bond, which finally makes its way to Australia after having been originally staged at London's Barbican Centre last year, features a section called Foreign Territories, which examines Bond's peripatetic ways.

Escapism is the essence of every Bond film even though Skyfall, the latest instalment in the series, was focused on home turf in London and Scotland with Shanghai, Macau and Turkey the only foreign locations (Turkey, primarily mysterious Istanbul, has been a popular 007 destination having also featured in To Russia With Love and The World is Not Enough).

But when 007's travel budget doesn't stretch far enough, there have always been the back-lots of Pinewood Studios in London, in which locations as diverse as St Petersburg and Jamaica, home to Goldeneye, Bond author Fleming's beloved Caribbean estate, have been recreated.

Of course, GoldenEye was the title of a Bond film which features locations such as England, France, St Petersburg and Puerto Rico. The 24th as yet unnamed and unshot film in the Bond franchise is set to be released in 2015, with Daniel Craig appearing for the fourth time.

Irish private eyes are smiling at the news that Ireland may be a location in the next film after hints by the series producers they were scouting locations there.

Bronwyn Cosgrave, a Canadian-born, New York-based fashion historian who is a guest co-curator of the Designing 007 - Fifty Years of Bond exhibition, agrees the locations are as much integral characters in the films as any of the celebrated villains, who in turn can be found in their own locations such as in the deserted ruins of Japan's Hashima Island in Skyfall or a villa in the Bahamas with a shark-infested swimming pool in Thunderball.

What makes the films exciting is that Bond is always in a crisis somewhere, says Cosgrave.

Cosgrave, who describes Bond as "incredibly cosmopolitan", notes that 007 has a tendency to get lost and, in a telling sign of a consummate traveller, is not afraid to do so. And he doesn't really have a home since the world is his address.

"Ian Fleming wrote the Bond novels to allow the everyday post-war man in England to travel from his armchair," she says. "Before the scripts based on Fleming's books were written, the film producers would go location scouting and then, when the books ran out, they needed to find ever exciting locations, even going as far as the moon [in Moonraker starring Roger Moore]."

Although he never visits anywhere as a tourist, unless incognito, 007 has emptied an overflowing bucket list of the world's greatest landmarks.

He's trained it aboard the Orient Express, he's had a geezer at the Pyramids of Giza and he's fallen for Iguazu Falls. And, speaking of trains, Bond has a bad habit of riding on the roof of them at high speeds and just managing to dodge low-hanging tunnel entrances.

At all times, and in all climes, Bond has looked impeccable, seemingly never leaving home without a tuxedo for those inevitable nights at the roulette wheel.

He may also be one of the few men, with the exception of Mel Gibson's Guy Hamilton in The Year of Living Dangerously, not to look ludicrous in a safari suit when in tropical climes. Indeed, in the catalogue for Designing 007 - Fifty Years of Bond, there are sketches of the safari suit designed to be worn by Roger Moore.

Regrettably, the closest Bond has ever come to Australia as a location was George Lazenby, the Goulburn-born Aussie who only lived once as 007 in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

And while product placement is rife in Bond movies, it seems nations cannot buy their way into becoming a location (a la Tourism Australia's Oprah Winfrey deal). Well, at least not so far.

Cosgrave empathises with Bond's snub of Australia since, as she points out, nor has her native Canada featured in the series though it did once stand in for Austria.

"Australia [as a Bond location]? Who knows? Fleming was a bit of a snob and wanted to send Bond to all sorts of places he wanted to go to himself. I'm a Canadian and the series has never shot in Canada either - apart from standing in for Austria in The Spy Who Loved Me. I'm not sure Fleming thought much of the colonies."

GETTING THERE House of Travel has a James Bond deal and several other deals to Melbourne. See qantas.com; virginaustralia.com; jetstar.com; tigerair.com as well for other options.

STAYING THERE Virgin Australia Holidays, in conjunction with Designing 007 - Fifty Years of Bond, has two-night packages including airfares, accommodation at various Accor hotels and admission to the exhibition from about $495 a head. See virginaustralia.com.

BONDING THERE Designing 007 - Fifty Years of Bond runs at the Melbourne Museum from November 1 until February 2. Tickets from Ticketek at ticketek.com; or via the museum.

 MORE INFORMATION museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseumvisitvictoria.com.