Posted by: travelrat | March 7, 2021

Film Locations

The other day, I missed an old film on an obscure cable channel. Now and Forever (1956) wasn’t a very good film, but, for me, it was notable for two things. Leading lady Janette Scott, on whom I had a crush at the time, and, if you look very carefully … you may see a 14 year old me, walking along Bowness promenade with some friends.

We didn’t think much of the film for two reasons. If the couple were eloping to Gretna Green, why pass through the Lake District at all? … and there isn’t, and never was, a railway station at Ambleside!

It was long, however, before I realised such ‘geographical misplacement’ was quite common. Just one example, Ice Cold in Alex was actually filmed in Libya; we weren’t exactly ‘flavour of the month’ in Egypt at the time. To return to the Lake District, in the TV series Poirot, we see the detective get off a train at ‘Windermere Station’, and simply cross the platform to board a steamer. But then, most viewers probably don’t know that was actually Lakeside station, and the ‘real’ Windermere Station is a good two miles from the lake.

So, a look at some of the film locations we’ve visited … although, with the exception of one, we didn’t set out with the express intention of seeing them solely for that reason.

Tunisia:

This country is an absolute honey-pot for film makers. There’s the city of Tozeur … ‘Mos Eisley in Star Wars; there was the cave at Chebika, pointed out as ‘… where they filmed some scenes for The English Patient’ and the Ribat, at Monastir, which ‘stood in’ for Jerusalem in The Life of Brian. That rather spoilt it for me; I couldn’t look upon the Ribat, without imagining the Virgin Mandy leaning out of the window, and screeching:

‘He’s not the Messiah! He’s a very naughty boy!’

Petra:

 I didn’t, however, have this problem at Petra. At the time of my visit, I hadn’t seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, so wasn’t too disappointed to find that there’s just an empty chamber beyond the ornate façade of the Kazneh.

Portmeirion:

This is somewhere we did go especially to see, for this quirky village is where they filmed the 1960s cult classic The Prisoner. We were lucky that our visit coincided with the annual ‘No. 6 Festival’, where affictionados of that series still gather. It certainly has its followers: some of the participants we spoke to couldn’t have been born when the series was first broadcast.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves:

A really location-rich film, telling how Robin journeyed from Old Wardour Castle (in Wiltshire, which was actually partly demolished in the Civil War, not by the Sheriff of Nottingham’s henchmen) to Carcassonne, in France, which was ‘being Nottingham’ for the film. I didn’t find this fact out till later; it explained the strong sense of déja vu I had when I visited.

Ta Prohm, Cambodia.

This, I was informed, featured in the film Tomb Raider. I include this one only reluctantly, because I haven’t seen the film.

There are still one or two locations on my ‘to do’ list. Being a fan of Agatha Christie, and especially Hercule Poirot, prominent on that list is the Orient Express. And, a Nile cruise. I’ve done it twice already, but I’d like to repeat it on the old vintage steamer on which Death on the Nile was filmed.


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