Tony Reeves, author of 'The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations,' answered your questions about movie locations and how to visit them.
Amesbury, MA: I recently saw 'Casino Royale' and fell in love with the scenery from Montenegro. Could you tell me more about this country and the best places to visit?
Tony Reeves: The first rule of location hunting is never believe what you see on-screen. The 'Montenegro' scenes for Casino Royale were filmed around Prague and the town of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. The casino is the old spa building at Karlovy Vary, and Bond's 'Hotel Splendide' is the Grand Hotel Pupp. Even the 'Miami' scenes (the airport and the Body Worlds exhibition) are Prague - as are the interior of the 'House of Commons' and the Venetian Hotel.
Corona, CA: I plan to take my four-year-old daughter to see where one of her favorite movies (The Sound of Music) takes place (Salzberg, etc.). Where should I take her? What should we definitely see? We will be going in the late spring or mid-summer (if her school schedule doesn't allow for a spring vacation). I want something fun for a four-year-old. My aunt and uncle, who have homes in Vienna and Faulkenstein, will be escorting us.
Tony Reeves: There are plenty of coach tours in Salzburg around the sites for The Sound of Music, but since it's quite a small place, you can see most of them yourself. And remember, most of the interiors were filmed in Hollywood. You'll want to see Maria's abbey, which is Nonnberg Abbey, Nonnberg Gasse. Although it is on a hill, it doesn't overlook the Old Town, as it does in the movie. The view in front of the abbey is from Winkler Terrace, on the other side of town. The 'Villa Von Trapp' is two separate houses: The front entrance (where maria gets off the bus) is Schloss Frohnburg, a music school, on Hellbrunner Allee, south of the Old Town, while the rear, with the lakeside terrace, is Schloss Leopoldskron, a private college which you can see across Leopoldskriner Teich, the lake. The gazebo ('Sixteen Going On Seventeen') used to be here, too. But there was such a problem with fans trespassing to see it that it's been moved to the grounds of Schloss Hellbrun. The 'Do-Re-Mi- steps can be found in the Mirabell Gardens in the centre of town. Out of town, the wedding was filmed in the cathedral at Mondsee, about 15 miles east of Salzburg; and the picnic is at Werfen, a beautiful village set against a stunning mountan backdrop, which is about half-an-hour south of Salzburg by train. You'll recognise most of the other locations around the town - almost completely unchanged.
Cambridgeshire, England: My husband and I, film buffs, will be in NYC next week--Dec. 16, 17th and 19th. It would be a thrill to be near a movie set in the Big Apple. Do you know of any? Thank you
Tony Reeves: Yikes! New York - there are hundreds of locations. The films of Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese spring to mind. Try John's Pizza on Blleecker Street in Greenwich Village (seen in Manhattan - Woody Allen claims it's the best pizza in New York), or the view of the Queensboro Bridge from the end of 59th Street East (though there's no bench!). Take a look a the art deco lobby of the Edison Hotel, 228 West 47th Street, which you might recognise from The Godfather and Bullets Over Broadway. St Patrick's Cathedral on Mulberry Street is where Michael Corleone bcomes The Godfather toward the end of the film. Joe' Pizza on Bleecker Street is where Peter parker lost his job in Spider-Man 2, and the Moondance Diner, 80 Sixth Avenue, is where Mary Jane worked. Check out the Outer Boroughs, too - Saturday Night Fever in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, or the Bronx Botanical Gardens seen in The Age of Innocence. You can see the Corleone compound on Longfellow Road, Staten Island. I could go on...
Sarasota, FL: Where was the film "Chocolat" with Johnny Depp filmed? The scenery and the town were gorgeous. Thanks, Carol
Tony Reeves: The village is Flavigny-sur-Zzerain, in Burgundy, about a one-hour drive from Dijon.
Pinnacle, NC: In "Casino Royale," is the villa in the last scene on Lake Como? Very breathtaking. Is it privatly owned? If not, do they rent rooms?
Tony Reeves: Mr White's villa at the end of the movie is Villa La Gaeta at San Siro, on the west coast of Lake Como. I don't think it's a hotel, but there are several in the vicinity. Incidentally, the 'hospital' where Bond recovers is another lake Como villa, about 10 miles to the south near Lenno. It's Villa Balbianello, which was also the Lake Retreat for Annakin and padme in Attack of the Clones, and one of the most breathtaking locations I've visited. You might also bump into George Clooney in the local supermarket, as his villa is not too far away!
Oakland, CA: What is the location of "Everything is Illuminated," the film about Trachimbrod by Liev Schrieber?
Tony Reeves: It's set in the Ukraine but the film, like so many these days, was made around Prague in the Czech Republic.
Miami, FL: Could you tell me anyting about the locations of the sweeping landscapes seen in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Hero," and "House of Flying Daggers"? Thanks!
Tony Reeves: The Crouching Tiger desertscapes are the Gobi Desert in Xinjiang Province. The bamboo forest in Zhejiang Province, southern China. The stately home and courtyard were a set at the Beijing Stdios.
For Hero, the attack on the calligraphy chool was filmed at Dangjin Mountain in Akesai, near old Dunhuang City, in northwest China, toward Mongolia. The amazing, wind-blasted rock formations, called 'yadan' are here too. The sword fight above the lake is at Jiu Zhai Gou ('Nine Villages Valley'), a popular tourist destination about 12 hours by bus from Chengdu. The lake itself is Jian ZhuHai ('Cold bamboo Sea'). Just to the south, where two valleys merge into Shuzheng Gully, you can see the waterfall, at which Broken Sword and Flying Snow meet in the 'green' sequence. It's the 98-feet-high Nuorilang Falls ('nuorilang' is "magnificent and splendid" in the Tibetan language). More scenes filmed at the yellow grassy marshland near another lake, Chang Hai (Long Sea).
The elegaic fight between Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) and Moon (Zhang Ziyi) among fluttering autumnal leaves, is an ancient oak grove in Inner Mongolia. Timing was everything: an employee, stationed out in Mongolia, called the director the moment the leaves turned a perfect shade of gold.
Most of the House of Flying Daggers was shot near Lviv, western Ukraine, a location previously used for Jackie Chan's First Strike. Sets were built at Yongchuan, Sichun Province, in the bamboo forests of Tea Mountain and Bamboo Sea Scenery Park, near the city of Chongqing. To visit China's 120-square km park, the largest primaeval bamboo park in the country, you take a two-hour flight from Shanghai to Chengdu, from where there's a bus trip (approximately five hours) to the Bamboo Sea. There's the unique Bamboo Museum, and and a bamboo restaurant featuring dishes based on the local speciality. Interiors, including the 'Peony Pavilion' and the abandoned Buddhist temple in the bamboo forest, lensed in Beijing Film Studio (where films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Kill Bill [qv] were previously filmed).
Tony Reeves: Well, thanks for those questions. I hope they helped your travel plans. This is Tony Reeves, author of The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, signing off.