James Bond returned to Austria in his movie Quantum Solace. Not for the first time. In the movie Living Daylights (1987), the most famous British secret agent saves the world not only in Vienna but supposedly also in neighboring Bratislava. Living Daylights with Timothy Dalton in role of Bond was shot before 1989 when Czecho-Slovakia was still under the communist regime. Therefore, all scenes from Bratislava were actually shot in Vienna. (Funny like the situation twisted completely ten years later during shooting The Peacemaker )
In Living Daylights, the film-makers made a good job in lot of Bratislava details but also did some surprising movie goofs- mistakes you would not expect in such high-profile production. Let’s see some of them:
This is the most apparent error- the agent 007 finds the address of his (future) Bond-girl- Kara Milovy, Kvetinova ulice c.27, Bratislavia, telefonne cislo…
Long detail shows few mistakes- firstly, if Kara is Slovak, her surname would be Kara Milova and not Milovy which is a male form of this name. Typo in name of the town (Bratislavia instead of Bratislava) is also striking. Ulice is in Czech, Kara in Slovak would write Ulica. Writers played safe with name of the street- Kvetinova means Flower street which exists in plenty of Slovak towns. Pity that not in Bratislava.
Shooting in front of the theater called Konzervatorium (which means usually a music high school, not a concert hall in Slovak).
Police cars are real. Yellow-white Lada with big letters VB (Verejna bezpecnost- literally translated as Public Safety) was a typical police car in those times.
Bond’s secret flat in Bratislava was under the disguise of KSS- Agitacne stredisko– Agitation Center of KSS- Communist Party of Slovakia which was the branch of state The Communist Party of Czecho-Slovakia (KSC) . Nice detail.
Kara in the tram followed by Bond. Also here are details delivered in correct way- Slovak sentences behind her back say about the capacity of the tram- how many seats, etc. The tram as such is however typical for Vienna, a different type was used in Bratislava in nineteen eighties.
The scene in Trans-Siberian Pipeline Plant is well done in details (with the exception of the English name on the plate). An ice-hockey match commentator on TV is correct but naming the fiction players. The female helper pictured on the left saves Bond with her breast and at the end of this scene she even says one sentence in Slovak. Unfortunately, it is hardly understandable even for native Slovak, obviously being said with some strong foreign accent. Sounds like- What do you think I am?
And now the best scene ever from this movie- Bond with Kara driving cello are passing the Slovak-Austrian border in mountains. Czecho-Slovak border guards on skis are left behind. When you visit Bratislava, you can see Austria from the castle hill. In reality, you will soon realize that the only hill between Bratislava and Austria is probably a coronation hill next to the Passenger port. But it is 50 cm high. 🙂
Nevertheless, if you do not insist on every detail, the overall atmosphere in the communist Bratislava is depicted very well, especially a paradox how the cities Vienna and Bratislava being so close geographically (50 km) can be so different just because of the different regimes.
Now- twenty years later- with everything being changed and globalised, this is not so visible but if you have an eye for detail, you still might be able to uncover this dark side of Bratislava past. Ready to try?