When this movie was shot in 1966 , the second unit took the different scenes located in France between Cannes, Villefranche sur mer and Monte Carlo. I was then a young student in economics at the Nice University and my godfather was one of the top executives of Columbia pictures for Europe. I was at the time very interested in movies and wished to find a job in this sector so I asked Max (Maxwell Setton see his profile in IMDb) to get me an internship for the summer. That's how I was hired in August 1966 to work during the shooting of the movie besides Claude Ganz who was in charge being an executive from the French subsidiary. These have been some 3 or 4 four weeks of great fun I must say. During the shooting some problems or funny situations occurred which will perhaps amuse the reader.
The scene of the hovercraft was shot in Juan les Pins; of course there was no hovercraft and they only shot the scenery around it superimposing it later in the studios. But if my memory does not fail me, with some guys of the unit we went that evening in one of the night clubs of the town, le Vieux Colombier, and had the chance to see for free the famous singer Jacques Brel. Matt Helm passes before it at minute 26:27 of the movie with his car.
The chase between the Mercedes and Matt Helm was shot on the small and steep and sinuous road which goes from Beausoleil on the coast after Monte Carlo and winds up to Eze Village where there is an ancient Roman archaeological site called La Turbie. During the shooting the stunt driver who drove the Mercedes lost control of the car while passing over gravel and smashed into the entrance of a villa! This was a big problem for two reasons, one because the car if I remember well belonged to some citizen of Nice and was brand new, two, because we had a strict schedule and to repair it was posing a problem; the unit succeeded to have the spare parts send by Mercedes by plane direct to Nice. 3 years before I was on the same road going down to reach the lower main road; I had just got my driving license. While beginning to brake before reaching one of the steep turns, I realized horrified that I had no more fluid in the breaks and the car was accelerating dangerously; fortunately by pumping madly on the pedal I succeeded to regain the pressure and when we reached Nice had the circuits checked!
A funny thing happened to me the day of the shooting on the private beach of the Carlton Hotel in Cannes. I was supposed to go to the bank to collect in cash the payroll for the extras and at the same time to bring with me 5 very beautiful girls who appear on the scene on the beach. This scene is shown to Matt in the car when his mission is explained to him at the beginning of the movie.
I was 25 at the time, had a very common car which could take only 4 passengers plus the driver. To carry 6 persons including me was breaking the law. When we were near the Cannes Croisette, what I feared happened and I was arrested by a cop! After several minutes of explanations and support by my lovely companions, the cop with a big smile and winking at me made me promise not to do it again and let us go!
Now there is one last thing that happened at the Nice Cote d'Azur Airport. We were short of extras so it was decided that all those of the unit available would act as people of the crowd waiting for passengers of the Panam flight (minute 19:22).If you look carefully at 19'47"you see Matt Helm arriving from the plane before taking his car; in the foreground before the shot changes to the close up of Matt opening the door of the car, when he crosses the double white line on the tarmac, the second guy from the right besides an auburn haired women, is me! I wear a black jacket.
Of course during the shooting in south of France none of the main actors were there, they had all stand-in. From afar the guy standing in for Dean Martin could be easily mistaken for him!
The scenes shot in the night club were made at the Club de Valbonne in a village which is above Juan Les Pins, not far from Vallauris which is famous for its pottery but also for being the place where Napoleon arrived in France when he returned from the Elbe Island on March 1st 1815. Valbonne is not far today from the important technology park of Sofia Antipolis which gathers some 1400 companies in the fields of computing, electronics, pharmacology and biotechnology. There is also a University, one of which Institute is the direct follow up of the Management Institute I'd been a student in 1967-68. Today it seems that the night club does not exist anymore or its name has changed. Dean Martin's son was one of the band musicians in the scenes shot there.
At the same time two other important movies were shot in the region, Richard Fleischer's Fantastic voyage for which some special effects were done in the Studio de la Victorine of Nice (those studios still exist), and John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix starring the French actor and singer Yves Montand.
I hope these souvenirs may interest some of the viewers here. Claude-Paris-France.
Action / Adventure / Comedy / Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Action / Adventure / Comedy / Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller
The handsome top agent Matt dies a tragic death in his bath tub - the women mourn about the loss. However it's just faked for his latest top-secret mission: He shall find Dr. Solaris, inventor of the Helium laser beam, powerful enough to destroy a whole continent. It seems Dr. Solaris has been kidnapped by a criminal organization. The trace leads to the Cote D'Azur...
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 02, 2021 at 12:07 AM