The Bond films are renowned for their memorable and unique villains. These villains are often characters with weird physical quirks (like Dr. No’s mechanical hands), and they employ weird and fearsome minions (like Jaws, Oddjob and Nick Nack).
But no matter how strange the villains or their soldier goons, you have to give it to them for one area of success: they have really great bases of operation.
The military poseur, Brad Whittaker (Joe Don Baker) -- a pretty clear corollary for Col. Oliver North -- owns a gorgeous home in Tangier. But it’s not just any home, it’s a veritable museum dedicated to war, and the history of war. The entrance hall features a row of statues that physically resemble Whittaker, but wear the garb and uniforms from various historical conflicts.
Beneath these displays, Whittaker can open and shut slim automatic drawers (with a handy remote control) filled with state-of-the-art weaponry and ammo.
The film’s climax finds Bond trapped in Whittaker’s diabolical play room, battling (live) antique cannons and 21st century “machine” pistols at the same time.
Although this villain’s HQ is not as vast or as intricate as many in the Bond canon, I have a soft spot for it because I too am a collector (of sci-fi toys, not war toys…), and so I enjoy seeing how Whittaker’s personality is expressed in terms of his “man cave” or surroundings.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas) has lived in some great headquarters over the years (in Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds are Forever, to name a few of the films), but Piz Gloria, a mountaintop “allergy clinic” feels like a nice winter vacation home for the psychopath, maniac, and leader in exile of SPECTRE.
One of the great Bond action scenes also occurs on the exterior of this mountaintop hideaway, as 007 (George Lazenby) slides across a sheet of ice, mowing down SPECTRE soldiers with his machine.
This is the headquarters of Stromberg (Curt Jurgen), and a vast complex that can survive underwater (in case of nuclear war), but also rise to the surface occasionally. Atlantis is to be the castle of a new, underwater fiefdom when its new lord and master Stromberg brings about the destruction of the world.
As I’m sure other critics have noted many times, Moonraker is approximately the same movie as The Spy Who Loved Me. Just substitute Drax (Michael Lonsdale) for Stromberg and an orbiting space station for Atlantis, and voila, instant Bond spectacular.
This base is the prototype or trend setter for all future Bond films. In You Only Live Twice, Blofeld (Donald Pleasence) operates out of a vast subterranean base inside a dormant volcano in Japan. The outer walls are impregnable, and entrance can only be gained to the post via a sliding door that resembles a mountain lake.