GREECE – Corfu, Old Fort // For Your Eyes Only (1981)
There are two choices while visiting the Fort of Corfu: Trying to find a way to the very Eastern – and very forbidden – tip or enjoy a chilled Martini at the yacht club.
Why Bond was here
007 (Roger Moore) has to deal with Greek smugglers. While one is a real baddie, who’s working together with the KGB, the other is a bon vivant, aiming for 007’s trust. He, Columbus (Chaim Topol), invites Bond to a attack the smugglers base of the other, Kristatos (Julian Glover), on the Albanian coastline. Within the Old Fort walls and along a rough sea cliff, a battle ensues.
The Albanian coast had been filmed in Greece – to be more precise, at Greek island Corfu just some kilometers away from Albania. On the Eastern shore lies Corfu’s main town Kerkyra, an enchanted Mediterranean mix of Venetian, Roman and Greek architecture. Elongated like a sunbathing reptile along Kerkyra’s eastern shore is Palaio Frourio, the Old Fortress of Corfu, which had been used as the Albanian base. The grim building is a ménage of Byzantine walls, Venetian houses and British improvements – one Corfiotic conquerer at a time. The Corfu fortress is just within walking distance from the city center.
Good to know
Numerous places on the site of the Corfu fortress had been used for filming. The warehouse, where Kristatos hides his opium barrels is today’s restaurant of the adjoining Yacht club north of the fortress ruins. The stairs, Bond runs up, can be found behind the Venetian bell tower just left after the entry. They reach the spot, where Kristatos’ henchman Emile Locque drives his car through the tunnel. Following the tunnel up northeast is the small entry in the wall, where Bond comes out to shoot at the escaping car. The last scene, where Locque finally was shot and then pushed over the cliff with an encouraging kick from Bond was filmed on the eastern tip of the fort next to the remnants of a Byzantine ammunition warehouse.
All but the last spot can be easily visited. The eastern area is closed to the public, approaching could just be managed when secretly sneaking into the area from the northern shore. A more risk less experience is to watch the cliff, when onboard a ferry from or to Igoumenitsa (as one would need it when going to Metéora).
Driving along the cliffs of Corfu’s Old Fort – nowadays no more car cemetery
The upper part of the Corfu fortress, including the car chase tunnel, can only be visited till late afternoon. An admission ticket is 4 Euros. But the best time to come to the fort is actually close to sunset, when the tourists are gone and only young Corfiotic lovers meet to hang out on the old walls. Join them and watch the last fishing boats come into the harbor with a sundowner at the little café south of the bell tower. Or have a seat in the old “opium warehouse” – the Corfu Sailing Restaurant – and give it away for high end cuisine.
Well, to be honest, the Fort itself is not that impressing due to the lack of engagement in renovation and preservation. But it was quite fun to try reconstructing the way on Bond’s lethal encounter with Locque. Surprisingly nice on the other hand was the little café inside the Corfu Old Fortrss, watching the sunset and enjoy a cool fresh Greek beer, before heading back to the lively city center.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3,4), © 1981 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation (2)