GERMANY – Chemnitz aka “Karl-Marx-Stadt” // Octopussy (1983)
So what to do, when a country, 007 once visited, doesn’t exist anymore – like the lost Socialist playground of the German Democratic Republic? Head out for the spirit! Some areas of the old GDR still hold it – including the one, Bond used for his movie encounter.
Why Bond was here
An exiled Afghan prince and a renegade Soviet general use the auction money of fake Russian art pieces to install a nuclear bomb in a US army base in Bavaria. Bond (Roger Moore) is on their trail and heads out to luxurious places – not India, Eastern Germany it is! Prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) exploits wealthy Octopussy (Maud Adams) to smuggle the Russian riches into Europe. She runs both a (female only) cult and a (men allowed) wandering circus.
The circus is scheduled to perform in Eastern Karl-Marx-Stadt, a concrete working class city in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). The city had – and now again has – the name Chemnitz, but GDR’s Zentralkomitee considered it a good idea to dub the city after revolutionary socialist Karl Marx. Bond follows the circus train on its way over the former Inner German border into Bavaria.
Sure thing, Roger Moore and Eon productions never set foot into the GDR. They filmed parts of Octopussy on location in Berlin, but all scenes at Karl-Marx-Stadt and the army base in fictionous Feldstadt were done at Pinewood and locations in England. But to get the spirit of the former GDR, nowadays Chemnitz is still worth a visit.
The city is situated in the center of federal state Saxony. It can be reached via train from capital Berlin or the bigger (and more beautiful) Saxon cities Leipzig and Dresden, schedules can be found online at the site of Deutsche Bahn. Being close to autobahn A4, Chemnitz can be reached via car or intercity bus. “Mein Fernbus” offers a Europe-wide network.
Good to know
Chemnitz is a pretty good example of a former GDR picture-book city turned 21th century. Old “Plattenbau” buildings meet new tax-funded shopping malls. Most origin place to visit is probably the “Nischel” – the monument of Karl Marx in the heart of the city at Brückenstraße. The people of Chemnitz nicknamed it “sconce” in their own Saxon lollipop idiom, pronounce it “nyshel” to fit in.
Though Chemnitz might not be your top spot on the Bond bucket list, it actually offers a pretty good link between the Octopussy Berlin locations and the Casino Royale places in Czech capital Prague and town Karlovy Vary. Both cities are roughly two hours away from Chemnitz, Berlin takes up to three hours by car.
That one was a home run. We both have GDR-origins, partly even near old Karl-Marx-Stadt. To see, how English suburbs doubled for the city therefore is always fun when watching Octopussy. And while the citizens in the English original speak proper German, the German dubbed version of Octopussy spared no expenses in doing some strange sounding Saxony vernacularisation.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3), © 1983 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Danjaq, LLC. (2)