Not long ago I blogged about a perfect day in the Swiss alps. I neglected to write about something new I experienced there this summer. For the last 4+ decades, the Schilthorn above Murren has traded on the James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was filmed there when the Schilthornbahn (Cable car lift) was newly completed in 1967. For all these years the unfortunately named “Touristarama” consisted of the dated and rather corny scenes from the movie which were filmed here. They were stitched together with virtually no editing flair, creating a series of mental whiplashes as it bounced from scene to unrelated scene without context or connection. But it was always good campy fun with one-time Bond, Australian George Lazenby, Diana Rigg as the Bond girl, and Telly Savalas as a great villain. Goofball lines like, “Head him off at the precipice!” spiced up the herky-jerky visual narrative. It was always worth it just to hear the Bond theme and try to identify elements of the Schilthorn station. The Bond-o-rama kitsch was paired with a rather nice AV show of scenes and cultural events from the area during all four seasons, accompanied by classical music. The latter had been removed in recent years, much to my disappointment. As a Bond fan of many years I had usually gone in to watch both before having my habitual hot chocolate in the revolving restaurant.
This past off-season, the Schilthorn decided to update and upgrade the Touristarama. The new “Bond World” premiered this summer and I got to see it for the first time. While it is not what I would call impressive, it is quite an upgrade from the low-tech experience of the past. A number of interactive stations allow visitors to hear commentary from the actors, producers, director, crew, and even locals about the experience of making of the movie.
A few interactive installments entertain visitors. One can drive the bobsled or help pilot a helicopter. My favorite element is a computer screen where you can superimpose a digital image of your own face over the face of Bond, Riggs, Savalas, etc.
My group and I laughed ourselves silly taking turns putting ourselves into cheesy Bond scenes. I’m thinking I’ve got the role wrapped up when Daniel Craig decides to move on. I hear they are looking for an older, more mature Bond.
But best of all, for me, they have kept the kitschy old film. You can see it, still lacking any editing savvy, in a small theater at the end of the exhibit. They’ve even re-added the regional highlight feature. Of course, the reason one spends the money and time to travel to the 10,000 foot peak is for the amazing views of the Jungfrau massif and surrounding alps. But some good old-fashioned Bond fun is a nice bonus (along with the hot chocolate!).