The Luxury Channel visits some of the world’s most extraordinary film locations.
Lust, betrayal and fear bubble just below the surface in the film adaptation of Grahame Green’s The Quiet American, made all the more potent when set against the stunningly exotic background of Vietnam. You can retrace the steps of Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser and Do Thi Hai Yen by making your way to Hanoi, a hugely colourful city caught in between the ancient and the modern, the rich and the poor. Make your way to Hoan Kiem Lake for a romantic evening stroll, grab a cocktail and watch the sun set from the Huc Bridge. Another place you can’t miss is Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site that has it all: a white sand beach, great restaurants and beautiful hotels – and it’s Vietnam’s Savile Row. Whether you want a Vietnamese silk dress like Phuong’s or a bespoke Italian wool suit, you can get it here in less than 24 hours.
Despite the title, David Lean’s masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia was actually largely shot in Spain and many of the ‘Middle East’ scenes were filmed in the splendid Moorish city of Seville. You can actually stay in one of the film’s locations – the luxurious Hotel Alphonso XIII, (www.starwoodhotels.com) which appears in the film as the Officer’s Club. A little closer to the Arabia T.E. Lawrence would have recognised is Jordan, where the spectacular desert scenes were filmed. You can marvel at the imposing red cliffs of Wadi Rum (where Alec Guinness’ Prince Feisal held court) and spot Bedouin tents from the back on a camel (or, more comfortably, from inside a jeep).
One film that was shot exactly where you would expect was the 1960s classic Roman Holiday. In Rome, it’s easy to recreate the romance that Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn conjured up in this Oscar winner. Just follow the footsteps of Peck’s American journalist as he delighted Hepburn’s cosseted princess with the most memorable and historic sites of the city. Try a little gelato on the Spanish Steps and dare to slip your fingers into the Bocca della Verita, or Mouth of Truth, which you’ll find in the Piazza of the same name. End your visit where the film ends, at Palazzo Colonna, one of Rome’s largest palaces, but once here be sure to rebel against the script – choose romance over duty and repair to the Hassler Roma Hotel, from where you can gaze down at the Spanish Steps below.