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The James Bond brunch in Switzerland will thrill 007 fans

You’re very sure of yourself, aren’t you? Suppose I were to kill you for a thrill?”

 A film clip of actor Diana Rigg is unexpectedly threatening me from within a mirror. But that’s not the only surprising thing about the men’s loos atop the Schilthorn, a towering peak in the Swiss Alps. The door to the men’s room bears an image of secret agent James Bond holding a gun, and each cubicle door has the frosted silhouette of a Bond girl (I’m told the ladies’ loos have male figures).

Tasteful or tacky, or perhaps a knowing wink to the high camp of the 1960s Bond movies? You be the judge. Though changing times have marooned those early spy flicks in a blokey past, there’s no denying they were entertaining. And none more so than On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was filmed here in 1969.

There’s an Australian link to that movie, namely the one and only outing as 007 by actor George Lazenby. Though OHMSS had mixed reviews on release, in recent times it has become regarded as one of the best of the series, due to the excellent skiing chase scenes and the plot twist by which Bond marries, then tragically loses, his new wife (played by Rigg).

A scene from the classic Bond film.

You can see why its production team chose the Schilthorn for the HQ of the movie’s villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. It’s still an adventure to get here – from the valley floor at Stechelberg, it’s taken me four cable cars via Mürren and Birg to reach the revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria, at 2970m above sea level. It’s an impressive ride, above craggy outcrops of rock protruding from snow. On a clear day from the summit, there’s a view of numerous mountains including the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

Today, however, I’m immersed in a whited-out world of swirling snow. No matter, because I’m really here to see Bond World, the permanent exhibition devoted to the making of OHMSS. First, however, it’s time for a late breakfast in the revolving restaurant; or more precisely, the James Bond Brunch. I’m not sure what’s particularly Bondish about the brunch, though it’s an excellent spread of hot and cold dishes and includes a glass or two of bubbly.

It takes a leisurely 45 minutes for the restaurant to revolve 360 degrees, treating diners to a splendid view (when available). Although half a century has passed, the restaurant still has movie fixtures, including golden lamps on pillars, and the decorative stairwell grille through which Rigg pulled a villain’s head.

The scenery will take your breath away.

The scenery will take your breath away.

Two levels down is the exhibition itself, with six sections arranged in a circuit. In addition to text explaining production details, there’s a lot of gimmicky fun. After picking up a red telephone receiver to hear a briefing from M, I pass a cut-out of Miss Moneypenny, then enter the next room to be confronted by a gigantic suspended kilt. Stepping beneath the sporran, I find a screen playing an interview with Lazenby, reminiscing about his time as Bond.

The key exhibit in this area is the cut-off front section of a helicopter, as used in the movie to transport the disguised secret agent to Piz Gloria. Sitting in the cockpit, the visitor can use the joystick to “fly” up the mountain via a video projection. There are plenty of other fun elements to explore, including a screen which allows you to paste your face on to the actors in scenes from the movie. One room is dedicated to its furious bobsleigh chase – sitting inside a bright orange bobsleigh, you angle your body in time with film footage to produce your own highlights reel.

The final stop is a cinema which shows clips from OHMSS, along with short documentaries about its making. Afterwards, I wander through the souvenir shop and buy some shiny Bond-branded key rings as gifts, and chuckle at a dodgy snowdome that makes 007 look like Mr Bean.

Before leaving, I step on to the terrace where Blofeld’s guests tried their hands at the sport of curling. Though visibility is still limited, I’m stirred, but not shaken.

The author was a guest of Switzerland Tourism 

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