02/02 2007, updated 15/11 2016 by MS & PS
In Bond movies its sometimes difficult to recognise where the reality ends and fiction starts - especially when the movie creators are doing their utmost to make it as real as possible. "Liparus" is a very good example of such efforts.
"Liparus" as ship is real - this supertanker constructed in 1975 as the older brother of the Linga tanker, was next one in the L series, one of the six identical tankers build within 3 years in Odense Staalskibvaerft (Denmark) for Shell corporation. Name was herited from the 9240 BRT tanker from the Shell fleet. With tonnage 315.697 BRT it was really presenting the expansive intentions of the company...
"Liparus" served for Shell until 1983. It was then sold to Norway and renamed "Paradise". 7 years later it was sold again to Hellespont, and renamed "Hellespont Paradise". Finally it's Life ended in 2003 ath the scrapyard in Xinhui, China. That's the reality...
The script enlarged the tanker up to 1 000 000 BRT making it the second largest tanker in the world "after the Karl Marx, of course". Initially all scenes were intended to shot on the real tanker. Shell had agreed to lend the empty tanker to the filming for free. The production company should only pay the insurance for the period. Production Designer Ken Adams and the team realised that an empty tanker was even more dangerous that a loaded one. The fumes in the empty tanks is highly explosive. Moreover the insurance was GBP 50.000 a day - way too much even for a James Bond film.
All footings of the tanker at sea was of a 'miniature' model filmed in the Bahamas. The actual model was 19,8 m (65 ft) long. It was driven by a 48 HP Evinrude inboard motor. Build by Space Models in Feldham, Londin in 1976/7 and flown to Bahamas for the filming. As all other models of the film, it didn't survive. The model was so lifelike, that the captain of Liparus, who was invited to the premiere thought the film crew managed to find another real tanker for filming.
The interior of the Liparus are all filmed in a stage. But the problem was that there was no stage big enough - so they had to build it. It turned out to be the biggest stage for its time - the 007 Stage at PineWood Studios.
The bow doors and interior were all constructed in the PineWood Studios. The whole set was 450 feet long, and as we know housed 3 nuclear submarines in nearly natural size ... Stanley Kubrick engaged himself and provided uncredited assistance in supervising the lighting of the tanker set due to cinematographer Claude Renoir's failing eyesight.
The efforts were noted and appreciated in the movie world - Ken Adam, Peter Lamont and Hugh Scaife were nominated in 1978 Academy Award (Oscar) for Art Direction/Set Decoration. Both nominations unfortunately lost to the Mega-hit Star Wars.
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