Bond’s Gray Suit and Gray BMW in Hamburg

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) next to his BMW 750iL sedan.

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) next to his BMW 750iL sedan.

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, British government agent

Hamburg, Germany, April 1997… specifically Saturday, April 12, 1997

Film: Tomorrow Never Dies
Release Date: December 6, 1997
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming

Background

Tomorrow Never Dies, Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as Bond, also carried a few notable firsts. It was the first film produced after the death of longtime Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, and it was the first film to not use any traditional Fleming title or plot elements; Licence to Kill had borrowed heavily from both Live and Let Die and “The Hildebrand Rarity”, and GoldenEye – though an original story – was the name of Ian Fleming’s home.

Thus, without two of its most influential auteurs’ assistance, Tomorrow Never Dies was left to its own devices – pun intended – and marked a significantly different direction for the series. Action was thrust to the forefront and, though he was still clad in sharp tailored suits (how could Pierce Brosnan not be?), Bond was now directed to appeal to a younger audience. GoldenEye had still maintained many of the classic elements of style but Tomorrow Never Dies emphasized action and technology. This emphasis was everywhere from the music to the technology itself. Moby created a remixed version of the Bond theme, and the Propellerheads created the track used during the parking garage chase. Even Bond’s venerable PPK, which he had carried since the early 1960s, was replaced by the new Walther P99.

Despite these changes, the filmmakers still had to give Bond audiences what they loved about the series since the beginning. This Hamburg sequence is a good example of this bizarre marriage between old and new without the direct “old ways are the best” message of Skyfall.

Elliot Carver is presented as a Hearst-like mogul (old) who uses modern technology to direct the news (new). Bond sneaks into the plant through information gained from a mistress (old) then steals the GPS encoder device while making his escape (new). Bond returns to his hotel room, pistol drawn, to find his mistress dead and an assassin waiting for him (old), but Bond is able to use a feature on his cell phone to defeat the assassin (new).

Next, we have the car chase. A fantastic action sequence, it too takes the old formula of bad guys chasing a car and adds a modern twist with the various gadgets of Bond’s car, not the least of which being the fact that he is controlling the car from a mobile phone in the back seat. Car Week continues with a breakdown of Bond’s attire and ride in this sequence.

What’d He Wear?

Bond suits up for his investigation of Carver’s printing press in a charcoal gray Brioni suit made of lightweight worsted flannel. This would be a very comfortable suit for April in Hamburg, which typically enjoys cool afternoons of temperatures around 50°F. The vicuña cashmere overcoat Brosnan wore with his suit the day before would have added an extra layer of warmth, but it would’ve undoubtedly hindered his progress while trying to make his quick escape from Carver’s thugs amid heavy gunfire.

For a more detailed expert breakdown of Bond’s clothing in this scene, visit The Suits of James Bond.

TND4-CL-Jkt-1

Pierce scopes things out.

The suit has a slightly boxy fit with its strong shoulders and unsuppressed waist, but it still looks elegant on Pierce as he sneaks in and out of Carver’s secret office.

The single-breasted suit jacket has notch lapels with a buttonhole through the left lapel. The 3-button front stance is slightly lower than usual, but the center button meets the rise of the trousers perfectly near Brosnan’s natural waist. With his 6’2″ height and the comfortable fit of the suit, this lower stance is hardly an impediment to its elegance.

Bond returns to his hotel, looking appropriately smug.

Bond returns to his hotel, looking appropriately smug.

The jacket has a welted breast pocket that slants slightly inward while the flapped hip pockets slant slightly backward. There is a flapped ticket pocket on the right side on the same axis as the center button.

A more talented Photoshop artist than I could've had real fun putting these two images together.

A more talented Photoshop artist than I could’ve had real fun putting these two images together.

Brosnan’s strong profile comes from the padded shoulders, another element that may turn some off from this suit. The jacket also has double rear vents, roped sleeveheads, and 4-button cuffs.

The trousers have a moderately low rise near Brosnan’s natural waist. Though they are styled like some of Connery’s early suits with double pleats, tapered legs, and turn-ups, the low rise, pleat direction, and belt loops indicate markedly different trousers.

TND4-CL-Pants

Some viewers may be too distracted by the pleats to notice the protective layer between Brosnan’s shirt and his jacket, best seen near his left cuff. In some angles, this protective layer peeks out from under his shirt rather than over it.

Brosnan’s trousers also have on-seam side pockets and jetted rear pockets that close with a button, best seen when he is leaping out of the BMW after his time as a “backseat driver”.

Bond wears a black leather belt with a rounded gold clasp. I feel like this type of belt was much more common in the ’90s; now, squared buckles and clasps seem to thankfully be the order of the day.

Sorry, Pierce.

Sorry, Pierce.

Although the suit may differ much from the Connery years, Brosnan returns to Turnbull & Asser with his light blue poplin shirt. The shirt has a spread collar, front placket, and – unlike the Connery shirts – standard double cuffs rather than turnback cuffs.

Seriously, Brosnan's Bond dresses better for warehouse infiltrations than I do for weddings.

Seriously, Brosnan’s Bond dresses better for warehouse infiltrations than I do for weddings.

Brosnan fastens his cuffs with a pair of silver oval-shaped Dunhill cuff links with a gold center. More information about these links can be found on James Bond Lifestyle.

Bond takes the opportunity to show off his snazzy Dunhill cuff links as he reaches for his stored PPK.

Bond takes the opportunity to show off his snazzy Dunhill cuff links as he reaches for his stored PPK.

The Bond Lifestyle page also mentions a small continuity error in the film; when Bond enters his hotel room with his PPK drawn looking for Paris, his left cuff is loose with the link dangling. In the next shot, the link is properly secured again.

Bond livens up this understated suit with a loud brown and navy jacquard-weave tie constructed of dense English silk with a sky blue square motif. Although the tie’s design is more garish than the traditional Bond necktie, the length is perfect, meeting at the waistband as it properly should. Still, a few scenes of Brosnan wearing this tie next to his BMW makes him look as though he should be trying to sell it rather than drive it.

TND4-CL-tie

The tie was made by Turnbull & Asser and, in October 2010, was reintroduced on their site for £105. According to the site, this tie was designed specifically for Tomorrow Never Dies. Additional details are available from James Bond Lifestyle, which describes the tie as around 57″ long with a 3.75″ blade. A version of the tie actually worn by Pierce in the film is available at 007 Movie Props for €2786 (around $4,300).

Brosnan wears a pair of Church’s black leather 5-eyelet oxfords with black dress socks.

He keeps the black leather accessories going with the Galco Executive shoulder holster for his PPK. Since its appearance in the Bond series, the Galco Executive has been a wildly popular shoulder rig for PPK owners. It’s still available from Galco for $199.95, with model EX204 being the black right-handed model that Bond would have used.

Bond re-holsters his PPK while making his escape.

Bond re-holsters his PPK while making his escape.

The Galco Executive is constructed of a black steerhide harness, a 1″ elastic support strap with a black tri-slide adjuster and silver brass suspender clip that attaches to the trouser waistband. All Executive holsters are black with a horizontal holster that can fit either a semi-automatic pistol like the PPK or a revolver.

After first sporting an Omega in GoldenEye, Bond returned in Tomorrow Never Dies with a different model, the Omega Seamaster Professional 2531.80.00 Chronometer, on his left wrist.  This stainless Seamaster had a blue dial and blue 12-sided unidirectional rotating bezel used to calculate diving time. The watch is water resistant down to 300 meters, but Bond doesn’t find himself needing that feature just yet.

TND-CX-watch

This, actually, would make quite a BAMF ad for Omega watches.

According to James Bond Lifestyle, it originally retailed for somewhere between $1,000 and $1,300, but pieces are likely selling for much higher now due to the ended production and the watch’s use in three different Bond movies… not to mention the fact that it’s an Omega.

Certain angles during the action scenes reveal a white layer of clothing under Brosnan’s suit and shirt. This is likely for protection while being thrown around the tough sets of Carver’s printing press.

Go Big or Go Home

Most of his gadgets are car-related in this sequence, but Bond isn’t without a few of his own. Besides his obviously utilitarian Walther PPK pistol, Bond has a gray Ericsson cell phone – model JB007 if you’ll believe it – that has the convenient feature of electrocuting its user on command. So, let’s just say, if an assassin gets ahold of your phone and asks you for a sequence of numbers to press, you can tell him and it will zap him for just long enough to give you the upper hand. It may sound unbelievable, folks, but it finds its way into Tomorrow Never Dies! I’m still looking for an app like that for my iPhone.

This sequence also features the Bond’s franchise’s attempt at an apology for its horrible record of sexism by having Wai Lin outsmart Bond at every turn during their escape as she gets away clean and unnoticed while he is forced to shoot his way out against all of Carver’s generic hired goons and their automatic weapons. Of course, this “apology” fails to acknowledge that she’s the one that fucked things up in the first place by triggering the alarm, plus she didn’t even get what Bond was after (and he did!), plus her extra-obvious attire of black leather catsuit would make her stand out like a sore thumb compared to Bond’s standard business suit. In real life, she’d have been hanging by her toe-nails in Carver’s torture dungeon while Brosnan smirked through the parking lot to his BMW with the film’s MacGuffin in his coat pocket.

Or, more likely, he would've channeled the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Or, more likely, he would’ve channeled the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Anyway, if you’re looking to replicate Bond’s Hamburg trip without all of the unfortunate mistress deaths and gunfights, you should book a room at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski in Hamburg. The address is:

An der Alster 72-79
20099 Hamburg

Call them up at 040 28880 or shoot an email over to hotel.atlantic@kempinski.com. Don’t tell the hotel you’re a Bond fan, though, as they may worry you’ll be climbing up from your suite to the roof globe like Pierce. You won’t be able to get Bond’s room, either, as that was actually filmed at the Stoke Poges Park Club… which you remember seeing in Goldfinger, don’t you?

How to Get the Look

Bond wears a mostly elegant suit with a few stylistic touches from the ’90s that can be corrected for a modern version. It’s a fine look appropriate either for a day at the office or a business holiday in Europe.

TND4-crop

  • Charcoal gray lightweight flannel suit, preferably Brioni, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, low 3-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, flapped ticket pocket, padded shoulders, double rear vents, and 4-button cuffs
    • Double reverse-pleated low rise trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, jetted button-through rear pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
  • Light blue poplin Turnbull & Asser dress shirt with spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Brown and navy jacquard-weave silk tie with sky blue square motif, by Turnbull & Asser
  • Silver oval-shaped Dunhill cuff links with gold center
  • Black leather belt with gold rounded clasp
  • Black leather 5-eyelet oxfords, by Church’s
  • Black dress socks
  • Omega Seamaster Professional 2531.80.00 Chronometer with blue dial and bezel, stainless case, and stainless bracelet
  • Galco Executive EX204 shoulder holster, for Walther PPK pistol

The Car

Tomorrow Never Dies marked the second entry in the Bond franchise’s three-film deal with BMW, this time placing Bond in a BMW 750iL, the first four-door sedan ever issued to him by Q Branch.

Q: Your new BMW 750. All the usual refinements… machine guns, rockets, and a GPS tracking system.
BMW computer: Welcome. Please obey all instructions for a safe trip.
Q: Thought you’d pay more attention to a female voice.
Bond: I think we’ve met.
Q: I am not interested in your sordid escapades. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Although this is a pretty badass "sordid escapade" right here.

Although this is a pretty badass “sordid escapade” right here.

Although it had been introduced twenty years earlier, the 7 Series was still BMW’s flagship sedan in 1997 and was a reasonable choice for BMW to offer EON Productions as part of their new product placement deal with the Bond franchise. In keeping with the film’s emphasis on technology, specifically GPS and location services, BMW became the first European car manufacturer to offer an integrated satellite navigation system with the 7 Series.

The 750iL was part of BMW’s E38 generation of 7 Series cars, manufactured between 1994 and 2001. The 750i was the base model while the iL (“L” for lang, German for “long”) indicated a longer wheelbase. Interestingly, though the 750i and 750iL were both available in Europe, only the 750iL was available in the U.S. Both the 750i and the 750iL were powered by BMW’s 5.4 L M73B54 twelve-cylinder engine, producing 322 horsepower. With this under the hood, the 750iL could reach 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and had a top speed just shy of 160 mph.

The standard gearbox was the five-speed ZF automatic with Steptronic manual shift. The 750iL was further enhanced by high-pressure headlight washers, groundbreaking xenon HID headlights, a power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, and a powerful sound system with 14 speakers, four subwoofers, and a 6-disc CD changer.

The car provided by BMW to Tomorrow Never Dies was actually the lower tier 740iL, powered by a 4.4 L V8 and rebadged as the 750iL. However, it was clearly intended to be a 750iL so we’ll treat it as one… even if we know better.

TND4-Car-BMW1

1997 BMW 750iL

Body Style: 4-door sedan

Engine: 5.4 L BMW M73B54 V12

Power: 322 hp (240 kW; 326 PS) @ 5000 rpm

Torque: 361 lb·ft (490 N·m) @ 3900 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed ZF 5HP30 automatic with Steptronic manual shift mode

Wheelbase: 121 inches (3070 mm)

Length: 201.7 inches (5124 mm)

Width: 73.3 inches (1862 mm)

Height: 56.5 inches (1435 mm)

Bond does as the Germans do by driving his BMW exclusively during his time in Germany. The car, supposedly rented from Avis, has a number of overly-convenient features:

  • remote controlled engine and windows via Bond’s Ericsson cell phone
  • electric tear gas security system
  • re-inflating tires
  • security glass windows
  • hood emblem cable-cutting device (at just the right height!)
  • roof-mounted rocket launcher
  • fingerprint-locking airbag compartment safe

A total of seventeen 750iL sedans (or rebadged 740iL sedans) were used during the production, with four adapted as “hidden driver” cars for when Bond was in the back seat; in fact, a small steering wheel was installed in the back seat for the stunt driver with video monitors guiding his progress. Another car – only one – had the sliding safe compartment built in for Bond’s PPK. The car that ended the sequence by flying off the hotel roof into the Avis shop was known as the “cannon” and was stripped of as much of its weight as possible to prepare it for an effective jump. Seven cars remained – three served as backup for the “hidden driver” cars – and were used for the non-demanding exterior shots.

Even the new iPhone 6 can't do this... I don't think.

Even the new iPhone 6 can’t do this… I don’t think.

The registration plates on Bond’s car were B-MT2144, a nod to the BMT-214A plates on his Aston Martin in GoldenEye. (The original DB5 plates from the Connery films were BMT-216A, if you’re curious.)

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Dr. Kaufman: I’m just a professional doing a job!
Bond: Me too.

Footnotes

You’re a fool if you call yourself a James Bond fan and you haven’t yet read Matt Spaiser’s excellent blog The Suits of James Bond. Matt discusses this suit in one of his earlier posts.

5 comments

  1. Craig Richards

    You gotta love the Cadillac Catera that Carver’s goons use as one of the cars chasing Bond thru the parking garage. Tomorrow Never Dies is my favorite of the Brosnon films, however the video game for Playstation was horrible.

    Like

    • teeritz

      Yes, that WAS a dreadful game. Best game (aside from “Goldeneye64”) was perhaps “Everything or Nothing”. It had some clever little touches- sometimes, after a gun battle, if Bond walks past one of the bad guys that he’s shot, they sometimes raise their arm and fire a final, wild shot…which hits Bond and kills him.
      I liked “TND”, but I have to say that the Brosnan Bonds got progressively worse. When he says in this film, (after throwing some goon into the newspaper printing press, effectively smearing him all over the machinery and the newspaper being printed) “They’ll print anything these days”, I knew we were edging slowly back to the Moore era.
      Still, after seeing this film back in ’97, I restarted my ‘save up for a Seamaster’ campaign and managed to get one about a week before “The World Is Not Enough” was released two years later.
      And you’re right about the tie, LS. He DOES look like a car salesman. And I also thought Brozza did too much lip-puckering during the shoot-outs. Bruce Willis does it better in “Die Hard 2”.

      Like

  2. Mohammed

    Now this is what I call a proper suit. Loose trousers, room to move, etc.

    I have lost hope after seeing this everywhere I go:
    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=black+second+skin&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=WkplVI2ABIziaozbgFg&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=aiP-iuOX1CCiHM%253A%3BYbQq7dKQQwbbzM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.imagerepository.co.uk%252Fimages%252Fsecond_skin_costume_39338_back.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.ebay.co.uk%252Fitm%252FSkin-Tight-Black-Second-Skin-Fancy-Dress-Costume-Lycra-Bodysuit-Zentai-%252F400309314982%3B371%3B600

    Like

  3. brandoneglaze

    Jame Bond is my fav. actor. I like his dressing sense specially his The single-breasted suit with 3-button front stance from the movie ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’. I just love that movie. I always wear bespoke suits such as: jamse bond from a los angeles based custom tailor byDCLA.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s