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Pinewood Studios

A computer-generated image of how a Venetian street scene might look, with cut-away views of the property interiors. Pinewood has been the location for every other great (and not-so-great) film you’ve ever seen

You may never have visited Pinewood Studios but you’ve definitely been there before. To pass through the gates of its 100-acre site in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire is to experience that same strange sensation – part unsettling, part comforting – that you get in a recurring dream.

The faintly sinister white-painted garden statuary either side of the ornamental bridge by the pond. The grimy industrial passageway. The balcony on the Georgian-style residence looking out onto the conifer-shaded gardens that give the studios their name. Why does it all look so eerily familiar?

And the answer is, of course, that from Black Narcissus and Oliver Twist through The Ipcress File and James Bond to Superman and Harry Potter, Pinewood has been the location for every other great (and not-so-great) film you’ve ever seen.

The bridge? That was the one Truly Scrumptious crossed over in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – and it also led the way into The Secret Garden.

The statues? Unsettling because they evoke horror films like Blood On Satan’s Claw. The industrial passageway? It’s named Goldfinger Avenue because that’s the place where James Bond was dazzled in the mirror by his own headlights and crashed his Aston Martin. The balcony? Take your pick. It has variously appeared as part of Spectre HQ in James Bond films, as the Iranian embassy in Who Dares Wins, as the fire-ravaged mansion in The Amazing Mister Blunden and, most memorably, as the place where Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond holds his embassy dinner under fire in Carry On Up The Khyber.

Oh, and that magnificent cedar you’ve just passed in the grounds will shortly become quite recognisable too. The bare area you can see surrounding it, where the grass is worn, was until recently a snowy village in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. And the reason it was filmed in this slightly awkward spot in the gardens rather than on one of the studio back lots is because the director liked the tree.

 

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