St James's Park in film


Many films call for a stroll in the park: this is when lovers meet, intrigues are hatched and deals are done. So it is not surprising that St James's Park, with its elegant architecture and avenues, has become a popular location.

Judi Dench in Mrs HendersenA walk in St James's is central to Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), the new comedy about World War II from Stephen Frears. Laura Henderson (Judi Dench) owns the Windmill Theatre. She must persuade the Lord Chancellor (Christopher Guest) to allow her famous nude reviews to continue. And a visit to St James's Park is where the conversation takes place.

A scene from Woody Allen's MatchpointWoody Allen uses St James's Park in Match Point (2006), his first movie filmed entirely in the UK. The high-society thriller, starring Scarlett Johansson and Emily Mortimer, is about a young tennis instructor who becomes entangled with a wealthy family. Look out for Allen's trademark long takes where characters walk and talk in one continuous shot - many of these were filmed in the park.

A chase, rather than a walk, through St James's is a high-point of the live action version of 101 Dalmatians (1996), starring Glenn Close. Anita (Joely Richardson) and Roger (Jeff Daniels) fall in love - but not before they career into the park lake thanks to their Dalmatian dogs.

In the 2002 Bond film, Die another Day , starring Pierce Brosnan, the villain Gustav Graves, literally drops into the park. Graves, played by Toby Stephens, parachutes over the Victoria Memorial and into Buckingham Palace on the way to collect his knighthood from the Queen.

28 Days Later copyright DNA Films/Fox SearchlightThe historic streets and buildings around St James's are also the backdrop for many films. The Children of Men , a science fiction drama written by P D James and starring Michael Caine, was filmed in the Mall in autumn 2005. The Old Admiralty Building in Horse Guards Parade stood in for the Ministry of Defence in The Ipcress File (1965), a spy thriller also starring Michael Caine. See also Hyde Park. And director Danny Boyle also used the parade ground in his post-apocalyptic science fiction film 28 Days Later (2002).

Carlton House Terrace with its Regency colonnades became the home of Prince Amerigo (Jeremy Northam) in The Golden Bowl (2000), the Merchant Ivory adaptation of a Henry James novel. The Wings of a Dove (1997), adapted from another Henry James story, used Carlton House Terrace as the London home of Kate Croy (Helena Bonham Carter), one of a pair of lovers who plot to swindle an American heiress. See also Brompton Cemetery and Kensington Gardens.

The steps from The Mall to the Duke of York monument can be seen at the beginning of The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), a true story about a missionary in the Far East, starring Ingrid Bergman. They also feature in the John Wayne police thriller, Brannigan (1975).