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Monday July 15th 2024

Brannigan | 1975

Brannigan location: Tower Bridge, London
Brannigan location: the car-leap across the opening bridge: Tower Bridge, London

A US cop comes to London to apprehend an escaped villain, in John Wayne’s only English picture.

The criminal mastermind is quite obviously the English Tourist Board, as every event takes place in front of a famous London landmark. The muffed postal drop filmed in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, where the villains manage to escape through convenient, if unlikely, sewers (isn't there a tube station down there somewhere?).

Brannigan filming location: Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1
Brannigan filming location: Ben Larkin stays in luxury in central London: Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1

Villain Ben Larkin (John Vernon) stays in luxury at the Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1, also featured in 2004 rom-com Wimbledon and in 60s classic Morgan – A Suitable Case For Treatment.

Jim Brannigan (Wayne) and Det Sgt Thatcher (Judy Geeson) enjoy a meal at famed celeb eaterie Mario and Franco’s Terrazza, which subsequently became Italian restaurant Lupo (now itself closed), 50 Dean Street at Romilly Street, Soho W1.

Brannigan location: Garrick Club, Garrick Street, London
Brannigan location: Brannigan lunches with London’s top cop: Garrick Club, Garrick Street, London

Brannigan has to borrow a tie when he lunches with top cop Commander Swann (Richard Attenborough) at the Garrick Club, 15 Garrick Street, the gentlemen’s club which numbered Charles Dickens among its members.

Another famed gents’ club: Larkin is kidnapped from the lavish Royal Automobile Club (RAC), 89 Pall Mall. Just look at the famously extravagant swimming pool.

Brannigan’s temporary London home is 61-80 York Mansions, Prince of Wales Drive alongside Battersea Park, south London (though when the villains booby-trap his toilet with a bomb, the resulting hole in the wall mysteriously reveals a view of the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park). Whatever.

Brannigan filming location: Douglas House, Maida Avenue, Maida Vale, W9
Brannigan location: Brannigan moves in with Det Sgt Thatcher: Douglas House, Maida Avenue, Maida Vale, W9

He moves in with Jennifer Thatcher, at Douglas House, 6 Maida Avenue, Maida Vale, west London (which as it happens is next door to A Fish Called Wanda’s ‘Kipling Mansions’).

The obligatory pub fight, where everyone ends up flailing at everyone else, was filmed in The Lamb in the centre of the Victorian arcaded Leadenhall Market at the foot of the new Lloyds Building (tube: Bank; Northern and Central Lines), which also houses the entrance to ‘The Leaky Cauldron’ in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. More recently, Heath Ledger charms the ladies here when the travelling show is set up in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus.

Brannigan filming location: The Lamb Pub, Leadenhall Market, London EC3
Brannigan location: The free-for-all: Lamb Pub, Leadenhall Market, London EC3

The most famous scene is the car leap across a half-opened Tower Bridge, spanning the Thames alongside the Tower of London. Despite its appearance, the mock-Gothic stylings, disguise a relatively modern wonder of Victorian engineering, opened in 1894. You can access the highlevel walkway (with a glass floor) and visit the bridge's impressive Engine Rooms.

The Metropolitan Police HQ, Scotland Yard, seems to jump the Thames too, from its usual home in Victoria. The view from the windows is obviously south of the River Thames. These scenes were shot in St Thomas’ Hospital.