Black Windmill, The

Date: 1974
Director: Don Siegel
Production Company: Universal Pictures

Stars: Michael Caine, Janet Suzman, Donald Pleasence, Joss Ackland, Delphine Seyrig, Joseph O'Conor, John Vernon
Location(s): Kent, London, Paris (France), Surrey, West Sussex

Region(s): , ,


When a British agent’s son is kidnapped and held for a ransom of diamonds he finds that he can’t count on the people he thought were on his side to help.

Additional Information:

Updated screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson.

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Stills depicting two boys at Quinton House school are seen during the titles. Cumnor House School in Danehill near Haywards Heath in West Sussex recognised by Stefan Cucos who went there in the 1970s.

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The friends play cricket. The grounds of Cumnor House School in Danehill identified by Stefan Cucos.

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The film opens with an aircraft hangar on a disused airfield. Robin Brooks believes this is possibly Fairoaks Airfield near the A319 between Chobham and Ottershaw in Surrey.

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Schoolboys, James Stroud (Mark Praid) and David Tarrant (Paul Moss) climb through a perimiter fence to fly a model aeroplane.

The two boys are kidnapped and driven from the abandoned airfield by McKee, Celia Burrows and two accomplices. The B311 Red Road in Lightwater, Surrey with the corner of MacDonald Road ahead of the van. Location identified by Robin Brooks.

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Robin supports his identification with a location shot of his own. (RL)

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McKee blows up the accomplices' Land Rover by remote control and drives on to a hideout with Celia and the boys. Robin Brooks locates this as the M3's Junction 3 between Bagshot and Lightwater in Surrey.

Whilst investigating a gang of arms smugglers, MI6 agent Major John Tarrant (Michael Caine) arrives to meet with Celia Burrows. Cleve Road, London NW6.

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That wall across the road is a giveaway. SJ

After the meeting, at which McKee took photographs whilst remaining hidden, agent Mike McCarthy (Edward Hardwicke) and the Major get back into their car. Facing east on Cleve Road.

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Hard to tell but this looks east on Cleve Road. SJ

McCarthy speeds away after the two receive a command from Cedric Harper. Cleve Road looking towards West End Lane, West Hampstead.

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The building on West End Lane helps to nail this. SJ

A Rolls Royce pulls out from a driveway and McCarthy swerves onto the pavement. Cleve Road in NW6.

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traffic doesn't exactly help here. The gatepost plinths to the right have lost their ornamentation. SJ

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Major Tarrant arrives at Sir Edward Julyan's country house. Wykehurst Place, Wykehurst Park near Bolney, West Sussex. Also seen in 'Oh! What a Lovely War', 'Demons of the Mind' and 'The Legend of Hell House'.

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The young Lady Melissa Julyan (Catherine Schell) leaves as Tarrant enters. Wykehurst Place in West Sussex.

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Tarrant watches Melissa before going in to make his report to Harper and Julyan, the head of MI6. The entrance of Wykehurst Place.

When he gets a phone call from his wife, Tarrant leaves the meeting and heads home. South Hill Park in London NW3.

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Looking west from the north branch of South Hill Park. SJ

John Tarrant approaches the front door of the house where he receives a call from a man identifying himself as Drabble. South Hill Park, not far from where scenes for 'Dance with a Stranger' were shot.

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Replacing a failed shot from my memory of 18/1/15. SJ

Tarrant heads to the office to tell his boss about the kidnapping of his son. Garrick Street in Covent Garden, spotted by Peter.

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Same spot, different sign by Peter.

Harper is also told that Drabble wants him to answer the next phone call. Looking north on Rose Street in WC2.

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Peter looked north towards The Lamb and Flag public house as well.

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Cedric Harper (Donald Pleasence) and Sir Edward Julyan (Joseph O'Conor) discuss Tarrant's predicament.

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Sir Edward advises that Tarrant is put under surveillance. Wykehurst Place near Bolney in West Sussex.

McKee and Celia make their way to Tarrant's flat. Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale advises Simon James in his London Film Location Guide.

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And Adrian Grepnold took this proving shot.

After parking the car, McKee (John Vernon) and Celia Burrows (Delphine Seyrig) enter the building. Elgin Avenue in W9 with Maida Vale Underground station in the left of centre background.

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A little too far away with this filler. SJ

Once inside, compromising photographs of Celia are taken. Facing the crossroads with Randolph Avenue from Elgin Avenue in Maida Vale.

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And further confirmation from Adrian.

Tarrant heads to the back door of the MI6 offices. London's Garrick Street from the corner of King Street.

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The same location captured by Peter.

Facing the corner of Garrick Street and New Row in WC2 with The Roundhouse public house as the backdrop suggests Aidan McManus.

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Yes, The Roundhouse confirms SJ.

The door is opened and Tarrant lets himself in before making his way to Harper's office. The doorway is on King Street.

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Peter found that the door in King Street had changed, it's now glass and fitted with the latest stainless steel push bar... And is also a Carluccio's (SJ)

Tarrant takes a cab to his flat to listen to a cassette tape that he received in the post. Elgin Avenue W9.

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Clearer without the leafiness. SJ

The agent is watched by his colleagues. Looking north-east on Elgin Avenue.

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Now. SJ

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Harper is advised that his desk has been broken into and a safe deposit box key taken. Wykehurst Place, Wykehurst Park in West Sussex.

After listening to the cassette, Tarrant heads to collect diamonds from the safe deposit box. Surrey Street WC2 facing towards Strand.

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Peter provides a comparison.

A car follows. Surrey Street with the now closed Aldwych Underground station to the left.

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Roadworks clutter the scene in this shot from Peter.

An MI5 Agent (David Daker) chases Tarrant into the station. The Surrey Street entrance to Aldwych Underground station in WC2.

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Peter found more clutter around the entrance.

A train waits at the platform. Aldwych station's Platform 1, also seen in 'The Bed Sitting Room', 'Death Line', 'Their Finest' and 'Creep' among others.

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Still adorned with period posters for war themed open days. (PW)

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Tarrant runs down the stairs and manages to board the train. These are the often seen stairs running down to platform level at Aldwych station.

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The train travels to the next stop after the MI5 agent managed to jump through the closing doors of the car next to Tarrant's. This is supposed to be Shepherd's Bush station but is actually the Aldwych branch platform at Holborn.

Tarrant pushes through the alighting passengers as the MI5 man tries to catch him. The former Aldwych branch platform at Holborn station. This location was seen in 'Turn the Key Softly', 'Monsieur Ripois', 'The Gentle Gunman' and 'Piccadilly Third Stop'.

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The same rather dusty platform now. (PW)

Tarrant runs to the emergency stairs. The bottom of the emergency stairs at Aldwych.

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The same location masquerading as a Bakerloo station for another production. (PW)

The MI5 Agent continues to pursue the MI6 fugitive. The emergency stairwell at Aldwych station on Strand WC2.

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Possibly the same spot as it all looks pretty much the same until you get to the top! (PW)

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Tarrant rushes through the ticket barrier at Shepherd's Bush station. The building stood on Uxbridge Road W12 opposite Shepherd's Bush Green but redevelopment of the area began in 2005 and the station entrance was replaced in 2008.

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Still running, Tarrant heads away from the station. Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush.

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People move out of the way on a travolator. This access to a footbridge was in Plimley Place, next to the station, and formed a link between Uxbridge Road and the W12 shopping centre on the opposite side of Shepherd's Bush Green.

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The MI5 man begins to catch up. Another view of the bridge access on the north side of Uxbridge Road in W12.

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More people move from the path of the running men. Looking out onto Shepherd's Bush Green with Uxbridge Road visible in the top centre.

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Tarrant crosses the bridge with the MI5 agent chasing. Facing north on the footbridge linking Uxbridge Road and the W12 shopping centre, formerly the Concorde Centre, in Shepherd's Bush.

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After closing and locking a gate behind him, Tarrant turns to see his pursuer give up. The W12 shopping centre car park.

Following the instructions on the cassette, Tarrant waits for a contact outside a cafe in Paris. Outside Vagenende brasserie, Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, France.

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A few changes to the frontage have been made over the years. (RL)

Celia arrives and asks for the diamonds. On the pavement in front of Vagenende on Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 75006.

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Not quite the right angle but the diners were suspicious enough of what I was doing. (RL)

The two hail a cab and Celia tells the driver to go to Quai de Bercy. Boulevard Saint-Germain with Rue Grégoire de Tours in the left background.

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The same spot today. (RL)

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The taxi drives away. Facing south-east on Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.

Tarrant and Celia are driven towards McKee’s hideout. The movie tourist blogspot advises that the entire Bercy district has since been redeveloped with only the Pavillions de Bercy remaining. Paris 75012.

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Pavillions de Bercy seen from Avenue Terroirs de France. Image copyright Google Streetview.

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The cab turns a corner. This lost location is now covered by Avenue Terroirs de France and the Centre d'affaire Middlex.

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The two arrive at the hideout where Tarrant meets Drabble but is told that his son is on a farm overlooking two windmills in England.

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After Drabble murders Celia and leaves Tarrant unconscious to be found with the body, McKee waits outside the hospital as Harper arrives from London.

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Chief Superintendent Wray (Joss Ackland) and Harper escort Tarrant from the building.

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McKee and his gang follow the police van conveying Tarrant.

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The van drives through Paris.

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McKee's men drive their lorry into the police van, forcing it off the road. Facing southwards on Quai de la Gare.

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Tarrant is told to 'get away' by one of the gang. Port de la Gare alongside La Seine in Paris 75012.

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McKee watches as Tarrant escapes. Likely to be the now redeveloped Quai de la Gare, Paris.

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A police motorcyclist is avoided and Tarrant makes a run for it. Looking south-west towards Avenue Vincent Auriol from Pont de Bercy.

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A train passes overhead as Tarrant escapes. Pont de Bercy spanning the River Seine with Paris Metro Line 6 passing overhead.

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The hovercraft from Calais arrives at Ramsgate's International Hoverport. Pegwell Bay, ramsgate in Kent.

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Tarrant stows away on a coach before the hovercraft lands and is taken through customs. Facing north at Pegwell Bay Hoverport.

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Other passengers exit the terminal to board the coach. Hoverlloyd's International Hoverport on Sandwich Road, Pegwell Bay.

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The coach leaves, carrying Tarrant back to London. The terminal and hoverport closed in 1982 and were demolished some years later although the hovercraft pad and car parking areas can still be seen.

After receiving a coded phone call from her husband, Alex Tarrant (Janet Suzman) comes out of the house. South Hill Park in NW3.

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More modern than the rest of the cul-de-sac. SJ

Mrs. Tarrant crosses to the watching agents and asks if she can have a lift, so they'll know just where she is! South Hill Park which backs onto Hampstead No. 1 Pond which features in 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'.

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Provided by Tris, this is the same location in 2018 showing that the rather ugly building that stood on this site has been replaced by something more fitting.

The agents drive to Eldon Road so that Alex can see her friend Hetty. Eldon Road W8 it is, with the spire of Christ Church Kensington in the distance.

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A low shot which required fewer parked cars. SJ

Alex walks through the gate as one of the agents follows. Eldon Road near the corner of Stanford Road.

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Now. SJ

The MI5 man waits and Alex tells him to go for something to eat as she'll be there some time. Looking along Stanford Road from the corner of Eldon Road in W8.

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The scene now. SJ

When Hetty opens the door, Alex breezes past her bewildered friend and out through the back door. These are the steps that lead down from Victoria Road in W8 to Kynance Mews in SW7.

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These steps were used specifically a few years later in The Big Sleep. SJ

Alex heads into town to meet with Tarrant. Kynance Mews, which is just behind Christ Church Kensington on Eldon Road. The location was seen in 'Scandalous' and 'The Big Sleep'.

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.. as well as Star!, Who Dares Wins & Twinky! SJ

John Tarrant waits for his wife inside The Dominion Theatre on Tottenham Court Road W1.

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Peter found the Dominion waiting for a new show and Centre Point receiving a makeover.

A taxi draws up outside the theatre. Tottenham Court Road with New Oxford Street and Centre Point to the right.

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Comparison shot from Peter.

The couple make their way over to an approaching bus. Facing New Oxford Street with St Giles High Street to the top.

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Peter noticed that the news kiosk has seen expansion over the years.

Alex and her husband jump on board. Facing the junction of New Oxford Street with Charing Cross Road, Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.

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The same junction by Peter.

On the top deck of the bus, Tarrant tells Alex that someone within MI6 is framing him and that their son is being held near two windmills. New Oxford Street at the junction with Shaftesbury Avenue and Bloomsbury Street.

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Peter saw that James Smiths umbrella and walking stick shop is still there. And long may it remain.

Alex researches for two windmills near Brighton, which was the area where Drabble's phone calls originated. Opposite Powis Place on Great Ormond Street, London WC1.

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The same detail with a new coat of paint. Picture by Peter.

Following identification of a likely site, Tarrant sets a trap for the MI6 turncoat. The titular 'Black Windmill', actually Jack, one of the Clayton Windmills near Clayton, West Sussex.

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The windmill is presently in private ownership. The white top has been removed and can be seen at the base of the windmill on Google Earth. (RL)

The Major ambushes Sir Edward Julyan who arrives for the rendezvous. Jill, the other of the two Grade II listed windmills at Clayton, which is also seen in 'Adventure in the Hopfields'.

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This is the only rear view of Jill now visible. It has been fully restored to working order and maintained by the Jack & Jill Windmills Society. It produces its own flour, is maintained by volunteers and has its own website. (RL)

Tarrant leads Sir Edward towards one of the windmills after he admits under duress that he arranged the whole thing. The house between the two windmills off Mill Lane, Clayton near Hassocks.

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All that is visible these days, "from afar". (RL)

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Drabble and his henchman are killed and Tarrant rescues his son.

Major John Tarrant carries David to safety. The Jack and Jill Windmills above the village of Clayton, West Sussex.

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Taken a while ago from memory: a reasonable match. SJ