Filming of Wham!’s Last Christmas at Saas-Fee
It’s been nearly 40 years since Wham! She stepped into Saas Fee to film the Last Christmas video that still fills our TV screens, with the same song returning to the top 10 every December.
Although we know the video so well and you can still visit the places where it was filmed, how was it filmed in a beautiful Swiss ski village?
Much of the credit goes to Piet Anhamaten, former manager of the Grand-Hotel Walliserhof, who convinced the film crew that at 1,800 metres, surrounded by thirteen 14,000-metre peaks, the car-free Saas-Fee would have the snow and magical atmosphere they needed for the film Saas -Fee. The perfect Christmas movie, earlier in the fall. Given these facts, Beat Anthamatten was able to impress location scouts who were particularly looking for snowy winter landscapes.
Once things started moving, an available chalet had to be found in short order. However, because the producers preferred an interior with a fireplace, interior and exterior shots were not filmed in the same chalet and material had to be moved back and forth.
While filming the video, the crew of 40 were also in contact with locals from time to time, and four decades on many of Saas-Fee’s older locals still have tales to tell about visiting the late, great George Michael and George Michael. the hit! crew.
Martin Beutler, for example, the current tenant of the Marmotte Hotel in Saas-Fee, was astonished to find George Michael, Wham! The entire crew showed up at his studio in early December 1984.
The story goes that the interior shots for the Last Christmas video were filmed in an empty apartment, which they unfortunately forgot to heat up before filming. So George Michael and his crew were soon cold, and since the locals knew that Martin’s studio in the nearby basement was never closed, they made themselves comfortable.
“Everyone was so friendly, including George,” Martin says.
Another story is that George Michael arrived at the car-free village wearing only moccasins on his feet, not realizing that he needed to walk through deep snow at that time.
Apparently the people of Saas-Fee found it particularly amusing that a young pop star would arrive in the depths of winter wearing only summer moccasins. But it seems that George insisted on keeping his summer shoes on as long as there was no filming.
In the first scene of the Last Christmas video, George meets his friends and together they take a cable car to go skiing. The lift shown is the Felskinnbahn lift station, where Charly Schmidt was the lift driver, shown in the clip.
Charlie admits he has no idea who Wham! They were there at the time, and since he and his colleague didn’t speak English, they couldn’t talk to George or the rest of the crew to ask him questions. Charlie finally watched the video after 10 to 12 years.
“In the 80s it was not common to have a TV. Nobody had English channels. We had no idea the clip would be so successful,” he laughs today.
Strike! The entire crew stayed at the Walliserhof Hotel – Walliserhof Grand-Hotel & Spa today during the production of the music video. The suite where George Michael stayed at the time was renamed the George Michael Suite and furnished with some memorabilia. Depending on availability, the suite is open for reservation.
While filming, Wham! The brooch George gave his ex-girlfriend went missing in the video – and drama ensued. The crew was completely terrified and all the hotel staff at the Walliserhof had to help search for him. Everything was upside down, every pillow was upside down, every inch of carpet was searched. Finally, a porter found the brooch in the snow outside the hotel.
Saas Fee still remembers visiting Wham! Very fondly and over the years he has held many different video-related celebrations and activities, including Wham! Walking with guided tours of the sites; The opportunity to rent the chalet in the video, various concerts, video recreations, and the opportunity to stay in George Michael’s suite at the Walliserhof.