Mr White's log cabin

  • By Martijn Mulder
  • 08 Nov, 2015

Visiting a hidden gem at Lake Altaussee

Bond approaching the Pale King's hiding place, in a scene from SPECTRE
Now that the new Bond film SPECTRE has had its release in Europe and the USA, we can start looking at some of the locations used for this film. It must be said, that after the largely UK based production of Skyfall, the new film fortunately brings back memories of globe trotting adventures like Moonraker.

The travelogue style, absent for quite a while, is typically part of James Bond films. New discoveries lead to the next location and this way the story takes you all around the world. And that's what we like, don't we? SPECTRE starts off in Mexico City, with a spectacular pre-credit sequence. After the titles, Bond is in London and from there, the story takes us to Italy, Austria and Morocco, after which it returns to London.

While in Mexico City, a name comes up: The Pale King. For those of you who managed to stay completely spoiler-free (is it possible?), the return of Jesper Christiansen as Quantum operative Mr. White may have come as a complete surprise. For the majority of the viewers however, the might have just called him Mr White, as the link was quite obvious. Anyway, his search for the Pale King brings Bond to Austria. To Lake Altaussee to be exact.

When Altaussee was first mentioned as a filming location for SPECTRE, the area's Second World War link with fleeing Nazis, hidden Nazi gold and buried treasure immediately sprung to mind. During this time, the Ausseerland region was part of the so-called  Alpine fortress . It is for this reason, that in the last year of the war it became a last refuge for Nazi party, government and army staffs.Ernst Kaltenbrunner, head of the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt, moved his headquarters from Berlin to the Villa Kerry in Altaussee in late April 1945. Other high ranking Nazi and SS officials like Adolf Eichmann and Franz Stangl, tried to go into hiding in the village, on the run from the approaching Western and Russian forces.
Altaussee, May 1945 after the removal of the eight 500 kg bombs at the Nazi stolen art repository.
And then there were the Altaussee salt mines, pivotal to the story of the Monument's Men.   During the Second World War, the vast complex of salt mines in the Altaussee area served as a huge repository for art stolen by the Nazis . It was here, that Michelangelo's Madonna of Bruges  and Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece were hidden and fortunately retrieved in one piece, after the war.

But wasn't there a Fleming story involving Nazi gold? In fact there is. It's the short story 'Octopussy', written in 1962 and published after Fleming's death. When it was announced that Christopher Waltz would play Oberhauser, the idea that the plot of SPECTRE would revolve around this Fleming short story became even stronger. And what an opportunity this was! To return to original, unused Fleming material, with a plot involving Bond's old ski teacher and hidden Nazi gold. Unfortunately, this story line isn't touched at all and I can only say the writers really missed a huge opportunity.

Which makes you wonder, why on earth did the production decide to film at Altaussee at all?

EON productions arrived in the area in January 2015 and used three locations: The winding road towards the lake (Harnischbhelstrasse, or 145 ) , the lake itself (we see 007 on a boat approaching the shore) and a log cabin on the shore.
The log cabin of the Pale King, on the north-east shore of Lake Altaussee
The log cabin seems to be so remote, that 'back lot' are the first two words that come to mind. But for once, this isn't the case. The cabin actually exists and is situated in the north-eastern corner of Lake Altaussee. It even has a name: Jagdhaus Seewiese . And the good thing is, the owners would love you to visit the property as it is a local restaurant.
The location of Jagdhaus Seewiese, in the upper right corner of the lake
Filming took place on this location on January 5th and 6th and, apart from Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes was present as well. The interior shots for this scene were all filmed at Pinewood

Jagdhaus Seewiese can be reached on foot from the Church in Altaussee in 30 minutes, or from Hotel Seevilla in 60 minutes. There is a path on the northern shore of the lake. Alternatively, you could of course also rent a boat and approach the restaurant in a more classy, 007 style.

Because of its remote location, the Jagdhaus isn't open every day of the year, so before going there you better check with the owners first. Eva & Paul König can be reached at +43 (0) 6643387622 or
The restaurant's website can be found at
Jagdhaus Seewiese at Lake Altaussee

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