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 info@jagdhaus-seewiese.com
The restaurant's website can be found at  http://www.jagdhaus-seewiese.com/
Jagdhaus Seewiese at Lake Altaussee

On the tracks of 007

By Martijn Mulder 01 Sep, 2016
Although I love lots of movies and genres, there are some series that I do not know much about. 'Tarzan' is one of them. I can tell you Johnny Weissmüller played the role ages ago, but that's about it. Still, this story is so special that it just has to be shared. So even if you're totally not into Tarzan, like me, just sit back, relax and read this story. It's a good one..

A few years ago, an older friend of mine gave me a VHS cassette and asked me if I could make a digital copy and duplicate it for a few of his friends. They are all into old British cars, Austins to be exact, and my friend owns and restored a couple of them and happily takes the oldtimers on holiday to Scotland and Scandinavia, year after year. I agreed to help him out and took the cassette home where I put it in my VCR, curious to see what was on it.
By Martijn Mulder 07 Jun, 2016
One of the locations that had always puzzled us, is the gas station location, where 007 drives his Acrostar BedeJet to and quips "Fill 'er up, please". We posted the above photo on our website's WANTED page , hoping some fellow location hunter would be able to solve this puzzle. And this is exactly what happened..
By Martijn Mulder 02 Apr, 2016

The island of Hong Kong was occupied by the British Empire in 1842. In 1856 Britain acquired the Kowloon peninsula on the Chinese mainland. The Crown Colony of Hong Kong was completed by the lease of the New Territories from China in 1898. This lease was supposed to last for 99 years. In 1984 the governments of Great Britain and the People’s Republic of China made an agreement that the British rule over Hong Kong would expire on June 30, 1997. Since July 1, 1997 it has been a ‘Special Administrative Region of China’. For the normal visitor and tourist very little, if anything at all, has 'really' changed since then. The British Governor was replaced by a Chinese appointed head of administration, but capitalism still rules and the cars still drive on the left hand side of the street. Only you will get some different stamps in your passport.  The urban beehive of Hong Kong is a bonanza of fascinating sights and experiences and only few destinations yield their treasures so readily like this unique place at the verge of the Middle Kingdom.

Highlights of a visit to Hong Kong would be for example an ascent of Victoria Peak (by funicular railway) from where you have a spectacular view of the whole area, or a meal in the ‘Floating Restaurants’ at Aberdeen (Pierce Brosnan in the TV-series ‘Noble House’) or a trip to the outlying island of Lantau with the world’s largest outdoor Buddha-statue. The most popular novel dealing with Hong Kong is definitely ‘The World of Suzie Wong’ by Richard Mason. Although the action takes place in the Wanchai District, most parts of the film (1960), starring William Holden and Nancy Kwan, were shot in the area around the Man Mo Temple at the crossing of Ladder Street and Hollywood Road in the Sheung Wan District. 
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