5 Nov 2013

Schloss Schönbrunn - part 1

At the end of The Living Daylights 1987Kara gives a concert at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. Both M and General Gogol are among the audience, and Bond supposedly on a mission, has been attending the concert secretly. However, the full exterior of the palace is only seen during the film's end credits. Filmed by of one of the two fountains in the palace courtyard, we see some horse carriages and a few limousines in front of the palace. Bond and Kara have actually been riding past the palace earlier in the film but the garden and backside of the palace will be covered in a later post.

Kara's concert takes place in the Schönbrunn Schlossteater or the Palace theater, located in one of the adjacent buildings to the palace. John Barry who composed the soundtrack for the film, his eleventh and last soundtrack, got a cameo as the philharmonic orchestra conductor in this last scene. John Barry's swan song in the Bond series.

John Barry 1933-2011 - His services will be greatly missed

Schönbrunn was originally built as a residence for Empress Eleonora Gonzaga 1638-1643, but was severely damaged in the Second Siege of Vienna in 1683. The Emperor Leopold I had the palace rebuilt as a palatial hunting lodge which was then handed over to his heir, Joseph I. In 1743 the place in its present form was expanded and rebuilt under Empress Maria Theresia and until the end of the first world war it was the summer residence of Austria's Imperial family, the Habsburgs. It was inhabited almost continuously during this period and became a cultural and political center of the Habsburg empire.

During the end credits, three limousines (most likely belonging to M and General Gogol) are parked behind the fountain in front of the palace. The fountains however are switched off during the winter season. The horse carriages also seen in the background in the film can still be found on location in the palace courtyard, ready to take tourists for a ride.

Schloss Schönbrunn is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996. The palace gardens will be covered later, but this is definitely the most beautiful Bond location in Vienna and it is highly recommended to spend the better part of the day here.

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