Location Karlovy Vary

30 June 2011

Karlovy Vary is the largest and best known spa city in the Czech Republic. It was founded in the 14th century by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, whom legend credits with the discovery of its thermal springs. The West Bohemian spa became a popular retreat for the wealthy as early as the 16th century.

The city also is famous as the host of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. What's more, filmmakers in recent years have employed the city's unique scenery and historic architecture in several films, including Casino Royale, Hostel Part II, Last Holiday and Shanghai Knights.

Jasmina Torbati was production manager on Casino Royale and Last Holiday. “Once we were looking for a grand and exclusive feel, we would always end up in Karlovy Vary,” says Torbati, now managing director of Prague-based Central Scope Productions. “Generally Karlovy Vary can stand in for any kind of small, exclusive resort town on account of its beauty and grand architecture.”

For the filming of Casino Royale, Karlovy Vary played the role of the Montenegro resort where Bond confronts the terrorist financier Le Chiffre.

In the film, the Grand Hotel Pupp is the Hotel Splendide, where Bond and Vesper Lynd stay. Entrepreneur J.G. Pupp purchased two existing buildings in the late 18th century; his grandchildren completed the site's transformation into a hotel in 1893.

A few meters from the Pupp is Lazne I, the disused former Emperor's Baths, built in 1895. Czech crews dressed the building's exteriors for Casino Royale, in which the building plays the titular casino.

Also nearby is the Mill Collonade, which Casino Royale audiences will recognize from the scene of Bond and Lynd's arrival in Montenegro. Built in the late 18th century, this neo-Renaissance structure is 132 meters long and features 124 Corinthian columns, an orchestra pit and five mineral springs.

In Wayne Wang's 2006 film Last Holiday, Georgia Byrd (played by Queen Latifah) goes on holiday to Karlovy Vary and stays at the Grand Hotel Pupp. The city and the hotel appeare as themselves in the film, although Czech artists created effects to make the spa town appear to sit at the foot of the Alps. The effect was convincing enough that, upon the film's US release, the Pupp actually received calls from travelers interested in booking ski passes with their hotel rooms.

Karlovy Vary has abundant options for accommodating cast and crew, top-class restaurants, golf and plenty other amenities for relaxing. The city about 120 kilometers west of Prague and just 40 kilometers from the German border. There are short, direct flights from Prague.

Film producers find excellent production value in Karlovy Vary, and the town offers still more locations not yet portrayed in international film. In addition to the colonnades and hotels, Karlovy Vary is home to numerous historic churches and commanding vistas, not to mention the unusual sights to be found in the thermal springs under the city.

If you're interested in learning more about Karlovy Vary or other Czech locations for your film project, please contact us.

 
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