Arnold Fanck

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A HeroicSong from a Towering World ofHeights
2  D V D

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  • Actors: Leni Riefenstahl, Luis Trenker, Ernst Petersen, Frida Richard, Friedrich Schneider
  • Director: Arnold Fanck
  • Writer: Arnold Fanck
  • Producer: Harry R. Sokal
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, PAL, Silent
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (UK & Europe)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2

    Classification: U

  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Jun 2004
  • Run Time: 286 minutes

  • Barcode: 5060000401912

“A Heroic Song from a Towering World of Heights” — German filmmaker and doctor Arnold Fanck (1889-1974) made this beautifully photographed Bergfilm, or ‘mountain film’, in 1926. Written in three days and nights — especially for Leni Riefenstahl The Holy Mountain took over a year to film in the Alps with an entourage of expert skiers and climbers.

Ostensibly a love triangle romance — between Riefenstahl’s young dancer and the two explorers she encounters — Fanck relishes the glorious Alpine landscape by filming death-defying climbing, avalanche-dodging, and frenetic downhill ski racing.

This restoration is a visual feast - a fascinating look at the origins of a genre. After learning the ropes from Fanck, Riefenstahl’s own Bergfilme flowered at UFA during the 1930s, and Fanck became her editor. This restoration is a visual feast — a fascinating look at the origins of a genre. Extras include the 3hr documentary The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (by Ray Müller) on disc 2.

The accompaying booklet (well it's really just a pamphlet) by Doug Cummings gives a fascinating insight into the work of (1889-1974). He was the most accomplished filmmaker of the German Bergfilm, or 'mountain film' which is often compared to the American Western. His career fell to earth (pardon the pun) as he joined the Nazi Party in order to obtain work in the 1930s. After the war, his Party membership prevented him from working professionally again.

There is some gossip in the pamphlet about the making of the film provided by Riefenstahl. Anything from her is always worth a read whether it is true or not.

Disc 2 has the astonishing documenary The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl. As epic as the woman herself (180 minutes), it was made when she was approaching 90 in the early 1990s with her featuring largely, and, gosh, what a woman she was. Her mind still razor-sharp in this docu., she was incredibly objective and insightful when it came to examining her own work. That is crucially important when a critical eye is cast over her work for unlike any other major film director, it is nigh impossible to look at her work in isolation; the shadow of her Nazi Propaganda always looms large, but there is one inescapable fact that the narrator points out at the start of the film: she was when this film was made and still remains the most famous female film director of all time. No-one has come close. At a stretch you might argue Jane Campion but that's one hell of a stretch.

Some things I didn't know about her before watching this docu:

  1. She never met Fritz Lang even though he was filming Metropolis in the next door studio to where The Holy Mountain was being made.
  2. Marlene Dietrich disliked her.
  3. She thought highly of the great G.W. Pabst
  4. Murnau thought of casting her in Faust
  5. Von Sternberg thought her the opposite of Dietrich, something Riefenstahl agreed with.


T H E  H O L Y  M O U N T A I N


F U L L  T I T L E
Der heilige Berg: Ein Heldenlied
aus ragender Hohenwelt
("The Holy Mountain: A Heroic
Song from a Towering World of

A L T E R N A T E  T I T L E S
The Sacred Mountain

S H O O T I N G  D A T E S
May - November, 1926

December 17, 1926 (UFA-Palast
am Zoo, Berlin

E X T E R I O R  L O C A T I O N S
Sils Maria

Extensive 2001 restoration,
2 disc set
The Wonderful, Horrible Life
of Leni Riefenstahl
(1993) by
Ray Müller, 180-mins
New 2002 score by Aljoscha
(Dolby 2.0 Stereo
& Dolby 5.1)
Original German intertitles
with English subtitles
Booklet containing new essay
by Doug Cummings
Two RSDL discs [DVD9]

Germany | 106 min.
1.33:1 OAR
black & white


Also available: (uk) | (us)


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