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First Ski Mountaineering Film?

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  • First Ski Mountaineering Film?

    Last night we watched The White Hell of Pitz Palu, filmed in 1929, lost for many years, recovered and restored about 15 years ago. It stars Leni Riefenstahl as a climber and Ernst Udet, who flew with the Red Baron, in bi-plane flying stunts (trying to locate the stranded climbers). Mostly filmed on location near St. Moritz. Now available on Netflix. In today's world it is hard to watch silent films, but the footage is really stunning, especially of the large rescue effort attempted with skiers carrying torches, and some of the avalanche scenes. The communal straw bed in the alpine ski hut also is awesome.

    P.S. not sure why they went mountain climbing wearing only sweaters.......

  • #2

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    • #3
      No white onions?

      Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        I'll check it out, Baaahb. I've seen, uh, one of her other films.

        On a vaguely related note, I only recently got around to seeing On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which features lots of skiing and a pretty good avalanche scene.

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        • #5
          Good suggestion bobs, I've been meaning to see that James Bond film again for the skiing. Does this seem desperate?
          Last edited by Hindfoot; 31 July 2014, 05:41 PM. Reason: clarity

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bobs View Post
            I'll check it out, Baaahb. I've seen, uh, one of her other films.
            Only one? Which did you miss?

            This really isn't "her" film. She started out wanting to be a dancer, danced in some films, then started just acting, though in roles that required not a little athleticism. In her memoirs, she calls the director somewhat of a beast -- but an artistic beast -- who lied to her about scenes, in particular one where she is being hoisted by a rope and it would seem nearly was killed. He told her they would only hoist her a little bit and they hoisted her up over the top of a cliff, with snow being dumped on her as if from an avy. I think you'll like it, story line very similar to North Face, which supposedly documents a German expedition several years later. There must be some sort of link between the two, but I haven't found it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Baaahb View Post
              Only one?
              That would be the one starring her dear friend Adolf. Which was a surprisingly dull slog, considering the film's historical importance. I mean, Birth of a Nation was odious, but at least it held my interest.

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              • #8
                Cool movie! Thanks for the link freeheelskier.
                Years ago (1967?) I was climbing with my father in Switzerland, above Zermatt with a Swiss Guide. We did a short route on the Monta Rosa , I think. We climbed up this rock face, belayed one at a time, and the guide just had the rope casually around his waist, in a hip belay, sitting on this small rock outcrop.
                The rope was just tied around our waists, just like in this movie...same type of golden, static rope
                The Swiss guide said with another day of practice he would be willing to lead us up the Matterhorn. I wish we had climbed it, I was 16 at the time.
                Last edited by chamonix; 1 August 2014, 02:15 PM.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the suggestion! Rented it off Netfix and had a fun time adlibbing it. The torch lit ice cave body search is great film for 1928.
                  Tell me where you are skiing and what the conditions are: http://mountainhub.com/
                  Ski with me: https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/
                  Stalk me: https://www.facebook.com/danomike

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                  • #10
                    Finally got around to seeing Pitz Palu. Wow, great movie. All that not only with no SFX, but also without modern climbing harnesses.

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                    • #11
                      Another great Dr. Fanck film (with Leni of course) is "Storm on Mt Blanc" I was able to get it from Netflix too. Great scenery shots from the air on Mt. Blanc. More flying with Ernst Udet
                      http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Storm-O...552?trkid=1660

                      But "The White Hell of Pitz Palu "is very good. . I also bought the movie "SOS Iceberg". Not that good, it was chopped up for a US audience..

                      Then there is "The Holy Mountain". Same climbers, with Leni. Not as good as the others IMHO. Her dancing scenes in this one kind of suck.
                      http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/The-Hol...859?trkid=1660
                      Last edited by chamonix; 21 December 2014, 04:27 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I don't know if the dancing scenes really "suck" but I found it too tedious to make it through. I think it was Hitler's fav. Kind of odd, though he did have roots as a bohemian artist. I'd like to see SOS Iceberg,I think that's where Udet intentionally crashes his plane into a berg.

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