The Holy Mountain (Der heilige Berg) is a 1926 German mountain film directed by Arnold Fanck and starring Leni Riefenstahl, Luis Trenker and Ernst Petersen. It was the future filmmaker Riefenstahl’s first screen appearance as an actress and prior to her fateful meeting with Adolf Hitler who would ensure Riefenstahl’s career would be long remembered for her 1935 propaganda film Triumph of the Will. Written by Arnold Fanck and Hans Schneeberger, The Holy Mountain is partly a love triangle concerning a dancer who meets and falls in love with an engineer (Trenker) at his mountain cottage. However, after the engineer sees her innocently comforting his friend, he mistakenly believes she is betraying him and they both set on a dangerous trek to the mountains.
The visual experience is certainly exciting, considering the age of the film. Fanck was a master of shooting mountain films and the mountaineering and skiing scenes are still thrilling to watch after over 90 years since its release. The camerawork shows some modern techniques still used today, in particular the ski race which must have created its own challenges with the bulky cameras.
- 1080p presentation on Blu-ray, from a 2014 2K digital restoration
- Score by Aljoscha Zimmerman, available in both LPCM 2.0 and DTS-HD MA 5.1
- Original German intertitles with optional English subtitles
- The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl [180 mins] – Ray Müller’s definitive documentary on the life and career of Leni Reifenstahl.
- Feature Length Audio Commentary by film historian Travis Crawford
- PLUS: a collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by critic and film historian Kat Ellinger, and a 2004 essay by Doug Cummings from the original Masters of Cinema DVD release
- The Holy Mounain is available at by Eureka Video (£14.99). To order a copy go to www.eurekavideo.co.uk
Founder and Editor of Pilgrim House, currently undertaking a research degree at Bangor University and working on a book on Folklore and early Welsh Christianity. Tom’s other work on music, poetry, health along other writings and images can be found at tomasstanger.com