“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 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.
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.