in about 100 words or less
Germany 150m, B&W, Silent
Directors: Arnold Fanck, Georg Wilhelm Pabst; Cast: Gustav Diessl, Leni Riefenstahl, Ernst Petersen, Ernst Udet, Mizzi Götzel, Christian Klucker, Kurt Gerron
A melodramatic adventure shot in Graubünden, Switzerland, Die weisse Hölle vom Piz Palü is a cinematographic masterpiece of the “Mountain Film” genre. Filled with some surprisingly technical and hazardous-looking climbing and equally dazzling aviation footage, this is the story of Dr. Johannes Krafft, a forlorn climber who wanders Pitz Palu after losing his wife in a crevasse. Years later, he becomes romantically entangled with Maria and Hans, a young couple who he shares a mountain shelter the night before his planned solo attempt of mountain. Their fates entwined, they attempt the climb together the following day, and find themselves trapped on an icy ledge and the subject of a daring rescue attempt. Subsequently edited for sound and released in 1930, the uncut original silent version was presumed lost until 1996 and has since been restored (Klaus Ming December 2018).