The White Hell of Pitz Palu

( 1 )

Overview

After his wife falls to her death in a glacier crevasse, Dr. Johannes Krafft (Gustav Diessl) wanders alone through the Bernina Alps and becomes known as the legendary "Spirit of the Mountain." He encounters Maria Majoni (Leni Riefenstahl) and Hans Brandt (Ernst Petersen) in a mountain shelter, and he and Maria find themselves drawn to each other. Krafft heads out alone the next day but is pursued by the jealous Hans. Maria goes after Hans, who breaks his leg trying to follow Krafft. She and Krafft stay with him, ...
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Overview

After his wife falls to her death in a glacier crevasse, Dr. Johannes Krafft (Gustav Diessl) wanders alone through the Bernina Alps and becomes known as the legendary "Spirit of the Mountain." He encounters Maria Majoni (Leni Riefenstahl) and Hans Brandt (Ernst Petersen) in a mountain shelter, and he and Maria find themselves drawn to each other. Krafft heads out alone the next day but is pursued by the jealous Hans. Maria goes after Hans, who breaks his leg trying to follow Krafft. She and Krafft stay with him, and a powerful storm threatens their lives. After several days Krafft attempts to climb down to get help but freezes to death. The rescue team finds Maria and Hans and returns them to safety. Note that this popular silent "mountain film" was also released in Germany in a shortened (92-minute) sound version in 1935. 29/127
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The White Hell of Pitz Palu is a stunning movie. If one merely looks at the essentials of its plot, it seems like nothing more than a standard adventure story, of the Man vs. Nature variety. And it's true, many will see it as nothing more than this and either enjoy it or not based upon their fondness for or tolerance of adventure movies. But creators Arnold Fanck and G.W. Pabst have taken the basics of the story and created a movie of great, harsh, majestic beauty. Fanck was well known for his "mountain" movies, and Pitz Palu is the greatest of these, the one in which he most fully realizes his vision of the dominating, mesmerizing cruelty of these titans of the landscape. Ironically, this very personal vision receives its ultimate fruition thanks to the do-direction of Pabst. Fanck concentrated on the grand, epic scenes involving the terrible Pitz-Palu mountain, while Pabst was assigned the task of making sure the humanity and specificity of the characters was properly captured. Two singular artists worked as one, making a seamless whole. And while Pitz Palu is a work of exquisite beauty, it is always and at the same time equally a thrilling, gripping race against the elements. There's even a mystical aspect of it which gives it a psychological reading, with the two males seen as two halves of the same person (their names -- Johannes and Hans are very similar. By the same token, the character played by Leni Riefenstahl is named Maria, the name of Johannes' departed wife, further emphasizing the dual nature of the characters. Pitz Palu works on many levels, bringing fresh rewards with repeated viewings. Those viewings also allow one to further appreciate the magnificent work of the quartet of cinematographers employed here, who create images of stark magnificence and power. Pitz Palu has some minor failings, including moments when the pacing suddenly falters, but these do not detract from its impact.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/29/2012
  • UPC: 842614100789
  • Original Release: 1929
  • Source: Grapevine Video
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Leni Riefenstahl Maria Majoni
Ernst Petersen Hans Brandt
Gustav Diessl Dr. Johannes Krafft
Mitzi Gotzel Maria Krafft
Christian Klucker Otto Spring
Ernst Udet Himself
Technical Credits
Arnold Fanck Director, Editor, Screenwriter
G.W. Pabst Director
Sepp Allgeier Cinematographer
Richard Angst Cinematographer
Dr. Giuseppe Becce Score Composer
Gustav Diessl Cinematographer
Hermann Haller Editor
Ashley Irwin Score Composer
Erno Metzner Set Decoration/Design
Ernst Petersen Cinematographer
Leni Riefenstahl Cinematographer
Hans Schneeberger Cinematographer
Henri Sokal Producer
Ernst Udet Cinematographer
Laszlo Vajda Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

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