HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Captor, The
Hide in Plain Sight
Wildlife
X2
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Heiress, The
Cold Pursuit
Firestorm
Dogs of War, The
Holy Mountain, The
Piercing
Under Fire
Jennifer on My Mind
People on Sunday
Lethal Weapon 4
Downhill Racer
Emily
Odette
Escape Room
Across the Pacific
Madeline's Madeline
You're Gonna Miss Me
Iron Sky: The Coming Race
Derby
Mortal Engines
Union City
Knife+Heart
Little Stranger, The
Sauvage
Watermelon Man
Wandering Earth, The
Good Fairy, The
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
Monster in the Closet
Sand, The
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
   
 
Newest Articles
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
   
 
  Holy Mountain, The Rock Rock RockBuy this film here.
Year: 1926
Director: Arnold Fanck
Stars: Leni Riefenstahl, Luis Trenker, Ernst Petersen, Frida Richard, Friedrich Schneider, Hannes Schneider, Leontine Sagan
Genre: Drama, Action, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Diotima (Leni Riefenstahl) is a professional dancer who loves the sea, so much so that she stands by the ocean, with the waves crashing on the rocks around her, and performs for the elements that so entrance her. But as she lives near the Alps, she also has an interest in the mountains as well, for there are two men who are even more invested in climbing them than she will ever be, Karl (Luis Trenker) and the younger Vigo (Ernst Petersen), who pair off and ascend the peaks in the most amenable conditions to their sport. However, a misunderstanding regarding Diotima will eventually result in potential tragedy, as when Karl saw her dance, it was love at first sight for them both...

In the late nineteen-twenties and into the thirties, mountain films were a sensation in Germany, the lofty peaks they filmed around embodying the nation's indomitable spirit, or they did at least until they fell out of fashion, as indeed did that spirit. Arnold Fanck was the man who single-handedly created this genre which spawned countless imitators across the Weimar era and well into the Nazi one too, which has made the entire body of work somewhat problematic, since they celebrated a nationalism that would soon curdle into death and destruction on an unimaginable scale. This leaves you with a point to ponder: can you enjoy a German mountain film without that baggage?

The answer is probably not, not with this leading lady at any rate, for Riefenstahl would soon pick up the camera herself and turn director, capitalising on her fame as a movie star. Fair enough, a woman director in those days was a rarity, and someone to be celebrated - except for her subject matter, which was as a Nazi propagandist under Adolf Hitler with the notorious Triumph of the Will, and the glorifying of fascism that came with both that and Olympiad which recorded the Nazi-hosted Olympic Games. She spent the rest of her long life apologising for these efforts, and never lived them down, or she didn't after 1945 anyway, when it became clear she had seriously backed the wrong horse.

Therefore to return to Riefenstahl in more innocent days generated mixed feelings, and her wild over-emoting here was not much help to establishing a legacy away from the Nazis as she was frequently quite comical, whether prancing around in supposedly tasteful setpieces, or trying to create a sense of Mother Nature channelled through her character. The natural world here is noble and pure, and the love triangle of Diotima, Karl and Vigo aspires to take on its extremes as if by taming them they will attain some spiritual plateau. Fair enough, there are certainly nature worshippers around these days who would not have an issue with that philosophy, but considering the way their relationships turn out this threesome resemble lunatics more than they do any great ideals.

Fanck was known for his adherence to authenticity above all else, and that often meant placing his cast in danger, much to their chagrin, but in Trenker he did have a genuine mountain climber, and he pressed him into service, along with all his skills, as often as he could. Trenker was probably the biggest star of the Alpine genre and was convincing as a man who had the experience on the peaks, which rendered Karl's decision in the latter half to ascend the most perilous mountain around during winter the actions of a maniac. Yes, he does believe his girlfriend has taken up with another man (she hasn't), but even so what happens next looks suicidal and then murderous as he takes the hapless Vigo along with him. Not that he means to murder Vigo, but it does all get very Touching the Void in that last act. Really the main benefit of The Holy Mountain was not so much the cast, but Fanck's adoration of the mountain range, with often spectacular shots only slightly denigrated by the air of pompous pretension. Not to be confused with the Alejandro Jodorowsky weirdo epic, though you may wonder if he co-opted the title.

[This film is out on Blu-ray from Eureka with the following features:

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 Riefenstahl.
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.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 46 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Rachel Franke
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
   

 

Last Updated: