The Holy Mountain - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Holy Mountain Reviews

Page 1 of 1
September 30, 2017
Beautifully shot, lovely and magnificent 'mountain' film starring Leni Riefenstahl in her film debut. Everything is beautiful in this movie, from the riveting cinematography that captures wonderful images of alpine scenery with its dazzling snow and sun, dangerous peaks, raging streams, forests covered in snow to the haunting dance sequences performed by breathtakingly beautiful Leni, to the vivacious music that precisely captures the changing moods of the film. The plot is pretty simple and typical for a German movie of the 20's, it deals with emotions and instincts: jealousy, hatred, love, redemption, submission. But above those emotions the film makes a strong statement on loyalty, friendship, feelings and faith in the face of avalanches, both metaphorical and literal. A friend becomes jealous when he discovers that a friend of his is attracted to the same woman he adores and in a fit of jealousy he decides to kill him. The plot is too trivial and familiar but executed wonderfully. Leni, in the role of the woman in question is inimitable, she's so talented. I guess she's a real, if not the only true feminist in history of cinema.
½ November 29, 2013
another romantic triangle pic
January 27, 2013
This was filmed in 1926! What a beauty!!! It is art. The alps are majestic, and this film captures their power and their essence. Oh and notice how the expressions the actors make easily allow you to know what they're conveying without words.
March 8, 2010
a fantastic restoration of an OKish film- ski scenes reminiscent of OHMSS. Riefenstahl flounces with abandon and much leginess while the skiers are all very macho. Worth seeing but not worth losing sleep over.
½ February 14, 2010
A Marvelous Masterpiece about Ski Drivers and Mountain Climbers with stunning Pictures of the Alps and a perfect Combination of Impressionism and Expressionism with the hillarious Couple Leni Riefenstahl and Luis Trenker
March 7, 2009
I have to confess, this is an extraordinarily difficult film and DVD combination to review and rate. In the first place, it is undoubtedly a classic of the silent cinema, and warrants five stars on that basis. Director Arnold Fanck made an early name for himself promoting the healthy and invigorating life of mountaineering and skiing. He pioneered new techniques, not simply in overcoming the technological difficulties of filming at altitude, in intense cold, and in the white of thick snow, but he also filmed dynamically - he doesn't offer static calendar shots of mountains, he fills each frame with movement, plays with lighting and slow motion, makes the picture come alive with rushing water, cascading snow, and the vitality of the human actors climbing and skiing.

In "The Holy Mountain" ("Der heilige Berg"), Fanck introduces Leni Riefenstahl in her first starring role. She had been a successful dancer until a knee injury ended that career. Fanck, here, uses her dancing as the opening and the theme for his film - two mountaineers fall in love with her and compete for her hand. Riefenstahl, of course, would go on to become famous for her own film making, celebrating the early triumphs of the Nazi regime, and winning many directorial plaudits.

"The Holy Mountain", indeed, is highly stylised in its presentation of characters and action. There is much which could be described as National Socialist Realism in its portrayal of its characters - proud, Aryan actors, posing heroically, caught in roles which emphasise their strength, health, courage, and vitality. The picturing of the countryside and nature again offers up this sort of symbolism, glorifying the role of Germanic peoples. Stylistically, it's very dated. Technically, the filming is superb.

Fanck does not appear to have been a supporter of the Nazis - he was a geologist by training, he climbed, he skied, and he made films about his passion. His early filming of ski jumping and downhill racing is a singular technical and artistic achievement. "The Holy Mountain" is beautifully shot - for its time the mountain and ice scenes are outstanding - with the camera flirting with 'natural' images of sea, mountain torrents, sheep in the fields, wild flowers blossoming, etc. But it gets a bit tedious. The narrative romance is, frankly, boring - it is melodramatic, and it shows its age. The subtitles, meanwhile, are a bit twee, the music grates - twenty minutes in and you do want to shot the piano player.

There are excellent extras - not least a film looking at the highs and lows of Leni Riefenstahl's career. It's a substantial package, and for anyone interested in the history of film-making, particularly in silent movies or the German cinema of the inter-war years, this is essential viewing. "The Silent Mountain" is undoubtedly a classic, and this is an excellent transfer of the film to DVD, the black and white images appearing crisp and the vitality of the original production being captured faithfully. But it's not a film which is going to hold the attention of anything but a very specialised audience. Very interesting, definitely worth watching if you're a keen cinema fan, but!
½ October 31, 2008
why am i not dancing around in 1926?
February 24, 2008
this movie is weird as hell. sponsored by john lennon in his drug induced douche bag phase
½ February 21, 2008
Watching this movie requires both a strong stomach and an open mind. This isn't exactly the most accessible film out there. This movie has to be watched all the way through in order to fully appreciate, otherwise you'll be left with a thoroughly molested brain and a difficulty in holding your lunch in.
November 6, 2007
If its a favorite of Andrews, I NEED to see it!
October 20, 2007
Classic - not for everyone though - AN ART FILM.
August 17, 2007
Truely a classic. This movie is a must for everyone.
June 8, 2007
The pioneering film that launched German climbing cinema.
November 11, 2006
I need to see this so bad!
April 14, 2006
Rifenstahl's first film I believe. She used to be a ballet dancer you know?
Page 1 of 1