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White Hell of Pitz Palu, The (weisse Hoelle vom Piz Palue, Die)

White Hell of Pitz Palu, The
Scene from "The White Hell of Pitz Palu" (photo courtesy of Filmmuseum Berlin/Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek)

Dr. Johannes Krafft and his young wife Maria are enthusiastic mountain climbers. On a winter climb on the treacherous Pitz Palu, an avalanche suddenly hits them and Maria is swept away down an icy crevasse to her death. Krafft spends the next years wandering around the mountain and grieving the loss of his beloved wife. 10 years later: Maria and Hans, two young lovers, are spending their holiday at a cabin high up in the mountains. Hans tells Maria the legend of the mysterious Dr. Krafft, who has become known as the "spirit of the mountain." They are astounded when Dr. Krafft himself suddenly appears in their doorway, but invite him to spend the night. The next morning, Dr. Krafft sets off once again towards the summit of Pitz Palu. Determined not to be outdone, Hans insists on joining him, as does Maria. As the three begin their ascent, they see a group of students in the distance also on their way up the mountain. All goes well, until Hans, who has insisted on taking the lead in spite of his inexperience, slips and falls, injuring his head. Krafft and Maria pull him back up to safety, but Krafft breaks his leg in the process. Then an avalanche suddenly erupts, sweeping the students below them to their deaths. After three days and nights stranded on the mountain ledge, the small group is discovered by a pilot. Before the search party reaches them, however, Hans has nearly frozen to death. Krafft gives the young man his jacket. Knowing that his fate is now sealed, Krafft crawls off on his own… Hans and Maria are saved, but Dr. Krafft has now joined his wife in death, encased in his own icy grave.
Genre Adventure, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1929
Directors Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Arnold Fanck
Screenplay Arnold Fanck, Ladislaus Vajda
Cinematography Sepp Allgeier, Richard Angst
Arnold Fanck, Hermann Haller
Giuseppe Becce, Willy Schmidt-Genter
Cast Gustav Diessl, Leni Riefenstahl, Ernst Petersen, Ernst Udet, Mizzi Goetzel, Otto Spring, Kurt Gerron
Producer Harry R. Sokal
Production Company H.R. Sokal Film/Berlin
Length 127 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Original Version
 Silent
German Distributor Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen/Berlin

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