I don’t know if it is obvious, but I love Tarantino. I think that Inglorious Basterds was one of the best films of this past decade. So because I think that, I own a copy of it and watch it on regular intervals. I really respond to Shosana (I have watched it so many times that I did not even have to IMDB the film to remember her character name like I have to do with almost every other film) so I pay attention to her scenes the most. In one scene she is talking to the young upstart German officer about what she is showing at her cinema. They talk about mountain films. Apparently that was a big genre for the German people during the silent and beyond. Germans wanted to see other Germans cross-country ski and climb up flipping mountains all day and all night long. So naturally there are a lot of these filler pictures. I was mildly interested in seeing one so I researched a little (and by that I mean I was goofing off on youtube trying to find full silent films I can watch for free) and I came across one of the films that started it all. It was this film. It is in fact about several climbers and a dancer who is in love with mountain. It stars one of the most controversial figures in film history: Leni Riefenstahl. If you don’t know who she is, then google Triumph of the Will. One of the most controversial propaganda films of all time. Leni directed it when the fervor for Nazism and Hitler was just starting out. I have not seen all of it because it is pretty hard to get a DVD copy of it. (For some reason DVD companies don’t want to be the one known for releasing a Nazi propaganda film. Weird isn’t it?) But if you have seen a documentary on Nazism (and if you have history channel or have ever taken a history class in junior high and high school than you have) chances are you have seen scenes from this film. However before she made her indelible print on film history, she was an actress and a dancer.
A young dancer (Leni) dances because she has such a passion for the mountains. She dreams of one day marrying a mountain man. They are the height of hotness for her which is laughable. She gets intertwined with this mountain man and his best friend. The mountain man falls in love with her, but so does his best friend. Melodrama to an insane degree builds from their resulting in the mountain man climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the dead of winter in order to kill his best friend!!!! Of course he doesn’t end up killing his best friend and dies instead, but still what a way to try to kill someone. Is there not a gun or an oven handy?
This film was Nazi propaganda before Nazism existed. It embodied all the ideals that Nazis would go on to cherish and forcefully embrace. In fact at the end of the film there is a title card that became a motto for Nazism: My Honor is Loyalty. If you were to watch this film, I would only recommend it if you are interested in the root of Nazism and for the sets. They filmed mostly on location on real mountains and they were really beautiful. I could see myself if I was a young child seeing this film for the first time in the late twenties to be awed by the mountains. But I don’t think even then I would buy such a lame plot line or think these people were good people. Of course I did not grow up then, so I can not put myself in a young German girl’s shoes with any reliability. Anyway I would suggest skipping this film and watching a Lang or Murnau film (both Jewish Germans, by the way) instead.