In 1865, the unconquered Matterhorn beckons; former rivals, Italian Carrel and Englishman Whymper, hope to climb it together, but national rivalry intervenes. Rival parties dangerously race for the summit in realistic, well-photographed climbing scenes; but when the mountain is climbed, the danger is far from over... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The movie was shot back-to-back with The Mountain Calls (1938) with Luis Trenker as the only actor appearing in both versions. So it was a British-German co-production just one year before the war. See more »
When Cassell rescues Whymper at the start of the film, he throws only one rope down but is seen descending using two ropes. See more »
Depicting the race between competing teams of English and Italian mountain climbers to be the first to reach the top of the Matterhorn in the Alps, there are a lot of good things about this movie. It may lack the special effects touches that modern movies have, but there are some really good scenes depicting the mountain itself, and some good and realistic mountain climbing scenes. Surprisingly graphic for the time was the scene in which four climbers fall to their deaths. Although shot from a distance, watching the climbers tumble down the mountain was actually quite unnerving. The performances involved with this were generally pretty good as well and, after the deaths of the climbers, a predictable but well portrayed scape-goating against English climber Whipple.
There were some things about this that struck me as less than necessary. The romance between Carrel and Felicitas, for example. I didn't find it believable, nor did I find that it added anything to the story. There was perhaps a bit too much attention paid to what was going on in the village at the expense of what the movie should have been about - which was conquering the Matterhorn. Overall, though, it's a decent enough effort for its time.
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