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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie was shot back-to-back with Der Berg ruft! (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 »
The Challenge can be recommended for the fifteen or twenty minutes of mountain climbing footage that serve as the film's narrative bookends. Directed by and starring Austro-Hungarian mountaineer and filmmaker Luis Trenker, these segments are truly thrilling and at times brilliantly shot by Trenker's long time DP, Albert Benitz. The Matterhorn, long since emasculated by the persistent presence of Mickey Mouse and Goofy on its slopes, has certainly never looked more imposing than it does here. Sadly, the balance of the film is taken up by deadly dull stuff about Briton Edward Whymper's race to beat the bally Eye-ties to the top of the mountain, and you'll be challenged indeed to keep your eyelids propped open during the tedious second act of the film. For those who like their oxygen thin or simply yearn to see a good avalanche, however, this is well worth a look.
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