"Love letters from Engadin" is an interesting combination of Bergfilm (the short-lived genre of mountain films, mostly from Germany in about 1925-50, displaying both the nature in mostly wintery Alps, and the lifestyles of local residents), and a romantic comedy with international scope, starting and finishing in London, and involving Americans, French, Italians as well.
Like in many of his films of the period, Luis Trenker has a dominant position as scriptwriter, director, and star, in the role of ski-teacher Toni Anewanter in a Swiss tourist resort, as well as sports champion in various skiing disciplines - and idol of female tourists. A hotel director wants to use this potential, by sending "love letters" to former pupils of Toni, asking them to come again, and best donate US$ 5000 for a new bob-sleigh track. Spam mail, we'd call it today.
One of the recipients of the letters, an American girl in the process of marrying a Lord in London, breaks it up when overhearing that he is in financial trouble and only wants her for the money. With her British friend Dorothy she travels to the undisclosed location in Engadin (possibly St. Moritz or Davos). From here on, usual tribulations of romantic comedies ensue.
And, of course, a lot of Bergfilm content: climbing snowy mountains, meagre life in a mountain cabin, falling into a glacier crevice, rescue teams with torches at night, a malfunctioning funicular... quite a bunch, but rarely pathetic or completely serious. The train chase (Toni wants to reach Dorothy who left on the Rhätische Bahn, Bernina Express
great scenes of the train!) has some thrills, but most of all lots of
slapstick that might befit a Buster Keaton movie. Fire brigade and chimney sweeper (somewhat) hot on his heels. Dorothy's powder-box is a prop well used in a number of scenes.
All in all, an interesting and entertaining film from a troubled time (Germany was just preparing for WW2 in 1938), more international, relaxed, peaceful than I would have expected. This can of course be explained with sales potential on international markets, and escapist fun for German audiences. DVD re-issue by e-m-s in 2004, with bonus track "Ski Heil!", a 19-minute 1955 documentary by Luis Trenker (again) on ski tourism in the Alps. I bought the DVD for 1 € at TeDi, which it is fully worth... :)
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