White Hell of Pitz Palu ()

Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü (original title)
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A man climbs a 12,000-foot mountain to search for his wife, who was lost on their honeymoon. Another couple makes the dangerous climb with him.


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Dr. Johannes Krafft
Maria Maioni
Ernst Petersen ...
Hans Brandt
Ernst Udet ...
Flieger Udet (as Flieger Ernst Udet)
Otto Spring ...
Christian Klucker (as Bergführer Spring)
Mizzi Götzel ...
Maria Krafft
Mann im Salon (guest at night club)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles McNamee ...
Narrator in USA sound version (voice)

Directed by

Arnold Fanck ... (as Dr. Arnold Fanck)
Georg Wilhelm Pabst ... (as G.W. Pabst)

Written by

Arnold Fanck ... (writer)
Ladislaus Vajda ... (writer)

Produced by

Paul Kohner ... associate producer: USA Universal 1930 version
Harry R. Sokal ... producer (as H.R. Sokal)

Music by

Giuseppe Becce ... (as Dr. Giuseppe Becce)
Ashley Irwin
Heinz Roemheld

Cinematography by

Sepp Allgeier
Richard Angst
Hans Schneeberger

Film Editing by

Arnold Fanck

Editorial Department

Edward L. Cahn ... editor: US version
Nina Goslar ... commissioning editor

Art Direction by

Ernö Metzner

Production Management

Heinz Landsmann ... unit manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Marc Sorkin ... assistant director (as M. Sorkin)

Sound Department

C. Roy Hunter ... recording supervisor: 1930 Universal USA version
Eberhard Leschin ... sound engineer (b&w restored version 1998)

Camera and Electrical Department

Hans G. Casparius ... still photographer

Location Management

Heinz Landsmann ... location manager

Music Department

David Broekman ... synchronization and score
Michael Schubert ... music editor & mixer / scoring engineer
Frank Strobel ... conductor (B&W restored version 1998)
Richard Bronskill ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Andor Pinter ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Heinz Roemheld ... orchestrator (uncredited)
William Schiller ... orchestrator (uncredited)

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Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot Summary

In 1925, the newlyweds Dr. Johannes Krafft and Maria spend their honeymoon in a mountaineering vacation. On October 6, while climbing the Piz Palü mountain near the Swiss borders with Italy, Johannnes ignores danger warnings. Shortly after, an avalanche traps Maria within a glacier. Johannes is unable to recover her body, but becomes obsessed with doing so. He spends the following four years wandering the mountain alone, in search of Maria's corpse. In 1929, the young couple of Hans Brandt and Maria Maioni plan to climb Piz Palü. They learn of Maria's death and get acquainted with Johaness. Hans offers to join Johaness in his next climb of the mountain. Maria is annoyed to be left behind, and follows them on her own. Another avalanche injures Hans, and Johanness rescues him at the cost of breaking his own leg. The trio spends the night in an ice cave. The mountain guide Christian organizes a rescue party, which locates the trio but fails in recovering them. Hans is in a suicidal mood, and Johanness is further injured while preventing Hans' suicide attempt. Erns Udet the aviator attempts to parachute supplies to the trapped trio, but fails. He manages, however, to record their exact location, Meanwhile, Johaness uses his jacket to cover Hans, willing to freeze to death to save the younger man. Christian eventually manages to rescue Hans and Maria, and has them nursed back to health. Johaness is considered deceased, with his corpse lost on the mountain. Written by Dimos I

Plot Keywords
Taglines Nothing like it before, nothing like it again! See more »
Parents Guide Add content advisory for parents »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • White Hell of Pitz Palu (United States)
  • White Hell of Pitz Palu (Ireland, English title)
  • The White Hell of Pitz Palu (United Kingdom)
  • L'enfer blanc du Piz Palu (France)
  • Prisioneros de la montaña (Spain)
  • See more »
  • 150 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Did You Know?

Trivia During shooting in sub-zero temperatures, Leni Riefenstahl developed severe frostbite and a bladder infection that would plague her for the rest of her life. See more »
Goofs At around 53-54 minutes Dr. Johannes Krafft's ice axe appears and disappears between shots. See more »
Movie Connections Edited into The Great Alaskan Mystery (1944). See more »

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