Friday, August 24, 2007

Arnold Fanck
Arnold Fanck (born 6 March 1889 in Frankenthal, Germany; died 28 September 1974 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany) was a pioneer of the German mountain film.
Together with Odo Deodatus Tauern, Bernhard Villinger and Rolf Bauer, Fanck established the company "Berg- und Sportfilm GmbH Freiburg" in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1920. Fanck, who held a PhD in geology, directed mountain films, sports films and ski films. He was assisted by Sepp Allgeier – a cameraman who later belonged to Leni Riefenstahl's team – and worked mostly in the Alps in locations such as the Engadine, Zermatt and the Arlberg and on mountains such as Mont Blanc and Piz Palü.
His most popular and successful films of the period between the wars include:
During the National Socialist period, Fanck got in trouble with propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, since he refused to cooperate — apparently because of the necessity of joining the party. In 1934, he also began working on his film Der ewige Traum/Der König vom Mont-Blanc, which not only starred a French hero in French mountains, but also had a Jewish producer, Gregor Rabinowitsch. This conflict brought Fanck into economic difficulties, from which he was only able to escape by accepting a contract from the Japanese ministry of culture in 1936. With Die Tochter des Samurai and other "culture films", Fanck decided to cooperate with the Nazi regime. Soon afterwards, he produced Ein Robinson (1938/39) a propaganda film for Bavaria Filmkunst. In 1944 he made a documentary about the sculptor Arno Breker called "Arno Breker – Harte Zeit, starke Kunst". After World War II, Fanck's main films of the National Socialist period were proscribed by the Allied military governments. Fanck received no further job offers and had to work as a lumberjack.
After the screening of his film Der ewige Traum at the mountain film festival in Trento in 1957, Fanck was once again recognized for his artistic achievements. In order to survive his economic difficulties, however, he was forced to sell the rights to his films to a friend, until TV broadcasts improved his situation.

Das Wunder des Schneeschuhs (1919/20)
The Holy Mountain (1926)
The White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929 Silent/1935 Sound)
Stürme über dem Montblanc (1930)
Der weiße Rausch – neue Wunder des Schneeschuhs (1931)
S.O.S. Eisberg (1932), which was filmed off Greenland

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