Great Leap (1927)
Before she became a celebrated documentarian (and notorious public figure), Leni Riefenstahl was a popular
actress, best known for her "mountain films" made by director Arnold Fanck. The Holy Mountain (Der heilige Berg, 1926) and The White Hell of Pitz Palu were awe-inspiring dramas of romance and survival, but her 1927 film The Great Leap (Der grosse Sprung) was something surprisingly different: a playful romantic comedy set high atop the Dolomotes. Riefenstahl plays an Italian peasant whose simple life is upended when a series of urbanites invade the slopes for a ski vacation. This bubbly comedy (featuring Riefenstahl's usual on-screen love interest, Luis Trenker) combines slapstick laughs with stunning footage of acrobatic skiing and rock climbing.