From shooting location to film festivals...
In this athletic and vibrant community – which, without a doubt, is one of Austria’s most renowned ski resorts – Austrian tradition is mixed with international flair and this mix is crowned by stunning natural surroundings. As a film set St. Anton am Arlberg has seen plenty of drama, adventure, love, and friendship and with its magical mountainous landscape it ensures special film experiences, both for fans of the holiday region and for those who are yet to get to know the area. And because TV and cinema productions are so common around here, an annual film festival takes place to pay tribute to this stunning film set. La Loupe takes a peek back stage and presents six movies that were filmed entirely or partly in St. Anton am Arlberg.
The White Extasy (1931)
This comedy is among the most well-known films ever shot on Arlberg and it is the first skiing movie with sound. With her klutziness young Leni from Berlin (Leni Riefenstahl) drives skiing instructor Hannes (Hannes Schneider) nuts. But she has her mind set on one thing: with Hannes’ help she wants to participate in a beginners’ ski race – and win it, too. The film was produced by Arnold Fanck and the landscape shots and skiing scenes from St. Anton delighted so many cinemagoers it made the Arlberg a place of longing over night. The revolutionary filming technique, impressive jumps, choreographies, and thrilling races did their part in making the film a classic. The scenes depicting the mass-start of the Weisser Rausch ski-race on Vallugagrat are particularly impressive – and today the legendary ski race which takes almost ten minutes still is one of the longest in the world.
The Arlberg Witch (1953/54 and 1999)
This film by the Danish director Finn Antoft creates magical moments featuring young Karl Schranz. A witch (Toni Marth) has snuck into the ski school business in St. Anton and introduces young talents to the sport with a lot of humour. But, of course, there can’t be a witch on Arlberg, which is why a wild chase through powder snow follows, complete with acrobatic stunts. Numerous skiing instructors from St. Anton were hired for the skiing scenes. Unfortunately the film remained unfinished and only in 1999 did the director’s family have it newly cut, new sound added and presented it to the public at the St. Anton film festival.
The Black Lightning (1958)
Cabinetmaker and casanova Michael Kirchner is the top skier in his home village St. Florian. A year after first flirting with her, he meets Uschi, a ski maker’s daughter, again. At the same time he tries to conquer hotel secretary Gretl. On the slopes Michael, who wants to qualify for the national team, finds a competitor in former ski star Herbert Thanner, whose home-made special wax he is said to have stolen. In the end all is well and Michael wins the big ski race. A Happy End that truly impressed viewers and made St. Anton a pilgrimage site for lovers of the sport – also thanks to the commitment of three-time Olympic Champion in Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956, the “Black Lightning” himself, Toni Sailer.
The Double Man (1967)
It makes you wonder: did James Bond director Sam Mendes find his inspiration for sending Daniel Craig down icy slopes in this film?! The spy thriller by director Franklin J. Schaffner sends CIA agent Dan Slater to St. Anton, to attend his son’s funeral after a deadly accident in the Alps. He investigates his son’s death and finds out he was murdered. Hints conveniently provided by the attractive Gina make him think he might be on the right track to discover the killers – not knowing that he’s doing exactly what he was expected to and thus falls into the trap that was set for him. The film was shot on both sides of the Arlberg and depicts the early forms of mass ski-tourism.
Other movies that were filmed in St. Anton:
Downhill Racer (1969)
Chalet Girl (2011)
Das Wunder des Schneeschuh
(The Snow Shoe Miracle / 1919)
Der große Sprung (The Big Jump / 1927)