7 priceless retro ski movie scenes
Today's ski movies tend to come out of the same mould – laid back, surf meets snow style dudes tackling death defying heights across every continent, while helicopter blades whoosh on slow mo revealing another amazing vista.
Zip back to the 60s and 70s and the richness of variety speaks for itself. Snow scenes are gloriously retro: suits, skis, bravado that blows today's efforts out of the water and no special effects in sight! A rare and refreshing glimpse into days gone by. Enjoy this line up from black and white war films to hopeless horror, gentle comedy, action spy and cult classics:
Pink Panther – 1963
What an absolute classic in its own right. Who can fail to love the long pointy skis and the legend that is David Niven looking delightfully dapper on skis, sporting the most enormous binoculars! All this accompanied by a playful Parisian sound track.
Snowbeast – 1977
Never mind the snow beast, what a suit! And lace up boots and skis too. Lo and behold the horror movie without CGI and special effects. Big footprints, ominous howls, pained expressions and ‘he's watching you' camera shots. Brilliant! Poor Tony - it's not looking good…
Spy who loved me - 1977
If you only watch this for the fantastic spy watch ‘ticker tape' you won't be disappointed – Apple you've missed a trick! Possibly the best opening scene of any Bond movie in all its classic unPCness including:
Bond girl: “James I need you”
Bond: [Leaping from the bed] “….So does England.”
An entertaining ski chase ducks and weaves through glacial caves, while Bond fires his specially adapted ski pole flare, culminating in a spectacular base jump well before its time. Gold dust.
Help - 1966
Included purely for the joy of seeing the Beatles skiing and curling in what is possibly the most bizarre film plot of all time for the British 60s pop icons. Help, the film, is a comedy adventure which sees Ringo fleeing from being the target of a ritual sacrifice for wearing a sacred ring sent to him by a fan! The band's escapades include seeking refuge in the Austrian Alps where they try out skiing and curling. Of course they do!
On a much more serious note is our next retro film:
The Man Who Skied Down Everest - 1975
Bearing in mind that only 24 people in the entire world had summited Everest by 1970, this was an extraordinarily daring feat attempted by Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese mountaineer in 1970. None of today's helicopter luxuries, ABS bags and other hi-tech paraphernalia, just a rudimentary parachute to slow his descent. On the ascent, one of his party is heard to say:
“It is an effort to walk, talk – even to live.”
In fact, six people died on his attempt to ski down Everest. So you can appreciate the call for a documentary. Narrated in what has to be said a pretty eery style, there is no mistaking that Yuichiro's descent of 6,600 ft in 2 mins 20 seconds, falling 1,320ft of those down the Lhotse face is incredible and worth watching, without any of the usual hype.
Les Bronzes Font du Ski - 1979
The francophiles among you will know that ‘Les Bronzes' is France's equivalent of ‘National Lampoons' meets ‘Carry On', adored nationwide for its slapstick and saucy trademark humour. A cult classic – Les Bronzes Font du Ski is a fabulous display of retro suits and silliness on skis.
The Heroes of Telemark - 1965
A love story cross war film torn straight from the pages of real life, the Heroes of Telemark is another film classic. Kirk Douglas leads the mission to stop the Nazis from developing the atom bomb. A gripping tale, the film, like the true story was shot in Telemark, a region in Norway and of course where telemark skiing comes from. No wonder! After planting their bomb, the resistance skied all the way back to Sweden to evade capture!
And there ends our line up. Any more retro skiing films you'd add to this collection?