Born to German parents in Ortisei, Italy, Luis Trenker got his start in German films in 1921 working as a guide for director Arnold Fanck's film crew. A good-looking fellow in top physical condition, Trenker was eventually cast in Fanck's films. Later he played leads in more of Fanck's "mountain films," often playing opposite Leni Riefenstahl. In the early '30s, Trenker began writing scripts for and directing his own mountain films. He later branched out into other genres as well.