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Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938)
"Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker" (original title)

 -  Documentary | Sport  -  8 March 1940 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 2,534 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 14 critic

The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin.

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Title: Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938)

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
David Albritton ...
Himself - High Jump, USA (uncredited)
Arvo Askola ...
Himself - 10000 Metres, FIN (uncredited)
Jack Beresford ...
Himself - Carries British Flag (uncredited)
Erwin Blask ...
Himself - Hammer Throw, German (uncredited)
Sulo Bärlund ...
Himself - Shot Put, Finland (uncredited)
Ibolya Csák ...
Herself - High Jump, Hungary (uncredited)
Henri de Baillet-Latour ...
Himself - IOC, Stands with Hitler, with Hurdlers (uncredited)
Philip Edwards ...
Himself - 800 Metres, Canada (uncredited)
Donald Finlay ...
Himself - 110m Hurdles, GB (uncredited)
Tilly Fleischer ...
Herself - Javelin Throw, Germany (uncredited)
Wilhelm Frick ...
Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Joseph Goebbels ...
Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Hermann Göring ...
Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Ernest Harper ...
Himself - Marathon, GB (uncredited)
Karl Hein ...
Himself - Hammer Throw, Germany (uncredited)
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Storyline

After being commissioned by the 1936 Olympic Committee to create a feature film of the Berlin Olympics, Riefenstahl shot a documentary that celebrates the human body by combining the poetry of bodies in motion with close-ups of athletes in the heat of competition. Includes the marathon, men's diving, and American track star Jesse Owen's sprint races at the 1936 Olympic games. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Includes the lighting of the torch at the stadium and Adolf Hitler looking on in amazement as Jesse Owens wins an unprecedented four Gold Medals. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Sport

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Release Date:

8 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leni Riefenstahl's visit to the United States in 1938 was mainly aimed at finding a US distributor for the film. Faced with fierce protests from many American organizations, in particular the 'Anti-Nazi League', her plan never came to fruition. The first screening in the United States was organised in Chicago in November 1938 by Avery Brundage, president of the US Olympic Committee and an ardent Nazi sympathiser. The private reception was hosted by Mrs. Claire Dux Swift, ex-wife of the German film star Hans Albers. The second screening (also private) took place on 14th December 1938 at the California Club in presence of Olympic medalists and screen Tarzans Johnny Weissmuller and Glenn Morris (Riefenstahl's ex-lover), as well as Olympic diver Marjorie Gestring. For this screening, Riefenstahl submitted a copy where she had edited out almost all the scenes featuring Hitler. See more »

Connections

Featured in That's Black Entertainment (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Olympische Hymnne
Richard Strauss
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Highly original for its time, great use of camerawork
3 December 2003 | by (Bath, England) – See all my reviews

This is a brilliant sports documentary - the experimentation with camera angles was revolutionary at the time and the pole vault sequence at night is one of my favourite sequences in a film ever. The athletes are portrayed as superhuman, so in this sense the film is elitist and Nietzschean, but this is certainly not a racist film, politics does not play an explicit role, although one could argue that the deification of athletes (they are shown in close-up, alone, to contrast with the watching masses) promotes the idea that some men are greater than others. A fascinating film, and a definite progression from the standard documentary format of Das Triumph des Willens.


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