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Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty (1938)

Olympia 2. Teil - Fest der Schönheit (original title)
The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin, orchestrated as Nazi propaganda.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Sheigo Arai ...
Himself - Swimmer, Japan
Jack Beresford ...
Himself - Rower, Britain
Ralf Berzsenyi ...
Himself - Small-Bore Rifle, Hungary
Ferenc Csík ...
Himself - Swimmer, Hungary
Richard Degener ...
Himself - Springboard Diver, USA
Willemijntje den Ouden ...
Herself - Swimmer, Holland
Charles des Jammonières ...
Himself - Free Pistol, France
Velma Dunn ...
Herself - Platfom Diver, USA
Konrad Frey ...
Himself - Gymnastics, Germany
Marjorie Gestring ...
Herself - Springboard Diver, USA
Albert Greene ...
Himself - Springboard Diver, USA
Tetsuo Hamuro ...
Himself - 1st Place: 200m Breaststroke, Japan
Josef Hasenöhrl ...
Himself - Single Sculls Rower, Austria
Heinz Hax ...
Himself - Rapid-Fire Pistol, Germany
...
Himself
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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. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Miss Riefenstahl captures the grace of athletes during field hockey, soccer, bicycling, equestrian, aquatic and gymnastic events. Highlights are the Pentathlon and the Decathlon, which was won by American Glenn Morris; it ends with the triumphant conclusion of the games. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

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Documentary | Sport

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Release Date:

29 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The production company Olympia-Film-GmbH, owned by Leni Riefenstahl and her brother Heinz, was only a front to preserve the film's political independence in front of the International Olympic Committee. It was in fact entirely funded by the Third Reich. The original contract stipulated that Olympia-Film-GmbH would be dissolved once production completed and the copyrights would be the sole property of the Reich. The dissolution only took place on 9th January 1942, with Riefenstahl being awarded 20% of the film's total earnings and naming the State as the only lawful copyright owner. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant yet often dull....
1 December 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

For the most part, this is just a continuation of the first part of "Olympia"--a documentary about the 1936 Berlin Olympics made by the notorious Leni Reifenstahl. Unlike her slobbering lover letter to Hitler in "Triumph of the Will", the "Olympia" films are NOT filled with German propaganda but are incredibly artistic films. They are filled with some of the best camera-work you'll ever see--and put more modern Olympic documentaries to shame in this regard. The films are gorgeous.

The film begins with a lot of nudity--just like "Part One". This time, it's full of naked men doing all sorts of outdoorsy things--swimming, lounging, running and hanging out in the sauna. While it was not intended, there sure seemed to be a strong homo-erotic quality about it. But I assume the real purpose was to show an idealized view of modern Germans--like they are descendants of the original Greek athletes. Regardless, it's a lot of naked blond men cavorting about...artistically.

Like "Part One", following this very artsy beginning, the rest of the film is a straight documentary showing the various Summer Olympic events. In all cases, the camera-work was brilliant. But the ones that REALLY struck me were the yachting scenes. How Riefenstahl and her crew did these shots is a mystery. I THINK they tagged along in boats and shot some of the scenes with a telephoto lens. Others, I suspect, were re-created for the film to give it added close-up realism. Regardless, the camera shots were amazing.

Unfortunately, however, like "Part One", the film got VERY dull because just showing event after event got tedious--especially since the viewers have no idea who any of these folks are and the events occurred 73 years ago. Of course it looked great and was supremely composed...but still kind of dull. My feeling is that if you are a film snob, cinemaniac or appreciate art films, watch this and the first installment. Others might just find it a tough viewing.

By the way--get a load of the gymnastic events. First, the participants were only men. Second, they all performed outdoors! Interesting how times have changed!


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