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Once upon a time, pre-satellite if not pre-TV, most sports fans went to
the cinema to get a glimpse of the Olympic Games. Local Organizing
Committees hired a director from their country to cobble together a
feature documentary, in addition to which the likes of Bud Greenspan
produced newsreel footage.
Roone Arledge and his ABC-TV unit began to force changes to this
routine in the 1960s. By the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympics, the
five-ring film was on its last legs. Arledge's same-day satellite
transmission of Franz Klammer's spectacular downhill ski victory far
outstripped Joe Jay Jalbert et al's coverage of the same event in
"White Rock", the official film of this Austrian fortnight.
A team of directors, producers, camera and sound people with many
shared experiences of Olympics past contributed to the content of
"White Rock". Jalbert did ski-camera duty on "Downhill Racer". Mike
Samuelson filmed many Olympics. Arthur Wooster the same, plus "Magical
Mystery Tour". Herb Lightman of "American Cinematographer" once again
filmed and then wrote about it. This was practically the last time such
a fraternity had occasion to assemble.
The Olympics are surely not an exercise in nostalgia, but that is an
inescapable conclusion about "White Rock".
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