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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993)
"Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl" (original title)

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A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis.

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Title: The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Herself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Herself (archive footage)
Walter Frentz ...
Himself - Camerman 1936 Olymipcs
Joseph Goebbels ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Josef Goebbels)
Rudolf Hess ...
Himself (archive footage)
John Herbert Higgins ...
Himself - U.S. Swimmer (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Saburo Ito ...
Himself - Japanese Swimmer (archive footage)
Horst Kettner ...
Himself - Leni's Companion
Reizô Koike ...
Himself - Japanese Swimmer (archive footage)
Guzzi Lantschner ...
Himself - Camerman 1936 Olymipcs
Ralph Metcalfe ...
Himself - U.S. Sprinter (archive footage)
Ray Müller ...
Himself
Jesse Owens ...
Himself (archive footage)
Ernst Röhm ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

This documentary recounts the life and work of one of most famous, and yet reviled, German film directors in history, Leni Riefenstahl. The film recounts the rise of her career from a dancer, to a movie actor to the most important film director in Nazi Germany who directed such famous propaganda films as Triumph of the Will and Olympiad. The film also explores her later activities after Nazi Germany's defeat in 1945 and her disgrace for being so associated with it which includes her amazingly active life over the age of 90. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

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Details

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Release Date:

June 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Power of the Image: Leni Riefenstahl  »

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Box Office

Gross:

$449,707 (USA)
 »

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User Reviews

 
Still Feisty at 90
3 January 2006 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

This documentary was apparently one of the first to examine Leni's life with her actually being interviewed at great depth. The film is broken up into two parts, her films as an actress and her relations with the Nazi party, and then her later films and the rest of her life. The film is fascinating, showing many lengthy clips from all her films. There is no questions that she was a very, very talented filmmaker, and very innovative for her time. Many of the camera angles and shots that she used were invented by her, and are still in wide use today.

It is very clear that at the time the film was made, that Leni was still used to being in control. She is apparently difficult as an interview subject, and is seen in many shots refusing to do what the cameraman tells her. She is also very highly defensive of our association with the Nazi party. At one point, the interviewer asks her about her relationship with Goebels. She replies that she knew him only casually and then had a falling out, after which they never spoke again. However, when she is confronted with the diaries of Goebels, and according to them, they both saw each other at numerous social and political functions, Leni becomes mad and walks out.

My own personal belief is that she has tried to whitewash her association with the Nazi party in her later years.


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