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Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938)

Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary, Sport | 8 March 1940 (USA)
The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin.

Director:

Leni Riefenstahl
Reviews
2 wins. See more awards »

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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 Erwin Blask ... Himself - Hammer Throw, German (uncredited)
Sulo Bärlund Sulo Bärlund ... Himself - Shot Put, Finland (uncredited)
Ibolya Csák ... Herself - High Jump, Hungary (uncredited)
Glenn Cunningham ... Himself (uncredited)
Henri de Baillet-Latour ... Himself - IOC, Stands with Hitler, with Hurdlers (uncredited)
Philip Edwards Philip Edwards ... Himself - 800 Metres, Canada (uncredited)
Donald Finlay Donald Finlay ... Himself - 110m Hurdles, GB (uncredited)
Tilly Fleischer ... Herself - Javelin Throw, Germany (uncredited)
Wilhelm Frick Wilhelm Frick ... Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Joseph Goebbels ... Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Hermann Göring ... Himself - Spectator (uncredited)
Ernest Harper ... Himself - Marathon, GB (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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Release Date:

8 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Olympiad See more »

Filming Locations:

Acropolis, Athens, Greece See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the preliminary shooting sessions on the shores along the Baltic Sea in 1936, Leni Riefenstahl wanted to immortalize herself as a symbol of 'Aryan beauty,' and posed naked before her stunned collaborators. The stunning monochrome, showing Riefenstahl from behind with her arms held aloft and her head craned back, was achieved by underexposing the image and employing a yellow filter to highlight the cloudy sky, drawing the silhouette of Riefenstahl's statuesque form with the help of two powerful spotlights, one (more raw) placed in front of the subject, and the second (softened by a frost) behind her. The impromptu spur-of-the-moment nature of the photo is highlighted by a mark left on her buttocks in the final image, as specialists of the fashion industry teach, a model who is about to pose nude should not wear underwear or elastic constraints which may temporarily mark the body. After years of gruelling athletic training necessary for the rapid shooting pace of the earlier mountain films in which she starred, Leni (in spite of her 34 years at the time) posed defiantly next to other models, holding her own next to girls who were little more than teenagers. The final composition was subsequently used as the main image on many posters and pieces of advertising material for the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Olympische Hymnne
Richard Strauss
See more »

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User Reviews

Comment on gbheron Review
13 September 2004 | by aurevmuSee all my reviews

As you nicely pointed out the NFL footages that you watch today, and those of Olympia that were shot some 60+ years are the same. Which means that NFL is still using techniques that Leni Riefenstahl explored long time ago, which further means that she's 60+ years ahead of her time. When you denounce something you have to look at it from the historical context. This was groundbreaking at time, and every sport event coverage since borrowed from it. Leni Riefenstahl actually wanted to be catapulted with a camera to give an incredible feel of one of a kind sports event, but this could not be carried out. NFL ought to try some of this innovation that Leni considered long time ago, we're much more technologically advanced now...


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