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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
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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 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

Mack Robinson, who finished second behind Jesse Owens in the 200 meter race, was the older brother of baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. See more »

Connections

Featured in Der gelbe Stern (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Olympische Hymnne
Richard Strauss
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Is beauty propaganda?
7 March 2000 | by bullfrog-5See all my reviews

I've read that this film, which portrays human beauty and athletic success, serves to justify euthanasia of the weak and infirm. If so, does not Da Vinci's David do the same?

My belief is that without the historical context, there would not be a single viewer who would suggest that this is propaganda fostered to support the atrocities of the Nazi Regime. As another reviewer suggests: this is no better than an NFL highlight film.

Actually, this is better than an NFL highlight film. Highlight films focus only on isolated moments of peak action. Do most of us prefer to just see the winning basket or the last touchdown? It's the game, the show, the story which gives us pleasure - not just the ending or spectacular feat.

The beauty of this film and its companion lies in its crafting. The lighting, the camera angles, the sequencing, the pace - everything is blended to produce a thing of beauty. It's like the chef who creates a feast with the same ingredients we manage to render a barely palatable meal. Leni produces a feast - a beautiful feast!


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