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.
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[Taken from the German Arthaus DVD commentary] The production of the movie led to a number of inventions. Soundproof camera casings ('blimps') were constructed so as not to disturb the athletes. To follow the divers underwater, Hans Ertl
built a waterproof camera housing and a small elevator at the side of the pool, and had to learn how to immediately adjust the focus and aperture when they broke the surface. Small cameras were strapped to the saddles of cross-country riders and the bodies of marathon runners. Obviously, most of the footage was too shaky to be used, but the few feet that were included created a whole new perspective. See more
Richard Strauss See more