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Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty (1938)

Olympia 2. Teil - Fest der Schönheit (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary, Sport | 29 March 1940 (USA)
The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin, orchestrated as Nazi propaganda.

Director:

Leni Riefenstahl
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Sheigo Arai ... Self - Swimmer, Japan
Jack Beresford ... Self - Rower, Britain
Ralf Berzsenyi Ralf Berzsenyi ... Self - Small-Bore Rifle, Hungary
Ferenc Csík Ferenc Csík ... Self - Swimmer, Hungary
Richard Degener Richard Degener ... Self - Springboard Diver, USA
Willemijntje den Ouden Willemijntje den Ouden ... Self - Swimmer, Holland
Charles des Jammonières Charles des Jammonières ... Self - Free Pistol, France
Velma Dunn ... Self - Platfom Diver, USA
Konrad Frey ... Self - Gymnastics, Germany
Marjorie Gestring Marjorie Gestring ... Self - Springboard Diver, USA
Albert Greene Albert Greene ... Self - Springboard Diver, USA
Tetsuo Hamuro Tetsuo Hamuro ... Self - 1st Place: 200m Breaststroke, Japan
Josef Hasenöhrl Josef Hasenöhrl ... Self - Single Sculls Rower, Austria
Heinz Hax Heinz Hax ... Self - Rapid-Fire Pistol, Germany
Adolf Hitler ... Self
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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. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Miss Riefenstahl captures the grace of athletes during field hockey, soccer, bicycling, equestrian, aquatic and gymnastic events. Highlights are the Pentathlon and the Decathlon, which was won by American Glenn Morris; it ends with the triumphant conclusion of the games. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leni Riefenstahl first contacted the biggest German film studio, Ufa, in order for them to finance the film. Friedrich A. Mainz, the studio head refused because of cost, so she contacted Tobis-Filmkunst who agreed to finance the film and put up ½ million Reichmarks upfront (three times the cost of a standard film at the time). The contract was only signed in December 1936, four months after the end of the Olympic Games. See more »

Goofs

In the final scenes, just after Speer's 'Lichtdom' or Cathedral of Light is revealed, there is a procession of flags. The 7th flag, that of Portugal is hung upside down on its pole. The same mistake is shown again a few seconds later as the wreaths are placed on the finials. See more »

Alternate Versions

It is well known that both parts of Olympia were made in three language versions - English, French, and German. Less well known is that each version is slightly different from one another. Additionally, at least with the English version, Riefenstahl frequently altered prints. The prints distributed on 16mm film in the 1960s did not have a boxing sequence, whereas current prints do (although the dialogue for the boxing sequence is in German). Even less well known is that upon its original release in the United States (1940), the Diving Sequence was about 1 minute longer than its current version (attentive soundtrack listeners can clearly hear the abrupt break in the music). This longer version of the Diving Sequence can be seen at the Anthology Film Archives (whose print comes from Raymond Rohauer) and the Museum of Modern Art, both in New York City. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993) See more »

User Reviews

 
Brilliant yet often dull....
1 December 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

For the most part, this is just a continuation of the first part of "Olympia"--a documentary about the 1936 Berlin Olympics made by the notorious Leni Reifenstahl. Unlike her slobbering lover letter to Hitler in "Triumph of the Will", the "Olympia" films are NOT filled with German propaganda but are incredibly artistic films. They are filled with some of the best camera-work you'll ever see--and put more modern Olympic documentaries to shame in this regard. The films are gorgeous.

The film begins with a lot of nudity--just like "Part One". This time, it's full of naked men doing all sorts of outdoorsy things--swimming, lounging, running and hanging out in the sauna. While it was not intended, there sure seemed to be a strong homo-erotic quality about it. But I assume the real purpose was to show an idealized view of modern Germans--like they are descendants of the original Greek athletes. Regardless, it's a lot of naked blond men cavorting about...artistically.

Like "Part One", following this very artsy beginning, the rest of the film is a straight documentary showing the various Summer Olympic events. In all cases, the camera-work was brilliant. But the ones that REALLY struck me were the yachting scenes. How Riefenstahl and her crew did these shots is a mystery. I THINK they tagged along in boats and shot some of the scenes with a telephoto lens. Others, I suspect, were re-created for the film to give it added close-up realism. Regardless, the camera shots were amazing.

Unfortunately, however, like "Part One", the film got VERY dull because just showing event after event got tedious--especially since the viewers have no idea who any of these folks are and the events occurred 73 years ago. Of course it looked great and was supremely composed...but still kind of dull. My feeling is that if you are a film snob, cinemaniac or appreciate art films, watch this and the first installment. Others might just find it a tough viewing.

By the way--get a load of the gymnastic events. First, the participants were only men. Second, they all performed outdoors! Interesting how times have changed!


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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

29 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Olymp II See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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