Ichikawa's cameras follow the 1964 Summer Olympics from opening to closing ceremonies. Sometimes he focuses on spectators, as athletes pass in a blur; sometimes he isolates a competitor; other times, it's a closeup of muscles as a hammer is thrown or a barbell lifted; or, we watch a race from start to finish. We see come-from-behind wins in the women's 800 and the men's 10,000 meters. We follow an athlete from Chad from arrival to meals, training, competition, and loss. Throughout, the film celebrates the nobility of athletes pushing themselves to the limit, regardless of victory.
In Blazing Color and CinemaScope
Did You Know?
The Olympic Organizing Board was looking for a commercial representation of the Olympics, including glorifying winners and the Japanese contestants, and was disappointed with the film, which humanized the games instead. The uncut version was subsequently never publicly screened. See more
Edited into Marathon Man