The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece (1924) Poster

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5/10
Except With Pants On
boblipton18 October 2018
This one-reel movie was made for the 1924 Olympics. It demonstrates the original Pentathlon (jumping, javelin, discus, wrestling and running) in a combination of tableau vivante (a group of young men holding poses that illustrate the sport, and doing a poor job of it; several wobble, trying to hold their poses) and overcranking the camera so the details of motion are slowed.

In Ancient Greece these events occurred in the nude, and while nudity is considered too sexually fraught in the modern world, it certainly creeps through in this. The athletes are physically attractive and dressed only in swimming trunks, and tableau vivante has a modern history of being used to show naked scenes and sexual activity (usually drawn from paintings) on the stage. There is definitely a homoerotic frisson in this short, The only question is whether the film makers were blithely unaware of it or intended the effect.
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