Leni Riefenstahl
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Author:  Old Reb [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Leni Riefenstahl

She was an actress in the early 1930's and appeared in the German film "Blue Light" with Emil Jannings.

However, her real fame was as a director and she made 2 epic documentaries in the early part of the Nazi Era in Germany. Her first one "Triumph Of The Will" in 1934 was basically a big propaganda commercial for Adolph Hitler. However, the staging of it was quite impressive, almost like a Roman triumph. The images of thousands of young Nazi robots marching around in Nuremberg kind of gives you a scary preview of what was coming up in a few years.

"Olympia" in 1936 covering the Berlin Olympics is another matter. IMO, it is the best sports documentary ever made, even though heavy on the propaganda as well. The opening minutes of the film showed the Berlin stadium surrounded by searchlights, then several minutes following the relay of the Olympic torch by runners through Europe to Berlin. Of course, Jesse Owens is in it as part of the coverage of events.

If you can get past the regime under which it was made, watch it and I think you will agree with me about its excellence as a sports documentary.

Author:  DWill [ Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Leni Riefenstahl

I didn't know about "Olympia." I did watch a lot of "Triumph of the Will" (you get the idea after a while). I had thought that the film included the Jesse Owens story at the '36 Olympics, but it didn't, and now I realize that must be in "Olympia." Thanks for the recommendation. Riefenstahl was a skillful filmmaker, as you said.

Author:  Old Reb [ Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Leni Riefenstahl

A couple of side stories about the 1936 Olympics. The marathon was won by Kitei Son for Japan. However, he was a Korean who (like all Koreans at that time) was forced to take a Japanese name when Korea was occupied by the Japanese from 1910 to 1945. His real name was Sohn Gi Chung. He had his proper recognition when he ran around the track and lit the Olympic torch at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The bronze medal marathon winner at those games was also Korean.

When Jesse Owens was competing in the broad jump, an athlete on the German team showed him some mistakes he was making on the takeoff. After correcting them, he won the gold at this event. The two guys became friends during the games, but the German athlete was killed on the Eastern Front during WWII.

Olympia is available on DVD from Amazon, I think I'm going to buy a copy and watch it again. I have a VHS tape of it but that's not going to work on my system.

Author:  jorge [ Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Leni Riefenstahl

I never heard about her. Thanks for sharing.

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