Cinema Classics: $name

Product Details

Having proven her mettle with her still-astonishing propaganda epic Triumph of the Will, German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl furthered her reputation with the two-part Olympia, an all-inclusive filmed record of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In its original 220-minute form, the film was designed as a paean to Aryan superiority, likening the strong-limbed young German athletes with the godlike participants of the ancient Olympic games. By accident or design, however, the film transcends politics, resulting in an across-the-board tribute to all the Olympic partcipants -- even those whose racial makeup did not come up to the "pure" standards established by the Third Reich. This is especially true in the first portion of the film, in which black American runner Jessie Owens emerges as the star. The second half of the film is the more impressive technically, with Riefenstahl utilizing an astonishing variety of camera speeds and angles to record the diving competition. Working 16 hours a day, seven days a week, Riefenstahl and her staff were often denied desirable camera angles, forcing them to improvise with telephoto lenses; the results are often far more dramatically impressive than the up-close-and-personal approach taken by contemporary TV cameramen. After an editing process that took nearly 18 months, Riefenstahl added icing to the cake with a richly evocative soundtrack -- an added touch which, so far as the filmmaker was concerned, "made" the picture.

Store Comments

Special Features Deleted scene: "Olympia Oath" Alternate scenes Essay by film historian David Calvert Smith Biography Still gallery German with on/off English subtitles English language Dolby 2.0 audio Short film Jugend Der Welt ("Youth of the World") Official documentary of the 1936 Winter Olympics at Garmisch- Partenkirchen Die Kamera Fahrt Mit ("The Camera Goes Along") 1936 Documentary of Bavaria-Filmkunst featuring footage from Leni Riefenstahl's films Olympia and Triumph of the Will

How many would you like? (please only fill in space with numbers, not letters)
PATH91599 Olympia DVD (1938/Leni Riefenstahl) $29.95 $24.99