(Review originally written at 1 August 2008)

Since the 1936 Olympics was pretty much one big propaganda event for Hitler-Germany, this documentary about it can also be seen as a piece of propaganda. You could say that it's just a recording of the event and it doesn't glorify Hitler and Nazism. It show a bit too much of Hitler and his friends than really necessary and it glorifies the German athletes more with its images than with most other athletes is the case. The 1936 were used as a medium to show the supremacy of the Aryan race and show the German athletes as Übermenschen.

Besides being known as the Nazi-propaganda Olympics, the 1936 Olympics are of course also known as the Olympics of Jesse Owens. The black American who won 4 golden medals. A clear booing and whistling can also been heard during the first running that he won and during some of his other wins and attempts, while all other athletes got cheered at, no matter were they were from. This didn't only happened to Jesse Owens though, since he of course wasn't the only black athlete at the Olympics who won a medal.

They didn't used only footage from the actual Olympics but some of the images were obviously added later into it. I'm not just talking about the movie its intro but also of the actual sporting events. This can be the drop of a spear or discuss and things like that. It's obvious that it's all added later and that the movie is edited in such a way that it's obvious that at times the crowd reactions and all don't really go with the images but for artistic reason it obviously works out well for the movie. It often gives the movie some diversity and more pace as well.

The documentary shows the most important attempts and athletes and of course the wins of all events. It often uses multiple camera-angels for this and some slow-motion as well.

There is no denying in it that Leni Riefenstahl was a very talented documentary maker though it of course it remains a shame that she mostly used her talent for making Nazi propaganda pieces, despite always having denied she was a Nazi sympathizer herself. It gives her documentaries a bit of a bitter taste, no matter how technical well made and revolutionary they all are. She gets very much appreciated and recognized as a pioneer in documentary making but she also gets hated at the same time. It doesn't really make her documentaries any less great to watch though. It's always something beautiful, renewing and just unforgettable.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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