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Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty (1938)

Olympia 2. Teil - Fest der Schönheit (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary, Sport | 29 March 1940 (USA)
The document of the 1936 Olympics at Berlin, orchestrated as Nazi propaganda.

Director:

Leni Riefenstahl
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Cast

Credited cast:
Sheigo Arai ... Himself - Swimmer, Japan
Jack Beresford ... Himself - Rower, Britain
Ralf Berzsenyi Ralf Berzsenyi ... Himself - Small-Bore Rifle, Hungary
Ferenc Csík Ferenc Csík ... Himself - Swimmer, Hungary
Richard Degener Richard Degener ... Himself - Springboard Diver, USA
Willemijntje den Ouden Willemijntje den Ouden ... Herself - Swimmer, Holland
Charles des Jammonières Charles des Jammonières ... Himself - Free Pistol, France
Velma Dunn ... Herself - Platfom Diver, USA
Konrad Frey ... Himself - Gymnastics, Germany
Marjorie Gestring Marjorie Gestring ... Herself - Springboard Diver, USA
Albert Greene Albert Greene ... Himself - Springboard Diver, USA
Tetsuo Hamuro Tetsuo Hamuro ... Himself - 1st Place: 200m Breaststroke, Japan
Josef Hasenöhrl Josef Hasenöhrl ... Himself - Single Sculls Rower, Austria
Heinz Hax Heinz Hax ... Himself - Rapid-Fire Pistol, Germany
Adolf Hitler ... Himself
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Storyline

After being commissioned by the 1936 Olympic Committee to create a feature film of the Berlin Olympics, Riefenstahl shot a documentary that celebrates the human body by combining the poetry of bodies in motion with close-ups of athletes in the heat of competition. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Miss Riefenstahl captures the grace of athletes during field hockey, soccer, bicycling, equestrian, aquatic and gymnastic events. Highlights are the Pentathlon and the Decathlon, which was won by American Glenn Morris; it ends with the triumphant conclusion of the games. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

29 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Olymp II See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leni Riefenstahl's visit to the United States in 1938 was mainly aimed at finding a US distributor for the film. Faced with fierce protests from many American organizations, in particular the 'Anti-Nazi League', her plan never came to fruition. The first screening in the United States was organised in Chicago in November 1938 by Avery Brundage, president of the US Olympic Committee and an ardent Nazi sympathiser. The private reception was hosted by Mrs. Claire Dux Swift, ex-wife of the German film star Hans Albers. The second screening (also private) took place on 14th December 1938 at the California Club in presence of Olympic medalists and screen Tarzans Johnny Weissmuller and Glenn Morris (Riefenstahl's ex-lover), as well as Olympic diver Marjorie Gestring. For this screening, Riefenstahl submitted a copy where she had edited out almost all the scenes featuring Hitler. See more »

Goofs

In the final scenes, just after Speer's 'Lichtdom' or Cathedral of Light is revealed, there is a procession of flags. The 7th flag, that of Portugal is hung upside down on its pole. The same mistake is shown again a few seconds later as the wreaths are placed on the finials. See more »

Alternate Versions

It is well known that both parts of Olympia were made in three language versions - English, French, and German. Less well known is that each version is slightly different from one another. Additionally, at least with the English version, Riefenstahl frequently altered prints. The prints distributed on 16mm film in the 1960s did not have a boxing sequence, whereas current prints do (although the dialogue for the boxing sequence is in German). Even less well known is that upon its original release in the United States (1940), the Diving Sequence was about 1 minute longer than its current version (attentive soundtrack listeners can clearly hear the abrupt break in the music). This longer version of the Diving Sequence can be seen at the Anthology Film Archives (whose print comes from Raymond Rohauer) and the Museum of Modern Art, both in New York City. See more »

Connections

Featured in Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The better half of Olympia
16 August 2004 | by TheOtherFoolSee all my reviews

If Olympia 1 - Fest der Volker - was just a piece of documentation on the athletics of the 1936 Olympics, The 'Fest der Schönheit' is more than that, as it hails the human body and it's capabilities. Among other things, it shows us the preparation of the sportsmen and women, as well as gymnastics and horse-riding.

In a way I feel too much is said and thought about Riefenstahl's and Olympia's connection to Nazi propaganda. Although that link is more apparent than in it's first part, the Fest der Schönheit isn't as compelling or scary (after 70 years) as the Triumph of the Will... Maybe it's not as important either?

A beautifully made documentary with a story of it's own, but it's hard to judge Riefenstahl on just this movie. It really isn't as charged as a lot of people have in mind...

7/10.


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