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. Includes the marathon, men’s diving, and American track star Jesse Owen’s sprint races at the 1936 Olympic games. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Includes the lighting of the torch at the stadium and Adolf Hitler looking on in amazement as Jesse Owens wins an unprecedented four Gold Medals. – IMDb
German actress/filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl began her performing career as a dancer in 1920, studying with famed instructor Mary Wigman. In 1926, she was cast by director Dr. Arnold Fanck in the first of her many “mountain films” (a genre peculiar to Germany that had been popularized by Fanck), Peaks of Destiny (1926). The best known and most popular of her athletic starring vehicles was 1929’s The White Hell of Pitz Palu. Having learned the whys and wherefores of directing and photography from Fanck, Riefenstahl expressed a desire to direct a film herself. The result was The Blue Light (1931), a true “auteur” effort: starring, directed by, edited by, and co-written by Riefenstahl, it was released through the newly formed Leni Riefenstahl Studio-Film.
The Blue Light impressed many people, including Adolf Hitler, who, upon gaining power in 1933, appointed Riefenstahl “film expert” to the National Socialist Party. Her first effort on behalf of the Nazis… read more
Very good doc, loved the tension between Hitler and German athletes. Seeing his pain and frustration was really interesting. I suppose it would have been too much to see his reaction when Jesse Owens won gold but its all amazing footage with a nice avant-garde nude men and women beginning.