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The Olympiad

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Format:VHS Tape
This is a show stopper. Olympia (1938) is from Leni Riefenstahl, and also see Triumph of the Will (1935). In fact you should view these four films also: the American "Ben-Hur" (1907), the Italian "Nerone" (1908), "Spartaco" (1914), and "Cabiria" (1914). Those films were the origin of the "Roman salute" myth because these films show examples of a straight-arm salute.
The "Roman salute" myth is the myth that the straight-arm salute was an ancient Roman custom, later borrowed by Mussolini and the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The myth arose because of the made-up Hollywood-style portrayals in those films. Those films are notable also because they led to the historic discovery by the journalist and historian Rex Curry that the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the salute of the monstrous National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party).
The "Roman Salute" myth grew because the viewing public forgot that the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance originally used the straight-arm salute. The creator of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance was a National Socialist in the U.S. (Francis Bellamy). The salute is not in any Roman art or text.
Dr. Martin Winkler of the American Philological Association has written that in imitation of such films, self-styled Italian "Consul" Gabriele D 'Annunzio borrowed the salute as a propaganda tool for his political ambitions upon his occupation of Fiume in 1919. Earlier, D'Annunzio had worked with Giovanni Pastrone in his colossal epic Cabiria (1914). Mussolini worked with D'Annunzio. Even so, evidence shows that the National Socialist German Workers' Party officially adopted the salute before Mussolini did, not vice versa.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST DOCUMENTARIES OF ALL-TIME. Feb. 15 2004
Format:VHS Tape
"Olympia" is a documentary with innovative film techniques, despite the fact that it's over 65 years old, it's easy to recognize the influence that "Olympia" had not only in the documentary genre, but in the movies and TV transmissions as well.
The opening scene could be considered as an art film scene because it has many camera angles, slow motion, beautiful photography and background music. After this scene, the narration of the 1936 Olympic Games begins, and it's impressive to see how many swastikas were at sight in the games, it's in flags and in the uniforms of the german athletes.
One might think that the athletes in 1936 were very inferior to the current athletes, but "Olympia" shows how great those athletes were, in most of the disciplines they look as impressive as the current athletes. The use of different camera speeds and angles, can make you feel very close to the athletes. You can see their effort and competitive spirit thanks to the excellent use of the cameras.
Definitely "Olympia" is one of the best documentaries ever made. Absolutely recommendable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bud Greenspan and Reifenstahl Aug. 6 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Bud Greenspan, the Olympic documentary-maker, called this movie one of his great inspirations. "Olympia" is in the same vein as Greenspan's films, but far better. The triple jump scene is the greatest treatment of the event I have ever seen.
Greenspan said that when he was in West Germany premeiring his 1964 film "Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin", Owens called Reifenstahl the woman who made him famous, thanked her, and called her up on stage. The audience was dumbfounded and did not know how to respond until Owens' wife began a standing ovation. Such was the attitude towards Reifenstahl: the Germans knew she was a national treasure, yet they were very uncomfortable with some of the things she put on film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Classic! Sept. 2 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Riefenstahl's triumphant masterpiece celebrating the human body, the spirit of competition and the appreciation of beauty. Vividly depicted, perfectly captured in splendid, groundbreaking photography. Arguably her best work and a timeless joy to watch again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A huge achievement. June 16 2002
By S Smyth
Format:VHS Tape
Olympia is split into two films. The first one - Festival of the People - accounts for the opening ceremony, the track and field events, and the marathon. The second one - Festival of Beauty - concerns itself with the gymnastic and diving events, cycling, boating, horse events, cross-country-running, and pistol shooting, etc.
Overall image quality was quite good, but some of the darker scenes were almost too muddy for clarity. Nevertheless, the camera work was much smoother than that in Triumph of the Will. The parading of national flags was identical to the earlier film, and the music from its cavalry event appeared just before the opening scene to the officers' pentathlon. Such re-use of material and ideas is a trademark of Leni Riefenstahl's.
What struck me greatly about the film was the amount of sound overdubbing, footfalls, pistol-cracks, hoof beats, and many other background sounds mixed in with the music score and crowd response. Aside from the music, many of these sounds were simply repeats of one master element reintroduced again and again. The pistol cracks, for example, were identical -as far as I could tell - no matter what the model of pistol used. And the horse sounds in the cross country events were pretty similar, too.
This technique carries over to her use of a linking scene. For example, in Triumph of the Will she uses the same shot of Hitler surveying the crowd, three times, instead of using the ones that would have been there in reality. In Festival of Beauty, for the sail- boat race, she twice uses the same few frames of the signal ball dropping.
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