Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia (1938) is one of the most controversial films ever made. Capitalising on the success of Triumph of the Will (1935), her propaganda film for the Nazi Party, Riefenstahl secured Hitler's approval for her grandiose plans to film the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The result was a work as notorious for its politics as celebrated for its aesthetic power.
This revised edition includes new material on Riefenstahl's film-making career before Olympia and her close relationship with Hitler. Taylor Downing also discusses newly-available evidence on the background to the film's production that conclusively proves that the film was directly commissioned by Hitler and funded through Goebbels's Ministry of Propaganda and not, as Riefenstahl later claimed, commissioned independently from the Nazi state by the Olympic authorities. In writing this edition, Taylor Downing has been given access to a magnificent new restoration of the original version of the film by the International Olympic Committee.
TAYLOR DOWNING ?is a television producer who co-founded Flashback Television in 1982 and has run it as a successful independent production company for many years. He has produced well over 200 documentaries on a wide range of subjects over the last twenty years, including many award-winning history programmes and a series about the Olympic movement. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, Spies in the Sky: The Secret Battle for Aerial Intelligence during World War II (2011) and Churchill's War Lab: Code Breakers, Boffins and Innovators: The Mavericks Churchill Led to Victory (2010). He regularly writes and lectures on television and history
Acknowledgements.- Introduction.- The Olympic on Film 1896-1932.- Riefenstahl Before 'Olympia'.- Production and Finance.- Setting Up.- The Prologue and Opening Ceremony.- Track and Field.- Festival of Beauty.- Aftermath.- Notes.- Credits.- Bibliography.