In part two of Olympia, the cameras leave the main stadium and venture into the many halls and fields deployed for such sports as fencing, polo, cycling, and the modern pentathlon. Gymnasts are viewed from all angles, oarsmen are recorded by cameras concealed in their boats, and a specially constructed camera contrives to follow the diving competitions from both above and below the water. The many months spent by Riefenstahl in the editing room in 1936 and 1937 and even into early 1938 pay rich dividends, including where the sound is concerned (e.g., the clashing of blades in the fencing matches). The film concludes with yet another montage sequence, moving from divers swooping down in silhouette against the clouds to the Closing Ceremony and the Wagnerian mood of the finale, with Albert Speer’s animated celestial columns of light piercing the night sky.

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The Criterion Collection
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German (Stereo)

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