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Olympia: The Complete Original Version (The Leni Riefenstahl Archival Collection) (1940)

Leni Riefenstahl  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.98
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Olympia: The Complete Original Version (The Leni Riefenstahl Archival Collection) + The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl + Triumph of the Will & Olympia
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Product Details

  • Directors: Leni Riefenstahl
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, Full length, Limited Edition, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pathfinder Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 27, 2006
  • Run Time: 204 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FQJA2S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,023 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Olympia: The Complete Original Version (The Leni Riefenstahl Archival Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted scene: "Olympia Oath"
  • Alternate scenes
  • Essay by film historian David Calvert Smith
  • Director bio
  • Still gallery
  • Archival short film Jugend Der Welt ("Youth of the World"), official documentary of the 1936 Winter Olympics
  • Archival short film Die Kamera Fahrt Mit ("The Camera Goes Along"), featuring footage from Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia and Triumph of the Will

Editorial Reviews

This limited edition 2-disc set features the complete original version of OLYMPIA, presented for the first time on DVD. (All Region, NTSC)

Special Edition DVD features: Over 5 hours of material including JUGEND DER WELT ("Youth of The World") Official Documentary of the 1936 Winter Olympics at Gaemisch-Partenkirchen, DIE KAMERA FAHRT MIT ("The Camera Goes Too") 1936 Documentary by Bavaria-Filmkunst featuring footage from Leni Rifenstahl’s films OLYMPIA and TRIUMPH OF THE WILL. Deleted Scenes, Biography, Still Gallery, German with ON/OFF English subtitles and English language, Dolby 2.0 audio, Essays by film historian David Calvert Smith, Trailer.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
122 of 124 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Olympia is a piece of sport history coated in a magnificent art form. The superlatives aren't enough to describe this documentary; a veritable time machine traveling to an amazing and Orwellian future Valhalla called Nazi Germany.

1936 Olympiad was also well renown for the first to be broadcast on a form of television. This DVD sadly has an image quality comparable to what the citizens of Berlin saw on those twenty five large screens scattered along the City's main boulevards 70 years ago. Having seen some excerpts from "Olympia" in the documentary `The Wonderful Horrible life of Leni Riefenstahl" on DVD, I had great expectations concerning the image quality of this new release. What a disappointment! No one bothered to digitally remove the annoying scratches not mentioning the total absence of any timid tentative of restoration of a decent audio sound. Everything seems like a low resolution transfer from a cheap VHS . Let's hope that some day Criterion Collection will do this film the justice it deserves.
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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be Honest December 1, 2006
Format:DVD
The original, as I viewed it on public television perhaps twenty years ago, was spectacular.

But the problems in this version are not just superficial and are not simply ones that some hyper-purist would notice. They include tiling, caused by extreme compression; scratches and blips galore; grey tonal quality converging on nil, and sometimes making it seem like one is looking through a duststorm; ridiculous cropping of the image, often even cutting off the heads of the subjects. The audio's flaky, too, especially noticeable in the sometimes lurching, but always tinny rendition of the orchestral scoring.

Weirdly, the package seems to have been conceived well, with nice features included. How is it possible, then, to have messed up the technical execution so badly?
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124 of 132 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic Film / Horrible transfer July 6, 2006
Format:DVD
I have been waiting for Criterion to release this for 4 years now. With the technology of restoration of older films vastly improving I must say this is the worst transfer that I have seen of an older film released in the last two years. Don't spend your money on this edition and hope that Criterion will release this in our lifetime!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Subtitles! Good quality transfer. April 1, 2009
By Golrab
Format:DVD
I read the small print so I was aware that it was a DVD-R, but I wasn't prepared for it to be in German without subtitles. That being said, it is a better transfer than the edition put out in 2006 by Pathfinder.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Optical quality? December 10, 2006
Format:DVD
I have long owned a VHS copy of Olympia, and it wasn't visually bad, but of course I longed for the improvement a DVD version might bring. This release was a surprise - it seems to be not an optical transfer, but a DVD of the VHS version, horizontal analogue scan lines and all, and visually a disappointment. I realise that a total restoration is expensive and that the market for this kind of thing is relatively small, and I'll live with what I can get, but if Criterion ever releases a restored version, I'll be first in line. Until then, concentrate on the hypnotic, iconic content. As an avowed curmudgeon, I'm offended by yahoo patriots at international sporting events chanting USA!USA! from the bleachers. There they were, in 1936, chanting for Jesse Owens as he won four golds - then and there the patriot war cry seemed right.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The photography lures you, action holds you. November 14, 2009
Format:DVD
Part I
The film opens up with a film tribute to the history of Greece and the games. We get to see the names of the nations at the time that the torch passes through as it reached Berlin. A much more realistic torch than today's is ran into the stadium with a few pauses to let everyone see just before the final dash to the Olympic torch at the stadium. It would be great to recapture this in the present day. Some of the tribute leads me to believe that our athletes are overly clothed for the sports.

Part II
By now watching Part I, "Festival of the nation" spoiled you. Again this film starts out with the ideal and surrounded by Leni's signature clouds. List is leading you to "field hockey, soccer bicycling, equestrian, aquatic and gymnastic events. Highlights are the Pentathlon and the Decathlon." Remember that some countries were still using horses in the military.

It may be unique reasons that brought you to this point such as Leni or photography, or interest in history, or, or, or. But once the action starts you feel that you are there and get lost in the "who will win what and how." Even being aware of the outcome does not prepare you to "not bite your nails" as you watch each athlete barley besting the next until it is over too soon. I noticed that instead of placing medals over the winners, they used laurel wreaths.
Any way you cut it, this movie is worth watching.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money January 24, 2007
Format:DVD
This disk is terrible. It is obviously cheaply digitized from a poor master tape. Don't purchase products by Pathfinder Home Entertainment, if this is an example of their business practice.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just another Horrible transfer! August 8, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When I found this dvd on Amazon, I was delighted to see Riefenstahl's classic had been updated with this 2009 digital transfer. I quickly ordered it from Amazon.com. When I viewed this dvd, I could have cried. The digital transfer was just horrible. Also, this dvd's running time is listed as 300 min. The correct running time should be 204 min Please be wise and don't waste your money on this dvd.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Saw it many years ago on PBS and wanted to see it again. Netflix did not have it.
Published 5 days ago by Charles Schlau
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Pleasantly surprised to find film of the 1936 winter olympics on the DVD.
Published 12 days ago by R. R. Blair
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Film But What an Atrocious Transfer.
Viewed: 6/14
Rate: 8

6/14: After seeing two parts of Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl, I can safely say that I have seen more footage of the 1936 Berlin’s Olympics Games... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Austin Somlo
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Riefenstahl triumph
A great work on the goings on of this Olympic event fillmed in Germany who was the host country for the 1935 olympics. Read more
Published 4 months ago by BOUNTYHUNTER
4.0 out of 5 stars leni leni leni
Not quite as memorable as TRIUMPH for cinematographic bravura, but Leni does love the human body. Some of this is chilling. Read more
Published 5 months ago by M. Burke Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting version
I have the Criterion Laser Disc set. According to Criterion, Riefenstahl herself supervised the film/disk transfer along with some curious cropping decisions. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stephen Hashioka
5.0 out of 5 stars The photography lures you, action holds you.
Part I
The film opens up with a film tribute to the history of Greece and the games. We get to see the names of the nations at the time that the torch passes through as it... Read more
Published 9 months ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for history or film buff; important for anyone
Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" is perhaps the most important film to come from Nazi Germany; "Olympia" is just as powerful, but in a unique way. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Busy Guy in Peachtree City
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting if a bit overrated
This is undoubdtedly great photography, and controversial director Riefenstahl was very innovative in her positioning of the camera, especially in the low angle. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Marco Carnovale
4.0 out of 5 stars Undeniably influential
Leni may have been an unpleasant person who deserved a lot of jail time for what she did, but she is undeniably talented with the camera. Read more
Published 20 months ago by M. Wladich
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