100 Years of Olympic Films The Criterion Collection
Special Edition, Collector's Edition
Blu-ray | Box Set
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Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Games, 100 YEARS OF OLYMPIC FILMS: 1912–2012 is the culmination of a monumental, award-winning archival project encompassing dozens of new restorations by the International Olympic Committee. The documentaries collected here cast a cinematic eye on some of the most iconic moments in the history of modern sports, spotlighting athletes who embody the Olympic motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger": Jesse Owens shattering world records on the track in 1936 Berlin, Jean-Claude Killy dominating the Grenoble slopes in 1968, Joan Benoit breaking away to win the Games’ first women’s marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to the impressive ten-feature contribution of Bud Greenspan, this stirring collective chronicle of triumph and defeat includes such documentary landmarks as Leni Riefenstahl’s OLYMPIA and Kon Ichikawa’s TOKYO OLYMPIAD, along with captivating lesser-known works by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Miloš Forman. It also offers a fascinating glimpse of the development of film itself, and of the technological progress that has brought viewers ever closer to the action. Traversing continents and decades, reflecting the social, cultural, and political changes that have shaped our recent history, this remarkable movie marathon showcases a hundred years of human endeavor.
- 53 newly restored films from 41 editions of the Olympic Games, presented together for the first time
- Landmark 4K restorations of OLYMPIA, TOKYO OLYMPIAD, and VISIONS OF EIGHT, among other titles
- New scores for the silent films, composed by Maud Nelissen, Donald Sosin, and Frido ter Beek
- A lavishly illustrated, 216-page hardcover book, featuring notes on the films by cinema historian Peter Cowie
Stockholm 1912 - The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912 (dir. Adrian Wood)
Chamonix 1924 - The Olympic Games Held at Chamonix in 1924 (dir. Jean de Rovera)
Paris 1924 - The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece (dir. Jean de Rovera) The Olympic Games in Paris 1924 (dir. Jean de Rovera)
St. Moritz 1928 - The White Stadium (dirs. Arnold Fanck, Othmar Gurtner)
Amsterdam 1928 - The IX Olympiad in Amsterdam (dir. unknown) The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928 (dir. Wilhelm Prager; supervisor Jules Perel)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936 - Youth of the World (dir. Carl Junghans)
Berlin 1936 - Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (dir. Leni Riefenstahl) Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty (dir. Leni Riefenstahl)
St. Moritz 1948 - Fight Without Hate (dir. Andre Michel)
London 1948 - XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport (dir. Castleton Knight)
Oslo 1952 - The VI Olympic Winter Games, Oslo 1952 (dir. Tancred Ibsen)
Helsinki 1952 - Where the World Meets (dir. Hannu Leminen) Gold and Glory (dir. Hannu Leminen) Memories of the Olympic Summer of 1952 (dir. unknown)
Cortina d Ampezzo 1956 - White Vertigo (dir. Giorgio Ferroni)
Melbourne/Stockholm 1956 - Olympic Games, 1956 (dir. Peter Whitchurch) The Melbourne Rendez-vous (dir. Rene Lucot) Alain Mimoun (dir. Louis Gueguen) The Horse in Focus (dir. unknown)
Squaw Valley 1960 - People, Hopes, Medals (dir. Heribert Meisel)
Rome 1960 - The Grand Olympics (dir. Romolo Marcellini)
Innsbruck 1964 - IX Olympic Winter Games, Innsbruck 1964
(dir. Theo Hormann)
Tokyo 1964 - Tokyo Olympiad (dir. Kon Ichikawa) Sensation of the Century (prod. Taguchi Suketaro, supervisor Nobumasa Kawamoto)
Grenoble 1968 -13 Days in France (dirs. Claude Lelouch, François Reichenbach) Snows of Grenoble (dirs. Jacques Ertaud, Jean-Jacques Languepin)
Mexico City 1968 - The Olympics in Mexico (dir. Alberto Isaac)
Sapporo 1972 - Sapporo Winter Olympics (dir. Masahiro Shinoda)
Munich 1972 - Visions of Eight (dirs. Milo Forman, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Yuri Ozerov, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger, Mai Zetterling)
Innsbruck 1976 - White Rock (dir. Tony Maylam)
Montreal 1976 - Games of the XXI Olympiad (dirs. Jean-Claude Labrecque, Jean Beaudin, Marcel Carrière, Georges Dufaux)
Lake Placid 1980 - Olympic Spirit (dirs. Drummond Challis, Tony Maylam)
Moscow 1980 - O Sport, You Are Peace! (dir. Yuri Ozerov)
Sarajevo 1984 - A Turning Point (dir. Kim Takal)
Los Angeles 1984 - 16 Days of Glory (dir. Bud Greenspan)
Calgary 1988 - Calgary 88: 16 Days of Glory (dir. Bud Greenspan)
Seoul 1988 - Seoul 1988 (dir. Lee Kwang-soo) Hand in Hand (dir. Im Kwon-taek) Beyond All Barriers (dir. Lee Ji-won)
Albertville 1992 - One Light, One World (dirs. Joe Jay Jalbert, R. Douglas Copsey)
Barcelona 1992 - Marathon (dir. Carlos Saura)
Lillehammer 1994 - Lillehammer 94: 16 Days of Glory (dir. Bud Greenspan)
Atlanta 1996 - Atlanta s Olympic Glory (dir. Bud Greenspan)
Nagano 1998 - Nagano 98 Olympics: Stories of Honor and Glory
(dir. Bud Greenspan) Olympic Glory (dir. Kieth Merrill)
Sydney 2000 - Sydney 2000: Stories of Olympic Glory (dir. Bud Greenspan)
Salt Lake City 2002 - Salt Lake City 2002: Bud Greenspan's Stories of Olympic Glory (dir. Bud Greenspan)
Athens 2004 - Bud Greenspan's Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory
(dir. Bud Greenspan)
Turin 2006 - Bud Greenspan's Torino 2006: Stories of Olympic Glory
(dir. Bud Greenspan)
Beijing 2008 - The Everlasting Flame (dir. Gu Jun)
Vancouver 2010 - Bud Greenspan Presents Vancouver 2010: Stories of Olympic Glory (prods. Bud Greenspan)
About the Actor
Highlights from a Century of Olympic Films
"By some remarkable alchemy, the modern Olympic Games and the cinema were born at nearly the same moment . . . The Olympic documentaries gathered here represent not just a visual record of athletic accomplishment but a mirror for the evolution of cinema as an art form. Peter Cowie, cinema historian
Newly restored and assembled by the International Olympic Committee, The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912 (Stockholm 1912) is the earliest comprehensive moving-image record of the modern Olympic Games that survives today.
Leni Riefenstahl s two-part athletic opus, the lyrical, grandiose Olympia (Berlin 1936), is perhaps the most influential sports film ever made. The controversial German filmmaker employed more than fifty cameramen and shot 1.2 million feet of film roughly equivalent to the length of 120 features blending footage of the events with stylized re-creations. Though financed by Germany s Ministry of Propaganda, the film remains a landmark achievement to be reckoned with.
Hailed as a masterpiece of visual design by film scholar Donald Richie, Kon Ichikawa s Tokyo Olympiad (Tokyo 1964) breathlessly combines massive spectacle with idiosyncratic portraiture. Captivated by the stories and personalities of individual athletes, the director of Fires on the Plain and The Burmese Harp harnessed widescreen photography to create one of the most visually imaginative sports films ever made.
For the Games of the XX Olympiad Munich 1972, producer David Wolper marshaled an all-star team of filmmakers to contribute segments to an omnibus film. Visions of Eight includes contributions by Olympic film veterans Claude Lelouch and Kon Ichikawa, as well as newcomers like Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde), John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy), and Milo Forman (One Flew over the Cuckoo s Nest), whose witty decathlon segment is a notable highlight.
Carlos Saura s Marathon (Barcelona 1992) makes for an illuminating companion to the director s Flamenco Trilogy (Blood Wedding, Carmen, El amor brujo), eschewing commentary except for what can be heard through stadium speakers, and setting graceful athletic footage against a score by Alejandro Massó and musical contributions by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Angelo Badalamenti. Saura wanted his film s length to match a plausible winning time for a marathon runner, so he delivered the 130-minute director s cut included in this release.
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DVDs: Perfect Criterion quality.
PACKAGING: Some complain that the packaging is wasteful. That all the DVDs could fit on one side of the box. I disagree. The packaging is perfect in allowing ALL the DVDs to "breath" and thus allowing you to easily thumb through and find the disc you're looking for without them all being tightly packed in together.
The judges have awarded Criterion 10.00 out of 10.00.
The early years are great fun. For about 20 minutes. Many run to nearly 3 hours, and despite being a huge fan of silent films [I went to Oakland, CA for the 6-hour, live orchestra, 3-projector production of Abel Gance's NAPOLEON -- fantastic!], it got a little stifling after awhile ...
That said, I can see myself going back to those early years to compare record times, different events, etc.
But from the magnificent productions by that Nazi chick in 1936, it starts to get to be must-viewing.
Kon Ichikawa's "Tokyo Olympics" (1964) is a masterpiece and many of the later filmmakers hardly disguise their "borrowing" of his techniques.
The Greenspan films are perhaps the most entertaining of the bunch. At first, his films seemed to focus on one or two athletes, showing their hometown travails -- making it to the Olympics -- and then we watch them compete. These films always seem to sandwich in many other events, with much coverage of some obscure competitions.
Later on, he added more athletes to the parade of "happy-ending" stories, and the films became a bit shorter, with less coverage of other events.
As the 21st century rolls in, each Olympics (particularly the Summer games) features flashier and flashier opening ceremonies. By the time we get to 2008, we have Zhang Yimou's unbelievable show, the coverage seems to never be completely fulfilling. We see him arguing with the bigshots in the Chinese government, insisting on getting his own way.
The "official" film was made by Jun Gu -- and we do see quite a bit of the jaw-dropping, eye-popping Opening Ceremony. I only wish the entire thing had been included.
I look forward to watching this all a second time. In a coupla years.
Finally, the thrill of watching the 100-meter dash times drop from the high 10's to the high 9's and then Mr. Bolt lines up and crashes a 9.6, while waving his arms and his head the last few meters! Surely he could top that!
9.58 at the moment, I believe.
To future Olympic filmmakers:
The earlier works are interesting, the 1912 Olympics even have a 6 second snippet of George S. Patton (Later General Patton) fencing.
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Chamonix 1924 - The Olympic Games Held at Chamonix in 1924 (dir.Read more