Ray Muller :: The Wonderful Horrible Life Of Leni Riefenstahl Dvd

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Crew & Cast

2003, 188 MINS, BW/COLOUR, GERMANY

  • Director: Ray Muller
  • Writer: Ray Müller
  • Release Date: June 1994 (USA)

    Cast:

  • Leni Riefenstahl ... Herself

  • Marlene Dietrich ... Herself (archive footage)
  • Walter Frentz ... Himself - Camerman 1936 Olymipcs
  • Josef Goebbels ... Himself (archive footage)
  • Rudolf Hess ... Himself (archive footage)
  • Adolf Hitler ... Himself (archive footage)
  • Horst Kettner ... Himself - Leni's Companion
  • Guzzi Lantschner ... Himself - Camerman 1936 Olymipcs
  • Ray Müller ... Himself
  • Jesse Owens ... Himself (archive footage)

    (Eureka)

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    The Wonderful Horrible Life Of Leni Riefenstahl :: Review

    A documentary profiling the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, one of Germany's most famous filmmakers. Riefenstahl directed the Nazi propaganda films 'Triumph Of The Will' and 'Olympiad'.

    This film was made when Leni Riefenstahl was neary 90 in the early 1990s. Riefenstahl talks freely in her German tongue with English subtitles. What comes across is someone with the enrgy of a person 30 or 40 years younger than herself.

    More than anything, what comes across is the fact that she always believed what she wanted to believe and saw what she wanted to saw. As the walier and most notorious of her career included the most chilling regime in the the history of man, the Third Reich, this is a crucial part of her make-up and provides ammuniciation to her detractors. In her defence, Goebbels hated her,she did no better a job on the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will than her later work, never joined the Nazi party, and even in both Triumph of the Will and Olympia you won't find the overtly nationalistic and anti-semetic tendencies found in other German propaganda films of the period.

    What still counts against her is her wartime Tiefland film. Watch it and you'll know what I mean. The fairest description of her, I would think, is that she was a sympathiser of the Nazi Party rather than a big player. There cannot be absolute exoneration of her behaviour in 1930s and 40s Germany.

    Most of the film is devoted to listening to Riefenstahl with brief commentary from two of her cameramen at the 1936 Olympic Games. Thus you don't get the views of either admirers or detractors.

    Oh, and this isn't a short look at her long career. It's over three hours and that is needed to give justice to the wonderful horrible life of Leni Riefenstahl.

    4 STARS OUT OF 5

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