A documentary on the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam.
A documentary on the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam.
🏅"Our Dutch participants are met with thunderous applause!"🏅
The Mussolini-produced Olympics film The IX Olympiad in Amsterdam was disallowed from distribution in the host country of The Netherlands. So, director Wilhelm Prager from Ufa Studios stepped up to make his own version of the 1928 Summer Games from all the footage compiled by that Istituto Luce company. Originally 11 short films, many decades later they were merged into this one long movie of about 190 minutes.
So, De Olympische spelen ["The Olympic Games"], Amsterdam 1928 indeed is yet another feature about that same event. And though -- thank all that is holy --…
The sound effects during the fencing segment are hilarious.
Film #7 of 100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912 - 2012
The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928 is still too long, but it's amazing what a little editing can do. While using most of the same footage from Istituto Luce's The IX Olympiad in Amsterdam, The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928 scrambles events around a bit so that not all of the track and field events are dumped at the start. It also inserts new intertitles - one even addresses (to my great amusement) what I call "The Great Dutch Coffee Snub of 1928!" So, while it's technically the same, The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928 is certainly not a carbon copy, and the slightly shorter runtime helps all the little moments shine more.
There are two extended Olympic films for the 1928 Amsterdam events, however because of exclusive rights for the Italian production La undicesima Olympiade di Amsterdam (Spedizione di Guelfo Civinini) (1928) results in pretty much the same footage is used for De olympische spelen (1928). So while both are good documents of the big sporting extravaganza, one only really need to see one of these archives. And my pick would be over 4 hour long La undicesima Olympiade di Amsterdam (Spedizione di Guelfo Civinini) (1928), for it gives more extended look into the actual sports and techniques used at that time... even if the second half does have too much splashing and horsing around.
So nice they made it twice
The only thing truly interesting with this is how they, sparingly, use sound effects to add to the "realism" of the documentary. There is the occasional splash of water, applause, or other weird sounds that absolutely, definitely are not made by athletes throwing a discus (for example). In a pre-synchronized sound era, this is probably the best they could realistically hope for.
The music though is a real oddity. It's not necessarily weird sounding. But it's not what I would expect for a sports documentary. It's just piano bits with the occasional themes. It's split into different sports. So, you can imagine someone thought, "oh, this music sounds like boxing, this music sounds like marathon running" but I'm not really…
The scores that Criterion adds to these silent Olympic docs are really nice. I have been enjoying them lately as something to quietly watch as the three month old baby sleeps. This one has a few notable highlights, Johnny Weissmuller pre-Tarzans the field for a couple more Gold medals, Lord Burghley wins he 400m hurdles. I figured Lord Burghley was a weird name, looked him up and learned he was an actual Lord in England who served in Parliament and was also portrayed in Chariots of Fire. He is probably most recognizable for dressing in red and awarding medals to the 200m men’s winners in 1968 who held a black power protest on the medal stand. This has nice footage of the events but almost nothing about Amsterdam in 1928.
I came down with a cold the last few days that kept me on the couch balancing different ways to consume vitamin C and warm beverages. Typically when I have such a cold I use it as an opportunity to "binge watch" a television show, as I've always found that hard to do - I become emotionally exhausted with even the most flippant show. My girlfriend and I have been working through BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, which is a total lark, and we recently went through a 3-episode story arc that wore me out.
I'm setting the stage for just how I watched 7+ hours of silent coverage, much of it repeated, on the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. There is, of course, a…
This was edited together from the same footage used for The IX Olympiad in Amsterdam. Naturally there's a lot of overlap in terms of content and feel, though it's interesting to see the ways in which they differ. There's more footage of the athletes before and after events interspersed throughout this film.
Not as long as the Italian film based on the same Olympic Games. This one has more dramatic and fleshed out moments such at the marathon and shows a lot of great scenes without getting too carry away. While this does lose sports like water polo, one of my personal favorites, this film is an easier watch and is the definitive film about the games. It’s also amazing to see the first Olympics where women were allowed to participate in track and field and I wish there was more footage of that because when it does show women’s races it feels like a breath of fresh air compared to earlier films where it’s just men in track and field.
Way better than the Italian version. It's a showcase about what editing can do to the same material. Engaging where the Italian version was merely showing, this one constructs a narrative around the events and significantly shortens the single events, concentrating on finals and tight races, which gives the film more urgency and separates it from the dry, news like presentation of the Italian verison. The score for this one is also more lively, which helps immensely. Nevertheless, the equestrian and sailing events take up way too much time and aren't nearly as interesting as the other sports.
So don't get me wrong, this one still feels long, but the marathon scene alone is reason why you should watch this one instead of the longer cut.
Infinitely preferable to the Italian-edited compilation of the same material, this is preceded by a disclaimer that draws attention to the fact that certain portions of this version have been unfortunately lost due to deterioration and time.
What's here is still mind-numbingly long, but at least there's an evident personality/curiosity on display. The inter-titles, most pointedly, evince a more curious and searching perspective than the matter-of-fact descriptive ones from the Italian production did.
I certainly understand why both were included, of course, and the restorations for both are truly remarkable, but this is easily the stronger and more compelling of the two.