#117 Olympia Part 1 and 2 (1938)

Introducing the first documentary ever about the Olympics! Leni Riefenstahl returns for Olympia, a documentary about the Berlin 1936 Olympic games and the extraordinary talent we witness in each sporting event. 

Ugh! What an image! To think that this film was made possible by Adolf Hitler. Just like Triumph of the Will, this film is another type of Nazi Germany propaganda. I wonder what thoughts were going on in Hitler’s mind when he saw a quarter of black athletes win for the U.S. team. The 1936 Berlin games was known for seeing Jesse James win the gold, making him also known as the fastest man alive. Considering Hitler didn’t like black people as well as Jews, I’m sure he wasn’t happy about this. To think that Mack Robinson, brother of Jackie Robinson, lost to Jesse Owens by .4 seconds. Write in if you would be mad at the world too. It would make me wonder how my life would go if I was just .4 seconds faster.

This documentary used a lot of innovative filmmaking techniques as we saw such as extreme close-ups, tracking shots, different camera angles, and more to show the beauty of athleticism. We see plenty of sports in the Summer Olympics such as rowing, diving, running, pole vaults, etc. My favorite sport to see was the diving as we saw the beautiful matching editing techniques and were able to get a good view of the divers from the board to the water. What was your favorite sport to see? This was a good Olympics event to watch as we saw the underdogs achieve victory as well as celebrate the beauty of the human sport. 

Witness the 1936 Olympics and comment what you think:

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#116 Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Next on our list is the mother of all screwball comedies and the second film to star Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby is when a nerdy paleontologist keeps clashing with a hair-brained heiress who wants him to help her bring her leopard, Baby, to her aunt’s farm in Connecticut.

So we meet David Huxley, a paleontologist who really wants to get a million dollar donation and get the last piece to complete his Brontosaurus skeleton. He accidentally meets Susan Vance, a zany, looney heiress who is immediately in love with David but he, on the other hand, is too turned off by her troublesome ways. Since she mistakes him for a zoologist and does not want him married to his fiancé,  she tricks David into helping her bring her aunt’s leopard back to Connecticut. A lot of mishaps occur such as mistaking her leopard for one not so tame, David ruining Susan’s dress to exposure her bare bottom, ending up in jail, etc. It’s like these two should not be together but are somehow still connected to each other and just can’t help themselves. 

This was my favorite scene in the movie! Thank you Cary Grant for having the guts to say this line out loud. Many actors should have learned from him that if you want something risqué to appear in a film past the censorship boards, improvise the hell out of it! I also give Cary Grant credit for being able to deal with a leopard that he was afraid of. That would probably terrify me if I was afraid of being eaten every time I was on set! I can’t believe this is Katherine Hepburn’s first comedy. She played the role like a pro! This film is the perfect example of a screwball comedy in that you see two characters who are totally wrong for each other and how it’s clearly one-sided but their chemistry makes us forget all of that. I especially love the big stunt during the ending but I will not spoil it. This movie will give you a lot of laughs, I guarantee. 

Watch Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in the classic screwball comedy and please comment what you think:

#115 The Baker’s Wife (1938)

According to the French Institute of Public Opinion, 63% of French people believe they can love someone even if he or she has cheated. Well, that was definitely true in the late 1930s during the time of this film. Marcel Pagnol’s The Baker’s Wife is about how a beautiful, young woman leaves her husband, a baker, for a shepherd, causing the small village to come together to reunite this baker with his wife.

When a baker’s wife does not show up the next morning, it does not even come to his attention that she could have run away. He is thinking the worse of her disappearance like she has been kidnapped. It is not until later that he realizes that she has ran off with a Shepard. It is a small village so of course everyone has heard about this. While the villagers at first mock the situation, they realize that the baker is so depressed that he refuses to bake bread ever again and continuously gets himself drunk. This causes the villagers to band together to help this baker.

I was really impressed with Raimu’s acting in how he could be funny as he is in total obliviousness of the situation to being truly depressed. Especially towards the end where he lets out all of his anger towards the cat instead of at his wife.  It proves that sometimes you do not know what you have until it’s gone. This was a pretty good movie except I felt like things were wrapped up too neatly in the end. Would you forgive someone who cheats on you? A fun fact about this movie is how after Orson Welles saw this film, he wanted to meet Raimu himself but unfortunately found out he died, leaving him in tears. I would be disappointed as well. This film is a French classic and a good film to see. 

This is the only copy I could find online and with English subtitles. The subtitles are not perfect as it is basically ever other sentence but enough to get the gist of the story. Please comment what you think:)