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If you were a guest on TCM name the ONE movie you'd show your audience...


JeanneCrain
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Sorry but I don't buy that. Most filmmakers, especially ones of her intelligence, know the power of film media and the meanings that images can convey. She used her skill, her art and the materials available to her to make a film about a political party that even by 1934 was considered extremist.

 

Sounds like Pauley didn't believe her and wanted to press Leni to admit she was wrong. She should have owned up and admitted she made a mistake, a terrible error in judgment, then went on to discuss and play up her technical achievements. If she never denounced the Nazis, then in her heart she may have still been a Nazi when Pauley interviewed her.

 

Yep...exactly, TB!

 

AND, when the guy who commissioned this film, Herr Hitler himself, saw the finished product and THEN made the following comment about it:

 

"It's an incomparable glorification of the power and beauty of our Movement."

 

Well, I don't know about YOU folks, but I always thought that the BEST documentaries are the ones which do NOT "glorify" a damn THING that is being examined within them, but instead will present as well as the filmmaker can muster all of the various and sundry aspects to BE examined of the subject being examined, and thus giving the viewer as much a chance at circumspection OF the subject as possible....and REGARDLESS of how technologically innovative the director of a DOCUMENTARY film might have been with his or her finished product.

 

(...and btw...when the hell did the idea that when ANY journalist or in fact any "regular" person continues to question another or requests a further explanation as to the rationale for said other person's actions or thoughts or opinions that it's now somehow deemed as "being rude"????...I'll tell ya what I THINK is "rude", and THAT is when a professional journalist ESPECIALLY fails to ask the next logical follow-up question in response to the answer they get and after it's become obvious that their subject has attempted to skirt the issue with a vague and/or incomplete response!!!)

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I do. The 30's were hard, hard times and Germany was undergoing some of the hardest anywhere. Neither filmmakers nor anyone else in the general populace had a crystal ball working for them, and they clutched hope where they could find it.

Well, I don't doubt there were hard times-- but she was a member of the intelligentsia and from a much more affluent background than most. So her hardships may have been a bit softer than those experienced by the common hand-to-mouth variety of German people. From what I've read about her, her life was worse immediately after the war, which leads me to think it's because those who were protecting her and favoring her, because she was one of their party, were suddenly overthrown.

 

Budd Schulberg regarded her as a liar and someone who twisted events to cover her tracks. She was considered a Nazi sympathizer but my guess is that she really was a Nazi herself and that is why she had it rough during denazification. Most of her equipment was confiscated when the Nazis were defeated, probably because the allies considered her a dangerous person. She is lucky that she was not convicted and that she was able to live the long life she did.

 

The one thing I definitely do not like about her is that she used people from the concentration camps for her films which seems like she had no sense of compassion or humanity, that despite her immense talent as a filmmaker, she lacked decency and real integrity.

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I believe that I would commit heresy by asking for a foreign movie. I am sure that many would feel I am compounding such heresy by choosing relatively modern movie! 

 

I would do this not only because this is one of my favorite movies of all time but because it would also introduce to viewers: Mosfilm. The studio is older than MGM and has many thousands of wonderful movies in its vaults which I am sure would delight viewers if only they knew of them.

 

Formula of Love (1984) is wonderful romantic comedy. A boy in first bloom of hormones loves and desires deeply a woman who is personification of poise, beauty and refinement. The unfortunate aspect to their relationship is that she is a marble statue standing in the woods on his family estate. Enter Cagliostro who is fakir, occultist and all-around urbane, erudite and sophisticated flim-flam man with an offer to bring her to life. 
 
I believe that the movie can be seen as double-play on myth of: Galatea. The boy loves a statue and wishes her brought to life. It is also that the woman whom Cagliostro will use in his deception ardently loves Cagliostro but he is as devoid of emotion as stone.
 
The movie is full of wonderful moments. One of my favorites is:
Lorentza: Love is divine.
Cagliostro: Common mistake. Fire also used to be divine until Prometheus stole it. Now we use it to boil water.
 
It can be watched on Mosfilm's YouTube channel at:
English subtitles are available by clicking on: Settings icon in bar beneath image and then selecting: Subtitles/CC and then choosing: English.
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Well my favorite movie of all time is Yellow Submarine, so I would probably choose that.  But I'm strongly tempted to choose The Traveling Players  because I would really like to see it again, and it isn't on region 1 DVD. 

 

As for Riefenstahl, I think Stuart Klawans' comments in his review of I am Cuba are particularly germane:

 

Why not go all the way, then, and try looking at the film from the Castro-has-failed point of view? Let's say for the sake of argument that nothing was ever worthwhile about I Am Cuba, except for its flamboyance. By effecting that divorce between style and subject matter, we would be treating [director Mikhail] Kalatozov more or less as certain critics treat Leni Riefenstahl. Are the two in fact equivalent? Would we have any valid reason--other than a belief in the good intentions of one and the bad of the other--for justifying Kalatozov's propaganda but not Riefenstahl's?

 

Actually, I think there's something to be said for good intentions. Put the worst possible construction on Kalatozov's film. Claim that it promoted a dictatorial regime that betrayed and bankrupted the Cuban people; you will still have to admit that I Am Cuba was meant to defend the Cubans' right to govern themselves, in conditions that would allow the poor to become a little less wretched. Judged in that way, Kalatozov's faults are essentially aesthetic misdemeanors--sentimentality, overstatement, tone-deafness. (He did not commit the graver crime of hero worship; Castro is mentioned a couple of times in I Am Cuba, and that's it.) Now put the best possible construction on Triumph of the Will. Claim that Riefenstahl was improbably naive and failed to foresee the ends of Nazism; you will still have to admit that Triumph of the Will was meant to praise the force of arms, the glories of regimentation and the inherent goodness of the Aryan race, all embodied in the figure of the Great Leader. Unlike Kalatozov, Riefenstahl was so deft that she committed almost no aesthetic missteps; but politicallly, h0r masterpiece is one giant felony.

 

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I like the idea of showing The Last Seduction.  It's "noirish" and really good - well acted and well directed and I don't think it's been on TV in several years.  If allowed a second choice, I might go with early Dave Cronenberg:  They Came From Within (aka Shivers) which totally blew me away the first time a saw it and I don't think it's ever been on TV.  I would also consider Let Me In, the American version of Let the Right One In and a superior recent horror flick.

They Came from Within is a hoot! I saw it one New Year's Day many years ago, still think it's the best Cronenberg.

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I would show The Day of the Locust (1975), a rich, remarkable film about the days of classic Hollywood. Cynical, brutal, at times beautiful, the climax comes outside the movie theater where DeMille's The Buccaneer (1938) is premiering.

 

In addition to the the subject matter, the film resonates with classic Hollywood in other ways. It's based on a book by Nathanael West, who wrote several screenplays in the 1930s and 1940s. West was married to Eileen McKenney, who was the inspiration for the book/play/movie My Sister Eileen. 

 

 

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Sounds like Pauley didn't believe her and wanted to press Leni to admit she was wrong. She should have owned up and admitted she made a mistake, a terrible error in judgment, then went on to discuss and play up her technical achievements. If she never denounced the Nazis, then in her heart she may have still been a Nazi when Pauley interviewed her.

 

Some people being interviewed do not like to express the personal view of the person interviewing them. Let Pauley say what she wants to say and let Leni say what she wants to say, which was only about her documentary. Leni had NO OBLIGATION to say what Pauley WANTS HER TO SAY.

 

TV reporters should NOT try to force any interview subject to say what they (the TV reporter) thinks. This is too much of a manipulation of the person being interviewed. TV reporters do this all the time and I hate when they do it. They try to tell the interview subject what to say, and that is WRONG of them to do that.

 

What Pauley did was like her saying, "What?? You don't believe exactly what I believe?? You don't agree with me 100%?? Then you MUST BE A BAD PERSON."

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Some people being interviewed do not like to express the personal view of the person interviewing them. Let Pauley say what she wants to say and let Leni say what she wants to say, which was only about her documentary. Leni had NO OBLIGATION to say what Pauley WANTS HER TO SAY.

 

TV reporters should NOT try to force any interview subject to say what they (the TV reporter) thinks. This is too much of a manipulation of the person being interviewed. TV reporters do this all the time and I hate when they do it. They try to tell the interview subject what to say, and that is WRONG of them to do that.

 

What Pauley did was like her saying, "What?? You don't believe exactly what I believe?? You don't agree with me 100%?? Then you MUST BE A BAD PERSON."

Pauley always seems like someone with a good deal of integrity. Of course, it would have been quite newsworthy if Leni denounced Hitler during that interview, so I am sure Pauley as a journalist felt it was part of her job to see if the subject would comment. 

 

Leni had to know that anytime she was discussing her films, she would never be able to escape the shadow of the Nazis or Hitler. It would be terribly naive of her to think so.

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Leni had to know that anytime she was discussing her films, she would never be able to escape the shadow of the Nazis or Hitler. It would be terribly naive of her to think so.

 

She was on the TODAY show to talk about HER FILM, which was the best documentary ever made.

 

All that had been known and said about Hitler had already been said on TV a million times. It was improper to invite Leni on the Today show to talk about her FILM, and then pester her with questions about Hitler. In 1934 when Leni made the film, she didn't know much about Hitler at all, since he had been in office less than 2 years.

 

Had Leni fallen for Pauley's trick, the ENTIRE INTERVIEW would have been about HITLER rather than about Leni's film.

 

It would be like having D.W. Griffith on the Today show to talk about film, photography, editing, etc, and then asking him what he thought about the modern Ku Klux Kla-n.

 

Pauley was a lacky of the liberal political philosophy and KNEW NOTHING about documentary film making.

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In 1937 20th Century Fox made CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS and showed newsreel scenes from the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It showed Nazis giving the Nazi salute.

 

Why didn't Jane Pauley interview someone from Fox about making such a pro-Hitler film in 1937?

 

 

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She was on the TODAY show to talk about HER FILM, which was the best documentary ever made.

 

All that had been known and said about Hitler had already been said on TV a million times. It was improper to invite Leni on the Today show to talk about her FILM, and then pester her with questions about Hitler. In 1934 when Leni made the film, she didn't know much about Hitler at all, since he had been in office less than 2 years.

 

Had Leni fallen for Pauley's trick, the ENTIRE INTERVIEW would have been about HITLER rather than about Leni's film.

 

It would be like having D.W. Griffith on the Today show to talk about film, photography, editing, etc, and then asking him what he thought about the modern Ku Klux Kla-n.

 

Pauley was a lacky of the liberal political philosophy and KNEW NOTHING about documentary film making.

I don't think we're going to get away from that type of journalism. If someone were to interview O.J. Simpson ten years from now to celebrate the anniversary of THE NAKED GUN movies, you know darn well they will still try to ask him whether or not he killed Nicole Brown. 

 

I still don't buy that Leni was as naive as she claims to have been in 1934. Plus, her films would not be talked about if their subject matter was not so controversial. Do people want to discuss the underwater films she made at the end of her life? Probably not. And I'm sure they also show off her skill like the earlier films do.

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Once AGAIN..."the best DOCUMENTARY ever made"???

 

Look here folks. ONE AGAIN, Leni's film WASN'T a freakin' "documentary"...it was a one well-made COMMERCIAL!

 

Why do you people continue to ignore the very salient POINT that I brought up earlier about REAL documentaries consist of bringing as much information about a subject to the viewer as possible, and so said viewer can get a more circumspect idea of WHAT the subject is ABOUT?! They're supposed to be INFORMATIVE!!!!

 

(...man, I tell ya...sometimes I think I'm wastin' my time around here!!!)

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Once AGAIN..."the best DOCUMENTARY ever made"???

 

Look here folks. ONE AGAIN, Leni's film WASN'T a freakin' "documentary"...it was a one well-made COMMERCIAL!

 

Why do you people continue to ignore the very salient POINT that I brought up about earlier about REAL documentaries consist of bringing as much information about a subject to the viewer as possible, and so said viewer can get a more circumspect idea of WHAT the subject is ABOUT?! They're supposed to be INFORMATIVE!!!!

 

(...man, I tell ya...sometimes I think I'm wastin' my time around here!!!)

Wasn't Triumph of the Will a document of an event?  The Nuremburg rally?

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Wasn't Triumph of the Will a document of an event?  The Nuremburg rally?

 

Yeah, it was, BUT what little Miss Leni "forgot to include" was a little incident known as "The Night of the Long Knives" which happened a year before this particular Nuremberg Rally of 1934. And THUS I think it MIGHT have been a little "informative" IF little Miss Leni could have explained or at least touched upon why there were few less of the "old familiar Nazi faces" there THAT year attending their little rally than there were at last year's little rally.

 

(...but alas no...evidently little Leni was too intent on only showin' us "the good side" of that crazy *****'s little movement...and thus once AGAIN, the very reason I call this film a "COMMERCIAL" and NOT a "Documentary")

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Yeah, it was, BUT what little Miss Leni "forgot to include" was a little incident known as "The Night of the Long Knives" which happened a year before this particular Nuremberg Rally of 1934. And THUS I think it MIGHT have been a little "informative" IF little Miss Leni could have explained or at least touched upon why there were few less of the "old familiar Nazi faces" there THAT year attending their little rally than there were at last year's little rally.

 

(...but alas no...evidently little Leni was too intent on only showin' us "the good side" of that crazy *****'s little movement...and thus once AGAIN, the very reason I call this film a "COMMERCIAL" and NOT a "Documentary")

I think she was hired to cover the rally.  Period.  And to make it look good.

I don't think Uncle Adolf would have wanted that other part in his movie in any event.

I think it is a 'documentary' no matter what we think about its politics.

A terrifying one!

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I think she was hired to cover the rally.  Period.  And to make it look good.

I don't think Uncle Adolf would have wanted that other part in his movie in any event.

I think it is a 'documentary' no matter what we think about its politics.

 

And, as I implied earlier ALSO, there ya HAVE it...but once again, YOU have brought up the issue of "politics" into this, not I.

 

Whenever ANY person OR entity PAYS to have a film done about themselves and is NOT an INDEPENDENT look at its subject, and thus requiring some later "approval" of what is presented, then it is...wait for...yep...once again...a COMMERCIAL and NOT a "documentary".

 

(...and so, seein' as how I can't seem to make anyone understand this, I'll now retire from this subject...eeh, it's really kind'a sort'a a little off-topic anyway, ya know)

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And, as I implied earlier ALSO, there ya HAVE it...but once again, YOU have brought up the issue of "politics" into this, not I.

 

Whenever ANY person OR entity PAYS to have a film done about themselves and is NOT an INDEPENDENT look at its subject, and thus requiring some later "approval" of what is presented, then it is...wait for...yep...once again...a COMMERCIAL and NOT a "documentary".

 

(...and so, seein' as how I can't seem to make anyone understand this, I'll now retire from this subject...eeh, it's really kind'a sort'a a little off-topic anyway, ya know)

I get your point, Dargo my friend.  There are tons of 'documentaries' or whatever you wish to call them that are very one-sided.  Triumph exceeds them all no doubt.

But, hey I did not bring the dreaded shut-down 'P' word into this.  The subject of the film was a Political Rally for cripes sake hosted by your local Nazi Party.  I was just calling it like it is.

A terrifying film.

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I get your point, Dargo my friend.  There are tons of 'documentaries' or whatever you wish to call them that are very one-sided.  Triumph exceeds them all no doubt.

But, hey I did not bring the dreaded shut-down 'P' word into this.  The subject of the film was a Political Rally for cripes sake hosted by your local Nazi Party.  I was just calling it like it is.

A terrifying film.

 

Yep Bogie, I have to admit that looking again at this in a more circumspect and "documentarian" manner, it was NOT in fact you who initially brought that dreaded 'P' word into this whole thing. ;)

 

My apologizes for implying such, my friend.

 

(...it was just that I felt the primary reason for the controversy which invariably stems from almost any discussion about this film, always seems more geared TO the political and less so the idea that a "commercial" is not a "documentary"...and which in THIS case especially I think should not be viewed as merely an exercise in semantics, as I believe such a thing somewhat degrades the very concept of the documentary film)

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I still don't buy that Leni was as naive as she claims to have been in 1934.

 

See the YouTube film of CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS. At  50:55, you will see Germans giving the Nazi salute to the Olympics flame bearer as he runs down the steps.

 

Why did Jane Pauley never have any 20th Century Fox executives on the Today show to grill them about why they made this film in 1937, using German newsreels shot at the actual Berlin Olympics in 1936 and showing the Nazi salute to film audiences around the world?

 

Why didn’t Jane Pauley demand to know why Fox was still supporting the Nazis in 1937? Could it be because Fox didn’t want to lose its valuable film market in Germany? The film’s German title was: Charlie Chan bei den Olympischen Spielen

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See the YouTube film of CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS. At  50:55, you will see Germans giving the Nazi salute to the Olympics flame bearer as he runs down the steps.

 

Why did Jane Pauley never have any 20th Century Fox executives on the Today show to grill them about why they made this film in 1937, using German newsreels shot at the actual Berlin Olympics in 1936 and showing the Nazi salute to film audiences around the world?

 

Why didn’t Jane Pauley demand to know why Fox was still supporting the Nazis in 1937? Could it be because Fox didn’t want to lose its valuable film market in Germany? The film’s German title was: Charlie Chan bei den Olympischen Spielen

Yes, Fred, but they weren't in the studio that day with Jane Pauley, just Leni Reifenstahl. 

 

Personally, I think you're being a bit too hard on Pauley. Regardless of her personal political views, I still feel she was just doing her job that day. If she didn't ask the tough questions, her colleagues would have been ridiculing her for being too soft.

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it was just that I felt the primary reason for the controversy which invariably stems from almost any discussion about this film, always seems more geared TO the political and less so the idea that a "commercial" is not a "documentary"

 

It's more of a "promo" in broadcast terms.

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Yes, Fred, but they weren't in the studio that day with Jane Pauley, just Leni Reifenstahl. 

 

Personally, I think you're being a bit too hard on Pauley. Regardless of her personal political views, I still feel she was just doing her job that day. If she didn't ask the tough questions, her colleagues would have been ridiculing her for being too soft.

 

Look, I was a documentary maker all my life. That is why I see the "documentary" in the film and NOT the "politics". As Leni said, the "politics" would have been Russian if she had been born in Russia. It would have been American if she had been born in America. It would have been Chinese if she had been born in China.

 

Same with me... I was born in America and I started using some of Leni's technics when I was 14 years old in 1955, when I got my first 8 mm camera.

 

I had grown up seeing clips from TRIUMPH OF THE WILL in American newsreels, without knowing the source of the film or the producer/director. I noticed when I was about 10 years old that German newsreels had telephoto moving follow-focus scenes in them, while American films did not.

 

That's why I bought a $500 Bolex (with through-the-lens focusing) when I was 16 years old. At age 16 I could follow-focus with a 400 mm telephoto lens on my Bolex, just like Leni did with her German reflex cameras in 1934.

 

I didn't pay any attention to the Nazis.... I watched the film techniques and I copied them. 30 years later I found out they were directed by a woman, Leni! Dang! And I finally realized that all that documentary creativity was hers, and my own camera style was created by her as early as 1934.

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Nazi salute to the Olympics flame bearer, as shown in the 1937 20th Century Fox movie, CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS, aka Charlie Chan bei den Olympischen Spielen

                                                   

American movie, American studio, showing the Nazi salute to audiences in 1937, with Charlie Chan cooperating with the Berlin Police and his own son competing in the Berlin Olympics.

 

This is from a German newsreel. I don't know if this is a Leni film clip or not:
 

2yjq4ib.jpg

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