The White Stadium
My favorite in the set so far. It’s beautiful, the pacing is good, and there’s more coherent coverage of the event itself. It’s especially a treat to get to see the race where men stand on skis, being pulled by horses. What a crazy thing that was.
So far, I’m enjoying the films about the winter Olympics far more than their summer brethren. Partially it’s the music. The winter seems to have inspired these composers to make far more subtle and pleasant music choices. Where the summer films are constant and sometimes repetitively annoying, the winter films are more reflective and contemplative. This film in particular has a brilliant conceit, where every time they show a stopwatch, the music adds a metronome. It does a fabulous job of keeping the energy up, and helps dramatize the moments being shown.
It’s also true that the snow makes for really beautiful black and white photography. In this particular film, the scenes as captured by director Arnold Fanck are almost universally stunning. St. Moritz is clearly helping there, it’s an unbelievably beautiful location. But the film makes the absolute most of it. Nearly every shot in the entire film is wonderful. When everything looks drop-dead gorgeous, it helps make up for the fact that we haven’t yet found a compelling plot.