XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport
This is the first film in the set in color, and it’s so great to see what everything looked like. It’s absolutely beautiful, it’s just a shame the quality of the film doesn’t match the quality of the visuals.
I’ve been writing and thinking, a lot, about what the possible angles are for an Olympics documentary. I’ve discussed it in several of the earlier pieces in this series. This film has brought me to the conclusion, that the angle I enjoy the least, is a focus on the results of the games. This film is obsessed with who won, in what time, or what distance, and from which nation they came. It’s not only boring, but it completely misses the point of the Olympic games.
The aim of the film is made especially perverse, by a moment in the opening ceremony. A quote from modern Olympics founder Baron de Coubertin is put up on a giant sign over the main stadium, and the quote reads “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part.” It’s a wonderful message, and gets to the heart of the purpose of these games. A purpose the makers of this film seem to have completely missed.