The Olympic Games in Paris 1924
What is the purpose of a documentary companion to the Olympic games? I imagine this is a question I’ll be returning to many times over the course of the next 40-odd entries I have to ponder. Is the purpose to glorify the nature of sport? Is it to advance the ideals of the Olympic movement? Is it to create an incredible work of documentary film? Is it to accurately present sport, as it was seen at the moment it happened? Almost certainly it’s most of those things simultaneously, although perhaps not the last one. The point of televised coverage of the Olympics is to be an exciting sporting event, the purpose of a lasting document should probably be something different.
If the purpose is to provide a general overview and sense of what took place, then this edition is mostly a success. That’s the only axis on which it really is though. It’s not a great film, it doesn’t advance ideals, and it doesn’t really do much for the nature of sport. What it does do, is provide a fascinating look at 1924, and at what was happening at this point in the history of the games. We see much more expansive coverage of the sports involved, and finally some idea of how to film them. We get a great look at some of the stories that happened during these Olympics. We’re still a long way away from anything that would be watched outside of its historical interest, but the history is more than enough to carry my interest.