People, Hopes, Medals

What a treat this film is. It’s so full of life and really captured the atmosphere of joyful peace and fun associated with the Olympic games.

As weird as it sounds, the only surviving official film of the VIII Olympic Winter Games, held in Squaw Valley, California, is in German.

Apparently, a German production company was hired to turn the footage captured during the games into a film, and they made both English and German editions. As with the previous US Olympic films, the English version is lost.

Luckily, what we’re left with, is a rollicking piece of early-60s goofiness. As it turns out, that’s more than enough to make this a successful edition of the filmed games.

The film is just so much fun. From the jazz soundtrack, to the comedic commentary. The use of music is particularly well done in this edition. The music stops and starts as the athletes are in motion, and it creates a real sense of movement.

As I’ve repeated ad nauseam, there are so many different approaches filmmakers have taken as to what makes a good Olympic documentary. This is the first one to really achieve the “let’s just make it fun” style. I really enjoyed it.

germany, 1960, 1.33:1, german