Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lost and Found: Victory of Faith

The Story
In 1933, Leni Riefenstahl was using her movie-making skill to promote a little up-and-comer named Adolf Hitler.  She created a documentary called Victory of Faith (not in German, mind you).  It shows you foreign dignitaries arriving, Hitler meeting with his commanders and a big speech by him.  However, a problem with the film arose the next year.  To make a long story short, one of the people shown tried to kill him.  Yeah, he didn't take it well, leading to The Night of the Long Knives in June 1934.  He ordered the film destroyed and a new one to take its place: Triumph of the Will.  Was this the sad fate of Leni's film though?
Was It Found?
In April 1934, Leni visited many schools to discuss her film-making methods.  Apparently, a copy of this film was left behind and subsequently got duplicated.  It got locked away in a vault for 60 years and is now owned by Germany, who keeps it under tight-control.  You ashamed of your Nazi documentaries?  Oh yeah, I guess you are.
For one thing, it's an early example of Riefenstahl's work.  Second, it is a film that the world's worst murdered ordered destroyed, but managed to survive.  Third, it is the film that serves a precursor to Triumph of the Will, Leni's most famous work.  By the way, that one is actually available in a wide-manner.  I think that's sufficient, don't you?
 Next up, a Boris Karloff film disappears for over thirty years.  So how did it end up in Czechoslovakia?  Stay tuned...

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