Triumph of the Will
is one of the most important films ever made, not because it documents evil--more watchable examples are being made today. And not as a historical example of blind propaganda--those (much shorter) movies are merely laughable now. No, Riefenstahl's masterpiece--and it is a masterpiece, politics aside--combines the strengths of documentary and propaganda into a single, overwhelmingly powerful visual force. Riefenstahl was hired by the Reich to create an eternal record of the 1934 rally at Nuremberg, and that's exactly what she does. You might not become a Nazi after watching her film, but you will understand too clearly how Germany fell under Hitler's spell. The early crowd scenes remind one of nothing so much as Beatles concert footage (if only their fans were so well behaved!).
Like the Fascists it monumentalises, Triumph of the Will overlooks its own weaknesses--at nearly two hours, the speeches tend to drone on, and the repeated visual motifs are a little over-hypnotic, especially for modern viewers. But the occasional iconic vista (banners lining the streets of Nuremberg, Hitler parting a sea of 200,000 party members standing at attention) will electrify anyone into wakefulness. --Grant Balfour, Amazon.com
Triumph of the Will, also known as Triumph des Willens , is the legendary propaganda documentary of the Third Reich's 1934 Nuremberg Party Rally. Commissioned by Hitler in 1934 and directed by Leni Riefenstahl, this documentary covers the events of the Sixth Nuremberg Party Congress. The original intention was to document the early days of the NSDAP, so future generations could look back and see how the Third Reich began. In reality, Triumph of the Will shows historians how the Nazi state drew in the masses through propaganda and also how Adolf Hitler had a unique and terrifying ability to entice crowds to his beliefs by the very power of his words. Triumph of the Will was released in 1935 and rapidly became one of the better-known examples of propaganda in film history. Riefenstahl's techniques, Such as moving cameras, the use of telephoto lenses to create a distorted perspective, aerial photography, and revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography, have earned Triumph recognition as one of the greatest films in history. Riefenstahl won several awards, not only in Germany but also in the United States, France, Sweden, and other countries. The film was popular in the Third Reich and elsewhere, and has continued to influence movies, documentaries, and commercials to this day, even as it raises the question over the dividing line between art and morality. Featuring a cast of thousands, including Adolf Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Hess, Goering and other top party officials, this film perhaps more than any other demonstrates the frightening reality that was the Nazi Party and the dangers that the future held for the rest of Europe. This definitive edition also features a bonus disc; March to the Fuhrer which documents the rise of the Hitler Youth Movement.