Why does Riefenstahl continue to receive so much critical and
historiographical attention when there are many other Nazi directors who
did a lot more damage? I think most people would conclude that Riefenstahl
was quite a nasty Nazi, but there were some far nastier ones: anniversaries
relating to (for example) Veit Harlan, Fritz Hippler, Wolfgang Leibeneiner
and Karl Ritter do not attract any comment, though the films these people
were responsible for did far more damage than any of Riefenstahl's.
Some possible reasons:
1. She's still alive.
2. She's a woman.
3. She had close relationships with a number of senior Nazis, and is
alleged to have had an affair with Hitler (as Robert Harris commented in
his book on the Hitler diaries fiasco, 'swastikas sell').
4. 'Triumph des Willens' and 'Olympische Spiele' were shown in Western
Europe and the US at the time of their initial release, but many of the
most notorious Nazi fiction films weren't 'discovered' until after the war.
5. She continues to take an active interest in the exploitation of her
films from the Nazi period, and aggressively pursues legal action against
her detractors whenever she can.
Dr. Leo Enticknap
Director, Northern Region Film and Television Archive
School of Arts and Media
University of Teesside
Middlesbrough TS1 3BA
Tel. +44-(0)1642 384022
Fax. +44-(0)1642 384099
Brainfryer: +44-(0)7710 417383
For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives: