Triumph of the Will (1935)
By: J.R. McNamara on June 14, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. German DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 106 minutes
The Movie
Director: Leni Riefenstahl
Starring: Adolf Hitler, Nazis
Screenplay: Leni Riefenstahl, Walter Ruttman
Country: Germany
AKA: Triumph des Willens

Helene Riefenstahl aka Leni Riefenstahl started her career in showbusiness as a dancer, not for acclaim, but just to see what it felt like to perform. From there she went onto movies, starring in films by German film director, Arnold Fanck, who eventually took her under his wing and taught her the ins and outs of film directing. Triumph of the Will aka Triumph des Willens will always be her legacy. A propaganda film, commissioned by the Nazi Party, Triumph of the Will scarred Riefenstahl's reputation, after World War 2's revelation of atrocities, so much so that she regretted ever making it, and did not make a film between 1954 and 2002, due to the criticism and accusation of Nazi sympathizing she received.

There is no story to Triumph of the Will, no plot, no characters and no acting, and it is not a documentary. Triumph of the Will is a propaganda film, commissioned by Paul Joseph Goebbels, the Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda for the Nazi Party, to show it in the most positive light possible, and to make Adolf Hitler appear to be a messiah for the people of Germany. This film was shot in 1934 throughout the Nazi Party's annual Party Day of Victory, which took place September 4th to the 10th, during the Congress of the National Socialist German Workers Army. The film features some amazing footage of pre World War 2 Nuremberg, of which 95% was destroyed during that war, and has been rebuilt closely to the original design today, not to mention footage of SS troops, Hitler Youth, and the actual speeches of various National Socialist Party members to a crowd of adoring fans. The crowds that gather to see Hitler are various functions are of an Elvis Presley or Beatle-mania size, or at the very least appear to be that way, as in a propaganda film such as this, it is hard to believe some of what you see.

There is no doubt that Riefenstahl was an incredibly talented filmmaker, and her cinematic eye was excellent, but to your average Digital Retribution reader, you may not find this interesting at all. A film such as this would really only appeal to those who are interested in Military history, or at an extreme push, as a supplement to a Nazploitation collection.
It is a black and white film that is over seventy years old, so as you can imagine, the footage isn't exactly that of a super hyper remastered studio spectacular, but over and above its massive amount of artefacts…it never becomes indistinguishable. A nice picture considering its age!
The sound of Trumph of the Will is pretty average, but think of the age of the film. It is still clear and audible, but it isn't a surround sound stunner.
Extra Features
The commentary of this disc is by Newport News University historian Dr Anthony Santoro, and is probably the most essential part of this disc. His commentary gives the history behind the Nazi Party, talks about World War 2 as a whole, and also gives propaganda points from a cinematic point of view as to why scenes were filmed in particular ways to put the Nazis in a positive and/ or powerful light, with the ultimate goal of intimidating and recruiting the people of Germany to its cause.

Day of Freedom (16 minutes 5 seconds) a.k.a. Tag Der Freiheit is a short film by Riefenstahl showing what could be described as a military tattoo of the skills of the German army to its commanders. Again the quality of this film is lacking, but only due to the age of the film. Riefenstahl's skills as a director are present and show that she had a total understanding of the cinematic influence on its viewer.
The Verdict
This is an incredibly hard film to judge. How does one review a 1 hour 45 minute long advertisement for a political party? As a historical document, it is fascinating. As a travelogue of pre World War 2 Nuremberg, it is spectacular. As entertainment, it is severely lacking. This is a film that only becomes interesting when you discover the history that goes along with it. There is no doubt there is some rarely seen footage of speeches by members of the Third Reich, but it only become of interest with its supplementary material. The score of one does not represent how well this package is presented, or Riefenstahl's talent, but it does reflect that this is a film really of interest to a slender few.
Movie Score
comments powered by Disqus
Done Dirt Cheap DVDs

>SHARK WEEK (2012) DVD Review

>DANGEROUS MEN (2005) Blu-ray Review

>UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (1992) Blu-ray Review

>THE LAST WARRIOR (2000) Blu-ray Review

>DIAMOND DOGS (2007) DVD Review

>BONE TOMAHAWK (2015) Blu-ray Review

>LET US PREY (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MACHETE (2010) Blu-ray Review

>THE MECHANIK (2005) Blu-ray Review

>DIRECT ACTION (2004) DVD Review

>NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review

>CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review

>POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review

>DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review

Post Apocalypse Discussion Forum
Waxwork Records by MaxTheSilent
Phantasm V??? by McSTIFF
Inside (└ l'intÚrieur) by MaxTheSilent
Red Christmas - new local horror by brett garten
Zack Snyder's JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) by Rip
BLAIR WITCH (2016) by Dr. Obrero
14 Guests, 0 Users
Latest Comments
Last 20 Comments
Most Read Articles
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review 1. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review
POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review 2. POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review
MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review 3. MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review
DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review 4. DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review
NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review 5. NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review
Contact Us
Australian Horror News and Reviews
Digital Retribution aims to bring you the latest news and reviews from the local genre scene. If you see or hear something that might be of interest to our readers, please get in touch!

For promotional and advertising inquiries, feedback, requests, threats or anything else, visit our Contact Page.