Author: Don Whelan

Film, Summer

First in a Class

First is the story of the Games of London 2012; or rather, the story of a selected group of first-time Olympians. Director Caroline Rowland—who won the job after creating the London bid film—has developed a new approach to Olympic documentaries. Though at first blush it seems to have a common thread with Bud Greenspan’s films, […]

Film, Winter

Grit and Guts on Ice

In our ongoing review of Olympic films, we’ve begun to see some patterns emerge. We have the silent era films, which are mostly a string of newsreel-style segments. There is the mid-century meet-a-city tourism genre. There is a select group of films with artistic viewpoints. There is the enormous Greenspan body of work. White Rock […]

Film, Summer

Long Did They Wait

The Games of the XV Olympiad were held in Helsinki, Finland in the summer of 1952. It was a long-awaited festival: Helsinki had originally been selected to host the 1940 Games after the original host, Tokyo, withdrew due to Japan’s invasion of China. But the city never got to welcome the world in 1940, because, […]

Film, Winter

Greenspan in Italy

Bud Greenspan’s Torino 2006: Stories of Olympic Glory 200788 MINUTESBud Greenspan Torino 2006 marks the fourth Greenspan film we’ve watched, the first from the new century, and the penultimate outing in his collection of 10 films. His signature formula is familiar by now. This particular film has a somewhat peculiar provenance, however: it’s one of […]

Film, Summer, Winter

Watching Olympic Films in Digital Formats

As a follow-up to last week’s summary of official films on the IOC’s YouTube channel, we thought it would be nice to take a look at another interesting selection. Criterion has broken out a subset of 11 films from the full box and made them available at digital retailers like iTunes. (All iTunes/Apple Books links […]

Film, Summer, Winter

Watching Olympic Films Online

With the news of Tokyo 2020’s postponement, we’re looking for ways to fill the void. Happily, the Olympic YouTube channel contains a playlist of 15 official films for our (free) viewing pleasure! This is a great resource for a selection of films, and can certainly assist you in following our discussions as we go through […]

Film, Summer

Stockholm, Sharp & Silent

We’ve reached the final silent summer film in the Criterion Olympic Films collection, (LW: thank goodness) and it happens to be the very first one, from Stockholm 1912. We’ve already discussed a few of these silent editions (here, here, here), and by and large there’s no significant deviation from the format here. However, there are […]

Film, Winter

Jean-Claude Killy Builds a Highway

1992 was a particularly fascinating moment in time: in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down. In 1990 Germany was reunified. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed. Change was truly in the cold, crisp air of the French Alps. One Light, One World 1992104 MINUTESJoe Jay Jalbert,R. Douglas Copsey The XVI Winter Games at Albertville, France […]

Film, Summer

Melbourne 1956: Once More, with Feeling

Last time we discussed the two small films of Melbourne/Stockholm 1956. This week we’re going to move on to the Summer Games proper with a pair of films focused on the breadth of events held in Melbourne. Despite having a similar scope, they’re incredibly different. Overwhelming Speed Olympic Games, 1956 195660 MINUTESPeter Whitchurch Olympic Games, […]

Film, Summer

Melbourne via Stockholm and Algiers

The Olympics appeared for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere at the 1956 Summer Games in Melbourne, Australia. It was the first Games to take place in two different countries, because Australian quarantine laws prevented equestrian horses from making the trip. Stockholm, Sweden stepped up to host a week of equestrian events. What this […]