Talk:Leni Riefenstahl

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Was Riefenstahl really in a French detention camp?[edit]

I'm not sure if the following sentence is accurate: "After World War II, she spent four years in a French detention camp" I've been reading about this part of her biography here: http://www.germanhollywood.com/rief_2.html and it seems the issue of what happened to her after the War is more complicated. Thanks, Cgrimm 22:51, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

As with most areas of her long and complicated life, the "facts" here differ depending on which account you believe, including her own memoirs written very late in her life. Also crucial is how those 'facts' are presented and what they are based on (personal testimony, third-party interviews with either friends or foes, court documents, letters and telegrams, biased or unbiased newspaper and magazine articles etc.) I have just finished reading recent books by Steven Bach and Jurgen Trimborn; both of these recent books differ not only from each other but from earlier reviews of her life and work by Rainer Rother and Audrey Salkfeld. It is difficult to determine which book presents the "accurate" account of events that took place so long ago. Montydad (talk) 18:29, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Shown in Oscar clips?[edit]

I seem to remember that there was some controversey when she died, whether or not to include her in the Oscar clip commemorating filmmakers who died the privious year. Someone should include this information in the article, and say whether or not she was included in this clip. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 66.27.119.90 (talk) 10:24, 21 April 2007 (UTC).

She was included as Leni Riefenstahl Documentary Filmmaker.

concentration camp labor?[edit]

Were there concentration camps in 1934 (commment in article says she used concentration camp labor for a film at that time). Seems an anacronysm to me and also a bit of an akward attempt to slip a slam in.TCO 19:39, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there were. See this page. By 1934 thousands had been interned, hundreds murdered in them. On the other hand, the Tiefland story may need clarification: most of the work on the movie, including all the shooting done by Riefenstahl, happened between 1940 and 1944. She used Sinti/Roma concentration-camp inmates as Spanish-looking actors.RogerLustig 01:28, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

According to Richard Evans' book "The Coming of the Third Reich", concentration camps did exist at the time. They were widely reported in the press and were exploited by the Nazis as an instrument of terror over the German population. Inmates (social democrats, communists, jews etc) were beaten (sometimes to death), tortured and 're-educated' to fit in with the new regime. I think part of the problem with the term 'concentration camp' is that it is often confused with 'death camp'. While some concentration camps did indeed become death camps, that was not universally the case. Also, I believe that the type of camp in which the Romani extras used in Tiefland were held was (technically)called a 'detention camp'. I recommend Trimborn's book in this regard.Montydad (talk) 15:57, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Big divisions in Nazi camps for civilians were concentration (prison) camps, force labor camps and death (extermination) camps. Naaman Brown (talk) 18:03, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Nazi propogandist?[edit]

I couldn't remember her name, but I figured I would have no problem finding a link to her article from Goebbels; I'm not that bothered that his article doesn't mention her, but I'm surprised that she isn't included in the category "Nazi propagandists" Mulp 18:45, 16 June 2007 (UTC)


On the documentary by History Channel showing L.R. being "acutely aware" she is a propagandist[edit]

An Encyclopedia must refrain from any kind of moral judgement and must not try to depict historical features under any subjective light, whether good or bad. The insertion regarding the documentary film showing great consideration by the highest nazi propaganda officers and Hitler himself for Riefenstahl work is interesting and could be quoted in the interest of showing said importance, but must not be used as a way to depict a person as "morally bad" or, even worse, morally bad because close to Hitler. The way the insertion keeps on reappearing on W. is instead clearly biased toward applying a moral judgement on L.R.. The insertion's author makes a kind of implicit logic link between being a nazi propagandist and being a criminal, and tries to "demonstrate" that L.R. was a propagandist (which is self-evident) in order to implicitly state she is a criminal BECAUSE she is a propagandist. The espression used, i.e. that the documentary demonstrates L.R. as being "acutely aware" (sic!) of being a nazi propagandist, is the demonstration of the obvious. This is like saying that a documentary showed Stalin being "acutely aware" he was a Communist, you know there is incontrovertible evidence he was at table with Lenin at Communist Party dinners, we have the pictures! The article expression "In later interviews Riefenstahl maintained that she was "fascinated" by the National Socialists but politically naïve and ignorant about the war crimes of which they were subsequently found guilty." CORRECTLY and impartially states the role of L.R. in the making of the nazi propaganda and the denial by L.R. of any complicity in the nazi crimes. That is well written because it is not trying to attribute moral qualities to L.R. or to make an "historical judgement" which would not be historical at all being L.R. of our age. The point about the use of the Gipsy prisoners in her film and their successive destiny is certainly object of interest and could be used in an impartial manner. In any case it should never be implied that L.R. is somewhat indirectly or morally responsible for the imprisonment and the killing of said Gipsies.

 --151.41.237.180 08:34, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

It would be informative if the disputed comment about L.R. being "acutely aware" of being a "Nazi Propagandist" should be changed. Perhaps quote her in context to show how she might be doing this. A properly done quote should prove the point the writer is claiming - in a neutral way.Victorianezine (talk) 04:05, 15 May 2008 (UTC)


Notwithstanding the above, the statement in the introduction that the "propaganda value of her films made during the 1930s repels most modern commentators" is clear POV. We do not read the same comments about Soviet propagandists.Royalcourtier (talk) 04:08, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Festliches Nürnberg[edit]

Festliches Nürnberg ist not a film by Leni Riefenstahl. She was never involved in the production, since she was still working on editing her Olympia documentary. None of her biographers mention that film, besides some untrustworthy sites selling the video only the English Wikipedia (and others copying the filmography) mentions the film. The IMDb recently corrected the entry for Festliches Nürnberg, crediting Hans Weidemann as director. Sadly I've found only German websites proving Weidemann's authorship: [1], [2], [3]. Since I am newly registered at en: (I am a regular contributor at de:), I do not want to corerct this article without presenting my references here. Furthermore I wonder how the article for festliches Nürnberg can be rewritten, since most parts of the article are about Riefenstahl's contribution and her previous works. --Andibrunt 13:11, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

The term 'propaganda film' is correct, using the term 'documentary' is distorting the facts[edit]

Triumph des Willen is a 'propaganda film'. It was commissioned and paid for by Joseph Goebbels head of the Propaganda department of Hirlers government. In any scholarly publication on propaganda film in the Third Reich you will find Triumph des Willen described as such. There are many publications about the film analysing its propaganda features. Describing it as a 'documentary' gives the false impression that the film justs reports the events at the Parteitage. Riefenstahl has made a concerted effort of white-washing herself of any responsibility for her nazi past. Consistently referring to Triumph des Willen as 'documentary' has been part of that effort. Using the term 'documentary' is distorting the facts and POV. Using the term 'propaganda film' is true to the facts and NPOV.S711 07:56, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

A few of scholarly publications defining Triumph des Willens as a propaganda film:

  • Daniel Knopp, NS-Filmpropaganda (Marburg, 2004) in German, dealing with Triumph des Willens; in this book Triumph des Willens and Veit Harlan's Jud Süss are compared as propaganda films.
  • Rolf Giesen, Nazi Propaganda Films - A History and Filmography (Jefferson, 2003) with a chapter about Triumph des Willens .
  • Martha Diane Herzik, Triumph of the Will as a persuasive instrument (University of Texas, 1972) Triumph of the Will is seen by this author as a powerful and effective instrument of persuasion;
  • Andrew Gaskievicz, Leni Riefenstahl, a filmmaker in the Third Reich, (Western Washington University,1990) according to this scholar, Triumph des Willens was an effective propaganda film.

The Wikipedia article on Triumph des Willens also calls it a propaganda film:

Triumph of the Will (German: Triumph des Willens) is a propaganda film by the German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening credits. The overriding theme of the film is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the True German Leader who will bring glory to the nation.

See also the section "Themes" "[Triumph of the Will is] the supreme visualisation in cinematic form of the Nazi political religion. Its artistry, reinforced by the grandeur and power of the Nuremberg decor, is designed to sweep us into empathetic identification with Hitler as a kind of human deity. The massive spectacle of regimentation, unity and loyalty to the Führer powerfully conveys the message that the Nazi movement was the living symbol of the reborn German nation." -- Professor Robert Wistrich. S711 09:33, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

This are all specious arguments. The fact is that anyone wanting to direct or produce a film between 1933 and 1945 in Germany had to have permission from Goebbels and his "Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment" (the actual title). The real issue here is whether Riefenstahl had a choice between having the film produced by Goebbels or having it produced elsewhere; she clearly did not have a choice as all media was controlled by Goebbels. We must also all remember that another film that is viewed as "Nazi propaganda", i.e. Olympia, was awarded a gold medal by the International Olympic Committee and by the French. Its star is an African American. There is no doubt that Riefenstahl was enthralled by Hitler and the Nazis - but so was over 90% of the German population in 1934. And given the heinous crimes committed by the Nazis that were discovered after 1944 it is easy to see why the German population would be eager to get themselves off the hook by blaming Riefenstahl for having "seduced them" with her films, rather than admit their own complicity in those crimes. Montydad (talk) 21:13, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Montydad I agree more or less 100% with your take on this. Gwen Gale (talk) 21:19, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Untrue[edit]

In the article there is this paragraph:

"Impressed with her work, Hitler asked her to film the upcoming 1934 Party rally in Nuremberg. Riefenstahl turned down the project at first because she did not want to make "a prescribed film" and instead began making another film titled Tiefland. Meanwhile, she hired Walter Ruttmann to direct the documentary but she fell ill and Tiefland was cancelled. When she recovered Riefenstahl reviewed Ruttmann's footage and didn't like it. At Hitler's urging she took on the role of director and was given unlimited resources, camera crews, budget, complete artistic control and final cut of the film."

In recent biographies (Kinkel, Trimborn and Steven Bach) this version of the events has been proved to be false. Riefenstahl did not turn down the offer, she was involved in all the preparations, there was no Ruttmann footage which was turned down. However that may be, the paragraph is not supported by any (reliable) source. Therefore I propose to delete it.S711 20:13, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Done. Thanks. Gwen Gale 22:07, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Gwen.S711 07:47, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

From the moderate amount I have read or seen about or by her, the charming media manager Leni Riefenstahl just isn't a trustworthy source (unless her statement is backed up by a quality source). So I'm glad to see lots of different sources cited here to disprove (or sometimes to prove) her many, many assertions.Victorianezine (talk) 04:13, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Yep. Leni is not a reliable source about herself. Gwen Gale (talk) 04:22, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Not to dispute any of the above - in particular Leni's tendency to "edit her past", but I think we might put all of this into somewhat better context by also pointing out that other prominent Germans involved in the arts such as Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Herbert von Karajan also repeatedly denied accusations of collaboration with the Nazis, even though they (unlike Leni) joined the party and had successful careers in post-war Germany. In Schwarzkopf's case, when she finally admitted that she had in fact joined three different Nazi organizations, she justified it by saying all her colleagues had done it for the sake of a job (see article in the Guardian "Triumph of the wilful" 2006). 70.53.131.235 (talk) 20:22, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Trivia[edit]

In the article there is the sentence: "She became a photographer and later photographed rock star Mick Jagger and his wife Bianca as a couple after they were married." This would suggest that this photo-session had a certain relevance to her career as a photographer. That is not the case. It was only a society event. The only notability of it is that it concerned Jagger and Riefenstahl (trivial). I propose to delete it and connect: 'she became a photographer' directly to the Nuba sentence.S711 07:47, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

I disagree, Jagger's rather notable and the event provides context to her post-war life. Gwen Gale 12:30, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
Then should the article not also mention Keith Richards appearing in a SS-uniform at the same photo-session? Rather futile. Be that as it may, Riefenstahl certainly did not make a career as a photographer of celebrities. So mentioning this event direcly after "she became a photographer" gives/gave the wrong impression. S711 17:53, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
I didn't say it had anything to do with her professional career. I said "the event provides context to her post-war life." As for KR showing up in an SS uniform for the same event, even if it could be supported with a citation from a reliable source, which I guess could happen, it would stray way too far from WP:WEIGHT. Gwen Gale 18:25, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
It suggests it had something to do with her professional career because it is the first thing that is mentioned after "she became a photographer". The brackets just make it seem extra odd.S711 18:56, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) However, I do agree with you that the sentence flow could still easily and wholly mislead a casual reader into thinking Jagger professionally commissioned her to take pictures. I've tried to fix this by placing the text after Nuba, wording it more clearly and adding that the whole thing's still controversial. Gwen Gale 18:59, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

My take on these Jagger photos: I've been able to find only two photos of this event, both of which seem to originate from "her" German website, which may have (a bit misleadingly) swapped the chronological order. In the photo where he has his arm drapped about LR's shoulder, Jagger looks very much "under the influence" (to me anyway). The snap of LR taking a pic of Jagger posed in a wicker chair with his then-wife shows LR in the same dress with the same camera and very likely the same garden on the same afternoon, but Jagger has changed all of his clothes (and shoes too) into a mostly white coloured getup which matches other photos taken of him at the time of his wedding to Bianca Pérez-Mora Macías, which strongly hints at some effort by him to quickly set up a more formal shot. I suspect and speculate he thought it would, at the least, make for an interesting personal keepsake and truth be told, wouldn't read much more into it than that. Gwen Gale 01:08, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Footnote[edit]

The footnote: See also Gypsies' Fate Haunts Film Muse of Hitler, The Guardian, August 17, 2002. does not refer to the massacre in Konskie but to the fate of the gypsies who acted in Tiefland and many of whom subsequently were killed in Auschwitz. S711 10:06, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

I took it out. Thanks again, for bringing this one up too. Also, it's not much of a citation even about Tiefland: Given LR (like many Germans along with others throughout history in like settings) at her very most helpful only stood by and cried whilst folks around her were dragged off and criminally slain, the Guardian article consists mostly of a single assertion made decades later with no evidence of independent confirmation. Which is to say, I'm ok with bringing up Tiefland accusations in the article but the sources should be reliable and verifiable. Gwen Gale 18:43, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Married twice[edit]

According to TZ online ([4]) Riefenstahl was married to Horst Kettner shorly before she died. S711 08:28, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

The original source is Die Bunte. The date is unknown. According to some under water magazine they married in New Guinea, but I don't think that information is reliable.S711 21:28, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Nude bodies[edit]

In the article was the sentence: "Riefenstahl is widely noted in film histories for developing new techniques in film, including the photography of nude bodies." That is not correct. Riefenstahl first film appearance was in: Wilhelm Prager, Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit — Ein Film über moderne Körperkultur (Ways to Strength and Beauty — A Film About Modern Physical Culture), Germany 1924/1925. Thát is the film noted for the introduction of "Körper Kultur" (body culture) in film history, not Riefenstahl's Olympia .

A quote: "The stature that this film (Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit) would attain as the most important Kulturfilme of the era is also clearly reflected in the literature of the period, such as Oskar Kalbus' two-volume retrospective of German film, Vom werden Deutscher Filmkunst, in which this film is referred to as "a revelation, a work of art with a very innovative film style." Kalbus, Oskar. Vom werden Deutscher Filmkunst - 1. Teil: Der stumme film. Altona-Bahrenfeld: Cigaretten-Bilderdienst, 1935; pages 92-93."

By the way: (from the same site riefenstahl.org) "There is a distinct similarity between certain film styles which we see in Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit and Riefenstahl's own 1938 masterpiece, Olympia, and concern over being accused that her film was not quite as original as generally thought may also have played a role in Riefenstahl's decision to not mention any connection with the former film. While Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit is unfortunately still not readily available (on VHS or DVD) in order to facilitate any thorough analysis and comparison of these two films, even from the various production stills for both these similarities can be observed — for example, in how some of the athletic scenes were shot or, even more strikingly, with regard to the opening dance scenes in Olympia." For a comparison see:[5]

Photography of nude bodies was clearly not something Riefenstahl intrduced in the cinema. Therefore a deleted the last part of the sentence. S711 13:16, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

The article says she developed the technique (which she did), not that she introduced it. Gwen Gale 13:21, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Hi Gwen. Thanks for the improvements. Nude photography in Riefenstahl's work was not new and it's not a technique, but a genre (Kulturfilme). The phrase "developing" is rather ambiguous. It can mean: "make, bring to an active state" or "make better/elaborate etc." (In: We have "developed" a new weapon, it does not mean "improve on", but "introduced") May be there should be a reference in the article to the fact that she is known by many for the nude bodies in Olympia. Some other way.S711 14:09, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

The thing is her use of nude bodies had an international effect. I agree there is likely some other way to put this. I wonder what it is. Gwen Gale 14:19, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
"Nude' bodies" concerns only Olympia. Maybe it would be best to put that infomation in where Olympia is discussed. Perhaps also some reference to Mary Wigman and Bess Mensendieck. [6]) and to Freikörperkultur. There are also many people who write about Riefenstahl use of (perfect, abstract object) bodies in general (not just nudes). That includes also Triumph dW and could be in the introduction, but is even more difficult to explain in a short phrase.S711 14:44, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Something about her use of the body as an abstract object on film. Gwen Gale 17:16, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Actress/Actor[edit]

I don't believe that Wikipedia should be used to advance a minority political agenda. Unless there is evidence that Leni Riefenstahl called herself an actor, we should follow standard usage which favours actress.

I would also question whether it is entirely acceptable to cite a Wikipedia article in support of your changes and then edit it to bolster your claim.

I am changing the heading back to actress. Misodoctakleidist 04:15, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

It's not a minority political agenda, it's a dicdef. The wikipedia article actor contains a verfiable external citation supporting the gender neutral usage. You've been warned in the past about tenditious editing and you are now on the edge of 3rr, either of which could get you blocked. Gwen Gale 04:57, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
This is not "tendentious editing." The fact that "actor" can be used to mean he same thing as "actress" does not make it acceptable for people pushing a political agenda to insert it into every article about an actress. It is very much a minority usage which is vastly over-represented on wikipedia due to politicised editing. The insistence on using "actor" to mean "actress" IS a minority poltiial agenda. Misodoctakleidist 05:23, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the use of the term "actor" referring to both men and women is really dysfunctional, when actor and actress were long used terms of gender without any hint of sexism. Certainly language does evolve and we don't say "doctress" or "engineeress", nor do we now even use the term "male" nurse as the term nursing has quite a different meaning that the female context of breast feeding. But the word "actress" has a feminine sound and a distinction else we might as well stop using the terms "boy" and "girl" and only say child. See? Language changes to change with the times, but I rather like the sound of the word "actress" and many find this forced use of the word "actor" to be not only disingenuous, but hardly serves the cause of feminism in real terms. It just disjoints language artificially. And in the context of Leni Riefenstahl's life, she lived at a time when such term was not used, and she was quite successful as an actress.. i.e. female actor???? Either term is ok really. It is the prerogative of the writer. Don't change what a writer uses in this term. 63.250.127.245 (talk) 01:54, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The reason gendered occupational nouns are sexist is because it implies that the respective functions of a man and a woman in the same job are different. In the job of acting, their functions actually are different. There is no case for calling actress a sexist term that doesn't rely on weak induction or an overly vague definition of sexism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.179.20.157 (talk) 15:45, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Film techniques[edit]

She did not develop them. If you want to know who did develop them see History of film.S711 (talk) 15:16, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

I think this is likely a question of semantics and language. Please note, develop in English does not mean innovate or invent.[7] The wording in the article is wholly supported by citations following WP:V. If you can provide citations which clarify this, or note some controversy along these lines, please do add them. Gwen Gale (talk) 15:50, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

She did not develop these film-techniques. Neither in the sense of "to bring into being or activity; generate; evolve." or "to bring out the capabilities or possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state". She was one of the first to use them a lot. Your source uses the expression "pioneering". S711 (talk) 17:32, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the dicdef is in line with what the citation(s) has to say about it. Truth be told, the BBC citation goes even further, implying she did indeed innovate these techniques (the word groundbreaking can go along with either invention or development). Please have a look at WP:V for why the citation is so meaningful to this discussion. This said, if you have citations which offer other PoVs or further clarifications, let's put them in the text. At this time, futher assertions about what she did or did not do, without citations, have little or no sway. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:37, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
"develop" in not in the source.S711 (talk) 18:09, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Done. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:18, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, I've added two more citations supporting use of the word pioneer. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:26, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Crane shots or tracking shots as such are not called visionary or groundbreaking in the citations. The authors are writing about the way these techniques are used. An important difference.S711 (talk) 09:32, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Is English your native language? Gwen Gale (talk) 13:53, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Yessum. And what might yours be? You're changing the sources you use. The techniques were not new (let alone groundbreaking or visionary) as such. Slow motion was widely used in sports documentaries in the twenties and thirties, rhymtic editing can be seen in Eisenstein's Potemkin, tracking shots had been there for more than 30 years when Riefenstahl used them. Riefenstahl borrowed heavily from Fritz Lang and other directors of the Weimar Expressionist era German Film 1919-1954, Did experimental ideas and techniques pioneered by Weimar German expressionist filmmakers survive in the Nazi period? With special reference to the work of Leni Riefenstahl, article by Greg Tinker. It was the special use she made of these techniques that was appreciated by the historians you cite, not that she invented them. So please be precise.S711 (talk) 08:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The article doesn't say she invented these techniques (we've been through these dicdefs already).

The article follows the cited sources, WP:V. Perhaps an RfC is the only way to get through this though. Gwen Gale (talk) 08:22, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

The source: "Her Nazi documentaries were hailed as groundbreaking film-making, pioneering techniques etc."

Your text: Riefenstahl is widely noted for pioneering new techniques in film, which have been characterized as visionary and groundbreaking. The difference: the source says the documentaries were hailed as ground-breaking, your text says the techniques were groundbreaking etc. My edit corrects this difference.S711 (talk) 09:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

There are 6 sources. Gwen Gale (talk) 14:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Some years ago I attended a local film series in the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto one of which was about Canadian film makers who used camera verite techniques in the fifties. One of the venerable film makers spoke in praise of Riefenstahl's influence on his technique but said absolutely nothing about her jaded past as HItler's propagandist wunderkindt. When this was brought to his attention, he stammered with embarrassment that this was not his business. Hardly a moral position. The point is, of course, that artists always must be responsible for the impact of their work. Riefenstahl could not somehow make a clean break with her past. This article does cover her history very well.63.250.127.245 (talk) 02:04, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

How can an artist be held responsible for the impact of her work when she doesn’t know what that impact is or will be? Also, Riefenstahl was hardly Hitler’s “propagandist Wunderkind”. Prior to Triumph in 1934, she had produced and directed only The Blue Light (i.e., a feature film, not a documentary) and made a botched attempt at producing Victory of Faith in 1933 (see David B. Hinton's "The Films of Leni Riefenstahl", June, 2000). Even if one also counts both the short film about the Wehrmacht (1935) and Olympia as “propaganda”, that makes a grand total of four "propaganda films", produced between 1933 and 1936 by a person with absolutely no prior experience in documentary/propaganda film making. Riefenstahl could not make a clean break with her past because she refused to appologize for making films under the NSDAP (see R. Mueller's "The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl", 1993 and J. Trimborn's "Leni Riefenstahl: A Life, January, 2008). She was never forgiven for having made these films, despite the fact that she made no further films for the Nazis after the Olympia films of 1936 and despite the fact that no German court found her guilty of any crime punishable by a prison sentence.Montydad (talk) 18:50, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Please cite sources. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:59, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Riefenstahl's pioneering influence in film[edit]

Wholly apart from the repulsive content of documentaries like Triumph of the Will, many sources credit LR's techniques as pioneering and widely influential. There is a low-level but persistent dispute between two editors over how the sources might be dealt with. The statement...

Riefenstahl is noted in many film histories for pioneering new techniques in film, which have been characterized as visionary and groundbreaking.

...has been repeatedly changed to...

Riefenstahl is noted in many film histories for pioneering new techniques in her films, which have been characterized as visionary and groundbreaking. by the other editor.

Since I have characterized this change as disruption (of the "PoV warring in good faith kind"), I'll now step back from this in the hope other editors will comment and collaorate on building a consensus for the article header based on WP:V. Cheers to all. Gwen Gale (talk) 08:42, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Technically, there is a tiny semantic difference between the two versions. Not really enough to argue about. I don't really see what the big deal is here. Dlabtot (talk) 02:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Which is why I've taken the insistence of that editor on inserting her into the text as mild disruption/PoV warring: However, it does imply the innovation was relative only to her films, which is not what the 6 cited sources say. Gwen Gale (talk) 02:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps the best compromise would simply be to briefly quote one of the sources, thus rendering the specific semantical argument moot? Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 23:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Done. Thanks. Gwen Gale (talk) 09:12, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Does not make one whit of difference - It is 100% absolutely inconsequential which version is used. Both sides should find something more important to worry about. MilesAgain (talk) 01:12, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I know it seems utterly trivial. Happily, by using direct quotes now, perhaps the lead narrative can avoid any editorial iterpretation of the sources regarding this very controversial film director. Gwen Gale (talk) 22:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The difference is slight.--Esprit15d • talkcontribs 19:45, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Slight, but "pioneering in film" is both more accurate and better prose. Regardless, it looks like the new material takes care of it. --Lquilter (talk) 23:44, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

jagger quote[edit]

The current text is a bit vague; it reads:

Pictures taken at a 1971 social event showing a camera-wielding Riefenstahl with rock star Mick Jagger (including one of her snapping a photo of him and his wife Bianca) remain somewhat controversial.

Can we spell out the controversy, or rewrite for clarity? I can imagine that it would cause a controversy for Mick & Bianca to associate with Riefenstahl, but this says the the photos themselves are controversial. Help? --Lquilter (talk) 23:52, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

There's a lack of sources. It's clearly a social event, some editors have mistakenly interpreted this as a formal, paid sitting commissioned by Jagger. The current wording as been rather much a compromise, hoping more sources show up. Gwen Gale (talk) 00:22, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay, but it's unclear just what, precisely, is controversial. If you can confirm that the controversy was really with the Jaggers' association with LR, or explain what it is, then I'll try to do a rewrite that maintains the flavor of the compromise but is clearer. --Lquilter (talk) 00:31, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Come to think of it, the only controversy I know of has been among editors here so the word "controversy" may not even be supported. Gwen Gale (talk) 00:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

(undent): Okay, well then, how about we do a minor rewrite to that paragraph to strike the "controversy" bit, which appears to be unsourced, and to give some context. It currently reads:

Riefenstahl became a photographer and developed an interest in the Nuba tribe in Sudan where she sporadically lived among them. Her books with photographs of the tribe were published in 1974 and 1976. Pictures taken at a 1971 social event showing a camera-wielding Riefenstahl with rock star Mick Jagger (including one of her snapping a photo of him and his wife Bianca) remain somewhat controversial. Years later she was similarly photographed with Las Vegas entertainers Siegfried and Roy. At age 72 Riefenstahl lied about her age (saying she was 52) to get certified for scuba diving and pursue underwater photography. She survived a helicopter crash in the Sudan in 2000. On August 22, 2002 (her 100th birthday) Riefenstahl released a film called Impressionen unter Wasser (Underwater Impressions), an idealized documentary of life in the oceans.

and we could rewrite to:

In her later years, Riefenstahl took up photography, documenting a diverse array of subjects. She developed an interest in the Nuba tribe in Sudan where she sporadically lived among them. Her books with photographs of the tribe were published in 1974 and 1976. Pictures taken at a 1971 social event show a camera-wielding Riefenstahl snapping photos of rock star Mick Jagger and his wife Bianca. Years later she was similarly photographed with Las Vegas entertainers Siegfried and Roy. At age 72, Riefenstahl began pursuing underwater photography, after lying about her age to gain certification for scuba diving (she claimed she was 52). On August 22, 2002 (her 100th birthday) Riefenstahl released a film called Impressionen unter Wasser (Underwater Impressions), an idealized documentary of life in the oceans.
She survived a helicopter crash in the Sudan in 2000.

Thoughts? --Lquilter (talk) 23:58, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I conjugated a verb (showing>show) above but it looks ok to me. Gwen Gale (talk) 00:01, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Cool, I'll put this version in, then. --Lquilter (talk) 00:11, 31 January 2008 (UTC)


Der Sieg des Glaubens[edit]

So Der Sieg des Glaubens was withdrawn from theatres in May 1933 - about four months before it was even filmed??? Please try to get the dates right in these articles, it is infuriating for those of us who use them for research! Gadsby West (talk) 00:41, 23 March 2008 (UTC) Steven Bach's recent book elaborates on the release, and withdrawal, of this film. He indicates that the film was withdrawn from cinemas after Hitler had Ernst Roehm executed in the so-called "Night of Long Knives", July 2, 1934. The film, apparently, portrayed Roehm and the SA as possessing too much power. Montydad (talk) 19:11, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Olympia deserves mention in the introductory comment[edit]

While I am amazed that this page rates a B-class rating, I would question the NPOV of this article. I do agree that the term propaganda film is correct terminology for Triumpth, but I would take issue with citing it has her most famous film. It is certainly influential but I think that Olympia deserves mention and striking "most." I have read Wonderful, Horrible Life, and I've also examined the German language wikipedia page for LR which does mention Olympia in the introductory section, and I can only conclude that the English language version lacks NPOV. 143.232.210.46 (talk) 18:05, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Final (NPOV?) comment from a film historian[edit]

I was reading this article for the first time tonight, as well as much of the conversation here, and I'm troubled by a quote from a film historian that's used to close the article:

In his book The Story of Film film scholar Mark Cousins claims, "Next to Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock, Leni Riefenstahl was the most technically talented Western film maker of her era."

I take no issue with the quote per se appearing with the others at the top, but coming as it does immediately after the details of Riefenstahl's death, it smacks of a nasty sort of POV that's popped up in a lot of documentaries of late: the single, defining statement from a historian that puts the subject's legacy in some sort of poignant context. Please understand: It's not the statement but the placement of it with which I take issue.

I'd like to either move the quote so that it appears with the others, or eliminate it altogether. Thoughts? PacificBoy 02:35, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

I think its being there is a relic of older discussions and questions about how to source and build the article. I'm ok with the quote being either there or elsewhere in the text. Gwen Gale (talk) 09:28, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Detention and Trials[edit]

In the article it is stated "Riefenstahl was tried twice by postwar authorities, she was never convicted in a denazification trial either for her alleged role as a propagandist or for the use of concentration camp inmates in her films."

I think this needs to be clarified, in terms of exactly what "convicted" means. Also, according to all of Rother, Salkfeld, Bach and Trimborn, Riefenstahl went through four individual denazification tribunals, not just two. The first tribunal was in Villingen. The second and third were in Frieburg. The fourth was in Berlin. We should clarify that the finding was "nicht betroffen" (not guilty of any punishable offence) in the first, second and fourth tribunals. In the third, under heavy pressure from the French military government along with increased attacks from the German press (in particular the "Revue" magazine), the tribunal found Riefenstahl to be a "Mitlaufer" - so-called "fellow traveller" (i.e., one who "went along" with the regime). 70.53.131.235 (talk) 19:23, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Just wondering about few things[edit]

I thought the article must be a GA article per the volume and contents, but well, I am wrong. It seems nobody ever has tried to obtain GA for the article or request Peer review. I think it has a potential to be the one.

She lived long, so I don't think most of her films are in PD. However, I saw a whole movie clip on YouTube[8], so I wonder the movie is in pd or not. For the content sake, can we upload a short clip among her representative fimls to show her world of art as a fair use "image"? She was a great artist, and her cooperation with Nazi make many people curious about her work. Any thought?--Caspian blue 02:36, 22 March 2009 (UTC)


Inglourious Bastards references[edit]

I wasn't sure if this should be incorporated somewhere? There are several references made to Leni Riefenstahl in this Tarantino film. She is mentioned in conversation and her name is visually displayed next to the cinema billboard for 'The White Hell of Pitz Palu'. She is also mentioned again in the basement bar in comparison with other actresses such as Marlene Deitrich. Teatreez (talk) 16:27, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

IG is utter fiction, although carefully drawn from historical roots. However, since both QT and the film are quite notable, a note about the cultural reference, sourced sternly to independent sources without a lick of original research, would be helpful to readers. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:57, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Relationship with Joseph Goebbels[edit]

I removed language in the opening paragraph stating that Riefenstahl was friends with Joseph Goebbels. In Erik Barnouw's book, "Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film," there is an extensive section on Riefenstahl. Her relationship with Goebbels is desribed as one of "mutual resentment" and is later called a "waspish feud." Barnouw cites material from the Spring 1973 issue of "Film Culture" by Gordon Hitchens as the source of much of his information on Riefenstahl. Before restoring language calling Riefenstahl and Goebbels "friends," please cite a source.Andrew Koontz (talk) 13:41, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Removal of Jewish names from Blau Licht's film credits with 1938 re-release[edit]

As currently written, this implies that this act on Riefenstahl's part was completely voluntary; this is inaccurate. After Goebbels created the Reichskulturkammer in September, 1933, all so-called 'non-Aryan' artists were banned from the realms of music, film, literature, architecture and the visual arts. Regardless of her personal feelings on the matter, had Reifenstahl not removed the Jewish names of the contributors to her film(s), they could not have been shown in public. The same retrictions were imposed on orchestral conductors; compositions by Jews were, by law, banned from public performance. For further details, see Richard Evan's "The Third Reich in Power" and Saul Friedlander's "Nazi Germany and the Jews". Montydad (talk) 19:43, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Anagram[edit]

LENI RIEFENSTAHL is an anagram of 'SENILE HITLER FAN' SmokeyTheCat 06:25, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Detention trials - article improvement[edit]

The section 'Detention trials' has zero citations or references. Because of the specifics, I doubt it is simply made up, but it could use some citations. 24.17.209.236 (talk) 04:53, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Nuba tribes[edit]

What is "They readily accepted her since they knew nothing of her past" supposed to mean? The Nuba would not have cared who Leni was. They would not be obssessed with Nazis!203.184.41.226 (talk) 06:33, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Der Sieg des Glaubens[edit]

I have restored the poster for this propaganda image after it was removed illicitly, and for no obvious and sensible reason. The film is of historic importance since it was Riefenstahl's first work for the nazis, but was then removed by Hitler after the Night of the Long Knives. 31.50.75.173 (talk) 06:55, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Der Sieg des Glaubens[edit]

I have restored the poster for this propaganda image after it was removed illicitly, and for no obvious and sensible reason. The film is of historic importance since it was Riefenstahl's first work for the nazis, but was then removed by Hitler after the Night of the Long Knives. 31.50.75.173 (talk) 06:54, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

I removed the poster both times per the consensus of the discussion Wikipedia:Non-free content review/Archive 33#File:DerSiegdesGlaubens.jpg. The consensus was that the image failed WP:NFC#UUI §6 on all articles except Der Sieg des Glaubens. Therefore I removed it per discussion. If you do not agree with the discussion or the consensus, you can start a new one, but adding the image back into the article is not the appropriate way of handling this. -- ТимофейЛееСуда. 15:15, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
This clearly a perverse decision, especially of a nazi item well out of copyright anywhere in the world. I have reversed the act of vandalism. 31.50.75.173 (talk) 15:50, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
Disagreeing with a consensus discussion is against policy. Calling my removal of content per a consensus discussion vandalism is also against policy. You are also one revert away from violating WP:3rr. I personally do not care if it is included, but consensus is how decisions are made on Wikipedia. Please use an appropriate channel to discuss your point of view. -- ТимофейЛееСуда. 16:30, 20 October 2013 (UTC)


poor English[edit]

There are some articles where it becomes particularly obvious that they where written by Germans.... this is one of them. For example: "...who was 40 years her junior and assisted her with the photographs; they were together from the time she was 60 and he was 20."

Somehow the wording just sounds weird and it is obvious that such sentences where translated directly from German without really adjusting the pattern of the sentence.

Or a bit later: "below-water photographs"

It's not like it is wrong... but wouldn't "underwater" sound better?

I am not really suited for correcting anything either, cause English is my second language as well... Anyway, where are the Grammar Nazis when you need them?

--Hoerth (talk) 10:15, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Reversion of images[edit]

I have reverted a previous contribution which removed posters of Reiefenstahl's early films, especially Triumph of the Will, which brought her some infamy. 86.133.37.255 (talk) 21:17, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

I've re-reverted your revert because it was determined that the posters fail WP:NFCC on this article. The discussion was: Wikipedia:Non-free_content_review/Archive_53#Leni_Riefenstahl and I removed the images based on the consensus. If you want to re-add the image(s) you need to open a new discussion at WP:NFCR before reinstating them. Cheers, TLSuda (talk) 23:41, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
The discussion was clearly biased and minimal. I have been editing this article for some time and shocked by the casual vandalism to which it is subjected. The posters add info for readers. 86.133.37.255 (talk) 07:17, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
The discussion is purely about copyright, something that the editors at WP:NFCR are highly versed in. This is not vandalism, but your constant re-addition against consensus is disruptive editing and grounds for blocking. You've been given the process on how to change this, and yet you refuse to go through the correct channels. TLSuda (talk) 13:39, 14 July 2014 (UTC)