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Der Sieg des Glaubens

1934 German theatrical poster
Directed by Leni Riefenstahl
Produced by Leni Riefenstahl
Written by Leni Riefenstahl
Starring Adolf Hitler
Rudolf Hess
Hermann Göring
Julius Streicher
Joseph Goebbels
Ernst Röhm
Music by Herbert Windt
Cinematography Sepp Allgeier
Franz Weihmayr
Walter Frentz
Richard Quaas
Paul Tesch
Editing by Leni Riefenstahl
Waldemar Gaede
Studio Propagandaministerium
Hauptabteilung Film
Distributed by Universum Film AG
Release date(s) December 1, 1933
(Berlin, Germany)
Running time 64 minutes
Country Germany
Language German
Preceded by Der Nürnberger Parteitag der NSDAP
Followed by Triumph of the Will

Der Sieg des Glaubens (English: Victory of Faith) (1933) is the first documentary film directed by Leni Riefenstahl, who was hired despite opposition from Nazi officials that resented employing a woman — and a non-Party member too. Her film recounts the Fifth Party Rally of the Nazi Party, which occurred in Nuremberg from August 30 to September 3 in 1933.[1]

Contents

Synopsis

Like her Nazi documentaries of 1935, the short Tag der Freiheit: Unsere Wehrmacht (Day of Freedom: Our Armed Forces) and the classic propaganda feature Triumph of the Will, Der Sieg des Glaubens documents the Fifth NSDAP Congress in a straight chronological format. It has no voiceover commentary and few explanatory titles. The activities captured by Riefenstahl's cameras include the welcoming of foreign diplomats and other party members and politicians at the Nuremberg train station; Adolf Hitler's arrival at the airport and his meeting with important party members; massive SA parades; and Hitler's speech on the tenth anniversary of the German National Socialist movement.[1]

Circumstances

The film includes Ernst Röhm, head of the Sturmabteilung and, at the time, the second most powerful man within the Nazi Party. In less than a year, in June 1934 during the Night of the Long Knives, Röhm and several of his lieutenants were executed under Hitler's orders. All references to Röhm were ordered to be erased from German history, which included the destruction of all known copies of this film. The film Triumph des Willens was produced to replace it and follows a similar script which is evident when one sees both films side by side, for example, the city of Nuremberg scenes—down to the shot of a cat that is included in the city driving sequence in both films. The innovative camera angles and editing that made Riefenstahl's Triumph des Willens such a ground-breaking film are already demonstrated in Der Sieg des Glaubens. Furthermore, Herbert Windt reused much of the musical score for this film in "Triumph des Willens" which he also scored.

In April 1934, Riefenstahl was visiting Great Britain to speak at major universities to discuss her documentary film techniques. It is during this visit that at least one copy of this film is known to have been duplicated. It was found after being in storage for over 60 years, and is the only known surviving print. The opening credits appear to have been shot off of a screen projection, but the remainder of the footage appears to be a direct copy of a print. This copy is, allegedly, heavily protected by the German Federal Archives with rights administered through Transit Film Munich.

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