wed 12/08/2020

London 2012

theartsdesk Olympics: Walk, Don't Run

Though this 1966 comedy was a light and fluffy thing, it was gazed upon benignly by the critics, mostly because it was a late vehicle for the well-oiled Cary Grant charm machine. It proved to be his last film, in fact. Others viewed it equally...

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theartsdesk Olympics: Going back to Spielberg's Munich

When we think of the 1972 Olympics in Munich, we do not think of US swimmer Mark Spitz’s record-breaking seven gold medals, or Finland’s Lasse Virén making his extraordinary comeback from a fall in the 10,000 metres to a record-breaking win. No, the...

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theartsdesk Olympics: Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia!

It was Lenin who realised early in the Russian Revolution that “of all the arts, film is for us the most important” and Hitler and Goebbels perceived the immense propaganda potential of the Olympics through the medium of film. The 1936 Olympic Games...

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theartsdesk Olympics: Love all tennis movies?

Making fictional movies about sport is the devil's own job. They generally don't appeal to non fans while those who follow the game in question spend their time mocking the action scenes as actors pretending to be sportsmen and women usually fail to...

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theartsdesk Olympics: The Golden Age

Rio Ferdinand did four years' ballet training as a child, England manager Graham Taylor sent the national squad to dance classes, while the Royal Ballet once ran an active football team. Ballet and football have long been secret lovers backstage....

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theartsdesk Olympics: Graeco-Roman-Thespian wrestling

In the original Games featuring Athenians and Spartans and the like, they would of course have done it all in the buff. The sporting costume – the thin end of the wedge that is the singlet - was a tawdry Olympic neologism foisted on the pure ideals...

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Swandown

It all starts so promisingly; film-maker Andrew Kötting and writer Ian Sinclair “liberate” a swan pedallo from its moorings in Hastings to launch it into the sea. Naming the absurd craft “Edith” after King Harold’s mistress Edith Swan-neck, they...

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Usain Bolt: The Fastest Man Alive, BBC One

"What caused him to be so fast? Is he here for a purpose?" wondered Usain Bolt's father, Wellesley, in a mystical tone. Usain's mother, Jennifer, also seems to detect the workings of a higher power in her son's blindingly rapid progress around the...

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theartsdesk Olympics: Marathon Man

Rather unjustly, this underrated 1976 thriller is best remembered for the dental torture scenes in which Laurence Olivier’s shiny-headed, shiny-spectacled Nazi, Dr Christian Szell, repeatedly asks Dustin Hoffman’s petrified and pain-crazed Levy if...

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theartsdesk Olympics: Robin Hood aims true

Reason dictates that Britain should win the four archery competitions at the Olympics, although we have accrued only two gold medals (both in 1908), two silvers, and five bronzes in the 14 Olympiads in which the sport has hitherto been included. So...

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theartsdesk Olympics: Let The Games Begin

Even in this year of years, it has to be accepted that not everyone has a soft spot for sport. Anyone answering to that description may well attempt to sprint, jump or pedal away from the coming onslaught, but if you are anywhere near a television,...

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The Gods of Grace: When Sport is Beautiful

Faster, higher, stronger - and more graceful. There is a handful of top athletes and sportspeople who are the beautiful people, who have some divine extra dimension to their movement that makes you smile to see them. They're winners, but they're...

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