More than a biography of one of the legendary film-makers of the twentieth century - now in her nineties - this book brilliantly analyses Riefenstahl's motives as a pioneer in silent movies, as a protege of Hitler's Nazi propoganda campaign in the 1930s, and her plunge into new realms of dangerous adventure sports in her old age.
Leni Riefenstahl will always be remembered for her brilliant film of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin - still rated as one of the best documentaries ever made. Before that she was acclaimed for her roles in silent feature films, when German cinema was in its artistic heyday in the 1920s. She pioneered the box office success of such classic mountaineering dramas as The White Hell of Piz Palu and then began to direct her own films. The Blue Light was admired by Hitler and led to her filming the Wagnerian Nuremberg Rally of 1934. After the war she was shunned by the film industry, despite a court in 1952 proclaiming her not guilty of supporting the Nazis in a punishable way. Her undoubted charisma led to many affairs and grandiose schemes - deep sea diving in her seventies and still filming wildlife in her nineties. Audrey Salkeld has sifted the fact from the legend and gives us a moving portrait of the great movie `star' who suffered more in the `wilderness' than her enduring fame suggests.
“She expertly marshals every source, from the journals of the famous (Goebbels, Speer) to the letters, diaries and affidavits of Riefenstahl's one-time friends and film colleagues”
Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
“Where Salkeld excels is in the gradual, painstaking construction of a cumulative portrait...Indeed, by the end of the book, I confess I felt something I had never dreamt I could feel. I felt sympathy for Leni Riefenstahl”
Gilbert Adair, Independent
“A wonderful book...Salkeld succeeds, in this not only sensitive but highly intelligent biography, in viewing Riefenstahl, and the psychological conflicts created by the politics and the personalities of the time, with admirable detachment - in moral multicolour, one might say, while describing a life in black and white”
Gitta Sereny, Observer
“A fascinating and scholarly study of one of the most influential film-makers of this century”