The official film of the 1936 Winter Games, Youth of the World, is about 35 minutes long. After some obligatory scenes of winter beauty, we jump right into the Opening Ceremony, held in a snowstorm, with the athletes already having marched in. The proceedings are watched over by Adolf Hitler, who, in smiling profile, looks uncomfortably like Tom Hanks. The first event shown is a demonstration sport, military ski patrol, the precursor to biathlon. There is something ominous about the immediate emphasis on shooting, even when it turns out that the targets are balloons.
This is an “art” film. Although we see many sports, not one athlete is identified by name. And unless you are familiar with national flags, you won’t know who won the various events. Ice hockey play is already quite violent. Several bobsledders are shown crashing, as are Alpine skiers, this being first time the sport was included in the Olympics, and one ski jumper appears to be badly injured.
Nazi propaganda is slipped in, and there appear to be an unusually large number of shots of Japanese, whom Hitler was starting to cultivate as possible allies. Shots of ski jumpers flying through the air on the last day of the Games are interspersed with those of eagles, which happened to be part of the emblem of the Nazi government.