Austin, Jacqueline. "A Battle of Wills: How Leni Riefenstahl and Frank Capra Fought a War

 

Austin, Jacqueline. "A Battle of Wills: How Leni Riefenstahl and Frank Capra Fought a War
with Film and Remade History," in Artistic Strategy and the Rhetoric of Power, David Castriota,
editor. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986, pp. 157-170.

"What did (Riefenstahl and Capra) ...have in common? They shared profound lip service to, and
profound disregard for, the facts of history." (p. 158) "They were ardent nonintellectuals who,
while appearing to make factual arguments used the excitement of montage editing to override
unpleasant facts." (p. 158) That's a nice way of calling these two effective film producers liars.
Yet, to see them as liars and cheats is to miss the tremendous use to which their films were put:
the films have, quite literally, become the most important ones of their day. They were used by
government to promote images of themselves. They worked! That their makers were also liars is
irrelevant. What matters is success, and both were successes. Is art any different than science?