FIFA Explains the Forgotten Film of the 1938 World Cup

A couple of days ago, we discussed a rare narrated film of the 1938 World Cup in France that we had found (click that link to view it), and to which we could find no reference to at FIFA’s films website (or much reference to at all online). We speculated why this might be — the French narration? The uncomfortable scenes of Hitler salutes peppering the 30 minute film? The simple possibility it had been forgotten?

We contacted FIFA’s Films department to try and find out why it was not part of their archive. Today they responded, via the distribution company Infront Sports & Media who produce their DVD archive, and they were kind enough to provide something of an explanation. They said that they had only recently acquired a copy of the film, and that the version they had was mute. They also said they assumed FIFA’s legal team was looking into whether FIFA owned the rights or not — I believe (though stand to be corrected) that in France, copyright in film extends to 70 years after the death of the director, in this case René Lucot, who died only in 2003.

However, as we noted, the credits to the film, and indeed its mere existence at all, strongly suggests it was a work commissioned by at the least, the French Football Federation, with FIFA’s support. It will be interesting to see if the film does in time become part of FIFA’s World Cup films archive, and if so, whether the version they release goes out unedited from Lucot’s original.

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