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Herzog / Kinski Box Set [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Klaus Kinski
  • Directors: Herzog Kinski
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Mar. 2004
  • Run Time: 627 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00018HU68
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,671 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A collection of six films produced by the notorious partnership of German New Wave filmmaker Werner Herzog and his favourite leading man, Klaus Kinski. 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God' (1973) is a study of megalomania set in 16th Century Peru. In the year 1560, a Spanish expedition crosses the Peruvian Sierras in search of the legendary Inca city of El Dorado. A power struggle within the group leads to its deputy (Kinski) seizing control in bloody fashion, his desire to set up his own kingdom threatening to destroy them all. Cast and crew apparently endured hardships comparable to those suffered by the screen explorers. 'Nosferatu, Phantom der Nacht' (1979) is Herzog's remake of the classic 1921 'Nosferatu' directed by FW Murnau. The visually repellent vampire Nosferatu (Kinski) must feed on the blood of humans, and can only come out at night as to him sunlight is fatal. However, he longs for acceptance by the people he terrorizes. In 'Woyzeck' (1979), a poor army private (Kinski), haunted by nightmares of impending destruction, is forced to take part in a scientist's food deprivation experiments in order to support his wife (Eva Mattes) and child. However, he becomes convinced that she is having an affair with a drum major and stabs her to death. The film covers familiar Herzog territory, examining man's struggle with the world around him, as viewed through the eyes of an outsider figure abused by society and persecuted by nature. In 'Fitzcarraldo' (1982), Kinski plays Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an opera-loving entrepreneur who dreams of building an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian jungle. To finance his project he attempts to persuade the rubber business to extend into the jungle, and concocts a plan which involves moving his steamship over a mountain to a parallel waterway. In making his film of the visionary's adventures, Herzog famously refused to use special effects and insisted instead on actually transporting a steamship over the mountains. In 'Cobra Verde' (1987), Kinski plays Francisco Manoel da Silva, an enterprising young Brazilian bandit known as 'Cobra Verde' who, having impregnated all three daughters of his plantation-owning employer, is sent to the West African coast to drum up some business in the slave trade. In Africa, under the combined pressures of culture shock and extreme emotional isolation, he constructs an elaborate scheme to establish his own slave-trading monopoly. But the civil wars waged by the insane Leopard King come crashing down on Cobra Verde and his plans, and the film follows his tragic descent into madness and self-destruction. 'My Best Fiend' (2000) is an autobiographical documentary in which Herzog reflects on his long-standing and extremely volatile relationship with Kinski. The two men, who met in the 1950s while still in their teens, had a wildly creative working relationship - but came to physical and verbal blows with alarming frequency. Herzog claims to this day that Kinski (who died in 1991) was a madman, who went through a phase of believing he was a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and once seriously injured a fellow actor by smashing him over the head with a sword. But he was also an intellectual and sensitive man, and the ambivalence that permeated Herzog and Kinski's friendship produced a string of highly original films. Using archive footage, interviews and personal accounts, this film portrays a fascinating - if a little unhinged - partnership between two creative geniuses.


A boxset containing all the collaborations between Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski.

Aguirre, The Wrath of God: Widely considered to be Herzog's finest film, Aguirre is the tale of Spanish colonialists searching for El Dorado, the legendary city of gold, in 16th-century Peru.

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht: Stark, symbolic cinematography and intensely stylised performances relating the age-old tale of Count Dracula. Klaus Kinski portrays the Dracula character with a silent intensity, tingeing the vampire's inhuman monstrosity with a deep sense of pathos and longing.

Woyzeck: Based on Georg Buchner's unfinished play, the film is a dark study of a lowly German flunky (Klaus Kinski) who, to earn much-needed extra money, volunteers for a local doctor's strange experiments, which push him to murderous insanity.

Fitzcarraldo: Klaus Kinski gives a terrifying and determined portrayal of mad genius Fitzcarraldo, whose twin goals of making a fortune from the Amazon rubber trade and bringing an opera house to the jungle are a metaphor for the impact of civilization on the natural world.

Cobra Verde: Filmed in Ghana, Brazil, and Colombia, Cobra Verde is a visually astonishing true-life tale about a Brazilian bandit known as Cobra Verde who is exiled to West Africa to rejuvenate the slave trade.

Also includes My Best Friend, a documentary film exploring the relationship between Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 April 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I came to this set under false circumstances. I was after a copy of the `Kaspar Hauser' film and saw that it was included in a Herzog set (review pending at the time of writing). I also noticed that a set of Herzog/Kinski movies was also available at a very reasonable price and bought this latter set on a whim. I am so glad I did. Apart from `Fitzcarraldo', I had not seen any of these films before, but now I see why they often appear in so many lists of top films.

All (apart from `Woyzeck' and the documentary) come with a helpful director's commentary, but one must also be on one's guard against falsehoods, exaggerations, and poor memory. For example, Herzog says `Aguirre' was filmed using one stolen camera, yet a second camera is credited. There also seems to be some confusion as to whether Kinski or Herzog himself wanted the former to do both `Nosferatu' and `Woyzeck'. And the final scene of `My Best Fiend' sees Kinski enjoying a butterfly, which seems to contradict what we are told about the actor's supposed aversion to the animal world.

For each film, there is always some shot that remains vividly in the memory, whether it is the opening descent of the mist-enshrouded mountain of `Aguirre'; the silent plague-ridden ship entering the harbour in `Nosferatu'; the conveyance of the steamship over the hill in `Fitzcarraldo'; or the polio victim on the beach at the end of `Cobra Verde'. Whilst I praise these movies on a number of heads, there is also nevertheless an unfortunate testimony to the poor treatment of some of the animals used in the films, such as the horse in `Aguirre', and the monkey and cat in `Woyzeck'.

AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD (1972) is the first and earliest of this bunch.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By mxd10 on 19 Dec. 2006
Format: DVD
Kinski is probably my favourite actor of all time, and Herzog is easily one of my favourite directors. Naturally, I find their five collaborations to be nothing short of genius. Here we have a selection of brilliant, varied films, from the claustrophobic intensity of Aguirre, the brooding horror of Nosferatu, the tortured insanity of Woyzeck, the powerful obsession of Fitzcarraldo and the brutally poignant Cobra Verde, my only regret is that they didn't make more films together. My Best Fiend tops it off, a fascinating and insightful documentary into this incredible partnership.

The picture and sound are good, most films offering the choice between original German with English subtitles and English dubbing, but the former is always the best choice. One reviewer complained that Fitzcarraldo suffered from poor subtitling - but why watch it with German dubbing when the movie was originally filmed in English?

The films come nicely packaged in six thin DVD cases, each one colour-coded and revealing a picture of the movie's poster. These all slot comfortably into a stylish two-piece cardboard box. There's a booklet with production notes on each film as well, and most of the films have on-disc biographies and commentaries.

Absolutely essential.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By tonto on 29 Jan. 2006
Format: DVD
I think that he is, his on screen presence is as powerful as any actor I have ever seen. From the dark ferocity, burning evil of Kinskis portrayal of 'Nosferatu'; without question he is the greatest 'vampire' to have ever graced cinema. To the manic depressive/shockingly haunting eyes of his portrayal of 'Woyzeck' his character in the films name-sake; indeed one of the most troubled yet somehow believeable characters seen on film.
Woyzeck versus Travis Bickle?....that would be an interesting answer.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 29 Feb. 2004
Format: DVD
Werner Herzog's association with Klaus Kinski is surely one of the most famous unions in cinematic history, the two collaborating over several films and causing much amusingly deranged gossip- much of which is found in the brilliant documentary My Best Fiend (1999)That Herzog/Kinski had a love-hate relationship is a bit of an understatement- the two both revealing plans to murder the other during and after making the films included in this brilliant box-set.
To be fair, Herzog made plenty of brilliant films without Kinski- notably The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser & especially Stroszek (both made with Bruno S.).& there are many other Herzog films worth watching- Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Even Dwarves Started Small, Heart of Glass, Wings of Hope etc. But this box-set has the key works- & the odd folly.
Aguire, Wrath of God (1972) remains the definitive Herzog/Kinski film- the tale of conquistadors searching for Eldorado & instead finding destruction & madness is mindblowing. Many of the tales of its production are found in My Best Fiend- making it Apocalypse Now before Apocalypse Now. There are many wonderful scenes in this- the opening Peruvian mountain shot, the absence of the modern world, the head-chopping scene that counts to ten, the boat in a tree hallucination & especially the final shot of an insane Kinski surveying his empty kingdom of monkeys. *****
1979 saw Kinski again work with Herzog after the two fell out- reasons for which might be found in Kinski's suitably deranged memoir & My Best Fiend.
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