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Brilliant box-set of Herzog/Kinski collaborations...,
This review is from: Herzog / Kinski Box Set [DVD] (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. Nosferatu, a remake of Murnau's classic of German expressionism, is very enjoyable & predicts masterpiece remakes like Gus Van Sant's Psycho **** While Woyzeck is a fairly satisfying adaptation of Buchner's unfinished 19th Century play- which Tom Waits recent album Blood Money is also based on. Kinski is brilliantly cast & the opening speeded-up shots feel very edgy & pose a notion that both Herzog and Kinski were very punk rock ****
Fitzcarraldo (1982) surprisingly came #44 in Channel 4's Top 100 Films of all time- which filled me with hope (well, until we got to #1 Star Wars...). It's very much a companion to Aguire, & has more madness set on a South American river. My Best Fiend has an earlier version of it with Mick Jagger & Jason Robards in!- anyway, ***** Finally there is Cobra Verde- very well summed up by its scenes in My Best Fiend (Kinksi rolling round in the sea, seemingly lost forever...)- another great looking historical epic adapted from Bruce Chatwin's The Viceroy of Ouidah. It has its moments- think of it as a bonus that is worth a look, ***
This Herzog-boxset is a brilliant DVD-set, an absolute must for anyone remotely interested in cinema & great value when you consider that several of these films were reissued on DVD a few years ago at a cost each of about half the price of this set. I'd buy it for Aguire... & My Best Fiend alone- can we have a Herzog-documentaries set and maybe a smaller Bruno S- set now, pretty please?