Herzog / Kinski Box Set [DVD]
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
As Kinski explains in the documentary "My Best Fiend", included as a 6th DVD which vainly attempts to explain their relationship,all of Herzog's films emminate from pain so don't expect an easy ride with any of them!
"Aguirre: The Wrath of God" is a haunting slow burner in which the determined Kinski attempts to find the mythical Elderado. The stunning cinematograhy shows the Peruvian rainforest to be a foe as malevolent to the Spanish Conquistadors as the Indians were.
"Nosferatu" - perhaps the most accessible of the 5 films - is a mysterious vampire film without horror in that Kinski's Dracula is more lonely and pitiful rather than the scary villain as so often portrayed.
"Woyzeck" - shows Kinski at his most inspired in the central role of a private who is treated terribly by all around him and living on the edge of his wits. He is ultimately unable to contain his true emotions when his wife - whom he loves deeply -has a fling with a handsome bandmaster.
"Fitzcarraldo" is a film rather limited in scope plotwise in that it is about a crazed lover of opera who succeeds in transporting a ship across a mountain (yes honest). I found this film a little too long and ultimately rather pointless although the Kinski (who played Fitzcarraldo)struggle with nature was still mesmerising.
"Cobra Verde" marks the point at which the relationship between Kinski and Herzog turned sour - in Herzog's words "I couldn't control him anymore" - with Kinski,once again playing the titular character,as a South American bandit who ultimately becomes stranded in Africa trying to gain slaves for a landowner.Read more ›
Woyzeck versus Travis Bickle?....that would be an interesting answer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This Boxset is an must have for every Kinski Fans!
All this movies wrote Cinema History.
Aguirre,the Wrath of God,Woyzeck,Nosferatu,the Vampyre,Fitzcarraldo and last... Read more
Definative box set that every serious film collector should have in their collection.Simply brilliantPublished 3 months ago by chris lovette
I'd been eyeing up this boxset for a while. To say I was satisfied upon viewing would be near to understatement of the century. Fitzcarraldo is a unique masterpiece. Read morePublished 14 months ago by John B
Product delivered ahead of time and was as expectedPublished 15 months ago by Professor Walter Dean
The films are excellent of course, but the quality of these DVDs is poor. For example the brighter parts are blown out as if recorded by a poor quality digital sensor with terrible... Read morePublished on 1 Mar. 2014 by Francis George
amazing films at a great price, my best fiend just caps it off nicely. all of these films are essential viewingPublished on 12 Feb. 2014 by rosebud