Werner Herzog Box Set 2 [DVD]
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Five films from acclaimed and unconventional German director Werner Herzog, famed for his blending of documentary realism with heightened stylisation, as well as his volatile temper and his obsessive abilities to complete physically demanding shoots in dangerous locations. 'Even Dwarfs Started Small' (1970) is set in a rural asylum, where a group of midgets are tormented in an off-hand way by their keepers. Rebelling against their treatment, the dwarfs take over the asylum and reverse their position. 'Fata Morgana' (1971) is set in an hallucinatory desert landscape in North Africa, using Herzog's trademark of juxtaposing human frailties and the need for endurance against majestic, unforgiving landscapes. 'Heart of Glass' (1976) is Herzog's disquisition about the value of art, and explores the life of an 18th century glass blower. It was rumoured that Herzog used hypnosis to achieve the desired effects from his cast. 'The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser' (1975) is based on a true story, about the 19th century child prodigy who wandered into a rural German village with no knowledge of who he was or where he came from. Feared by the authorities and the local populace, who view him with suspicion, Hauser is eventually killed in a mysterious attack. Former mental patient Bruno S. plays Hauser. Finally, in 'Stroszek' (1977), Herzog uses Bruno S. in another role to convey the isolation and confusion of a street musician recently released from prison. Abruptly deciding to move to America, along with his prostitute girlfriend and an eccentric, elderly neighbour, the musician is quickly disabused of his notions about the land of the free.
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Top Customer Reviews
This also features his second collaboration with the actor Bruno S. following their success on Kasper Hauser, with the tragic Stroszek standing as one of Herzog's grand masterworks... a film to be discussed in the same breath as films like Aguirre the Wrath of God, Woyzeck and Fitzcarraldo. The other films featured on this collection go from the great (Even Dwarfs Started Small) to the strange (Heart Of Glass) to the downright obscure (Fata Morgana). As a result, the films on this collection are possibly less accessible than the one found on the original Herzog/Kinski box set from last year, but it's by no means an inferior set. The usual Herzog archetypes, concerns and preoccupations are all apparent in these films, with his early opus, Even Dwarfs Started Small introducing the idea of the outcast, or the misunderstood outsider... a characterisation found in all of these films, with the possible exception of Fata Morgana (which is more like an audio/visual ramble through the world's most mesmerising landscapes).Read more ›
Anyway, as in the Kinski set all of the films are excellent but two films stand out and in this case they are (in my opinion) Kaspar Hauser and Stroszek. All films have commentaries and, bizarrely, Crispin Glover appears on a couple.
So 5 stars for the films, print quality, commentaries and price, but one taken off per missing film from the region 1 DVD.
I bought this Werner Herzog Box Set 2 (green) over amazon.co.uk to save lots of money compared to the German equivalent on amazon.de. This worked out great except for one small annoying thing.
On each DVD it says "German with optional English subtitles" on the back of the cover. This is true for every one of the 5 films except for "Stroszek". Here it won't let me turn off the subtitles! Now why is that? Please correct me if I'm wrong and if so maybe you could tell me how to turn the subtitles off on "Stroszek".
Anyway, having been impressed by Herzog's boxset of films that he did with Klaus Kinski (see my review), I was really looking forward to seeing those contained in this boxset. Unfortunately, the news is not good. The set contains some worthwhile films, but also the worst film in my entire extensive collection. One unfortunate aspect is that Herzog continues to be blind to the sufferings of the animal world.
All of the films in this set come with accompanying commentaries with Herzog. These commentaries are valuable, for Herzog is never less than interesting in what he has to say and never less than articulate in the way he provides his explanations. His insightful anecdotes say as much about him as about the films, and one feels one could never be bored in his company.
The first film (worth four stars) is `The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser' (1974) and is, in my opinion, the best of the lot, despite the problem of the recently-deceased (but then forty-one-year-old) Bruno Schleinstein playing the part of a supposed adolescent. Bruno's unpredictable naivety is often mesmerising, however, and there is a good supporting cast in this tale of the boy who had been locked in a Bavarian cellar for most of his formative years.
The second film in the set (and indeed Herzog's own second film) is `Even Dwarfs Started Small' (1969), filmed in black & white in Lanzarote about a colony of little people mirroring the joys and darkness of society at large.Read more ›
Werner Herzog has started at the bottom and mastered his craft through his film making years, he is one of the most underated film prducers of our time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The boxet arrived a little late (which is not a problem), but it is battered and looks to have ben around (which is a problem)Published 17 months ago by Jan Jonsson
Terrific. I loved Bruno S in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser but here his performance is even better, even considering the fact he may be merely acting as himself. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Rod Davies
You could say zero budget and 80 percent experimental. Does have interesting images but in the end left me feeling empty and thinking so what. May have made boraka et al possiblePublished on 30 April 2014 by Julian Ward
Iam very Pleased thanh yo very much because its very hard to find a box set of this kind i like the movies a lotPublished on 4 Aug. 2013 by Jonathan Grynkraut
These films are the best!! Werner's films take a wonderful look at unusual characters,strange music and soundtracks and very whacky stories.Published on 28 Jan. 2013 by Sylvia
I bought this set mostly because of the fact that it contains two of my favourite Herzog films: Stroszek and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. Read morePublished on 14 Nov. 2011 by Susannah