Thursday, 23 February 2012

Review - Fitzcarraldo (1982 - Dir. Werner Herzog)

At the minute I'm trying to get into into natural yoghurt. It's fairly rank and not to my taste, but strangely, I find myself looking forward to it with my breakfast. Werner films are a bit like this.

The original tale of Fitzcarraldo is about a bloke who pulls a small boat, a dinghy perhaps, over a small isthmus to get to a nearby river. Werner, in a fit of ego to rival Big Jim Cameron, decides to get his Fitzcarraldo to lug a huge steam boat over a blooming great hill/mountain.

Klaus Kinski plays the title role and is completely bonkers. His sticky-up blond hair doesn't do him any favours in the 'looking vaguely normal' stakes. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a comedy but I found myself chortling away at numerous points. The portrait of Fitzy and his brothel owning lady friend is a highlight.

As with all of Werner's output, don't expect anything too pacy. In fact, expect something really slow. Even then you may be disappointed by its ability to drag. As usual. You are rewarded with some gorgeous sights. The steam boat at a forty degree angle, wreathed in mist with the mad-looking Kinski in the foreground is worth the admission price alone.

The final heartwarming shots (well, as heartwarming as Werner gets) show that even though Fitzy isn't overly concerned about who gets injured/crushed to death by a steam boat, his heart is in the right opera-loving place.

Supposedly Kinski's behaviour was so crazed during the making of the film the native extras wanted to kill him. Amazingly Werner talked them out of it. So the rumour goes anyway. I'm surprised Werner didn't let them and film the ensuing murder in his trademark documentary style. Possibly he thought it would have been a tad too exciting for one of his films.

If you like this you could also try:
Any Werner film.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for the link. Werner is just completely unbelievable. The story of the snakebite victim is fairly harsh. Poor fella. The film isn't worth the price that bloke paid. It's barely worth £2.47. What would we do without Werner?