Thursday, May 07, 2009


Werner Herzog is perhaps an acquired taste, and the first movie of his I ever watched (I'm a little ashamed to say) was the 2005 film Grizzly Man. (Although I would still like to hear the audio of Timothy Treadwell's last minutes as he was eaten by a bear.) It was tastefully done and even inspiring (but realistic).

Since then I have been trying to catch up on Herzog. The Wild Blue Yonder is not Herzog at his best (or Brad Dourif), and you can honestly wonder what they hell they both had in mind.

But 1982's Fitzcarraldo is pure gold. You have to watch it. You especially have to watch it when you realize that Herzog used no special effects at all -- he actually filmed the actual dragging of the actual 340-ton boat over the actual mountain. It's insane, but it made the entire film.

That, plus the boat's later passage through the rapids. Rather than edit it as some loud, quick-cutting, fast-action horror sequence as this huge boat crashes through the rapids, Herzog simply pans back and shows the boat almost dancing through the rapids. It makes all the difference.

1 comment:

MT said...

Better than Fitzcarraldo itself: See the making-of documentary, "Burden of Dreams," by Les Blank (maker also of Herzog "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe")

"Hearts of Darkness" by Mrs. Coppola's is another great one (about the making of Apocolypse Now)