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Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski: A Film Legacy

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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(Feb 10, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Aguirre, The Wrath of God in Full Frame Presentation (1.33:1)
in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Cobra Verde in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.77:1)
in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) - German Language Version Fitzcarraldo in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
My Best Fiend in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.77:1)

The six-film Herzog/Kinski boxed set is a sleek compilation of a visionary cinematic collaboration. The history of cinema is dotted with great directors who have found an actor whose face, voice, and style capture that director's point of view: Josef Von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich; John Ford and John Wayne; Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro. In 1972, the German director Werner Herzog cast Polish actor Klaus Kinski in Aguirre, the Wrath of God--the result was perhaps the definitive film for both. Kinski had previously made almost 100 films, but his malevolent role--as a Spanish conquistador obsessed with finding gold--shot him into international stardom. Though Herzog and the volatile Kinski were at each other's throats through much of the filming, seven years later the director cast Kinski as the tortured vampire of Nosferatu, Phantom of the Night (a color remake of the silent horror classic) and the title character of Woyzeck, based on the classic expressionistic German play about a jealous, unstable soldier who murders his lover. Both films continued the Herzog-Kinski trademark of intense unflinching emotion and the palpable presence of the raw physical world.

In 1982, Fitzcarraldo carried this ethos to new heights as Kinski portrayed a man who, in order to bring grand opera to the depths of Peru, has a huge steamship hauled over a mountainside using ropes, pulleys, and human endurance. The mad ambition of the film matched that of its hero as Herzog repeatedly placed crew and actors at risk of their lives. Nonetheless, the love-hate relationship between the director and his star carried them into one last film, the uneven but still remarkable Cobra Verde, about a Brazilian bandit sent to Africa to reopen the slave trade. After Kinski's death in 1991, Herzog made a documentary, My Best Fiend, about their decades of collaboration; the result rivals their previous work as a testament to human extremity. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Claudia Cardinale, Isabelle Adjani
  • Directors: Werner Herzog
  • Writers: Werner Herzog, Bram Stoker, Bruce Chatwin, Georg Büchner
  • Producers: Andre Singer, Christine Ruppert, Daniel Camino
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2004
  • Run Time: 648 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005YKXQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,787 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski: A Film Legacy" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
For any fan of film, this is one of the most impressive, reasonably priced box sets you could ever hope to find. Contained within are all the collaborations between manic, visionary German director Werner Herzog and his crazed, international movie star muse Klaus Kinski. Both men have had prolific careers, yet nothing they have done separately has achieved the splendor of their collected efforts together. Indeed, in his review of "Woyzeck", Roger Ebert says,
"It is almost impossible to imagine Kinski without Herzog; reflect that this `unforgettable' actor made more than 170 films for other directors--and we can hardly remember a one."
Wherever their individual paths took them, this box set stands as a monument to the magic between them. Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog together created films of extraordinary imagery, significant depth, and possessed artistry of the highest caliber. Included in this box set are the five films they did together: "Aguirre", "Nosferatu", "Woyzeck", "Fitcarraldo", and "Cobra Verde". Also included is one of the most fascinating documentaries about filmmakers and filmmaking ever, "My Best Fiend", Herzog's love/hate letter about his relationship with the volatile actor. Each work is unique in scope, vision, theme and performance. If the documentary explains why no director other than Herzog worked with Kinski more than once, their five films together amply demonstrate why Kinski never lacked for work. His on-screen presence is unparalleled and his performances perfectly measured for each role. The DVD set is a repackaging of their prior individual releases, containing the same extras. All films are presented in their original aspect ratio.
In summing up the sheer value of this set, one should consider the sublime effect of "My Best Fiend".
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Format: DVD
Anchor Bay have rereleased this collection (originally released in 2002 and later withdrawn) for a limited time. If you have any interest in it, you should grab it before it goes. The folks at Anchor Bay (bless 'em) have one major fault: they let some of their most interesting titles (Ipcress File, Sleuth, Wicker Man LE) go out of print.

At least three of the Herzog-Kinski collaborations are must-have masterpieces: Aguirre, Nosferatu, and Fitzcarraldo. Since you can get the whole collection for the same price as those three films individually, you'd be silly not to. My Best Fiend comes off well as a sort of "extra" to the whole collection.

As other reviewers have said, the transfers and extras do the films justice. I have only 3 minor complaints: (1) By buying the collection, you don't get the English-language version of Nosferatu. I prefer the German version, but I'm also a completist, so it annoys me. (2) For some reason, Herzog didn't supply commentary for Woyzek. Since he did for the other four features, this is a glaring omission. (3) Why didn't Anchor Bay invest in adding Les Blank's docu Burden of Dreams (about the making of Fitzcarraldo)? It would have made a wonderful extra for this set and could have fit alongside My Best Fiend.

None of these complaints should stop you from getting this collection. Overall, this collection offers fantastic value!
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Format: DVD
Ok, somebody got it right. Put together a solid, comprehensive collections of films, add a good documentary and then give the dedicated folks a break on the price. Herzog may not be the easiest director to make sense of at first, but over any two of these films you begin to get the power and the vision he was working with. Kinski is no different. It's an intensity that we don't view, let alone experience, enough, and yet seeing it in raw form provides access to more subtle degrees of emotion.
Four/five films are exceptional, and the last COBRA VERDE is still worth every minute after viewing the BEST FIEND documentary in the set. Kinski was so exhausted (spiritually) after playing the part that I don't believe he ever acted in a movie again.
While both made other films apart from each other, these joint-adventures bring out each of their purity. Taken as a whole, the combination is one of the greats in cinema or any other arts (like Bernstein and Copland). Provides an amazing and unique view of the human endeavor. You'll never forget it.
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By Kev on March 3, 2006
Format: DVD
I can't help but add my voice to the chorus of positive reviews for this set. It is without a doubt the most well put together dvd box set I have ever seen. Even the packaging is awesome. Whoever is responsible for the physical look of this collection should win a product design award or something. All the movies (except Woyzeck) have very entertaining and insightful herzog commentary and most of the movies have english tracks aswell. I'm not sure what restoration was done on these movies but they all look great! I would say that if you are thinking of buying any of these movies alone on DVD just go ahead and opt for the box set. Chances are, if you like and understand the Herzog aesthetic, you will love all of these movies! Cobra Verde, which I once thought was the weakest of the Herzog/Kinski efforts, has become my favorite upon multiple viewings. Could not have a higher possible recommendation!
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