Fitzcarraldo

1982, Werner Herzog Filmproduktion et al

It's really the eccentric Klaus Kinski that drew me to this little German film, the production of which was as traumatic as the events portrayed. This was largely due to the fact that a real 320-ton steam ship was actually hauled over a hill—there were no miniatures or special effects for this sequence (the remains of the ship can still be found in the jungle where it was filmed). Consequently, the tension was palpable and gripping. Jason Robards was originally cast in the title role, but he fell ill about halfway into filming, and his doctors forbade his return; shooting had to start over with Kinski, who frequently threw screaming fits and was nearly impossible to work with. Writer/director/producer Werner Herzog also ran into trouble with some of the indigenous people he hired for the film; when he constructed a village without proper permission, the locals burned the set down. A making-of film would be every bit as fascinating as Fitzcarraldo.

       

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