Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, 1982)

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Conchis
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Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, 1982)

#1 Post by Conchis » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:21 am

Using my first post on this forum to say what a bad-ass film Herzog's Fitzcarraldo is. I watched it for the first time this weekend and was astounded by its beauty, intensity and sheer audacity.

I watched it in German, which was the default track on my DVD, even though it seems clear everyone is talking in English. I briefly tried the English audio track but there the sync seemed off, as if English too was being dubbed in.

Is there a language that is considered the preferred or standard choice for this movie? Judging by the DVD, it seems to be German. But if they spoke English in the filming, then why?

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Cold Bishop
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#2 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:25 am

English is the language in which the film was filmed, since all the principles spoke it. When you consider the film originally starred Robards and Jagger, its makes even more sense. It was obvious Herzog was aiming to make an English language film.
Last edited by Cold Bishop on Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Conchis
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#3 Post by Conchis » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:35 am

Why then is German the default track on the DVD? Because a German company made it? Seems odd to me.

Man, this movie would have been a different creature with Robards and Jagger in it, huh.

echopark_dweller
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#4 Post by echopark_dweller » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:27 am

In Burden of Dreams, they show you a scene with Jagger and Robards. The scene is almost identical to the later incarnation with Kinski and the other guy. And yes, from the few seconds covered in the documentary, it was a different creature.

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Sanjuro
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#5 Post by Sanjuro » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:20 am

Doesn't Herzog say he prefers the German dub on the commentary some place? Or perhaps that was Aguirre?

I'd better check it later. Any excuse to listen to a Herzog commentary track again!

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Tommaso
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#6 Post by Tommaso » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:33 am

Funny, I just watched "Fitz" last night without being aware of the discussion going on here; having also heard that the film was originally shot in English, I played it with that language. And I found it a big let-down compared to the German version. Yes, you have all the original voices of the actors, but the respective accents of Kinski and Cardinale are so heavy that the idea that both of them are supposed to be of Irish origin becomes completely laughable. I also found that at least Kinski doesn't live up to his usual madman character; just switch over to German in some key moments (e.g. when he rings the bell on top of the church or when he finds the ship is floating down the rapids) and you'll immediately notice the far greater impact of the German version. No wonder Herzog prefers it.
That said, the film still works fine in English. Surely a visual masterpiece and a hymn to dreams and imagination. I think I might prefer it even to the magnificent "Woyzeck".

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Cinetwist
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#7 Post by Cinetwist » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:19 am

Hmmm, I was going to watch it with the English track next time, but if some of the intensity of Kinski is lost I don't think I'll bother.

And as far as I'm aware, it was filmed in English, but both soundtracks are dubs, which is why the English one has synch problems too Conchis. And yes, the German dub is Herzog's preferred version. So really, there is no right or wrong soundtrack, but I'm less tempted to give the English one a try now.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#8 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:43 am

We tried this out in both English and German -- and decided the German version sounded better overall. (Same for Aguirre).

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Tommaso
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#9 Post by Tommaso » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:21 pm

Cinetwist wrote:And as far as I'm aware, it was filmed in English, but both soundtracks are dubs, which is why the English one has synch problems too Conchis.
I wasn't aware that the English version is a dub, too. I noticed the synch problems occasionally, but ascribed them to some particular parts having been post-synched, because I actually thought that the ambience in the English version sounded more 'natural' compared to the German one; also in some moments the voices were more indistinct or quieter than in the German dub, which I thought pointed to set-recorded sound.

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Cinetwist
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#10 Post by Cinetwist » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:03 pm

Tommaso wrote:
Cinetwist wrote:And as far as I'm aware, it was filmed in English, but both soundtracks are dubs, which is why the English one has synch problems too Conchis.
I wasn't aware that the English version is a dub, too. I noticed the synch problems occasionally, but ascribed them to some particular parts having been post-synched, because I actually thought that the ambience in the English version sounded more 'natural' compared to the German one; also in some moments the voices were more indistinct or quieter than in the German dub, which I thought pointed to set-recorded sound.
You could be right, as I haven't seen the English version. But I was told that the actors spoke their lines in English and that even the English soundtrack (or perhaps just the dialogue) was post synched. It could be the case that it's a mixture of direct sound, particularly for the ambience and post synch for the dialogue.

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Sanjuro
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#11 Post by Sanjuro » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:17 pm

But isn't it the case that the English track is the only one actually featuring Kinski's real voice? I think he refused to do any post-synch German dialogue (or said he would for an extra fee - about twice the budget of the film, so Herzog refused). I'm working from memory here and surely mixing up some facts with Aguirre but I think did the same thing again with Fitzcarraldo.

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domino harvey
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#12 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:26 pm

I prefer the French dub on the Montmarte R2 disc

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bkimball
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#13 Post by bkimball » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:01 pm

Herzog has deemed this film as his "best documentary". Here is an enlightening interview with the great Henry Rollins.

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Lamourderer
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#14 Post by Lamourderer » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:53 am

Maybe my favorite of Kinski-Herzog collaborations. It is very accessible for wider audiences and manages to say many things about art, determination, loss and passion. The entire film's structure seems to be a comment on film itself in a very artsy way but still the overall impression for me is a bit adventurous and some times filled with child-like innocence. And I would never have thought a character portrayed by Kinski could be so likable. Personally I find him very identifiable with. Of course his passion and determination operate on a much wider scale than with an average person, but maybe that is just the reason the relating becomes easier for me. Kinski's character, the force behind the film's charm, is a very determined man but not a loonie as many reviews have, in my opinion incorrectly, stated. The dragging of the ship over a mountain is not, of course, a thing for a normal person to do but neither is the goal he is trying to achieve. Unusual goals need unusual ways.

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Tommaso
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Re: Fitzcarraldo

#15 Post by Tommaso » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:15 am

Sanjuro wrote:But isn't it the case that the English track is the only one actually featuring Kinski's real voice? I think he refused to do any post-synch German dialogue (or said he would for an extra fee - about twice the budget of the film, so Herzog refused). I'm working from memory here and surely mixing up some facts with Aguirre but I think did the same thing again with Fitzcarraldo.
I remember something like that about "Aguirre", too. But unless Herzog found a really good voice imitator, I'm sure it's Kinski in the German "Fitz". Kinski was a pretty idiosyncratic speaker.
Lamourderer wrote: And I would never have thought a character portrayed by Kinski could be so likable. Personally I find him very identifiable with. Of course his passion and determination operate on a much wider scale than with an average person, but maybe that is just the reason the relating becomes easier for me. Kinski's character, the force behind the film's charm, is a very determined man but not a loonie as many reviews have, in my opinion incorrectly, stated.
I agree, but he's not even a loonie in "Woyzeck", just a tortured, idealistic soul who isn't understood by the money-concerned world around him. In these two films especially Kinski displays a far wider range of expression and emotion than is usually associated with him. He got the madman image with "Aguirre", of course, and all that was later revealed about his fights with Herzog and his general behaviour at the set. So I don't know about Kinski as a person, but the later films all display a truly fine actor, who could make use of his madman persona in exactly the right places and in a very controlled way in "Fitzcarraldo".

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Lamourderer
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#16 Post by Lamourderer » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:07 am

^ I agree, Kinski is too often regarded as a maniacal egoist in his roles because his person in public is so domineering over his fine fictional characters. Eventually, in Kinski Paganini the public Kinski has grown too big as a role for a single actor to carry trough the whole film - there are no borders between his public persona and fictional persona anymore. Especially when Kinski as a director has no idea how to stop Kinski as an actor for overacting all the time.

Herzog often stated that he had to let Good Old Klaus shout and scream for hours before shooting a scene with him because after getting tired of all the jumping around and screaming, his performances were much more subtle and better: he then had no need to let his energy out in front of camera.

Woyzeck is actually my favorite Kinski role even though, in my opinion, it isn't as good as a film as the other Herzog-Kinski films. Still, it has raised it's value in my mind every time I've watched it (three times so far).

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John Cope
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#17 Post by John Cope » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:49 pm

From Damon Smith's blog:
During the filming of Fitzcarraldo (1982), Werner Herzog, who was 38 at the time, kept a journal of his day-to-day experiences of the Amazonian rainforest. In June, Ecco Press will publish these musings in a 360-page tome entitled Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Makings of Fitzcarraldo. Lucky for us, The Paris Review has published some tantalizing excerpts in their Spring 2009 issue that no fan of this director’s deranged epic—which involved lugging a rusted, 300-ton steamship over a steep mountain—will want to overlook. Herzog’s writing is literate, wry, and extraordinarily vivid, but these aren’t notes on a production so much as they are, in his own words, “inner landscapes, born of the delirium of the jungle.”

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markhax
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#18 Post by markhax » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:26 pm

Herzog’s writing is literate, wry, and extraordinarily vivid, but these aren’t notes on a production so much as they are, in his own words, “inner landscapes, born of the delirium of the jungle.”
A characteristic Herzogian formulation. I can hear him saying that in his wonderful euphonious voice and soft German accent.

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exte
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#19 Post by exte » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:02 am

A genuine poet. I'm not surprised.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#20 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:58 pm

During the filming of Fitzcarraldo (1982), Werner Herzog, who was 38 at the time, kept a journal of his day-to-day experiences of the Amazonian rainforest. In June, Ecco Press will publish these musings in a 360-page tome entitled Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Makings of Fitzcarraldo.
Sold! Amazon has it up now for pre-order, too. I really look forward to this book. Herzog's articulate musings are always provoking.

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sir karl
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#21 Post by sir karl » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:45 am

I've read the German edition (Eroberung des Nutzlosen) more than one time. I can really recommend it. Of Walking in Ice (Vom Gehen im Eis) still remains my favorite book by Herzog, though.


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Mr Sausage
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#23 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:41 pm

Read the review and ordered this immediately. All the better that it came out eleven days earlier in Canada, I will get it quicker.

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aox
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#24 Post by aox » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:31 pm

I will be picking this up tomorrow. thanks for the heads up.

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Elephant
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Re: Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, (1982)

#25 Post by Elephant » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:39 pm

I read this a few months back; it's astoundingly good. Herzog's nonstop attacks on Robards & co are classic. It's one of those books where nearly every line is quotable--some of the best stuff in the book is when he's not talking about the film, but rather the natives and people and landscapes around him, such as a crippled girl trying to climb a tree with her crutches. Of course Herzog sees pretty much nothing but madness and hostility and godlessness in the world, and you can't read this book without hearing it in his voice--the translation is wonderful. I think Conquest of the Useless is far better than Of Walking in Ice--it's just so much more savage and hyperactive and depressed and meditative and frustrated and angry.

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