After more than a decade of collecting DVDs and Blu-rays, I've probably only pre-ordered about 4 or 5 different products. But this is one of them!
I assume they're basing the price more on the amount of discs, rather than the amount of films. It'll be 7 Blu-rays, featuring 9 features, 3 shorts and 6 documentaries (and Les Blank's Burden of Dreams as an extra).
AGUIRRE is listed on Amazon.uk Limited Steel Book Edition newly remastered the Blu-ray release comes with a booklet containing information about the production of the movie. AGUIRRE was shot on location in the Amazon Jungle. Blu-ray will be released on May 19th. I didn't want to take on chance on the Shout release so I ordered the remastered AGUIRRE from Amazon.uk.
[*]Limited Edition Steelbook
[*]Newly remastered HD presentation
[*]Three additional Werner Herzog films, all remastered in HD:< li>
[*]1. The Unprecedented Defence of the Fortress Deutschkreuz (1967, 14 mins)
[*]2. Precautions Against Fanatics (1969, 12 mins)
[*]3. Fata Morgana (1971, 79 mins)
[*]Booklet with new essay and full film credits
I recently got re-interested in Werner Herzog's films, and have started watching some of the movies on this Blu set; this is the first time I've seen any of these films in HD. I find Herzog to be a brilliant, dark genius & his films have a unique & at times extremely twisted tone/vibe - that I haven't experienced when watching movies by any other director. Both his fictitious features & his documentaries are fascinating, and both categories focus on subjects/characters that very few other directors would either bother to (or want to) cover
One of the many other things I find fascinating is that I find almost all of his films very strong, throughout the decades. I.e., though some directors definitely peak during a certain era, Herzog's films are great - no matter what decade they came out in, i.e. the 1970's-on.
Re: the way these Disks are presented, it was a good idea to package two of the shorter films (or one short film & one longer one) on one Disk.
The Enigma of Kaspar Houser: I appreciated this film a lot more this time around then when I first saw the film on DVD (back in the 200X's). Great PQ, for the most part - other than some hazy scenes in the beginning.
Re: the film itself: Very compelling & sad story. Was Kaspar handicapped, or had he just been isolated & abused since birth, to the point that he was not able to function in regular society? Who let him out of the place where he had been imprisoned for years?
That all being said - given that Houser appeared in a German village over 100 years before this film came out, it's evident that some/most?! of what was presented in the film was conjecture.
The end of the film was truly bizarre; Houser was stabbed by an unknown assailant & died, without there being any kind of a clear motive for the crime. Unexpected ending for a truly unsettling movie.
Where the Green Ants Dream: Great film that seems to be an intentional pseudo-documentary. Not surprising to see the way aboriginal land rights are treated in Australia.
Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997): Truly fascinating/compelling documentary about the real-life Dieter Dengler, who was inspired to become a pilot when the German city he lived in (as a child) was bombed during WWII. Since Germany didn't have any kind of a military flight program when he came of age, he went to the U.S. and & eventually became a fighter pilot - and then was assigned to Vietnam.
Obviously, the good companion film to see with this doc. is Herzog's excellent Rescue Dawn film (2006), which dramatizes Dieter's escape from a prison camp during the war.
I have owned the German Herzog box set for years, and am still in the process of getting through it. Some of his work is a bit of a slog, but all the films are ultimately worthwhile. I believe all of the films Shout! now has are in my set, which wasn't overly costly and probably still available. I would only go for some of the new releases if they were new scans and contained bonus features such as commentary tracks. But neither my set nor the Shout! list contains WHERE THE GREEN ANTS DREAM, which I may have to order separately from Europe.
Continuing to make my way through the Herzog Blu set. Some more reviews:
Fitzcarraldo (1982): Interesting - but bizarre - film. The idea of a European spending a lot of time, effort, money (and also putting his life on the line) in order to bring opera music to the South American jungle is insane - especially during this era. But, the movie itself was very compelling. Very elaborate set designs, costumes, and great casting as well.
Stroszek (1977): This is the first Herzog film I saw - way back in the '90's. One of the most depressing movies I've ever seen, though there was some humor here as well; this is definitely a dark comedy, and I find this one of Herzog's most fascinating films. Some comments:
-The early scenes in Berlin were bleak & sad. The thought that Stroszek, his prostitute "girlfriend" Eva, and the elderly neighbor would all move to the U.S. for a "better life" was an interesting idea, but the reality was obviously far different than what they had envisioned.
-After the group moved to the U.S., things seemed to be working out for all of them at first (Stroszek got a job working in a garage; Eva got a job as a waitress). However, shortly after things actually took a turn for the worse for Stroszek. He overextend himself by not being able to make the payments on the mobile home; Eva ran off with some truck drivers; and, this all culminated in the film's horrible & tragic ending. You got the impression that Stroszek would have been better off staying in Berlin & definitely not hooking up with Eva - LOL.
Bruno S. was perfectly cast as Stroszek; I can't think of another actor who could have played the role as well. His 'deer in the headlights' gaze was spot-on for the part, just as it was for his lead role in The Enigma of Kaspar Houser. This is all the more impressive because I suspect BS was not a professional actor, and was actually playing "himself" to some extent re: these films.
Some amusing scenes:
-At the very beginning, Stroszek is being processed out of jail & a prison official tells him that the root of his problem is alcohol, and that he needs to stay away from this - in order to avoid going back to prison in the future. I.e., presumably he was in jail for drunk & disorderly-related offenses, etc. So, where does Stroszek go right after leaving prison (before even going home)? To a bar, where he orders a beer - LOL.
-After Stroszek & co. can't continue paying on the loan for the mobile home, a bank official comes by & tells them that if they don't make the back payments soon, the bank will repossess the home. Stroszek - not understanding English, doesn't realize why the guy has come & thinks it's just a friendly visit by the bank - LOL.
Technical review: Re: both of these films, I found the PQ on these Blu's excellent in some areas, and hazy/soft in others. That being said, these were both definite improvements over the regular DVD's.
Some more reviews. I've seen all of these films before, but these recent re-watches were my first time seeing them on Blu:
-Even Dwarves Started Small (1970): Mildly interesting film, that I initially thought was a documentary the first time I saw this.
The PQ here was amazing - not only a huge improvement over the DVD, but is one of the best prints I've ever seen for a b&w film.
-My Best Fiend (1999): This documentary chronicled Herzog's tumultuous working relationship with K. Kinski, the lead in many of Herzog's best & most well-known films. Prior to seeing this, I didn't really realize how truly unhinged Kinski was! There are some scenes taken from a "one man show" (from the 1970's?!) where Kinski is basically standing on a stage - alone - in front of a large audience and screaming into a microphone/ranting & raving - about many different controversial subjects. He is treated with derision/amusement by the audience, which just makes him even more enraged! Frickin' hilarious!!!!
Also very entertaining were the scenes when Herzog went back to the German boarding house he partially grew up in back in the 1950's - and recounted how Kinksi (who was older than Herzog) was also coincidentally living there at the same time. Herzog remembered that Kinski would regularly freak out, scream uncontrollably, break things, etc. It's funny that - despite Herzog's early negative experiences with Kinski - he still chose him to headline many of his films - LOL.
I feel that one of the reasons Kinski was such a great actor was that he was playing himself (to a certain extent) re: his roles.
Re: the PQ of this film, it was just OK - but that's probably because of the old footage used in the film.
-Woyzeck (1979): Truly disturbing film, about a soldier in the mid-1800's (Kinski) who is being verbally & physically bullied by his superior(s); his wife is also having an affair. This all eventually puts him over the edge. Disturbing film about someone who goes insane - very harrowing & freaky. This is based on a play, so there are a minimal amount of characters/sets, but it's still a very effective film.