Sunday, July 3, 2011

2. Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972) 7/10


I am the great traitor. There must be no other. Anyone who even thinks about deserting this mission will be cut up into 198 pieces. Those pieces will be stamped on until what is left can be used only to paint walls. Whoever takes one grain of corn or one drop of water... more than his ration, will be locked up for 155 years. If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees... then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of god. The earth I pass will see me and tremble. But whoever follows me and the river, will win untold riches. But whoever deserts...

Quality - 3/5
Enjoyability - 4/5

When I started this blog, this movie was an auto-include.  The consensus best movie from one of my favorite directors, Werner Herzog.  I love his ability to switch seamlessly from documentary to traditional filmmaking and back.  This was his first big movie, and it definitely foreshadows his ability to master both fields.  Herzog uses historical fiction to invite the viewer into a first-hand account of a doomed conquistador's expedition.  He wrote the screenplay after hearing stories of Pizarro's possibly insane Lieutenant Aguirre.   He also freely admits that the camera used by the 7 person crew to film the mostly improvised movie was stolen from his film school.  The one drawback from this film is the absolutely horrible dub.  Like many movies in the late '60s and '70s the vocal track was completely dubbed in later (many by different actors).  It baffles me to think how amazing Klaus Kinski's performance would be in this movie if I could actually hear his voice in the horrors of the Amazon jungle instead of a random German dubbing it in later.

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