Klaus Kinski Rocks

Image of Klaus KinskiI happened upon Andreas Krennmair’s post that talks about the possessed German actor and internationally recognized eccentric Klaus Kinski. I’ve been a fan of Kinski ever since 1986 when I stumbled upon his first US film (I think I am right with this) Crawlspace in which he plays–that’s right– “a crazed maniac who is obsessed with trapping young women and then slowly torturing them to death.” A number of years after this his body of work seemed a bit richer to me as I saw films like Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre, the Wrath of God–this is when I finally got myself educated).

I am currently preparing myself for Fernando Di Leo’s
Slaughter Hotel (this is how I go about my de-education) starring Kinski as the presiding doctor of a mad house. (As an aside, just finished Di Leo’s Mister Scarface and Loaded Guns which are 1970s gangster spoofs, and they were terrible, in a bad way 🙂 ) I stumbled upon two scenes from Werner Herzog’s My Best Fiend, a great documentary that chronicles the brilliant madness of Kinski without shying away from what a nightmare of a man he was.

The first clip shows a scene from Fitzcarraldo as played by Jason Robards & Mick Jagger (hack!) and then by Kinski. Seems that Robards was originally intended to play the lead, what a different movie it would have been despite my respect for Robards as an actor (he ruled in Parenthood).

This clip (“Kinski as Christ”) is the opening scene of My Best Fiend, and gives you an idea of how deeply disturbed, insanely confrontational, and unbelievably controversial Kinski was during his lifetime.

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6 Responses to Klaus Kinski Rocks

  1. Brian says:

    Kinski is da man. I’d be hard pressed to think of a more intense screen presence, and I’ve gotten huge pleasure from many of his movies, especially those with Herzog. I have special fondness for his rather sombre yet very funny turn in Nosferatu.

    The juxtaposition of the Fitzcarraldo and Robards/Jagger bit is priceless — I don’t need to watch them at the moment, “I want my opera house” is burned into my frontal lobe.

    I’ll see if I can track down a copy of Slaughter Hotel as well…

  2. jimgroom says:


    Don’t forget Crawlspace 🙂

    I’ll ruin you yet!

  3. Brian says:

    I’m kind of scared to look at Crawlspace, based on your description, but if I must have my innocence defiled…

  4. Mikhail says:

    I love Kinski though I love too that the Indians in Fitzcaraldo offered to kill him for Herzog. Their contempt in that one scene is real. I love that about Herzog’s jungle movies: everything about the difficulty of shooting in the jungle eats at the actors so much that it comes through wonderfully on film. In the jungle, Herzog says, the birds don’t sing, they scream in pain.

  5. Brian says:

    That line of Herzog’s that Mikhail refers to is worth watching:


    I got turned on to Herzog by watching him go on about the power of images and the need for “real war” in “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ymyiRXCszc

    That’s a short version, torrent of full version here: http://www.greylodge.org/gpc/?p=325

  6. jimgroom says:

    “…that’s why I’m working on a new grammar of images.”

    Wow, that is a great clip Brian, I had seen the eating the shoe part before (and heard the story even before that) but never saw the doc. BitTorrent here I come.

    I am searching for some docs I saw by Herzog in the early 90s about Gospel singing in African American Baptist churches, it was wild, but I am flaking on the name and IMDB isn’t jarring my memory. Thanks for the awesome links, as usual websurfing Godfather! Another thing, one of the people who I am toally bummed is not blogging his own crazy ideas is Mikhail, he’s a kindred spirit and you two would be sure to hit it off.

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