This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Werner Herzog is a singular presence among film directors, an artist who has made it his life’s quest to explore the peculiar to the point of exposing the familiar, and in turn, the familiar to the point of exposing the alien—the alien within our world, and within ourselves. Though a documentarian and a storyteller known for adapt- ing true stories, he sees in the commonplace ele- ments of the fantastic, the extraordinary, the operatic. This would seem to be an expression of his true nature rather than an affectation; his inter- views are rife with anecdotes that present him as someone, since his somewhat isolated childhood, both sensitive and susceptible to a fabulous view- point. He might seem, at first glance, to be a nar- cissist or calculating self-mythologist, but prolonged attention reveals that any calculation involved was done quite early, out of a determination to escape the mundane, though there remains in his work a great love for the commonplace and common folk. He talks about himself, about his world and work and his relation to them, with an awareness of the mythic dimension underpinning his own matrix; an awareness that has given him a sense of direction in his life and work that has been cultivated rather than calculated.

In an interview with Laurens Straub, Herzog re- members feeling drawn at one time to make his own versions of two of the great German cultural texts, Nosferatu and Woyzeck, not because they were more commercial projects than his usual fare but because they gave him a sense of foundation that he sensed he needed. After completing those two films, the opportunity came to make FITZCARRALDO, a film so daunting that he could not have dared to undertake it previously; however, without knowing for what mission he had been pre- paring himself, those earlier two pictures had forged a filmmaker capable of taking that step. This ex- ample is but one illustration of why, while watching Herzog’s films is a rewarding adventure in its own right, it is a doubly rewarding undertaking if we bring him along as our guide, something that these two ambitious box sets of his work make possible. Shout! Factory’s HERZOG: THE COLLECTION is a splendidly organized 12-disc set, while the BFI’s more compact THE WERNER HERZOG COLLEC- TION consists of eight discs. While the two sets

Portrait of writer-director Werner Herzog.

contain a good deal of shared material, there is enough material unique to each set to make it diffi- cult for any collector hoping to consider them in “either/or” terms. Unique to the Shout! Factory set are the features EVEN DWARFS STARTED SMALL, BATTLE OF THE LITTLE SOLDIER, WHERE THE GREEN ANTS DREAM, LESSONS OF DARK- NESS, LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY and MY BEST FIEND, as well the television documentaries PORTRAIT: WERNER HERZOG and HERZOG IN AF- RICA and a choice of audio commentaries in many instances. Exclusive to the BFI package are eight Herzog short films (a considerable bonus, as these have an average length of 45m per), an English alternative version of NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, the Les Blank documentaries BURDEN OF DREAMS and WERNER HERZOG EATS HIS SHOE, a 1982 SOUTH BANK SHOW on Herzog and an 83m Herzog interview from 1988, conducted by critic and playwright Neil Norman.

The two sets are also packaged quite differently. HERZOG: THE COLLECTION is packaged in al- bum-format with the individual discs tucked into cardboard sleeve pages, along with a 46-page book- let with annotations on each film written by Stephen J. Smith, Brad Prager and Chris Wahl. THE WERNER HERZOG COLLECTION is presented in more conventional Blu-ray packaging with a 34- page booklet with detailed credits information on each title and a new essay, “The Conquest of Dreams” by Laurie Johnson. Unfortunately, the booklet contains no information about the contents of specific discs in the set.

The contents of both releases were scanned at 2K from the original 35mm camera negatives (a 35mm interpositive in the case of MY BEST FIEND) or the best available 16mm elements under the su- pervision of Lucki Stipetic of Werner Herzog Film GmbH at Alpha Omeda Digital GmbH in Germany.

HERZOG: THE COLLECTION Shout! Factory, approx. 1500m, $159.99, BD-A (12 discs)


1967-87, BFI, approx. 1391m, £57.50, BD-B (8 discs)


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87