DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: The Hoodler

Read The Hoodler's film review of Fitzcarraldo

Herzog thought that the translation of Fitzcarraldo onto DVD improved it considerably and he was right; the heightened picture quality and sound do it serious favours. The long visual sequences look even more dramatic with a crisper image and similarly the hard work of hauling a ship over a mountain becomes more apparent with the redigitised sound - you can actually hear the thing creaking and straining its way to its destination.

The subtitling/language options are also valuable. Listening to the film in English (the language in which it was actually made) thankfully eliminates the necessity to read and watch at the same time.

Copy picture

Herzog's belief that the DVD version is better than the cinematic release is a fact that he shares in the director's commentary - one of the bonus features. This is a fascinating interview, in which he reveals why he wanted Jack Nicholson in the title role, why Mick Jagger was axed and the truth behind the rumours about shooting. In terms of the film itself, he sheds light on some of the more confusing aspects, explaining the narrative, the location choice and the motivations behind the project. For Fitzcarraldo fans, this is a great indulgence and for newcomers it is a helpful tool, enhancing understanding and thus enjoyment of the film.

Other extras include film notes, a biography of the actors and a gallery. It's a shame there isn't a Making Of documentary, or behind the scenes footage, as that would have taken the DVD up a notch, considering that one of the most interesting element of the film is contemplating just how they got that boat over that hill.

However, all in all, this is not a bad DVD package, especially considering the film was made well before the advent of the CD.

Reviewed on: 20 Mar 2004
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Fitzcarraldo packshot
A music lover is consumed with the idea of building an opera house in the South American jungle.
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Product Code: ABWHD01

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0

Extras: Commentary with Werner Herzog, producer Lucki Stepic and journalist Norman Hill; film notes; trailer; gallery; actors

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