Film 31 in the “1001 Films to See Before You Die” challenge is 1982’s “Fitzcarraldo”. I rather enjoyed this. I didn’t know much about this going into it apart from the fact Fitzcarraldo likes opera music. That is made very clear the amount of times we hear Caruso. I’m not complaining, the man can sing! Some of the sunset shots were very nice to look at. One complain I would have is that some of the scenes of them sailing and them preparing everything so they can drag the ship over the mountain seemed to drag a little bit. I would recommend watching this then afterwards watch Les Blank’s documentary about the making of this film “Burden of Dreams” where director Werner Herzog talks about how much he hated the Amazon. Roger Ebert once described the film as “As a document of a quest and a dream, and as the record of man’s audacity and foolish, visionary heroism, there has never been another movie it”. The role of Fitzcarraldo was originally given to Jason Robarts who shot half of the film before succumbing to dysentery and had to leave the production. Herzog did consider playing the role but decided against it and gave the role to Klaus Kinski. Kinski was known for being difficult to work with on set and was in rare form here. Ranting and raving at anyone within an ears shot, his behaviour prompted one of the Amazon Native Chiefs offered to murder him. Herzog declined. If you have seen this, then let me know what you thought of the film in the comments below. Here is what I had to say while watching 1982’s Fitzcarraldo
Film – Fitzcarraldo
Year – 1982
Director – Werner Herzog
Staring – Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jose Lewgoy
IMDb Rating – 8.1/10
My Rating – 8/10
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight
Reading… in German
Who turned on the fog machine?
At a mansion party, people arrive
We see Fitzcarraldo sailing towards the mansion with his wife, Molly
Fitzcarraldo seems to be in a hurry for something
Thay guard just gave champagne to a horse
It turns out we’re watching an opera performance and Fitzcarraldo is running late
This singer is very good
This one’s better
Overlapping opera singing!
Female high pitched opera time now
Her dress is a little long
Fitscarraldo traveled 1200 miles down the Amazon to see his idol
From where I live, Leeds England, 1200 miles from here is Warsaw in Poland, Zagreb in Croatia or Valladolid in Spain
Fitzcarraldo doesn’t have a ticket but he has rights?
They persuade the guard to let them in and they watch from the back
“He pointed at me!” – No he pointed at me!
I can’t tell if she wants to stab herself or the man on his knees through the skull
Show’s over and everyone gets a standing ovation
The next day, Fitzcarraldo meets with a opera manager
Fitzcarraldo’s full name is Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald and claims everyone in Peru had trouble trying to say it – Why didn’t they just call him Brian?
He owns a railway?!? But the idea fell through
Fitzcarraldo has a dream to have The Great Opera in the Jungle!
“It’s only the dreamers who ever move mountains”
Is this man’s office in the main room in a town hall?
Fitzcarraldo sails home up the Amazon with his wife
This village really looks like it needs an opera
They arrive home and are greated by their workers
Fitzcarraldo doesn’t want to stay so he can work on his opera
I have the feeling I’lll be seeing a lot of that
Fitzcarraldo sails to a hut carrying bananas
Why are those children watching him sleep?
Why is there a pig there?
He plays his favourite record by Carusso and everyone has a listen
Children eat ice?
At a gambling table, everyone laughs at Fitzcarraldo’s idea to sell ice
He then climbs to the bell tower of a church
He says the church will remain closed until he gets his opera
“I WANT MY OPERA HOUSE!!!”
I thought I was going mental but it appears Fitzcarraldo is more mental than I am
That stunt lands him in prison
He gets released after two days and is should why by a guard
They have been children praying for him
Fitzcarraldo then meets with Molly and plans to make money by selling rubber
They then meet with the opera manager at his mansion
He just fed a fish $1000
They have valets look after guns in Peru rather than cars
Fitzcarraldo re-enters with a phonograph and plays some more Carruso
Doesn’t look like anyone cares
He gets thrown out and then steals all the drinks
“The conquistador of the useless”
Are they trying to challenge him to a “who can have the better opera”
Molly suggests Fitzcarraldo go find rubber and sell it
But Fitzcarraldo needs a bigger boat than the one he has
No one has sailed upstream! That just gaves Fitzcarraldo an idea
I believe what the opera manager just said was “Don’t go chasing waterfalls”
We find a rubber tree!!!
60 kilos of rubber can go for a lot
Why do you need 10,000 employees to do one job? AND NOT PAY THEM!!!
Fitzcarraldo plans to sail down the river and send the boat across land to the other river to get his rubber
Why does Molly sleep in a bed and Fitzcarraldo sleep in a hammock?
They meet with a ship salesman
Take my money
They’ve bought a boat!
That’s not a boat! It’s a wreck remains of a steamship
I can’t tell what’s whiter, Fitzcarraldo’s hair, teeth or clothes?
The opera manager forces Fitzcarraldo to take Cholo with him as his mechanic
Best get the ship in working order
How exactly can you start fires on water?
“I wonder what his character is really up to” – So do I Cholo
In goes the hot liquid and we have steam
Fitzcarraldo then meets with Orinoco Paul
Paul tells him about his past and is elected Captain
They both start making plans to put together a crew
Huerequeque steps forwards to be The Cook
Huerequeque is very drunk and has the shirt over the shoulder look
Back home, Fitzcarraldo tells Molly she must stay behind
KISS ME BITCH
She is then given a painting of the two of them
It’s time to set sail
It’s like The Titanic… only cheaper
The ship names “Molly”
That’s a waste of good champagne
And off they sail
The opera manager has an expression that reads “What the fuck is he doing?”
Cholo goes to meet with Paul and is told he only leave the engine room if Paul says so
I don’t think that black smoke is good for the polution
These look like the most bored crewmen I’ve ever seen
Get your hands out of your pants!
They sail towards the railway that Fitzcarraldo owns
This guy reminds me of Flava Flav
You’ve been here six years without pay despite the thing being a flop?
Fitzcarraldo tells him that they are taking the rails
With the rails onboard it’s back upstream we go
The Pachitea is not that far now! Woohoo!
Did Huerequeque just cop a feel then grope his other helper?
I thought Cholo wasn’t allowed to leave the engine room!
We’re on The Pachitea!
It’s kicked off downstairs
Fitzcarraldo arrives to sort things out
“I told you in Iquitos I needed men, not cowards who shit in their pants”
That is a lovely sunset
Fitzcarraldo arrives at Saramiriza and meet with some men
That statement is racist towards Indians
The crews at it again!
Paul tells Fitzcarraldo that Huerequeque’s women are causing all the problems as they are the only women on board and all the crewmen want to shag them
Fitzcarradlo throws off two crewmen and the women and we continue on sailing
We hear tribal music being played in the jungle
Did Paul just turn the ship around?
Everyone gets your guns out
Cholo just threw a grenade to silence the music
This scene’s beginning to drag
Something’s floating towards them
It’s an umbrella!
Huerequeque thinks it was sent by the people in the forest as a message
Fitzcarraldo then stands on top of the ship and begins to play Caruso to calm everything down
It stops the tribal music
This is a very nice shot – A man sailing down the river playing his records
They sail on and spots some Indians in a canoe watching them
Paul suggests sailing past them and ignoring them
Huerequeque doesn’t like what’s happening and arms himself after nearly being shot at by an arrow
Fitzcarraldo wants to know more about The Jivaro Indians
Huerequeque tells him that they’ve been looking for a White God for ten years
“This God doesn’t come with cannons. He comes with the voice of Caruso”
In the morning, Cholo enters Fitzcarraldo’s room and tells him thath his crewmen have left him and the journey is over
Cholo says he stayed because he wants to sail back with him
Paul is seen tied up to the steering wheel
Fitzcarraldo plays some more Caruso to calm things down again
Fitzcarraldo says the dream is over
All three men then see The Jivaro Indians in the river and try blocking their path by chopping down trees
That tree sounded like a squeaky fart
The Jivaro Indians sail up to the ship and they don’t attack them
Huerequeque is still there?!?
The Jivaro Indians may have found The White God they’ve been looking for and board the ship
How to shake hands with Fitzcarraldo – Hold your hand out and let everyone touch it
It appears Fitzcarraldo has hired them to work for him and they set sail again
Cholo and Huerequeque don’t know what to make to this
Paul seems happy
Fitzcarraldo covers up his food so no one can steal it
A dinner and a show! Don’t think it’s going down well
It looks like they’ve found what they’ve been looking for
They’ve made it to the crossing
Fitzcarraldo says he’s going to drive the ship over the hill and Cholo likes this
Back on board and Paul doesn’t understand what Fitzcarraldo is on about
Huerequeque is now hired to be translator for Fitzcarraldo and The Jivaro Indians
Let the tree chopping commence
Smile for the camera
That is another nice sunset
Think I know where I’m doing some night photos in the future
On board after all their chopping
Why start a fire on a ship made of wood?
Huerequeque says if this doesn’t work then they should make a tunnel
Huerequeque appears to have now hired children to work for him
Back to chopping
I have the feeling this could take a while
Fitzcarraldo suggests using dyamite to speed up the progress
That explosion made me jump!
This is making me sleepy
The cameraman almost got taken out
After days of work, the ship is ready sail up the mountain
They’re going to use the ship’s engine to power it over the mountain
The night before, all The Jivora Indians have all gone!
One of the children is still there
The fog machine’s back
And so are the Indians
Here we go, moment of truth
Will the ship make it over the mountain?
Very slowly but it’s working
I have the feeling this could take a while go get up
We’ve forgotten Caruso!!!
There he is! His voice once again calms everything down as we watch the ship travel up the mountain
It’s finally made it to the top
Now to get it down the mountain
I just saw boob
Slowly but surely, the ship makes it down the mountain
Caruso plays again and the ship makes it down the mountain and into the river
The Indians cheer and celebrate
Cholo and Huerequeque share a hug
The Indians celebrate that night by having a tribal party
Fitzcarraldo just sits and drinks while he gets his face painted
They board the ship for some sleep
That Chief Indian just cut the line sending the ship down the river
They sail down the river and crash into a rock
They’re drifting into the rapids!
Into the rapids they go
Looks like a bumpy ride
That was a big crash
Where’s Paul in all this?
There he is!
The ship is getting wrecked
Caruso plays again to calm everything down again
Why doesn’t Paul take control of the ship rather than watch it crash into every rocky cliff
I guess Paul read that as he’s now in control
Huerequeque tells Fitzcarraldo what The Chief Indian told him about cutting the line to sail down the river
Yep… That ship is battered
I wouldn’t even try selling it on Ebay
Back in Iquitos
Fitzcarraldo is back and meets with The Opera Manager
The Indians are there with them
Fitzcarraldo shares a story about the first man to see Niagara Falls
The Opera Manager says he wants to buy the boat back from Fitzcarraldo
Fitzcarraldo sure knows his opera
He sells the ship to the opera manager and gives then Cholo and Huerequeque
He then gives money to Paul to travel to Maunus to get a tailcoat and a cigar
He also wants an armchair with red velvet upholstery
He’s still keeping his promise to the pig from earlier
Here comes a bunch of boats
All of them carrying members of an opera
Fitzcarraldo’s got his opera in the jungle
They’ve even brought the sets
Everyone applaudes Fitzcarraldo
They decide to have the opera on the ship Fitzcarraldo has been sailing on
Is it me or is that ship leaning to the right just a little bit?
Fitzcarraldo celebrates his opera with his cigar and Molly watches on back at Iquitos
Why is the choir dressed as pilgrims?
I’ll guess I’ll never find out