Klaus Kinski, Beast of Cinema

Critical Essays and Fellow Filmmaker Interviews

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About the Book

With more than 130 films and a career spanning four decades, Klaus Kinski (1926–1991) was one of the most controversial actors of his generation. Known for his wild tantrums on set and his legendary collaborations with auteur Werner Herzog—Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)—Kinski’s intense performances made him the darling of European arthouse and exploitation/horror cinema. A genius in front of the camera, he was capable of lighting up the most risible films. Yet behind his public persona lurked a depraved man who took his art to the darkest extremes.
This first ever collection of essays focusing on Kinski examines his work in exploitation and art house films and spaghetti westerns, along with his performances in such cult classics as Doctor Zhivago (1965), Crawlspace (1986), Venus in Furs (1965), The Great Silence (1968), Android (1982) and his only directorial credit, Paganini (1989). More than 50 reviews of Kinski’s films are included, along with exclusive interviews with filmmakers and actors who worked with him.

About the Author(s)

Matthew Edwards is a primary school teacher and freelance writer from Cirencester, England. He is the author or editor of numerous books on world cinema.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Matthew Edwards
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 312
Bibliographic Info: 50 photos, filmography, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9897-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2508-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction 5

Part I. Wrath of God: Essays on the Cinema of Klaus Kinski

A Marriage of Inconvenience: Kinski, Herzog and the ­Reenactment

of German History (Joana Moura) 13

The Physiological Sublime in Aguirre (Patrícia Castello Branco) 27

In Darkness: The Reality of Evil in Nosferatu the Vampyre (David Williams) 40

Becoming Aguirre: Kinski Between Exploitation and Stylization in Italian Popular ­Cinema (Roberto Cavallini) 49

“The only free man on this train”: The Anarchist in Doctor Zhivago (Padraic Killeen) 59

Kinski Al Dente: Physical Acting in the Spaghetti Western (Lance Duerfahrd) 78

Expressing the Repressed: Cinema as Artifice and Its Polysemic

Possibilities (Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns) 90

Kinski in the Films of Jesús “Jess” Franco and Harry Alan Towers (Tyson Wils) 100

Franco-German Portrayals of the Subject as Object in La Chanson

de Roland (Axel Andersson) 117

Doctor Kinski in ­B-Land: Creature, Android and Timestalkers (Benjamin van Loon) 128

Crawlspace and the Kinski Swerve (Tonya Howe) 140

Chaos and Beauty: Paganini (Matthew Edwards) 161

Part II. Devil on the Set: Interviews with Collaborators

An Interview with Actor Peter Berling (Matthew Edwards) 179

An Interview with Director David Paulsen (Matthew Edwards) 188

An Interview with Actor Flo Lawrence (Matthew Edwards) 192

An Interview with Production Designer William DeSeta (Matthew Edwards) 198

An Interview with Director David Wickes (Matthew Edwards) 208

An Interview with Actor Barry Hickey (Matthew Edwards) 213

An Interview with Cinematographer Harry Mathias (Matthew Edwards) 221

Part III. Key Kinski: Selected Films Reviewed (Mark Edwards, Matthew Edwards and Dan Taylor)

Decision Before Dawn (1951) 229 • Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Witwe (1963), aka The Secret of the Black Widow 230 • Der schwarze Abt (1963), aka The Black Abbot 231 • Scotland Yard jagt Dr. Mabuse (1963), aka Dr. Mabuse vs. Scotland Yard 232 • Estambul 65 (1965), aka That Man in Istanbul 233 • Per qualche dollaro in più (1965), aka For a Few Dollars More 234 • The Pleasure Girls (1965) 235 • Circus of Fear (1966) 236 • ¿Quien sabe? (1966), aka A Bullet for the General 237 • The Million Eyes of ­Su-Muru (1967) 238 • Ognuno per sè (1968), aka The Ruthless Four 239 • Il grande silenzio (1968), aka The Great Silence 241 • Marquis De Sade’s “Justine” (1968) 242 • Mr. Ten Percent (1968), aka Psychopath 243 • 5 per l’inferno (1969), aka Five for Hell 244 • Due volte Giuda (1969), aka They Were Called Graveyard, Twice a Judas 245 • Il dito nella piaga (1969), aka The Liberators, Salt in the Wound, War Fever 246 • Paroxismus (1969), aka Venus in Furs 247 • Sono Sartana, il vostro becchino (1969), aka I Am Sartana, Your Gravedigger; Sartana the Gravedigger; Angel of Death: Sartana 248 • E Dio disse a Caino (1970), aka And God Said to Cain 249 • I leopardi di Churchill (1970), aka Churchill’s Leopards 251 • La bestia uccide a sangue freddo (1971), aka Cold Blooded Beast, Slaughter Hotel 251 • Black Killer (1971) 252 • Lo chiamavano King (1971), aka His Name Was King 253 • Nella stretta morsa del ragno (1971), aka Web of the Spider 254 • Per una bara piena di dollari (1971), aka Barrel Full of Dollars, Coffin Full of Dollars, Showdown for a Badman 256 • Il venditore di morte (1971), aka The Price of Death, Last Gunfight 258 • La vendetta è un piatto che si serve freddo (1971), aka Vengeance Trail, Death’s Dealer, Vengeance Is a Dish Served Cold, Three Amens for Satan 259 • La morte ha sorriso all’assassino (1972), aka Death Smiles on a Murderer 260 • Il ritorno di Clint il solitario (1972), aka There’s a Noose Waiting for You, Trinity; The Return of Clint the Stranger 262 • Il mio nome è Shangai Joe (1973), aka The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe 263 • Le amanti del mostro (1974), aka Lover of the Monster 264 • La mano che nutre la morte (1974), aka The Hand That Feeds the Dead, Evil Face 266 • Che botte, ragazzi! (1975), aka Return of Shanghai Joe 267 • Lifespan (1975) 268 • Footprints on the Moon (1975), aka Le orme 269 • Jack the Ripper (1976) 269 • Mivista Yonatan (1977), aka Operation Thunderbolt 271 • Zoo zéro (1979) 272 • La Femme enfant (1980) 273 • Haine (1980), aka Killer Truck 274 • Les fruits de la passion (1981), aka Fruits of Passion 275 • Venom (1981) 275 • Love & Money (1982) 278 • Faerie Tale Theatre 14: “Beauty and the Beast” (1984) 279 • Geheimcode Wildgänse (1984), aka Code Name: Wild Geese 281 • El caballero del dragón (1985), aka Star Knight 283 • Kommando Leopard (1985), aka Commando Leopard 284 • Grandi cacciatori (1988) 287 • Nosferatu a Venezia (1988), aka Vampire in Venice 288

Filmography 293

About the Contributors 297

Index 299

Book Reviews & Awards

“immensely readable, densely informative and insightful, and at times riotously entertaining”—Video Watch Dog; “Matthew Edwards has written and compiled an excellent book. It is a thorough analysis of Klaus Kinski…it covers every aspect of film over the last fifty years. Any serious student of film is bound to learn something here.”—Killer Reviews; “pour yourself two fingers of your hard liquor of choice and peruse the reviews, heavy on spaghetti Westerns, sexploitation, spy adventures and scare fare-unsurprisingly the reason I’ll return to this text in years to come”—Bookgasm.