I saw Fitzcarraldo a few weeks ago. It’s about a crazy German dude, played by Klaus Kinski (you know, the blonde Ken Dodd?) and his attempts to setup an opera in the Peruvian rain forest while somehow coalescing (genuine) local tribesman to help him along the way. One aspect of it really struck me that sets it apart though. There comes a point where he has this idea to drag a great steamboat over a strip of land rather then around a bend in the river and through some dangerous rapids.
To achieve this they have to get the huge steamboat up a hill and down the other side. And what sets this film apart is that this hurdle presented the exact same conundrum for both the film-makers and the characters. The figuring out, the execution, the anticipation, it’s all real. Forget method acting. This is method film-making, on a grand scale. This factor alone makes it well worth a watch. That just wouldn’t happen these days. Would have to be done with special effects.
I’d say this would be one movie where the voice over thingies on the DVD would be really interesting. And of course Fitzcarraldo is better known for the action in-between the takes with Kinski and Herzog close to fisticuffs, and the tribesman offering to make Kinski disappear. Kerzog later made a documentary about their relationship called My Best Friend.