The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.


“Fitzcarraldo” was such a troubled production that a documentary was shot about it on set and that won awards. Hell, there was a cult documentary shot about the documentary shot about the film. The two documentaries have both been added to the Criterion Collection. At one point, Jason Robards and Mick Jagger were both supposed to play Fitzcarraldo. But, those men could see the shitstorm coming and decided to back out. The film is a fascinating dedication to the power of devotion and insane drive. However, the shot of that boat going up over the waterfall is one of the strongest images in International Cinema for the last 50 years.

The standalone release is the same disc used in the grandiose Herzog Collection released in 2015. While I admire Shout’s commitment to share great world directors with the masses, there should’ve been something special to warrant a standalone release. But, if they did that, then those that bought the larger set would’ve felt put out. Home entertainment is a tricky business with no answers. So, thrill to the sight of a crazed German living an opera house up a waterfall. Cinema was created for moments like these.

The film comes with two commentary tracks and a trailer as the special features. While I consider this to be one of the easiest Herzog films to research and discover, it also asks a lot of its audience in the last 30 minutes of the film. By then, you should be hooked to the quest, but sometimes it’s an Opera House too far. Also, Claudia Cardinale looked really old on the 1080p transfer. Some people don’t hold up in HD, I guess.

RELEASE DATE: 01/13/2015

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