Klaus Kinski Venom Press Kit

Apologies for the absence over the past few weeks – I promise a couple more substantial updates will follow very shortly, but in the meantime here’s a press kit I picked up over the weekend for the film Venom (Dirs Piers Haggard & Tobe Hooper, 1981).

The next film review will be for Beauty and the Beast (Dir Roger Vadim, 1984), but I will definitely review Venom straight after that as it’s such an entertaining film.

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Klaus Kinski builds a pizza oven

Well, I’m back from Münster and the Beat Presser “Kinski” photography exhibition at the lovely Westpreußisches Landesmuseum.  Beat Presser was kind enough to do an interview with Du dumme Sau! after the Kinski Abend so I’ll write that up and publish it shortly.  In the meantime here is a little update with a few bits and pieces. 

The title of the article refers to the photograph on the cover of Beat Presser’s Arte Edition Kinski book (above), which I bought and got signed at the exhibition.  I asked Beat Presser what Klaus was doing in the photograph and he said, “He was building a pizza oven”, which tickled me more than somewhat.  I still don’t know if I believe Beat Presser, but he swore it was true! 

Anyway, the book, which is now out of press and difficult to find for under £100 secondhand is actually available new and shrinkwrapped via the museum for just 60 Euros, so get yours whilst they still have copies:  


And remember that there is one more Kinski-Abend on 8 September and the exhibition runs until 3 October 2011. 

Anyway, after Münster I went on to Amsterdam for a week and whilst there I managed to find these Android stills:

There wasn’t a lot on Kinski available in Amsterdam, so that was a little disappointing, but I did take a couple of shots of the Hotel Doelen, which featured in the film Lifespan (see my review of the film here:  https://dudummesau.com/2011/02/09/klaus-kinski-makes-the-bed/).  I’ll publish those when I get my films processed later this week.  I wanted to stay at the Doelen, of course, but my boyfriend booked us into the Eden American hotel instead; Beat Presser misheard us when we told him where we were staying and thought we were going to some strange cannibal hotel called the Eat An American.  Luckily we all saw the funny side, as they say!

Back home I had a special birthday present waiting for me – Klaus Kinski’s autograph on an Amadeo Romeo und Julia flyer:

 You’ll need to click on the picture to enlarge it and see the signature clearly – it’s across Klaus’ chest, and very beautiful it is too.  One of the best presents I have ever been given.  Here’s the back of the flyer too:

What else?  Well, there’s been a Klaus related artwork forming part of the Jerwood Makers Open exhibition, which is at the Jerwood Space in London until 28 August 2011.   The artist Keith Harrison created his work based on a scene in the film Fitzcarraldo where Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski) journeys up the Pachitea river in a steamer playing Caruso opera records.  The piece, essentially a huge dub reggae soundsystem, plays music from  Fitzcarraldo on ceramic records. The artist says the work was inspired by listening to the Jah Shaka sound system at St George’s Hall in Exeter in 1994. 

Go and see the Float whilst you can.  It’s free entrance and the gallery is open 7 days a week, see http://www.jerwoodspace.co.uk/gal_whatson.html for more details. 

Finally, some great news from Peter Geyer who contacted Du dumme Sau! with a message saying, “I guess this could be of some interest for you”.  He guessed absolutely right, check this out:

Peter Geyer O A Krimmel Kinski book

The link takes you to the Spiegel Shop site where there are details of a new Klaus Kinski book from Peter Geyer and the art director O A Krimmel, Vermächtnis, which will be available some time in September and costs about 50 Euros.  Aside from being incredibly stylish and having a stunning cover, this book is a must-have for all Kinski fans as it includes unpublished autobiographical texts, stories, letters, photographs, and drawings and other previously unavailable items.  Make sure you watch the short embedded film which you can find towards the top of the page – it’s beautiful.  Du dumme Sau! asked Peter Geyer where this footage came from and the reply provided further good news as this pretty much unknown footage of Klaus Kinski is from Austrian TV and will probably be made available on Kinski Talks 3 when it is finalised.  Aside from this another Peter Geyer-Kinski work is also in progress and one to look out for – a Paganini book.  This is still in progress and may not be available until October this year or later.  Peter Geyer said the following about this one:  “Kinski couldn’t prevent nasty editings because of his premature death.  Now the book will finally be released the way he wanted and with the combining photos of  Gerard Rancinan, the photographer that gained all his trust in Kinski’s last decade.”  It sounds like there is plenty in the Kinski pipeline, so I’d better start saving up my pennies now! 

General question to Kinski fans out there – is anyone planning anything for the 20 year anniversary of his death on 23 November 2011?  I’m trying to think if there is anything that can be done in London – with limited resources, of course!  I’ll keep you posted if I hear of anything myself but if anyone else knows of any special events happening worldwide, do send details through and I’ll make sure they get promoted on Du dumme Sau!

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Klaus Kinski photo – Der Zinker

Here’s a fabulous film still I got at a recent film fair:

It’s from Alfred Vohrer’s 1963 version of Der Zinker (The Squeaker).  This film is still on my wants list – now even more so after seeing this photograph of Klaus looking amazing!

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Klaus Kinski – Evenings with Beat Presser at the Westpreußischen Landesmuseum, Münster

Well, I will be off to Münster on 21 July to attend the “Kinski-Abend mit Beat Presser” at the Westpreußischen Landesmuseum.  In case you don’t know about these special evenings, there has already been one for the Kinski-Beat Presser exhibition launch on 8 April 2011: http://www.westpreussisches-landesmuseum.de/index.php/kinski-ausstellungseroeffnung

The second “Beat Presser Evening” takes place on 21 July, followed by a third and final on 8 September.  Don’t forget, the exhibition closes on 3 October 2011!

At these events, Beat Presser talks about working with Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog on the films Fitzcarraldo and Cobra Verde and about the wonderful photographs he produced out of those sessions and the Paris Madame Claude portrait session.  I won’t understand that much since my German is rusty but I’m hoping to get an interview (in English!) with Beat Presser on 21 July, so expect some kind of update at the end of July or early August when I am back from my holidays – I’m already incredibly excited about the exhibition, about seeing Klaus Kinski’s outfits from Fitzcarraldo and Cobra Verde, and about meeting Beat Presser who took such fabulous portraits of Klaus. 

Photograph by Th. Hölscher: (from left to right) Director of the Museum Dr Lothar Hyss; Vera Pechel, designer of the Kinski book; Beat Presser; Klaus Kinski’s uniform from Cobra Verde and Dr Martin Steinkühler,  the curator of the exhibition. 

I don’t think the Westpreußischen Landesmuseum has made enough of these events or promoted them widely enough, so do spread the word.  It’s only 6 Euros to attend and you get to see the photos and Kinski’s clothes, hear Beat Presser’s stories and purchase books (the exhibition catalogue pictured above and reviewed on this blog, plus the earlier Kinski Porträtiert von Beat Presser, arte Edition, and the Werner Herzog – Beat Presser book, arte Edition) and posters and booklets all at very reasonable prices.  To avoid disappointment, take cash with you as I understand that the Museum doesn’t have the facilities to take credit card payments. 

The events start at 7pm and you can either turn up on the day and pay at the door, or book in advance by contacting:

Westpreußisches Landesmuseum, Am Steintor 5, 48167 Münster, Tel.: 02506 – 810120

For more information about the exhibition see:


Expect to hear more from me on this later…

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Klaus Kinski and the sexual microphone

How can you review a German interview DVD without subtitles when your German is, let’s say, a little rusty?  Well, you don’t as such – you take loads of screen grabs to keep everyone’s interest and hope that they don’t realise just how little you understood… O well, I try my best.  So, here’s my impressions after watching Kinski Talks 1, another one of the stylish Klaus Kinski Estate Editions compiled by Peter Geyer.

Here are my nonsensical ramblings about KK who is looking good – very good – in the first interview, Je später der Abend, from 1977.  Klaus is interviewed by some chap called Reinhard Münchenhagen and joined on the settee by some unidentified bloke who enjoys chain smoking as much as Reinhard and Klaus do.  Honestly, I can’t tell you a lot about this interview except KK appears to be on form, making everyone laugh, interacting with an audience member and getting into heated debates.  I wrote some notes whilst I was watching the interview as follows:  Ich spiele nicht, ich bin das; Have you read my book? What is it called?; monologues at the Berliner Sportpalast; the German public; and The Rolling Stones.   I don’t expect you to piece that little lot together as I can’t and I did actually see the interview…  All I remember is that Klaus was wearing double denim (and somehow managed to get away with it) and jazz shoes, with his shirt open almost to the waist (did he never master the press stud?) and he was pulling strange faces throughout the interview too – what’s the business with the tongue?!  The interview?  Probably very clever, but with my limited German I could only focus on the visuals but for that alone it was definitely worth a look:

As a bonus there is an interview (about the interview) with Reinhard Münchenhagen on a golf course.  Needless to say I couldn’t understand that either.

The second interview is painful to watch – o dear, Klausy, you were a very naughty boy! But also, what a difference 8 years makes, Klaus looks so much older in this interview than the previous one.  This one is from 1985 and is called Wer bin ich?  The interview was conducted by the rather lovely looking Helga Guitton who appears to have the patience of a saint, even if she doesn’t have any interesting questions to ask KK.  My German is limited and even I know that her questions are vapid and annoying.  The interview seems to be some kind of promotional thing for Antonio Margheriti’s Kommando Leopard, which I have to review some time on here. 

Anyway, what can I tell you?  Klaus is in a hotel, eating a very big meal (I lose track of the number of courses throughout this 75 minute sort-of-interview-type-thingy), ignoring the beautiful Helga and directing his non-responses and naughty jokes to his friends who are (mostly) in the off screen space.  First off, he makes a grab for Helga’s microphone that he seems to think is a bit sexual, which could explain why later in the interview he pretends to masturbate it; however, it does not explain why he tries to squeeze a lemon on it as well.  The mind boggles…

Helga asks about Kommando Leopard but Klaus is having none of it; maybe he had seen the film and wanted to forget it as much as the next person.  I’m only guessing… Instead Helga is forced to address what I first thought of as “the red jumper twins”:

The guy on the left is called Georges (or something – I couldn’t find out his name, actually) and the guy on the right is Hans Leutenegger.  Apparently he was a famous bobsledder and he won a gold medal and everything.  He also took a role in Kommando Leopard as the Capitan and was a good friend of KK.  Georges, well, he was also in Kommando Leopard, apparently, but although he says he played the role of the Commandante I can’t see any Georges (or any variation on the spelling) in the credits on IMDB, so I don’t know what happened to Georges…

Anyway, it is Hans Leutenegger you have to watch – he’s great.  He looks like Bob Carolgees of Spit the Dog fame, but he sounds like Slavoj Žižek (although he is Swiss and not Slovenian).  He is very funny – watch him any time the camera moves over to his side of the table, he looks directly into the camera very happily.  He seems like a very nice chap and furthermore he is also responsible for my favourite moment of the interview, but more on that later.

So, where was I?  Sexual microphone… Kommando Leopard… Yes, KK is obviously in a very naughty mood as he says to Helga: “Du bist ein mann?!”  You’re a man?!, well, Klaus finds it amusing anyway.  In fact throughout the interview KK seems to alternate between being a bit annoyed and making himself laugh.  One minute he is not answering questions at all, the next he is monologuing on the subjects of America, the youth, stupid questions, an Italian singer whose name I couldn’t catch, slogans on t-shirts, journalists, etc. 

Klaus Kinski is the only person I know who can get angry about stickers.  Did that really happen in the interview?  I believe so, but you’ll just have to buy the DVD for yourself and see. 

What else?  Klaus enjoys his food (see the sandwich eating scene in Creature for another example of this) and he doesn’t seem to care one jot that he is being interviewed – he tucks into a variety of dishes and doesn’t stop eating or drinking for the duration.  At one point he appears to spear about 15 prawns on his fork before taking a mouthful.  He also seems to order fresh cold beer every time his reaches room temperature.  And he doesn’t want any Yugoslavian coffee, only Italian!

Mr Klaus Kinski, aged 58, gets angry about newspapers saying, “Mr so and so, aged 42”.  A great moment to involve Mr Hans Leutenegger, aged 45, in the interview:

“Guten tag, Herr Forty-Five”, Klaus says.  I think he’s made his point…

What about Helga?  Well, poor Helga seems to piss Klaus off whatever she does or says but she is very resilient.  When Klaus says to her, “Give me a break!”, she says something along the lines of, “What does Give me a break mean?  A rest or…”.  I take it Klaus meant “or…”!

What else did I notice?  Klaus’ outfit looked like some kind of hospital gown – I know he liked his whites and beige colours but that top looks like it fastens up at the back with ribbons.  I learnt a bit of vocab – thanks to Klaus I now know quatsch lächerlich, and blöd.  Yes, he was VERY dismissive of the interviewer.

Finally, my favourite bit in the interview involved dessert.  After some discussion Klaus decided to order dessert.  He’d already ordered the Italian coffee what seemed like an age ago and it didn’t appear to have reached the table yet.  Luckily he did not notice that, otherwise there would have been hell to pay.  But anyway, this lovely looking dessert arrived:

Yummy, yummy, yummy!  You’d think he’d tuck in straight away, right?  Wrong!  He proceeded to play with the dessert for an age, stirring it and chopping at it and then very occasionally taking a mouthful.  At one point he got into yet another heated debate with Helga and whilst his attention was drawn away, Mr Hans Leutenegger, aged 45 (aka Herr Forty-Five), took a sneaky spoonful of Klaus’ pudding!

Brilliant!   Then the coffee arrived just before the end of the interview.  It took so long I wonder if they had to get some coffee shipped in from Italy especially for Klaus. 

As this has not exactly been an enlightening review, here’s a few more screen grabs to make you happy:

And just because it amuses me, another picture of Klaus with Hans Leutenegger:

There’s another bonus on the DVD in the form of an interview with Hans Leutenegger.  I was a bit confused as to why the interview appeared to be carried out on a construction site, but apparently this is because Hans Leutenegger has his own (rather massive) construction business.  Anyway, I couldn’t understand the interview but hats off to Mr Leutenegger for making the Helga Guitton interview so enjoyable!

So, if like me you don’t understand much German, is it worth buying Kinski Talks 1?   Well, you’ll probably want the DVD after seeing the screen grabs and you’ll probably need to see it just because what I have to say about it makes little or no sense.  In fact if any German speakers out there want to tell Du dumme Sau! what the interviews are about, I’d be very happy to hear from you.

POSTSCRIPT:  Having consulted Christian David’s fabulous Kinski Die Biographie (Aufbau Verlag, Berlin, 2008), I see that basically the Je später der Abend interview consisted of Klaus avoiding answering any questions at all.  David says that nothing new was revealed about Klaus, his life or his creative output, and that he turned the interview into a monologue about the fact that people constantly misunderstand each other.  Apparently he continually questioned the host on what he meant by certain questions, indicating an apparent total incomprehension, and constantly checking whether he had understood his line of questioning correctly.  When the spectator intervened Klaus asked if it was supposed to be a mass discussion, because if it was he would keep his mouth shut!  So this was in fact an anti-interview with Klaus questioning everything.  All I know is, I have to brush up on my German double-quick!

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Jess Franco: Jack the Ripper vs The Awful Dr Orlof

It seems like ages ago now that I reviewed Jess Franco’s Jack the Ripper (1976) but, if you’ve been paying attention, you might recall that as Klaus Kinski’s character was called Dr Orloff I made reference in the review to another Jess Franco film called The Awful Dr Orlof (1962)

I had originally thought this was just a homonym but in fact it seems there are more coincidences than just the name.  I watched The Awful Dr Orlof  recently and I can thoroughly recommend it.  It’s a kind of rip-off of Georges Franju’s Les yeux sans visage aka Eyes Without A Face (1960), mingled in with aspects of Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari (1920).

Although The Awful Dr Orlof has a very different story line to Jack the Ripper, some scenes from the latter are almost straight re-runs of scenes from the former.  So whilst The Awful Dr Orlof is about a retired doctor who employs a monster called Morpho to abduct young women so he can take skin grafts from their faces to repair the disfigured face of his daughter, and Jack the Ripper is about a serial killer who targets prostitutes, some scenes are common to both films. 

The protagonists are called Orlof (The Awful Dr Orlof) and Dennis Orloff (Jack the Ripper) and as both films are set around about the same period, these characters dress similarly.  And although Klaus Kinski is the more attractive of the two (of course) there appears to be some physical similarity between the two actors. 

Both Orlof and Dennis Orloff are driven by personal conflict.  Dr Orlof’s daughter has a facial disfigurement which he wishes to repair as he fears for her health.  Dr Orlof says that up until the day his daughter was burnt in the fire he had always tried to benefit mankind and, in fact, the crimes he commits are, primarily, done in an effort to save his daughter.  Although there is the case of faking Arne’s death to get her out of a lifetime prison sentence, which is not truly explained other than with the statement that he believes he was in love with her then, the other crimes (including faking Morpho’s death to allow him to escape prison) are all motivated by his desire to treat his daughter’s facial disfigurement.  The day that he issued a false death certificate to help Morpho escape from prison, he retired from practising medicine.  

Dr Dennis Orloff was abused by his mother who worked as a prostitute and he believes he can wash away his sins with the blood of dead prostitutes.  Dr Dennis Orloff is said to be a pushover as far as his patients are concerned, he works hard and he charges them little, allowing them to pay whenever they are able.  The irony is that whilst he saves lives during the daytime, he goes out looking for victims to murder in the evening.

Orlof and Dennis Orloff have assistants who help them with their crimes.  Orlof has a more active assistant in Morpho, who is said to have been found guilty of murdering a 12 year old girl and appears to enjoy helping the Doctor with his work.  Morpho does not question Orlof’s motives for wanting to kill the women and goes along with it all willingly until he realises that Orlof has accidentally killed Arne, the only woman for whom Morpho feels any fondness.  It should be noted that Orlof only kills Arne – and this was accidental – but that all the other murders are carried out by Morpho at his instigation.

Dennis Orloff has a more passive assistant in Frieda, who helps Dennis Orloff with the disposal of the bodies only and does not participate in the killing.  Whilst Morpho clearly has murderous tendencies and he and Orlof mutually benefit from Orlof’s scheme, it is unclear what Frieda gets out of covering up Dennis Orloff’s serial killings.  Frieda appears to be mentally deficient and has some unexplained scarring to her face – it’s possible she is one of Dennis Orloff’s patients (but this is never mentioned) and it is also possible that she is in love with him (she tries to kiss his hand at one point but he pushes her away) and this could be why she willingly assists him.  

But whilst Dr Orlof requires Morpho to carry out his bidding, Dennis Orloff can be seen to be an amalgam of both Orlof and Morpho – he is the respected gentleman doctor and the murderer rolled into one; to throw another story into the mix, he’s a kind of Jekyll and Hyde character.

In both The Awful Dr Orlof and Jack the Ripper there are fairly incompetent police inspectors (Inspector Tanner and Inspector Selby) who are besotted with beautiful ballerinas (Wanda Bronsky and Cynthia).  Both Inspectors are given serial murder cases to solve and do not appear to be getting anywhere fast with the investigations; the help they get is in the form of information and assistance from a fisherman (Jean Rousseau and Charlie) and from their girlfriends going out secretly in disguise as prostitutes in a bid to attract the murderer and to help Tanner / Selby to find their killers. 

Both Orlof and Dennis Orloff transport their murder victims by boat down the river and then take them to a secret location (a castle or the Royal Botanical Gardens), before disposing of the remains by dumping the body further down the river.  In the case of Orlof, the attack is carried out by Morpho who carries the body to his master.  Dennis Orloff carries out the attack himself and carries the body away.

Both Orlof and Dennis Orloff are attracted to the Inspectors’ girlfriends.  As Tanner passes copies of the portraits of the suspects to policemen on duty and Selby goes back indoors to retrieve a bag, in almost identical scenes, Orlof / Orloff spots Wanda / Cynthia waiting alone in a carriage:

Upon Tanner’s / Selby’s return, Wanda / Cynthia announces that she has just encountered the murderer and that he has fled the scene.  In both cases Tanner and Selby pursue the suspect only to find that they have accosted the wrong person:

Despite having a description of the murderer, neither Inspector catches his killer/s before further murders are committed.  In The Awful Dr Orlof the singer Irma Gold disappears from the nightclub after Orlof and Morpho kill the pianist she was working with and then abduct her: 

Irma Gold’s mother:   “My daughter, she’s gone all night long.  That never happened before.  She sometimes works late, although she knows I’ve been sick for months.  She’s never left me alone like this though.  She’s all I’ve got.  She sings every night in a cabaret at Le vieux Colombier.  First thing this morning I went over to the place, they said my daughter had to practice some special numbers, she often stayed late with the pianist.  O! I’m frightened that something’s happened to her; that they’ve killed my daughter.  And I’ll never see her alive again; the same as those other poor girls.”

Policeman:  “You mustn’t be so upset.  I’m sure this is only a false alarm.”

In Jack the Ripper the singer Marika Stevenson disappears after leaving the club with Dennis Orloff:

Marika Stevenson’s mother:  Has she been found yet?”

Selby:   “No.  But you shouldn’t fear the worst yet.”

Marika Stevenson’s mother:   Don’t raise false hopes.  My Marika always came home.  Despite her profession, I could always rely on her, even if she came home very late.  She knew I would be worried.”

In an attempt to identify the murderers both Tanner and Selby bring together all the possible witnesses they have in one room and have them describe what and who they saw so that a police artist can draw suspect sketches.  In both cases, the Inspectors are given a variety of descriptions by their witnesses which do not tie up; in The Awful Dr Orloff this is because there are in fact two suspects (Orlof and Morpho) who look nothing alike, whilst in Jack the Ripper this is due to the unreliable testimony of bystanders.   However, in both cases the police artists come up with sketches which look very much like the murderers:

Tanner and Selby get important evidence and information from a local fisherman – in Tanner’s case from Jeannot and in Selby’s case from Charlie.  Jeannot finds a necklace in the river; it belonged to one of the murder victims:

Jeannot:  But I know the necklace came from further up the stream on account of the current… extremely powerful current there and it might have carried those beads a long way to where I was.” 

Policeman:  Where will I find you?”

Jeannot:  At Albert’s Tavern; that’s my home away from home.” 

Charlie finds a severed hand in the river – there is a ring on one of the fingers; the hand belongs to one of the murder victims:

Charlie:  This was in the water for less than a week.  I know what I’m talking about.  And the fact that she’s still wearing the ring will make your work easier.  Take a close look at it.  If I were you I’d have the whole canal searched, but further up from where I found this; in the current, of course.”

Policeman:  Where can we find you, if we need you?”

Charlie:  Well, I’m of no fixed abode, but if you need me you’ll find me at the Dolphin.  I like to have a little drink now and then, you see?”

Both Jeannot and Charlie appear to have a lack of confidence in the policemen that assist Tanner and Selby, and both demand that he should leave the room whilst they talk only to the Inspector.

Despite all the leads they are given, both Inspectors are criticised for their lack of progress with solving the cases; the criticism implies that Tanner and Selby are distracted from their cases by their girlfriends:

THE AWFUL DR ORLOFF:  “While the city’s new Bluebeard continues his reign of terror, the inspector in charge of the case is spending all of his time with a young ballerina.  What sort of an investigation is he conducting?”

JACK THE RIPPER:  “It’s unfortunate for him that Scotland Yard’s search for the killer hasn’t been successful.  People don’t like seeing a Scotland Yard inspector taking home a pretty dancer like you in the evening, while Jack the Ripper is slipping through his fingers… To make matters worse, The Times prints those readers’ letters…”

Because of this and despite their fear of Orlof / Orloff, both Wanda and Cynthia take it upon themselves to dig out provocative clothing to disguise themselves as women of the night in a bid to attract the murderer and thus assist Tanner / Selby with their investigations:

Both make a poor job of it and put their lives on the line in the process.  Wanda leaves willingly with Orlof believing that her note will get to Tanner in time for him to rescue her.  In fact she awakens in a strange castle and discovers Irma’s mutilated body chained up in one of Orlof’s rooms, now fearing  for her life.  Quite rightly as she winds up on an operating bed and only manages to escape having her face removed when Morpho finds Arne’s concealed body and stabs Orlof in a rage.  Morpho is about to murder Wanda when Tanner arrives in the nick of time and shoots Morpho. 

Cynthia is not so lucky when she encounters Dennis Orloff in a bar where she is posing as a prostitute.  She takes the barman to one side and asks him to inform Scotland Yard that Jack the Ripper is on the premises.  When she comes back, Dennis Orloff has gone.  She leaves the bar and is inevitably abducted by Orloff who takes her off to the botanical gardens.  Once there he attacks her and tells her that whores must suffer as he did as a child at the hands of his mother.  By the time Selby arrives, Cynthia has already been attacked. 

Take that as a warning, girls, it’s definitely not a good idea to dress up as a prostitute to help a policeman trap a serial killer…

Another similarity to mention briefly is the tapping of a stick – Orlof taps a stick so Morpho can sense where he is and follow him and the blind man in Jack the Ripper taps his stick as he walks.  I’m not sure why Jess Franco felt compelled to recycle so many aspects of The Awful Dr Orlof in Jack the Ripper as The Awful Dr Orlof is a great film in its own right and did not need to be remade.  But apparently Jess Franco had wanted to make a version of Jack the Ripper for some time and had planned it out very thoroughly before getting the funding together to make the film. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little comparison of the two films and that you check out The Awful Dr Orlof for yourself.  They’re both very good films, and let’s face it (however much I like a small number of his films) not all of Jess Franco films are that good!

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More Klaus Kinski photos

Whilst I’m working on a couple of reviews I thought I should provide an update with some more Klaus Kinski photos I’ve recently acquired.  Hope you like them.

Klaus playing Dr Hugo Zuckerbrot in Billy Wilder’s 1981 film Buddy Buddy.  I’ve not got around to buying / seeing Buddy Buddy yet but it’s bound to make for good viewing with Klaus playing a doctor at a sex clinic; well qualified for the job, I’d say.

I really want to see this film as well – Antonio Margheriti’s 1971 Web of the Spider aka Dracula im Schloss des Schreckens – as I love Edgar Allan Poe and Klaus looks fabulous in all the photographs I’ve seen from Web of the Spider.  Klaus with dark hair?  Looks quite good, I think.

Do I even need to identify this one?  Well, it’s Klaus in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979).  Enough said.

Although I’ve not yet seen it, I’m pretty sure this still is from George Roy Hill’s The Little Drummer Girl (1984).  Klaus with both hands in pockets – makes me happy!

I love this film – it’s a great piece of entertainment.  Klaus Kinski in Piers Haggard’s (and Tobe Hooper’s?) Venom (1981).  I’ll review it shortly, I promise – in fact, I’m looking forward to reviewing this one very much as there is so much to say about it…

This isn’t from a film – this is a French publication about Klaus that I really want to get my hands on.  Apparently it covers the theatre, TV and film work of Klaus Kinski and it was supposedly reviewed and corrected by Klaus himself.  It seems to be unavailable but I’d desperately like a copy if anyone ever finds one – it’s supposed to be “the ultimate” Kinski publication and I can read French very well so I really want one!

And finally, as they say, here’s a little taster for you – I’ve just recently seen Klaus in Roger Vadim’s 1984 Beauty and the Beast from Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre.  Can I just say, this film is amazing! The review will follow very soon… But if you can’t wait for that, watch the film online thanks to Shelley Duvall who has kindly uploaded it in its entirety onto Goodle Video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4881587810624871592#

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Klaus Kinski needs to work on his interview technique

Circus of Fear aka Circus of Terror; Das Rätsel des silbernen Dreieck; Psycho-Circus (Dir John Llewellyn Moxey, 1966)

Basic plot: A security guard is killed during an armed robbery on Tower Bridge.  The robbers get away with the money leaving no traces behind them.  Inspector Elliott is getting nowhere fast with his investigation to find both the robbers and the money, until he discovers some of the money has been banked by Barberini, the owner of a visiting circus.  At the circus Elliott uncovers blackmail, murder and concealed identities, but will he track down the robbers and the money?

Cast: Manfred Hart – Klaus Kinski; Gregor – Christopher Lee; Elliott – Leo Genn; Barberini – Anthony Newlands; Carl – Heinz Drache; Eddie – Eddi Arent; Gina – Margaret Lee; Natasha – Suzy Kendall; Sir John – Cecil Parker; Mason – Victor Maddern; Mario – Maurice Kaufmann; Manley – Lawrence James; Jackson – Tom Bowman; Mr Big – Skip Martin; Red – Nosher Powell

Filming locations: Winkfield, Berkshire; Bray Studios, near Windsor, Berkshire; Tower Bridge, Tower Hill and Tower Bridge Road, London

Release date: 29 April 1966 West Germany; May 1967 USA; November 1967 UK

Availability:  Circus of Fear is available in various issues – the copy I have (Cinema Club), and which is reviewed here, runs at just 82 minutes and has no extras.  There is another version, undoubtedly better, available from Blue Underground which runs at 90 minutes and has a director’s commentary and trailers.  I’ll update the review when I have the Blue Underground version…

The film in full – *SPOILER ALERT*:

Circus of Fear is a great little film packed with mystery.  It opens with Klaus, which is always a bonus.  The location is the Thames River, near Tower Bridge.  Manfred (KK) is a shady character, skulking around and watching a man through a window at 6:50am.  We later discover he is a criminal with “plenty of form here and on the continent; smuggling mainly with a touch of violence thrown in.” 

Manfred is working with a gang of robbers who are planning to hold up a security van, which is helpfully being driven by one of their men, Mason.  The plan works like clockwork with each gang member assigned duties to be carried out according to their precise timings.  That is, until Mason shoots his fellow security guard who was about to attack one of the gang members…

But the money has quickly been zipped down a wire from the bridge to a boat below and the gang have all descended to the boat in the same way, so other than the injured security guard there is no evidence left behind to identify the perpetrators.  And the only witness to the crime unfortunately dies when Inspector Elliott arrives on the scene, leaving him with no leads whatsoever.

Elsewhere, the gang carry out a post mortem of the crime and Mason is in trouble.  Jackson, who appears to have line management responsibilities for the gang, calls the mysterious boss and informs him of Mason’s misdemeanour.  Whilst this takes place it should be noted that Manfred is lurking in the background listening in.  This is a major theme of the film – people surreptitiously watching and listening, in fact there are so many of them watching in the shadows that I’m surprised they don’t bump into each other! – along with the other theme which is identities or rather uncertainty regarding identity.

Mason is told that the boss wants him to go to The Old Farm in Englemere – he needs to hire a car and get rid of it before he arrives – with some of the takings from the robbery.  But who is the boss?  Jackson says that no one knows this and it is better that way – a big question here, how is it possible that no one knows who the boss is?  At least one person must know otherwise how did the gang get together and plan the job in the first place? 

Anyway, Mason is told that if he manages to fulfil this task they will get him out of the country.  With Manfred discovered lurking in the background, Jackson tells him that they should meet in a week’s time to arrange to get the money out of the country.  Manfred’s main concern is when he is going to get his share of the loot – but he won’t be getting that until he has finished the job, which means waiting for a week.

Whilst Mason heads off to Englemere, the Inspector gets his first tip off about a vehicle which may have been involved in the robbery.  The vehicle is traced and chased up the motorway by the police and eventually crashes into the woods and explodes.  Jackson is dead and one of the gang informs the Inspector that Mason was behind the shooting and he has left with the bulk of the money. 

Meantime Mason is approaching The Old Farm, as instructed he disposes of the car and goes on foot to the farm with £250,000 in a suitcase.  The Old Farm is dark inside and there are no lights.  By torchlight Mason makes out the outlines of some sinister masks and suddenly a wild cat in a cage roars.  Naturally Mason realises that something is amiss and tries to flee but a knife in the back puts paid to that.  There is a silver triangle on the handle of the knife.  A hand reaches out and takes the case – we don’t see the murderer; we don’t know if it’s the mysterious boss or if it is someone else; we don’t yet know the relevance of the silver triangle. 

This is what I love about Circus of Fear, that there is so much that we do not know, that there are so many red herrings, and that the camera restricts our knowledge by keeping characters in the off-screen space at key moments.  As a viewer we’re in a position where we know more than the Inspector, and we’re privy to certain scenes that some of the characters in the film are unaware of and yet there is still so much that we do not know; it’s very difficult to work out what all the characters are up to and what their motivations are.

We’re introduced to a great number of characters who, for a variety of reasons, can be treated with suspicion:

  • The mystery man – the beautiful Gina (Margaret Lee) is having an affair with an unidentified character.  The mystery man strokes her legs, helps her to fasten her leotard, lights her cigarette and not once does he speak or show his face.  A great way to restrict our knowledge!  He has a mirrored cabinet on the wall and this is full of knives with the silver triangle symbol on them.  One of them is missing… he’s undoubtedly the murderer and the man who took the money, but who is he? All we know about this mystery man is that he is incredibly hairy on his arms and his back and he wears a white vest in bed! 
  • The Great Gregor – Gregor wears a mask much like the one worn by The Elephant Man, apparently due to a terrible accident which resulted in severe facial injuries.  But has anyone actually seen his face without the mask?  He works as a lion tamer and he has a suitcase of money hidden underneath the lion’s cage, which he keeps dipping into from time to time.  The rest of the circus people suspect him when the lion is let loose on Gina, could it be that Gregor is the mystery man who took the case of money?  He’s quite hairy as well, he could easily be the mystery man, but is he really guilty of murder?  Or is this just a red herring? And if so, what is it that Gregor is really hiding?
  • Mario – Gina’s fiancé, he seems to have a bit of a temper on him as he manhandles Gina when she tells him that it is none of his business where she has been when she’s been off with her hairy fancy man.  And Mario fights with Carl when he thinks he is flirting with Gina.  Mario is a knife thrower but he is not Gina’s mystery man and he asks the same question as the viewer – “Who is it?  Who is it?!!”  But Mario wants to know this for very different reasons to the viewer
  • Gina – the lovely knife thrower’s assistant is said to be a tad unfaithful to her fiancé, let’s say, and she is currently having an affair with the mystery man.  She accidentally discovers his knives in the cabinet on the wall and notices that there is one knife missing.  Her suspicions are aroused later when a knife with a silver triangle is discovered to have been a murder weapon.  She starts to believe that someone is trying to kill her when a lion is let loose on her, she is about to speak to the Inspector about her suspicions when she is found dead with a knife in the back – another knife with a silver triangle on it…  
  • Mr Big – O! The irony! This well-spoken little fellow appears to be both a blackmailer and a voyeur, but then watching in the shadows gives him the information he needs to be able to continue with his extortion and threatening behaviour… Whilst he may not be the mystery man with the suitcase, he seems to know quite a lot.  Will he get his comeuppance?
  • Barberini – the owner of the circus, he banks some money that is traced back as being part of the Tower Bridge robbery, is he the mystery man with the suitcase?
  • Manfred – our old friend Manfred arrives at the circus, announces that he is looking for work and lurks in the shadows but we know he’s not the mystery man with the suitcase because he is frantically looking for the suitcase himself
  • Carl – the ringmaster at the circus, Carl seems to be a bit too nosey and always checking up on the other circus folk; he seems to be most interested in Gregor and is always prying about the accident and whether or not anyone has ever seen his face without the mask.  What information is Carl looking for?  Mr Big is suspicious of Carl and his motives for joining the circus.  Carl flirts with Gina, but could he really be Gina’s mystery lover and the murderer?
  •  Eddie – he’s totally annoying with his constant attempts to get the attention of Barberini and to get his useless act incorporated into the show.  He certainly doesn’t look like Gina’s type either, so there’s no reason to believe he is the murderer.  Or is there…?
  • Natasha – Gregor’s niece, whilst not a suspect she does appear to be keeping some kind of secret.  With Gregor under suspicion, does she know the identity of the murderer?  If not, why does Gregor disapprove of her having visitors and talking to the nosey Carl?  Is her father really in South Africa? 
  • The Great Danilla – a famous knife thrower who died ten years ago, we’re told that he had a son but he kept him out of the circus as he wanted him to be a gentleman.  But what is the relevance of this story?  And who is the Great Danilla’s son?  Could he be the murderer?

All these mysteries are solved one by one in this great little film which really keeps you guessing, until Inspector Elliott finds the murderer and the man behind the Tower Bridge robbery.  Klaus is amazing; Margaret Lee is gorgeous; the cinematography is interesting with some lovely, quirky images throughout; Leo Genn provides a bit of gentle, wry humour in his role as the Inspector, especially during his scenes with Sir John.  I’d definitely recommend this film. 

Kinski’s acting methods:  Just got to say, Klaus looks superb in this film.  As ever he has his hands in his pockets throughout:

But he also appears to be smoking for Germany and even speaks lines of dialogue with a cigarette dangling from his mouth:

Klaus also manages to get in the odd “staring through a window” shot as well:

My favourite part of the film is the sequence where Klaus arrives at the circus and says he is looking for work.  Mr Big is practising with a whip and we’re alerted to Manfred’s presence when we see a foot stepping on the end of the whip. 

He definitely needs to brush up on his interview technique:

Mr Big:            What do you want?

Manfred:        Work

Carl:                What’s your name?

Manfred:        That’s my business

Carl:                I see.  Have you ever worked in the circus before?

Manfred:        Maybe

Carl:                You’d better tell the truth.  Why have you come here?

Manfred:        I’ve just told you.  All I want is work

Barberini:       We don’t want any help

Manfred:         I don’t want hard work

Barberini:       If there is any work, I will let you know.  Where are you living?

Manfred:        I’ll be around

Eddie:             Okay, let’s have your name and address

Manfred:        Forget it, I will be back        

Somehow, I don’t think Manfred would have got a job offer after that interview!

Another great moment is Manfred’s death – as he is stabbed in the chest, he falls over and as he does so he grabs one of the huge circus character heads and lands in the hay with the head next to him:

Other information about the film:  I haven’t managed to track down any horror stories about Klaus misbehaving on this film, but given that he worked regularly with Christopher Lee and Heinz Drache and did more than 10 films with both Margaret Lee and Eddi Arent, I’m sure they would have been used to his behaviour anyway!

This film seems to be available in as many issues as it has alternative titles – the issue I have is an edited version and as I said before a full length version is available through Blue Underground.  But I’m not sure if that is the same version as a video I have read about which has extra footage and an introduction by John Carradine.  I’ll find out when I get my hands on it.

Also, I understand from IMDB that the film was released in b+w in West Germany upon its original release and was not made available in its colour version in Germany until 2006.  Apparently the reason for this is because Rialto, the German production company, wanted to promote a different film (Der Bucklige von Soho) as the first Edgar Wallace film in colour.

Click the image to purchase from Amazon

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Klaus Kinski Only The Cool poster and some photos

Just a quick update today – a review or two to follow later this week.  Yesterday I went over to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith to check out the Kiss Kiss Kill Kill exhibition of 60s and 70s Eurospy film posters.  I was pleased to see Klaus represented with the poster for Only The Cool aka La peau de torpedo; Pill of Death; Children of Mata Hari; Der Mann mit der Torpedohaut (dir Jean Delannoy, 1970).  Excuse the quality of the photograph above, but it’s just to give you an idea of how good the La peau de torpedo poster was. 

See the Kiss Kiss Kill Kill Archive website (http://kisskisskillkillarchive.com/poster-gallery/p/) for more posters for the film (the Italian, French, German, Spanish and US versions) and 16 French lobby cards.

The bad news is that the exhibition at Riverside finished today (9 May 2011) but the good news is that you can order high quality fine art prints of any of the posters held by the archive.  All prints are made from high resolution files produced by the archive and are strictly limited.  Prices range from £24.99 to £79.99, with postage in the UK free.  I should say that some of the other non-Kinski related posters were amazing too – especially the Eastern European ones.  I just have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have enough wall space (or money) to buy all the posters I want…

If you’d like one of the posters though, go to the Kiss Kiss Kill Kill Poster Reproductions Shop for more information on how to order:  http://kisskisskillkillarchive.com/poster-reproductions-shop/  

Other than this, I got some more Kinski film photographs recently and thought I should share them here:

Klaus Kinski with Sybil Danning in Menahem Golan’s Operation Thunderbolt aka Mivtsa Yonatan (1977). 

Klaus Kinski and Lee Van Cleef in Sergio Leone’s For A Few Dollars More aka Per qualche dollaro in più; Für ein paar Dollar mehr (1965).

More later this week, as soon as I can get my act together!

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Beat Presser KINSKI book review

Good old Just Jaeckin has an eye for making perfect matches. In 1968 he suggested teaming up Jane Birkin with Serge Gainsbourg in Pierre Grimblat’s wonderful film Slogan, and anyone with any taste knows just how fruitful that partnership was. In 1977 he did something just as wonderful, when he hid the Swiss photographer Beat Presser under a blanket and smuggled him into a castle near Paris. No, he wasn’t abducting him or forcing him to play a role in the Story of Ô, what he was doing was sneaking his friend onto the set to meet the actor Klaus Kinski. There were already two photographers from the Sygma agency contracted to take photographs on location whilst Jaeckin’s film Madame Claude was being made, so if Beat Presser was to get a photoshoot with Kinski the operation would have to be done undercover. Once in, Beat Presser gave Klaus Kinski a copy of the magazine he then worked on, Village Cry, and asked him if he would like to appear on the cover. A great way to flatter Mr Kinski’s ego and get his interest, I’m sure. So the story goes, Kinski examined the magazine and then finally asked, “Only on the cover?”

The photoshoot was arranged and I have to say that out of that first session Beat Presser produced my very favourite photographs of Klaus Kinski. Beautiful, dramatic black and white portraits of Klaus looking handsome and incredibly dapper in formal evening wear; photographs capturing the essence of Klaus – elegant, disdainful, defiant, and wary. Naturally all 10,000 copies of the issue of Village Cry featuring these photographs sold out very quickly. Wah! I want one!

It wouldn’t be surprising if this latest book KINSKI Fotografiert von Beat Presser, published by moser verlag, sells out too. Whilst only 62 pages long, this book (which serves as the catalogue for the KINSKI exhibition at Westpreußisches Landesmuseum in Münster, open until 3 October 2011 – http://www.westpreussisches-landesmuseum.de/index.php/kinski) is packed with plenty of photographs.

The photographs included in this book are from the Madame Claude shoot in Paris, France 1977 and from the Werner Herzog films, for which Beat Presser was hired as a camera assistant and stills photographer – the Fitzcarraldo shoot in Peru 1981 and the Cobra Verde shoot in Brazil and Ghana 1987.

There are 5 black and white images from the Paris session; 12 colour images and 7 black and white from the Fitzcarraldo shoot; and 10 colour images and 10 black and white from the Cobra Verde shoot; some images cover two pages. But who’s counting? After all it’s not quantity, it’s quality that counts. And aside from the undisputable quality of Beat Presser’s photographs, the design by Vera Pechel is very stylish; the paper is of a good quality; the reproductions excellent.

And that’s not all, there’s a two page introduction to the book by Kinski’s partner in crime, Werner Herzog (there’s no denying it, they have both produced their best and craziest work together), and two pages of text by Beat Presser – unfortunately for us English speakers, it’s all in German. Werner tells the story about Klaus being questioned by a doctor for a medical, losing his temper and breaking a glass table, then being terribly apologetic about it; Beat Presser talks about the trials and tribulations of working on Fitzcarraldo and how Klaus raised his voice, out of nowhere, from zero to one hundred – screaming at Werner Herzog for a good ten minutes before eventually stopping and saying to Beat Presser: “Do not worry because sometimes, Beatus, I do all this to keep my voice intact.” Excuse poor effort at a translation, something tells me I need to brush up on my German if I am to get the most out of these texts…

The Madame Claude portraits I’ve already discussed – very formal, very posed – only complaint with this is that I personally would have liked to see the photograph of the back of Kinski’s head in this selection, but you can’t have everything. Talking of the back of Kinski, Beat Presser manages to get away with asking the egotistical Klaus to turn his back to camera in the very famous shot of Klaus stood at the foot of the valley with the huge steamboat being pulled over the hill; he looks great for it (hands in pockets, of course). My favourite shot from Fitzcarraldo is the one used on the cover of the book, which is reproduced inside the book in black and white and shows Klaus looking strangely vulnerable with his wild hair and his collar sticking up slightly. Those eyes! That mouth!

In Beat Presser’s photographs Klaus looks by turn joyful, livid, crazed, concerned, and arrogant. Sometimes he’s directed by Werner and the crew, sometimes he appears to be directing Werner. This carefully chosen selection of photographs reveals the multifaceted personality of Kinski, ranging from his anger aimed at Werner Herzog during the shooting of Cobra Verde to the totally beatific expression on his face in a wonderful colour shot of him in Fitzcarraldo; eyes closed, lashes like pale butterflies raised towards the sun, lips pursed, utterly peaceful and divine. It’s so hard for me to explain just what’s so good about the photographs, but if you love Klaus Kinski you are certain to love Beat Presser’s photographs.

When I first got in touch with Beat Presser requesting information for Du dumme Sau! I said to him, “Your camera loves [Klaus]” and he said, “I guess he loved my camera as well…” I guess he did! Check out KINSKI Fotografiert von Beat Presser for yourself and see what you think. Buy the book, look at the images and drool over Klaus – it’s what Klaus would want. And, oh yeah, go to one of the Beat Presser Kinski exhibitions in Münster or Bogotá too!

The book is now available to buy through Amazon and other bookstores.

Click the image to purchase from Amazon

Photographs reproduced with kind permission of Beat Presser.  Thanks to Beat Presser and moser verlag, www.moser-verlag.com

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