Klaus Kinski (1926-1991)

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Klaus Kinski

Actor

  • Birth name: Nikolaus Gunther Nakszynski
  • Born: Zoppot, Poland

    Film Dope's entry on Kinski lists some 125 films, as well as another thirty or so that have appeared in some filmographies but that cannot be verified. These are films made all over the world, leaving no stone of cunning coproduction unturned. And in many of them Kinski had small roles, single scenes, a few days of work in the headlong scramble of his life, which also included a good deal of theatre - often one-man shows, as if no one could work with him, or he refused to share. Kinski loved to play madmen on screen; they fulfilled a dream he had of himself. In person, he was unreliable about his own work - he did not remember accurately, he lied, or he did not care: he did not honor the clerical rules of filmography.

    He sounds like a fictional being - a nomadic actor taken from Rimbaud and Celine, so driven that he gave up on such bourgeois concepts as destination or direction. Film Dope chuckled to itself about the contrary perceptions of Kinski: "Either he is among the cinemas great tragic actors or among its great inadvertently comic ones." It was clear they leaned toward the latter view, and they gently chided me for some rather breathless things I had said about Kinski. But I had met him a few times. I had spent hours only a few feet away from one of life's more amazing faces. And Film Dope did not care to consider the possibility of something else I had written about Kinski: that he was both extremes at the same time - great actor and absurd figure. Yes, he could overact, just as he could be humorlessly intense in life. But neither fault was calculated, and Kinski was waiting for someone like Werner Herzog, a director whose taste was for faults in nature and monstrous paradoxes. Herzog found his own creative self in Kinski - and the actor found a frame that contained his unique frenzy.

    One other thing: few actors trying to be great would deny their secret knowledge that the art, the profession, whatever, is demented and deranging. Kinski's originality was in living that secret to the full.

    The list that follows is far from complete. It is still chaotic and lurid enough to help one appreciate the moments when Kinski was simply a face that had seen hell sharing the shock with us: Morituri (48, Eugen York); Decision Before Dawn (51, Anatole Litvak); Ludwig II (54, Helmut Kautner); Kinder, Mutter und ein General (54, Laslo Benedek); Sarajevo (55, Fritz Kortner); Hanussen (55, O. W. Fischer); A Time to Love and a Time to Die (57, Douglas Sirk); Der Racher (60, Karl Anton); Die Toten Augen von London (61, Alfred Vohrer); Bankraub in der Rue Latour (61, Curd Jurgens); The Counterfeit Traitor (61, George Seaton); Kali-Yug, la Dea della Vendetta (63, Mario Camerini); Traitor's Gate (65, Freddie Francis); The Pleasure Girls (65, Gerry O'Hara); The Dirty Game (65, Terence Young); Doctor Zhivago (65, David Lean); For a Few Dollars More (65, Sergio Leone); Quien Sabe? (66, Damiano Damiani); Circus of Fear (66, John Moxey); Carmen, Baby (67, Radley Metzger); Sumuru (67, Lindsay Shonteff); Coplan Sauve sa Peau (67, Yves Boisset); I Bastardi (68, Duccio Tessari), II Grande Silenzia (68, Sergio Corbucci); Marquis de Sade: Justine (68, Jess Franco); La Peau de Torpedo (69, Jean Delannoy); E Dio Disse a Caino (69, Anthony M. Dawson); El Conde Dracula (70, Franco); Aguirre, the Wrath of Cod (73, Herzog); L'Important c'est d'Aimer (74, Andrzej Zulawski); Lifespan (74, Alexander Whitelaw); Jack the Ripper (76, Franco); Madame Claude (76, Just Jaeckin); Entebbe: Operation Thunderbolt (77, Menahem Golan); Mort d'un Pourri (77, Georges Lautner); Nosferatu (78, Herzog); Zoo Zero (78, Alain Fleischer); Woyzeck (79, Herzog); Love and Money (80, James Toback); Les Fruits de la Passion (81, Shuji Terayama); Buddy Buddy (81, Billy Wilder); Venom (81, Piers Haggard); Fitzcarraldo (82, Herzog); The Soldier (82, James Glickenhaus); Android (83, Aaron Lipstadt); The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud (84, Danford B. Greene); Titan Find (84, William Malone); The Little Drummer Girl (84, George Roy Hill); Codename Wildgeese (86, Dawson); Crawlspace (86, David Schmoeller); Cobra Verde (88, Herzog); Nosferatu a Venezia (88, Augusto Caminito); and Paganini (89), which he also directed, a labor of romantic devotion and close to unwatchable.




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    klaus kinski

    dvds | videos

    clark gable | alfred hitchcock | robert montgomery | robert donat | grace kelly | conrad veidt
    humphrey bogart | howard hawks | frank capra | charlie chaplin | lauren bacall | fritz lang
    jean harlow | greta garbo | ava gardner | audrey hepburn | edward g. robinson | john garfield
    erich von stroheim | wim wenders | madeleine carroll | marlene dietrich | rita hayworth | margaret lockwood


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