starring Klaus Kinski as Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Fitzcarraldo), Peter Berling, William L. (Bill) Rose Claudia Cardinale
Fitzcarradlo is an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the jungle. To accomplish this he first has to make a fortune in the rubber business, and his cunning plan involves hauling an enormous river boat across a small mountain with aid from the local Indians.
Amazingly beautiful, well-acted jungle drama details entrepreneur Fitzcarraldo's attempts to mine rubber in order to raise money to accomplish his dream -- to bring grand opera to his tiny town in Peru. Girlfriend Cardinale buys him a boat (to help with the mining), but unfortunately can't go on the journey, which ends up with Fitz and hundreds of indians physically dragging the huge riverboat over a mountain. Kinski's performance is top of the line, very good direction, some very memorable scenes -- Fitzcarraldo on top of his boat playing Caruso records into the jungle, the huge boat cresting the wave of the mountain, and even the triumphant ending rings true. The best film by Werner Herzog that I have seen.
A real 340 ton steam ship was moved over the mountain with a bulldozer without the use of special effects.
Director Werner Herzog wanted Mario Adorf as captain of the ship, but Adorf refused to do the takes that involved the ship drifting throughout the rapids. Eventually, six men besides Herzog himself volunteered to do it. Of the six, three were wounded; one had two broken ribs.
Jack Nicholson was originally set to star. Next up was Jason Robards, who was replaced by Klaus Kinski.
The production is documented by the film "Burden of Dreams" (1982). (MY NOTE: This is fascinating viewing that added to my amazement about the film.)
Well, when I arrived, there were no responses. I just didn't write fast enough I suppose.
"The Mosquito Coast" is another great film about a madman in the jungles~Harrison Ford bringing refrigeration to the natives. It bombed at the box office but certainly is worth a look. River Phoenix plays one of Ford's sons~three years prior to playing the teenage Indiana Jones.