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Even Dwarfs Started Small

By Jim Gay

With a cast composed entirely of dwarfs, Werner Herzog (Aguirre, the Wrath of God) tells a tale of asylum inmates taking over the asylum. The institution's governor is holed up in his own home with a rebel hostage to keep him company. As the inmates' wrangling for the release of their fellow captive comes to naught, all symbols of ordered society are mocked and brought to a shambles. Typewriters are smashed, flowers are set on fire, a dinner ceremony ends with the slapstick smashing of plates, a monkey is tied to a crucifix and paraded in solemn observance, chickens resort to cannibalism. All vestige of order is disrupted in Herzog's blackly humorous, fatalistic parable, leaving us with nothing but the mad, strident cackling of a dwarf. It's not just that the dwarfs are grotesques, but that we all are grotesques in this eerie little world, and it's only through Herzog's eye that we see this clearly. This deceptively simple story builds with amazing power from beginning to end, brutal and compassionate, uncompromising and mad.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Not RatedNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Werner Herzog

Stars: Helmut Doring, Gerd Gickel, Paul Glauer, Erna Gschwnedtner

Released: September 16, 1970

Availability: DVD VHS


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