Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1979) 

Gadfly interviews filmmaker Les Blank about his astonishing documentary featuring the German director.

There are two sides to the story of how this came about. Herzog claims he made a vow to eat his shoe if Errol Morris ever made a film that got shown at Berkeley. But Errol claims Herzog stole his idea when Herzog went to film those oddball people up in Wisconsin for his film Stroszek. Anyway, in the making of that movie, I saw how interesting he looked on film and that gave me the courage to go down to the Amazon [to film Burden of Dreams] with him and take my chances whatever may happen down there.

Can one really eat a shoe? Didn’t Chaplin do that in The Gold Rush?

But that was a shoe made out of candy. Herzog really ate his shoe. Everything but the sole. He cut it up with poultry shears and he took it to be cooked in a Chinese restaurant to soften it up, but it ended up as tough as tempered steel. The idea being that if you cooked it in duck fat it would end up tender, but it had just the opposite effect.

It is with great restraint that I refrain from making a long Klaus Kinski posting right now. That won’t last long.

::David Dalton, Gadfly: ‘I just film’: Interview with Les Blank

::Werner Herzog Film

::Flower Films: The Films of Les Blank

::Errol Morris

::Exploitation Retrospect’s Online Guide to Klaus Kinski

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