Senior Editor
02.09.10 22 Comments

Today’s Forgotten Classic isn’t forgotten if you’re familiar with Werner Herzog’s earliest work, in which case, buy yourself another espresso and treat everyone with increased condescension.    For the rest of us, this one’s called Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen, or Even Dwarfs Started Small, a Herzog film from 1970.  The Wikipedia synopsis has more than convinced me that it’s worth a viewing:

A group of dwarfs confined in an institution on a remote island rebel against the guards and director (all dwarfs as well) in a display of mayhem. The dwarfs gleefully break windows and dishes, abandon a running truck to drive itself in circles, engineer food fights and cock fights, set fire to pots of flowers, kill a large pig, torment some blind dwarfs, and crucify a monkey.
During the filming, Herzog gave some strange direction to elicit particular performances from the actors. In directing one dwarf who continually struggles not to laugh, Herzog repeatedly told the actor that he must not laugh, but then made funny faces at him as soon as he started filming.

[Submitter Andrew also adds] Despite all the characters being midgets, all objects in the movie are for regular-sized people.  For instance, the rebelling midgets force two of their own into a room so that they can have sex.  Unfortunately, it never happens because the one midget is unable to climb up on to the bed.  Herzog spends a solid three minutes showing the one midget trying to get up onto the bed.

This may seem like more ammo for the running Werner Herzog-is-crazy joke, but the reality is, you let more than five midgets hang out together and a monkey gets crucified.  It’s just science.

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