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Herzog

Herzog

[hurt-sog, hur-zog; Fr. er-zawg for 2]
Herzog, Johann Jakob, 1805-82, German Protestant theologian. His most important contribution was the founding and editing of the standard reference work Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche (22 vol., 1853-68), which was published in an abridged English version as The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (13 vol., 1951-54).
Herzog, Werner, 1942-, German director, screenwriter, and producer; originally named Werner Stipetic. One of the leading filmmakers in contemporary German cinema, the prolific Herzog is known for his vivid and poetic films. He made short films during the 1960s, made his first feature, Signs of Life, in 1968, and came to wide public attention with Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), a spectacular portrayal of the tropical rain forest and the character of a mad conquistador. Breathtaking landscape, acutely observed detail, mysterious heroes, and tales of danger and escape fill his work, which enthusiasts have called visionary and some critics have branded self-indulgent. His other feature films include The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974), Heart of Glass (1976), Stroszek (1977), Nosferatu (1978), Woyzeck (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982; the subject of Les Blank's revealing 1982 documentary Burden of Dreams), Hard to Be a God (1989), and the Hollywood-made Invincible (2002).

Herzog has also made a group of varied and original documentaries. They include Lessons of Darkness (1992), which pictures a devastated Kuwait in the wake of the Persian Gulf War; My Best Fiend: Klaus Kinski (1999), a portrait of the brilliant and wildly unpredictable actor who starred in five of his films; Wheel of Time (2003), exploring Tibetan Buddhism; and Grizzly Man (2005), the story of a man devoted to wild Alaskan bears who was ultimately killed by one. The plot of his documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997)—a Vietnam War pilot is shot down, imprisoned, and escapes—was recounted in his Hollywood feature Rescue Dawn (2007). Herzog has also directed several television features and operas.

See his Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of "Fitzcarraldo" (2004, tr. 2009); Herzog on Herzog (2002), ed. by P. Cronin; study by T. Corrigan, ed. (1986); B. Presser, ed., Werner Herzog (2003).

orig. Werner H. Stipetic

(b. Sept. 5, 1942, Munich, Ger.) German filmmaker. He won two awards for his first feature film, Signs of Life (1967), which introduced the theme of a descent into madness that was to reappear in his later films, most powerfully in Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu (1979), and Fitzcarraldo (1982). He documented his tumultuous friendship with actor Klaus Kinski in the film My Best Fiend (1999). His surreal and exotic films were among the best of the highly praised postwar West German cinema.

Learn more about Herzog, Werner with a free trial on Britannica.com.

orig. Werner H. Stipetic

(b. Sept. 5, 1942, Munich, Ger.) German filmmaker. He won two awards for his first feature film, Signs of Life (1967), which introduced the theme of a descent into madness that was to reappear in his later films, most powerfully in Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu (1979), and Fitzcarraldo (1982). He documented his tumultuous friendship with actor Klaus Kinski in the film My Best Fiend (1999). His surreal and exotic films were among the best of the highly praised postwar West German cinema.

Learn more about Herzog, Werner with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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