26 April, 2009

MY 10 FAVORITE KLAUS KINSKI CHARACTERS


John Alexander nervously smokes up a storm to deal with his emotional/sexual frustrations as the key suspect in his wife's murder as a friend looks on in the underrated 1969 Riccardo Freda Krimi/Giallo, DOUBLE FACE.



*This blog entry is inspired by 10 Characters I Love @ CINEBEATS. I decided to go with my 10 favorite characters created by the late, great Klaus Kinski, who remains my favorite actor. He appeared in about 150 films in a career which spanned four decades. There was no other 20th century actor quite like him. He has been called the last German star and an Enfant Terrible. His offscreen antics and affairs sometimes overshadowed his prodigious talents as an actor.
 
He appeared in everything from European Trash Cinema (VENUS IN FURS; NOSFERATU IN VENICE), Spaghetti Westerns (Sergio Leone's FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE) to International Epics (DOCTOR ZHIVAGO) to Arthouse classics directed by Werner Herzog (NOSFERATU; FITZCARRALDO) to Hollywood mainstream (Billy Wilder's BUDDY, BUDDY; George Roy Hill's THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL).




Here are my choices in no particular order:

JOHN ALEXANDER in Riccardo Freda's Double Face (Italian: A doppia faccia, German: Das Gesicht im Dunkeln), a late entry into the Krimi cycle, was a West German coproduction. It actually is more of a Giallo with Krimi undertones. Given that Kinski became famous for his Krimi roles, starting with DER RACHER/THE AVENGER (1960).
 
In DOUBLE FACE he effectively underplays the role of John Alexander, a wealthy, emotionally distant businessman whose decadent wife (frequent KK costar Margaret Lee) is murdered. Kinski telegraphs the conflicted emotions of a man who grieves his wife while dealing with strong feelings of sexual frustration along with the fear that he will be accused of the murder by the police.
 
This is certainly the most understated KK performance I have seen and it really gives the film the boost it needs. As we shall see in my other selections Kinski has a much broader range than he is sometimes given credit for. He wasn't always over-the-top, and some of his best film performances, like this one, were studies of men living in quiet desperation.
 
This title really needs a quality US DVD presentation in OAR with language options so that it can be properly evaluated and Kinski's outstanding, uncharacteristic performance can be fully appreciated.
 
I'll be adding more Kinski titles and images throughout the week.

(C) Robert Monell, 2009




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3 comments:

Mr. Condescending said...

looks neat

filomeno2006 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dfordoom said...

I'm quite fond of Kinski's performances in the Edgar Wallace krimis of the early 60s. And I'm a huge fan of those movies. And I believe a certain Jess Franco is also a fan of the Edgar Wallace krimis!

I'm especially fond of The Door with Seven Locks (Die Tür mit den 7 Schlössern).