ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER (Anchor
Bay) 1974. DVD. Drama. 109 minutes. NR. In German with English
subtitles. It’s 1828 and a grown man suddenly appears from out of
nowhere in a small German town. Although he is a full grown man, he can
only speak and write a few words and can barely walk. Turns out, the man
is Kaspar Hauser and he’s been locked in a basement for seventeen years.
Over the next few years, the local town’s folk raise Kaspar and tries to
teach him how to be a “normal” citizen. However, along with being
turned into the town’s point of amusement, Kaspar also questions just
about every aspect of being a “normal” citizen and it’s rituals. Of
course, one of the burdens of being a citizen is there is always somebody
who wants you dead, and Kaspar’s no exception.
When I read the press release about this DVD, it, for some reason,
caught my attention and I decided to review it. As I watched it, I thought
to myself, “What the hell is this movie about?” I was totally lost,
confused, and almost bored. Then I watched the movie with the commentary
by director Werner Herzog and Norman Hill ( I have no idea who Hill is)
turned on and I was enlightened to what the point of this movie is. I
think, anyways. I believe Herzog’s point was just how badly society
stifles one’s individuality and creativity. Please know, I may be way
off on this, but that’s what I took home after watching this movie,
twice. This little lesson
reminded me of something from my childhood; I remember when I was in
second or third grade, drawing a picture of trees with dark purple bark.
When the teacher saw this, she said that trees do not have purple bark and
to start over. Even at a young age, this annoyed the shyt out of me. Why
couldn’t my trees have purple bark? I do not remember if I continued
with the purple trees or if I caved and started over. Anywho, this movie
is at times funny and odd, but it’s also mostly boring. However, the
colors are outstanding and the old time German look and feel is great.
Bruno S (Hauser) is one odd dude. I’m not sure if he’s a bad actor, or
if he played the role like a champion. Along with the commentary, extras
include; Herzog bio and a trailer. This movie is based on a true story.
– Denis Sheehan