Saturday, July 05, 2008

Herz aus Glas / Heart of Glass


Hadn't seen Werner Herzog's Herz aus Glas / Heart of Glass / Coeur de verre (1976) in nearly fifteen years -- until yesterday. Wow. I've always found Herzog's work compelling, but at this juncture, it's not overstating my enthusiasm to claim that he is probably the greatest visionary filmmaker -- and one of the greatest Western visionary artists -- of all time.

For the visuals alone, it's worth checking out any of Herzog's movies. On the other hand, none of his fictional or documentary films are good for a casual date except perhaps with someone who enjoyed Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice (1971). Believe me, I know. A "woman friend," while watching Herzog's Stroszek (1977), quipped -- "After seeing that, no wonder Ian Curtis [of Joy Division] hanged himself." Indeed, the often slow pace might disconcert and certainly will disorient some American viewers, or at the very least make them wish they'd downed some whiskey and Quaaludes. Put another way, if you think time is flitting by way too quickly, put on some Herzog and you'll be completely mesmerized!


For Heart of Glass, Herzog hypnotized much of the cast. It's a stunning, prophetic film and I'll probably write more about its narrative line at some point. Herzog is the William Blake of film making, I suppose, although Grimm's Fairy Tales would not be far off his path, either.

Most readers will be at least somewhat familiar with the 1979 Blondie gold and platinum hit "Heart of Glass" (Parallel Lines, 1978). There's probably a connection with Heart of Glass, given that an earlier 1975 incarnation was called "Once I Had a Love." In between versions came Herzog's movie. For Debbie Harry and Blondie fans, here's an early video dub version of "Heart of Glass." I still say that Debbie Harry is the hottest singer ever, but would love to know if I've missed out on any other possibilities . . . . .




Today's Rune: Wholeness.

7 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I actually never listened much to Blondie's music, although you couldn't escape it on the radio. I did think she was very pretty but I was more a Heart sisters, Pat Benatar, Lita Ford kind of fan.

Erik Donald France said...

Hey Charles, thanks for the feedback. I liked those singers, too (add Joan Jett with Lita Ford and the Runaways).

The most powerful women singers would be a different list -- I'd have to say Patsy Cline (kd lang as PC, Jr.), Billie Holiday, Tina Turner in the 60s and 70s, Janis Joplin, and some other torch and soul singers. These days, Amy Winehouse . . .

JR's Thumbprints said...

Debbie Harry is perhaps the hottest singer ever, except for that crummy album with "French Kissin' in the USA" (or whatever the title may be). Was there really a connection with Herzog's "Heart of Glass"?

the walking man said...

John Ford I know...10,000 maniacs I know...but who is Herzog? Blondie?

;-P

Erik Donald France said...

JR, pure speculation, a hunch.

Mark -- haha ;->

Tim said...

Good Job! :)

Anonymous said...

Coming kind of late, I guess...

Yes, Blondie took the title "Heart of Glass" from Herzog, it says here.

To bad they never did a German version. I stll like their French version of "Sunday Girl".

Christopher Burd