In the 1970s Werner Herzog made a bizarre bet with a young filmmaker under his tutelage named Errol Morris. Morris was making his first film, Gates of Heaven, and Herzog suggested that if Morris ever completed the film he would eat his own shoe. Famously, Morris did indeed complete the film and Herzog, a man of his word, agreed to tuck into a meal of leather and lace. The shoe was even cooked for five hours in garlic and wine and the whole event was filmed by the documentary maker Les Blank, who sadly passed away a couple of years ago. You can watch the resulting work here.

Blank and Herzog were friends for many years, and in the early 1980s the former made the acclaimed film Burden Of Dreams, detailing Herzog’s increasingly chaotic attempts to make Fitzcarraldo, in which the German filmmaker organises the transportation of a 320-ton steamship over a hill and the actor Klaus Kinski argues with just about everyone on set. Here’s a short film of Herzog talking about Blank:

And here’s Blank’s earlier documentary The Blues According To Lightnin’ Hopkins:

And, to round off this post, here’s Werner Herzog getting shot while being interviewed by Mark Kermode for the BBC:

6 Responses to “Casting The Net: A spot of Werner Herzog and Les Blank”

  1. Todd Benefiel

    When you wrote ‘Werner Herzog being shot,” I thought ha ha, that makes it sound like he was literally shot with a gun, but he means shot on film. Uh, no…he was shot with a gun! Good lord, this is such a violent blog site! And speaking of violence: Werner Herzong?

    • Stu

      “Werner Herzong” is the new spelling of his name. Did you not get the memo? Your concerns about violent blogging are noted, and I will refrain from posting my extensive collection of kitten torture videos as a result.

  2. ruth

    WHOA!! I had no idea Herzog was actually shot w/ a gun, I thought it was on camera or something. Crazy that he kept on carrying on. I read more about it after I saw your video here, and he’s so nonchalant about the whole thing. He is one bizarre AND brave filmmaker!

    • Stu

      Incredible, eh?! There are some real nutcases around…thank goodness it was an air rifle and not a ‘real’ gun.

  3. Consumed by Film

    I remember listening to Kermode tell that story about the shoe and laughing in disbelief on a busy train. Fair play to Herzog, wonder how it tasted!


    • Stu

      He is an absolute headcase but a true visionary…I swear there will be a shoe restaurant in the East End of London before the decade is out.


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