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Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980)

A short documentary in which directors Werner Herzog and Errol Morris make a bet which results in Herzog being forced to eat his own shoe.

Director:

Les Blank

Writer:

Werner Herzog
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Cast

Credited cast:
Werner Herzog ... Himself
Tom Luddy ... Master of Ceremonies
Michael Goodwin Michael Goodwin ... Driver / Interviewer
Alice Waters ... Assistant Cook
Chris Strachwitz Chris Strachwitz ... Dwarf Voice (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Phil Harberts Phil Harberts ... Himself
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Storyline

A passionate cook, acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog stuffs some culinary aromatics into his shoe and uses the laces to truss it like a chicken, before he sticks it into a pot with water and duck fat to stew it. It is so that he can bring the stewed shoe to one of the first screenings of Errol Morris' debut film Gates of Heaven (1978) to eat it. This act will fulfill his loss of a bet to Morris, who he met as a student filmmaker, that he would never be able to make a movie. The bet was not Herzog's attempt of a jab against Morris, but rather to support a struggling but gifted Morris in his quest to do whatever was required to finance a movie project. In the process of eating the shoe, Herzog wants to encourage other aspiring filmmakers, and to set an agenda of increasing what he calls adequate images as a true reflection of the world. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Short

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Flower Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Herzog has something of a track record with this type of bet. When making "Even Dwarves Started Small" he promised his actors that if they all survived the shoot he would jump into a cactus patch for their amusement. They did, so did he, and he claims to still have some spines in his body as a result. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Werner Herzog: If we speak of television it's just... ridiculous and destructive. It kills us. And talk-shows will kill us. They kill our language. So we have to declare holy war against what we see every single day on television, commercials and... I think there should be real war against commercials, real war against talk-shows, real war against Bonanza, Rawhide or these things.
See more »

Connections

References Stroszek (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Whisky Shoes
Played by Walt Solek Band
Courtesy of Starr Records
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User Reviews

 
Well, he's a man of his word.
28 January 2019 | by Pjtaylor-96-138044See all my reviews

'Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980)' is not just about Werner Herzog eating his shoe, even though he does indeed do that. The promise of an acclaimed director literally dining out on his worn-out leather loafers (or whatever non-alliterative make they really are) is, essentially, enough to get anyone to watch, but I suppose that people popping this documentary on for its eponymous premise alone may, indeed, be somewhat disappointed, especially considering that the footwear feeding takes up perhaps less than half of its run-time (though, the idea of it dominates the entire piece) and that the actual eating isn't technically on-screen at all. I have no doubt that Herzog really did do the deed, especially since most of it takes place in front of a live audience, but the lack of overt cobbler chewing is certainly a missed opportunity in terms of comedy, cringe and intrigue. Still, all three of those things are here in spades. The spectacle of watching a man cook and eat his shoe because he said he would do so, presumably in the flippant way the expression is usually used, is undoubtedly real. It's also quite funny, especially since Herzog himself is so casual all the time - I mean, this is the man who would later just brush off a bullet wound because "it's not significant". Here, he's more occupied with monologuing about the current, clown-like state of film, his dislike of commercials and talk-shows, how he views a 'lack of images' as a real world-threat, the time that he jumped into a cactus to show his crew that he understood what they were going through and, perhaps most importantly, how fantastic his friend Errol Morris' new film is. Of course, it's the latter that got this flick made. The whole shoe-eating bet came about because Morris was complaining of a lack of funding for his eventual 'Gates Of Heaven (1978)'; Herzog's fulfilment of this bet was used to promote that movie at one of its pre-distribution screenings and this documentary, essentially, furthers that goal. So, despite Herzog's apparent dislike of commercials, that's all this basically serves as, aside from a comic curiosity and opportunity for Herzog to express his views. It doesn't feel like it's selling you anything, aside from when it overtly is (when people talk up 'Gates Of Heaven (1978)' presumably because they genuinely enjoy it), and it has enough flair to be enjoyable in its own right. It feels like the sort of thing you'd see on YouTube nowadays, a well-produced video more at home online than on the big-screen. It's entertaining enough and is fairly funny on occasion. Plus, some of the stuff that Herzog says seems pretty wise, resonating across the years to be just as relevant today (if not more so). If you know what you're getting into or are a fan of Herzog and his dead-pan nonchalance, I'd say that you'll enjoy this short film... I wouldn't bet my shoe on it, though. 6/10


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