Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald is a fortune hunter and failed businessman from Ireland who has ended up in the sleepy Amazon town of Iquitos, far up the Amazon River, shortly after the turn of the 20th century. (The movie's title indicates how the locals pronounce his name.) His last failed project was a railroad across the Andes to connect the Amazon basin with the Pacific Ocean. Currently he has a business manufacturing and selling ice, but his big obsession is to build a sumptuous opera house in the jungle and bring Caruso there for the premiere performance. He hatches a brilliant but foolhardy plan to gain access to a plot of all-but-inaccessible rubber trees by taking a steamboat up one river and dragging its 340 tons over a mountain to another. Financing comes from his lover, the madame of a successful brothel in Iquitos. Previous expeditions to this area have disappeared, presumably killed by the indigenous natives. Fitzcarraldo's boat is piloted by a nearly-blind captain, kept running by a giant Indian who's also spying on him for other businessmen, and served by a crazy cook who fortunately speaks the natives' language. It's hard to imagine anyone but Kinski in this crazy role, but writer-director Werner Herzog originally cast Mick Jagger, then shot much of the film with Jason Robards. Cardinale, aged about 44, is radiant. The 158-minute, 1982 film is alternately tense and languid, like much of Herzog's other work.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus