Every Night the Trees Disappear: Werner Herzog and the Making of Heart of Glass

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Overview

When Alan Greenberg first showed up at Werner Herzog’s Munich home at age twenty-four, he was, according to the director, the first outsider to seek him and recognize his greatness. At the end of their first evening together, Herzog urged Greenberg to work with him on his film Heart of Glass—and everything thereafter. He clinched his plea by assuring the young American, “On the outside we’ll look like gangsters, but on the inside we’ll wear the gowns of priests.”

Every Night the...

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Every Night the Trees Disappear: Werner Herzog and the Making of Heart of Glass

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Overview

When Alan Greenberg first showed up at Werner Herzog’s Munich home at age twenty-four, he was, according to the director, the first outsider to seek him and recognize his greatness. At the end of their first evening together, Herzog urged Greenberg to work with him on his film Heart of Glass—and everything thereafter. He clinched his plea by assuring the young American, “On the outside we’ll look like gangsters, but on the inside we’ll wear the gowns of priests.”

Every Night the Trees Disappear is an intimate chronicle of how this visionary filmmaker directed a masterwork. Greenberg’s observations, interwoven with Herzog’s original screenplay, elucidate just how unusual Herzog’s filmmaking methods could be. By hypnotizing his actors before shooting each scene, Herzog led his crew into a veritable cinematic netherworld, resulting in one of the most haunting movies ever made.

Rather than a conventional, journalistic account of how a director makes a movie, Every Night the Trees Disappear instead presents a unique vision with the feel of a novel—intimate, penetrating, and filled with mystery.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Alan Greenberg’s great and poetic writing here captures the thick, dark dream mood of Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass. He magically depicts Werner’s deep obsessions, total commitment, and creativity. He shows the way Werner goes about his work using both his mind and hands. This way is rare and spectacular. Alan Greenberg proves beautifully in this book that there will never again be a filmmaker even remotely like Werner Herzog.” —David Lynch, director

"You know from seeing it that Herzog was up to something strange in filming Heart of Glass. Now the mystery is clarified. Alan Greenberg peers into the heart of darkness of the great artist."  —Roger Ebert

"Alan Greenberg's book, which plunges you far into the unstable depths of the creative process, is delirious, madcap, beautifully observed and rendered, and genuinely exhilarating."  —Luc Sante, author of Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990–2005

"Alan Greenberg's mesmerizing account of the creation and realization of Werner Herzog's Heart of Glass (during the filming of which the actors were under hypnosis) is truly unusual—and as poetic and mysterious as the film itself."  —Jim Jarmusch, director

"Alan Greenberg was there when Werner Herzog shot the legendary film Heart of Glass, and it is this acute witness that informs one of the best books about the art of cinema ever published."  —Stephen Davis, author of Hammer of the Gods and Jim Morrison

 "Herzog's philosophy of filmmaking as a combination of physical ordeal, trust in the mystical and instinctive, and financial and emotional risk... makes for some great movies - and in the case of Every Night the Trees Disappear, for great writing about movies." —American Cinematographer

"Remarkable."  —Austin Chronicle

"It is one of those rare books that you honestly can't put down . . . I recommend this book highly to all fans of Werner Herzog."  —Media Mikes

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569766071
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,034,483
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Greenberg is a writer, film director, film producer, and photographer. His film Land of Look Behind won the Gold Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. He is also the author of Love in Vain: A Vision of Robert Johnson. He has known and frequently collaborated with Werner Herzog for more than 35 years, helping him write the screenplay of Fitzcarraldo, among others. Werner Herzog is considered one of the world’s greatest filmmakers. His films include Aguirre, the Wrath of God; The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser; Grizzly Man; Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans; Cave of Forgotten Dreams; and Into the Abyss. His books include Conquest of the Useless and Of Walking in Ice.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Werner Herzog ix

A Distant Wind 3

Gangster Priests 6

Death Lesson 10

The Sign at Thusis 19

The Scenario: A Summary 23

Blues 25

The Scenario 29

The Gloom of Gloom 33

The Scenario 44

Outside Czechoslovakia 50

Pallbearers 55

The Scenario 57

The Castle Flies 58

Under the Ice 62

The Scenario 68

The Interrupted Death of Friedrich 76

The Scenario 79

The Fool on the Roof 83

The Soundman Haymo 89

The Scenario 90

The Diminishing Snake 103

Order and Disorder 106

The Weasel of Feilgau 109

Wa'hid 115

Ludmilla 119

The Scenario 122

Sachrang 143

The Story of Absalom 150

The Scenario 152

The Bluff 164

The Death of a Dog 169

The Scenario 174

Afterthought: Visions of Great Skellig 179

Zorn's Lemma 180

Great Skellig 188

Nothing to Declare 196

Afterword Werner Herzog 199

Acknowledgments 205

About the Author 207

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    The best book on the making of a film ever written. --Rolling St

    The best book on the making of a film ever written. --Rolling Stone

    "Great and poetic writing." --David Lynch

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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