Woyzeck (1979)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Aug-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Herzog Collection
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 77:18 (Case: 80)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Werner Herzog

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Klaus Kinski
Eva Mattes
Wolfgang Reichmann
Willy Semmelrogge
Josef Bierbichler
Paul Burian
Volker Prechtel
Dieter Augustin
Irm Hermann
Wolfgang Bächler
Herbert Fux
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is a relatively short film based on the unfinished 1836 play by the German writer Georg Büchner. Woyzeck (Klaus Kinski) is a private in the army. His wife is an attractive young woman (Eva Mattes) who has piqued the interest of the tall, handsome leader of the marching band (Josef Bierbichler). Woyzeck is already showing signs of derangement and his jealous suspicion of his wife as well as the monotony of his existence threaten to push him over the edge.

    Werner Herzog had long wanted to make a film of this play. It fits in well with his standard themes of the thin line between obsession and madness and the triumph or destruction of a man pushed to his extremes. It is very well acted, particularly by Kinski who himself seems to have been perennially on the brink of madness. However, while it can be admired it does not quite gel, perhaps because Woyzeck is already close to madness when the movie begins. There is very little change in Kinki's performance over the course of the film, though as always when directed by Herzog he is mesmerising to watch, and it is surprising (and a pity) that he never became a major international star. Perhaps he needed a director who was as driven by his demons as he was.

    This release is somewhat scant in terms of extras, but as it is only available as part of the boxed set of the Herzog-Kinski collaborations this may not be a barrier to purchase.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    For the most part this is a very good transfer. Sharpness is reasonable if lacking in finer detail. Colours come across well, though they are mostly muted. The uniform of the marching band leader is quite bright, so the overall colour scheme must have been intentional. The transfer is bright and clean with good contrast.

    There is some telecine wobble, mainly visible during the opening credits. There is also some minor artefacting in the form of a slight blurriness in motion. I noticed this mainly on the faces of the actors. There is some evidence of excessive noise reduction. There are few film artefacts, which are limited to faint scratches (a darker one at 40:53) and the occasional tiny fleck of dirt or dust. At 14:46 there seem to be a couple of frames with a different palette which make the image flicker for a couple of seconds. Whether this is in the original material or in the print used for this transfer I do not know.

    Optional English subtitles are in clear yellow font and follow US spelling conventions. They contain some Americanisms, such as the cost of the knife being a couple of "dimes". The subtitles are well-timed and easy to read.

    The disc is single-layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The sole audio track is German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The audio is quite good considering the source material. Dialogue comes across clearly with little distortion or hiss. There are few effects and little that would be gained by remastering into a surround track, and besides this is how the soundtrack would have sounded in a cinema. There is occasional sibilance.

    Audio sync is very good, though the singing of the marching band leader seems to be looped.

    The music is provided by a group of fiddle players called Fiedelquartett Telc. The music is occasionally discordant but still in the style of the early 19th century. The instruments seem to be period ones, adding to a slightly strident and wiry sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Unlike the other fiction films in this set, there is no audio commentary.

Main Menu Audio

    The main menu features music from the score.

Gallery-Photo (0:51)

    Some stills and posters.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Single-page biographies for director and star.

Theatrical Trailer (3:08)

    An original German release trailer with subtitles.

Trailers-Herzog-Kinski Collection (13:37)

    Trailers for the other releases in the Herzog-Kinski Collection.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 release looks like it is taken from one of the Anchor Bay releases. The US Region 1 release included longer biographies and filmographies, plus a single page insert with production notes in addition to the extras found on the Region 4.

    Anchor Bay's UK release has some film notes in addition to the extras found on the Region 4.

    I suspect that the Region 4 is a direct copy of the Region 2. Reviews tend to indicate that the video quality on the Region 1 is slightly better than the Region 2, so on that basis the Region 1 is probably to be preferred if you want the best possible quality. That said, there is nothing seriously wrong with the Region 4.


    Another interesting collaboration between Herzog and Kinski - not one of their greatest achievements, but perhaps more accessible than others to many viewers.

    The video quality is good but not great.

    The audio quality is satisfactory.

    A small array of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, September 23, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
image flicker.. - wolfgirv
ohypkqfz vsztbix - cztery