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Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)

Cast: Paul Glauer, Gerd Gickel, Helmut Doring
Director: Werner Herzog, Werner Herzog
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Anchor Bay
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Germany
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: German
Subtitles: English
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Even viewers who've seen Freaks won't be completely prepared for Werner Herzog's bizarre Even Dwarfs Started Small. The film is set in a dismal mental institution, wherein dwell several midgets, dwarfs and other "oddities." Sick of being tormented and exploited by the so-called normal people of the world, the inmates stage a coup, taking over the asylum and utterly reversing the status quo (Herzog's apparent attempt to draw parallels between the events on screen and such real-life upheavals as Vietnam). As in his other films, the director imbues his misshapen characters with a sort of regal grandeur, as if to purge the German wartime atrocities against "underdesirables." Herzog also produced, wrote and provided the musical arrangements for Even Dwarfs Started Small, which was initially released in Germany in 1970 (two years after its completion) as Auch Zwerge haben klein angefagen. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Extraordinary by monteverest June 26, 2004 - 12:44 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
This is a terrific movie. The previous review is right: there is little plot or characterization. Even Dwarfs Started Small is not a traditional movie.

Instead, the images are disturbing, a depiction of a "nightmare" as the Director Warner Herzog says in the commentary. Plotwise, the dwarfs in a dwarf compound have staged a result after the "authority" dwarf catches one of their own for punishment. The authority dwarf retreats to the interior of the compound for protection while the revolting dwarfs ransack the exterior.

The opening shots of the dwarfs are unforgettable. The landscape that the dwarfs call home is barren, a lunar, rocky landscape that is forbidding and unhospitable. So are the images of the blind dwarfs with goggles who swing a stick incessantly into the air, the driverless car ridding in circles, the dead sow, etc.

You won't forget this movie. It comes very close to a personal vision of hell that I would nearly call genius.
Even Dwarfs Started Small deserves more than 8 stars but the overt symbolism is heavy handed at times. Otherwise, rent this movie.

Disturbin and Pointless by CMurphy November 26, 2002 - 1:03 PM PST
5 out of 21 members found this review helpful
Dwarfs are somewhat interesting to observe, but not when they are acting insane. There was no sign of a plot, and the hideous, high-pitch laughing throughout the film was extremely annoying. I gave up on it halfway through, but my husband watched until the end. He thought it was terrible as well, but he just kept waiting for something to happen. "Freaks" is a much better movie, if you want to see dwarfs.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.89)
123 Votes
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