KINSKI UNCUT by Klaus Kinski


The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski
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 Substantially rewritten, expanded and retranslated, this volume supersedes the late actor's 1989 All I Need Is Love. Kinski, who died in 1991, had a richly deserved reputation as one of the bad boys of European cinema, a volatile personality both on screen and off. Kinski offers vivid recollections of a horrific childhood. Born in 1926, he grew up in Danzig in suffocating poverty, his father a failed pharmacist who couldn't support his wife and four children. At 16 Kinski found himself drafted into the Wehrmacht as as a battered Germany threw adolescents into battle in a last-ditch attempt to stave off defeat. Kinski deserted repeatedly and ended up a British POW. When he was released, he returned to Germany, where in a desultory fashion he began to pursue a career in theater. Eventually, he developed a reputation as an enfant terrible of considerable talent and graduated to film work. He worked his way through three wives, having one child by each (including his famous daughter, Nastassja). The overwhelming majority of the book's pages are devoted to a seemingly endless string of sexual experiences: Kinski has sex with virtually every woman he meets. He even has a heated encounter with his sister. Unfortunately, he lacks the pornographic imagination and richly inventive language of Henry Miller, who seems to hover over Kinski's shoulder. The actor repeatedly collapses into sentimental clichÇ, straining for richer metaphor but to no avail. Moreover, he uses this autobiography as an opportunity to heap abuse on nearly everyone he ever worked with. Combine a monstrously huge ego (Kinski compares himself, favorably, to Jesus Christ) with an endless catalog of couplings, and the result is a dully repetitive and ultimately repellent reading experience.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-670-86744-6
Page count: 322pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1996