Klaus Kinski - the notoriously mad Polish actor / force of nature - once philosophized "One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real." And by that logic, Kinski certainly left us plenty of stuff by which to judge him. "I get venereal disease more often than most people catch colds" is one of my favorite nuggets from his insane and hilariously titled memoir, All I Need is Love, which is as much an autobiography as it is an ode to his feral, devil may care approach to life. Much of what Kinski included in the book was encouraged and then later discredited by filmmaker Werner Herzog, his most famous collaborator and the cinema's greatest myth-maker. But the fact remains that Kinski leapt at the chance to wax poetic about his apathy and indiscretions ("So I've sold myself for another year. I have no idea what I've signed. I have to take on any shit. As I've said, it's all the same to me").

For an actor of his success and esteem it was bizarrely important to him that the public believe he just didn't care - that he only acted in order to survive. His resume supports that claim, as he appeared in more than 160 projects during the 40 or so years in which he considered himself a professional actor, a rate impossible for anyone all that particular about the roles they accept. Of course, odds are if you throw that many darts something is going to stick, but the great irony of Kinski's life is that he's remembered for a handful of indelible performances that were so wild, impassioned, and brimming with primordial energy that it's inconceivable to think he didn't throw every mad ounce of himself into his acting.
categories Cinematical