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How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck... (1976)

How much Wood would a Woodchuck chuck... - Beobachtungen zu einer neuen Sprache (original title)
Herzog examines the world championships for cattle auctioneers, his fascination with a language created by an economic system, and compares it to the lifestyle of the Amish, who live nearby.

Director:

Werner Herzog
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Werner Herzog ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Steve Liptay Steve Liptay ... Himself (uncredited)
Scott McKain Scott McKain ... Himself (uncredited)
Ralph Wade Ralph Wade ... Himself (uncredited)
Leon Wallace Leon Wallace ... Himself (uncredited)
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Storyline

Herzog examines the world championships for cattle auctioneers, his fascination with a language created by an economic system, and compares it to the lifestyle of the Amish, who live nearby. Written by <mikewittr@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

auctioneer | amish | See All (2) »

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German | English

Release Date:

September 1976 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck... See more »

Filming Locations:

New Holland, Pennsylvania, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Herzog has said that he believes auctioneering to be "the last poetry possible, the poetry of capitalism." See more »

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User Reviews

 
obviously repetitive, but it has its moments, primarily as an act of rhythmic poetry
2 June 2007 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

They talk so fast that you need ears like a super-hawk to really decipher what they're getting at, but it's this speed at going about selling goods that interest Werner Herzog so much. He's said in interviews that it's almost like "the poetry of capitalism", as these high-stakes auctioneers, selling off cattle within a matter of seconds, are in a unique little world unto themselves and their small audience, mostly full of small town yokels and Amish. This doesn't make his documentary on them particularly exceptional, however, as it's a little too long and a little much without a lot of human interest; we don't know who most of these ultra-fast talkers are. It is, however, quite funny at times to see them go this fast, perhaps in a sort of detached way (then again, how can one who's never been to a cattle auction know anything about what it's like to see mouths go at a mile a minute).

It's great to see when he's interviewing one guy and he starts explaining how he auctions, and at first in regular speed soon as a sort of reflex goes off into his ultra-fast speaking voice. I also liked getting into the groove of the competition, as it were, seeing how despite it being still at lighting speed with numbers and calls it can be understood which ones are the slower ones. Although Herzog fares a lot better using the auctioneer in his fiction film Stroszek- Scott McKain is the one featured in the scene where Stroszek's items are sold off in an immediacy that is purely staggering and, as it's so unexpected following the pace of that film, is one of the most hilarious scenes of the 70s in cinema- it's a fine little portrait of a group that is somewhat representative of the fun that's missing in more run of the mill acts of commerce. You're not going to see this kind of auction at an art gallery in midtown New York, only in a Herzog film.


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