Game in the Sand (lost Werner Herzog short; 1964)

Game in the Sand
A young Werner Herzog on the set of his 1970 film Even Dwarfs Started Small.
A young Werner Herzog on the set of his 1970 film Even Dwarfs Started Small.
Status Lost

In 1964, a black-and-white short film titled Game in the Sand (aka Spiel im Sand) was produced by renowned German director Werner Herzog.[1] At 14 minutes in length, the short was never released due to its apparently graphic nature. While Herzog has never come clean in terms of exactly what happened during the shooting of Game in the Sand, it is said to be a documentary of sorts involving four children and a rooster, the latter of which is said to have been buried up to its neck in sand at one point.

Herzog has stated that only three or four people have ever seen it and that he has contemplated destroying the negative before he dies, due to, as he put it, the shoot "moving out of control".[2] Herzog, who is not unfamiliar with violent or otherwise controversial on-set incidents (during the shooting of his 1970 comedy/drama effort Even Dwarfs Started Small, for example, an actor was accidentally set alight and run over by a truck, though miraculously, was not fatally injured) has never directly stated how the situation culminated, though it is largely assumed (based on Herzog's body of work) that whatever happened to the rooster beyond its burial must have been pretty graphic and/or disturbing to warrant completely barring it from any kind of release.

Scant additional information on the short has ever surfaced, with the exception of the music and cinematography credits, belonging to Jaime Pacheco and Uwe Brandner, respectively.


  1. IMDb page on the short. Last retrieved 04 Mar 2015.
  2. Online archive of the 2003 publication Herzog on Herzog, in which the film is briefly discussed (pages 18/19), via the Internet Archive. Last retrieved 12 Feb 2015.


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