TORONTO: Herzog's "Rescue Dawn" Kicks Off Market On the Road to Oscar

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MGM made the first major pick-up Saturday at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, shelling out the bucks for Werner Herzog's Vietnam POW pic, "Rescue Dawn."

The sale came in good time, marking the first big buy of the fest on only the third day of screenings. It also came right before the film?s world premiere Saturday night, when star Christian Bale was scheduled to walk the red carpet alongside Herzog himself.

Herzog adapted "Rescue Dawn" from his own 1997 documentary, "Little Dieter Needs to Fly," about Navy pilot Dieter Dengler. Bale plays Dengler, who was captured in Laos during the Vietnam War and tortured in a POW camp before escaping with fellow inmates. "Dawn" also stars Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies.

In the festival notes, TIFF contributor Noah Cowan writes "the film's survivalist snarl, its intense anti-heroism, Dengler?s Sisyphean attempts to overcome predatory Mother Nature, and Herzog's abiding love of freakish wise men echo the filmmaker's earlier masterpieces, 'Cobra Verde' and 'Fitzcarraldo' in particular."Any Herzog fans interested yet?

According to Variety, MGM is planning a December release in order to place "Rescue Dawn" into awards season contention.