18 April 2012

Winnetou – 1. Teil (1963)

Der Schatz im Silbersee/Treasure of Silver Lake (Harald Reinl, 1962) was the most successful German film of the 1962/1963 season. Director Harald Reinl and producer Horst Wendlandt then created a series of Euro-Westerns, all based on the novels by Karl May. Their next film, Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (Harald Reinl, 1963) was, in fact, a prequel to Der Schatz im Silbersee which introduced Apache chief Winnetou and told how he met Old Shatterhand.

Pierre Brice in Winnetou I (1963)
German postcard by ISV, no. E 28. Photo: Constantin. Pierre Brice as Winnetou in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (Harald Reinl, 1963).

Pierre Brice in Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no E 2. Photo: Constantin. Pierre Brice as Winnetou in Winnetou - 1.Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: A friend of the oppressed and enemy of the exploiters, Winnetou keeps a watchful eye over his country, which is rich in cattle and gold.

Lex Barker and Ralf Wolter in Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 4. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker as Old Shatterhand and Ralf Wolter (middle) as Sam Hawkens in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Old Shatterhand comes from the east as the companion of a trek and brings supplies of weapons and food to the Great Western Railroad.

Lex Barker and Ralf Wolter in Winnetou I (1963)
German postcard, no. E 5. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker as Old Shatterhand and Ralf Wolter as Sam Hawkens in Winnetou - 1. Teil (1963). Caption: Sam Hawkens joins him, an experienced westerner who helps the Greenhorn Old Shatterhand to the finish.

Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 6. Photo: Constantin. A scene from Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Incited by Santer, the Kiowas attack the trek.

Forever Winnetou


The stars of Winnetou – 1. Teil were again Lex Barker as Old Shatterhand and Pierre Brice as Winnetou. They both came up with a fine performance.

Brice became so popular that he would stay Winnetou throughout his whole life. First, he played the native American chief in eleven films between 1962 and 1968. After the period of the Karl May films was over, Brice continued to perform the role on several stages in Germany and also in TV series.

The cast of Winnetou – 1. Teil also included French actress Marie Versini as Winnetou’s sister Nscho-tschi, Mario Adorf as Frederick Santer - the bad guy who shoots Ntscho-tschi, Chris Howland as the comic Lord Tuff-Tuff, Ralf Wolter as Sam Hawkens, Mavid Popovic as Intschu-tschuna - Winnetou's father, and Dunja Rajter as Belle.

Christian Wolff was the German voice of Winnetou. The principal shooting took place in national park Paklenica karst river canyon, in Yugoslavia, now Croatia.

Lex Barker in Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 8. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: The Kiowa Indians are overwhelming, one has to get the best out of the situation. Old Shatterhand comes up with a trick.

Winnetou I, Lex Barker
German postcard, no. E 9. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Old Shatterhand puts a rat in the ammunition and saves himself with a bold leap onto the horse. The remaining car, surrounded by Kiowas, explodes.

Chris Howland in Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 11. Photo: Constantin. Chris Howland as Lord Tuff-Tuff in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: One looks scornfully at the incoming Cook agent, whose innocuous endeavor is to photograph Indians in full war coats.

Lex Barker in Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 13. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Even the steel hard fists of Old Shatterhands are inferior to the superiority of Santer's gang. He and his friends bring Bancroft back to the railroad warehouse.

Pierre Brice and Hrvoje Svob in Winnetou I, (1963)
German postcard, no. E 14. Photo: Constantin. Pierre Brice and Hrvoje Svob in Winnetou - I. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Winnetou, outraged about all the atrocities of the invaders, rides with his white teacher Klekih-Petra to the final negotiations in the camp of the railway workers.

A famous rifle called Silberbüchse


The storyline of every Karl May film is basically the same. The two friends Winnetou and Old Shatterhand try to solve the problems between red and white people and in the end they succeed, of course.

According to Karl May's story, first-person narrator Old Shatterhand encounters Winnetou and after initial dramatic events, a true friendship between Old Shatterhand and the Apache arises. On many occasions, they give proof of great fighting skills but also of compassion for other human beings.

The Karl May novels portray a belief in an innate ‘goodness’ of mankind. With about 200 million copies worldwide, Karl May was one of the best selling German writers of all time.

In the books, Winnetou became the chief of the tribe of the Mescalero Apaches (and of the Apaches in general, with the Navaho included) after his father Intschu-tschuna and his sister Nscho-tschi were slain by the white bandit Santer.

Winnetou rode a horse called Iltschi (Wind) and had a famous rifle called Silberbüchse (The Silver Gun), a double-barrel rifle of which the stock and butt were decorated with silver studs. Old Shatterhand became the blood brother of Winnetou and rode the brother of Iltschi, called Hatatitla (Lightning).

Karl May's Winnetou novels symbolise, to some extent, a romantic desire for a simpler life in close contact with nature. In fact, the popularity of the series is due in large part to the ability of the stories to tantalise fantasies many Europeans had and have for this more untamed environment.

Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 18. Photo: Constantin. A scene from Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: A fight between Santers and Old Shatterhands begins in Roswell. At the same time, Winnetou is attacking the whites with his Apaches.

Winnetou I, Chris Howland
German postcard, no. E 21. Photo: Constantin. Chris Howland in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: What do you do as a reporter, when you get no Indian in front of your camera? You put on some makeup and make a self-portrait, here, unfortunately, it failed.

Winnetou I, Ralf Wolter
German postcard, no. E 22. Photo: Constantin. Ralf Wolter as Sam Hawkens in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: The conquering Apaches decide in the powwow to kill the white prisoners. The cranky Sam Hawkens just can't understand, why this is the way he has to go to the happy hunting ground.

Winnetou I, Lex Barker
German postcard, no. E 23. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Old Shatterhand has also been sentenced to die at the stake. He regrets emphatically, that he rescued Winnetou from the Kiowas. An ordeal by battle will decide.

Lex Barker in Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 24. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Haunted by the Apache boats Old Shatterhand must cross a raging river.

An impostor, a sexual pervert, a grotesque prophet of a sham Messiah!


"A thief, an impostor, a sexual pervert, a grotesque prophet of a sham Messiah!"..."The Third Reich is Karl May's ultimate triumph!" wrote Klaus Mann, son of Thomas Mann in 1940.

To which Albert Einstein replied: "...even today he has been dear to me in many a desperate hour."

Herman Hesse called his books "indispensable and eternal" and the writer and director Carl Zuckmayer even christened his daughter 'Winnetou' in honour of May's great Apache chief.

Yet, the English-speaking world is almost totally ignorant of May and his heroes Winnetou, Old Shatterhand, or Kara Ben Nemsi and his Arab friend Hadji Halef Omar who shared many an adventure in what is now called Kurdistan just over a hundred years ago.

The reason is simple. Almost none of May's books have ever been translated into English.

Lex Barker and Mavid Popovic in Winnetou I
German postcard, no. E 25. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker and Mavid Popovic in Winnetou - I. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: In the water, there is a bitter fight between Old Shatterhand and Winnetou's father, the chief of the Apaches.

Lex Barker and Pierre Brice in Winnetou I,
German postcard, E 26. Photo: Constantin. Lex Barker and Pierre Brice (right) in Winnetou -I. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Old Shatterhand, superior in strength and cunning to the Apache chieftain, defeats him, but spares his life. The judgment of God has spoken. Old Shatterhand and his followers are free.

Pierre Brice and Lex Barker in Winnetou I. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 29. Photo: Constantin. Pierre Brice and Lex Barker in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: In front of the dead tree with the laid-out Klekih-Petra, the blood brothers Winnetou and Old Shatterhand swear to take revenge on the murderous Santer.

Marie Versini, Lex Barker
German postcard, no. E 30. Photo: Constantin. Marie Versini and Lex Barker in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Winnetou's sister Nscho-tschi also joins the bond of friendship.

Mario Adorf in Winnetou - 1. Teil (1963)
German postcard, no. E 31. Photo: Constantin. Mario Adorf (left) as Santer in Winnetou - 1. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: Santer and his gang are still looking for the Apache gold. Unnoticed they follow the course of the Indians to the hiding place of the treasure.

Pierre Brice (Winnetou) is dead
German postcard, no. E 35. Photo: Constantin. Pierre Brice and Lex Barker in Winnetou - I. Teil/Apache Gold (1963). Caption: The hurrying Old Shatterhand witnesses how Winnetou takes revenge on Santer. What remains are two friends who go against the odds together.

Sources: Julian Crandall Hollick (Karl May's Imaginary America), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

This post was last updated on 30 May 2020.

No comments: