At the beginning of the 19th century, white settlers regularly make and break treaties with the Native American inhabitants to gain possession of vast hunting grounds at ludicrously low ... See full summary »
At the beginning of the 19th century, white settlers regularly make and break treaties with the Native American inhabitants to gain possession of vast hunting grounds at ludicrously low prices without any bloodshed. Harrison, Governor of Indiana, has made and broke no less than fifteen such treaties, driving increasing numbers of Indians out to the infertile West. To put a stop to this criminal practice, the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh tries to unite the Native Americans. In 1811, he founds a tribal alliance and has Native American lands declared communal property. Chiefs who sell their land in spite of this agreement are to be killed. During the chief's absence, however, Harrison raids the "sacred city" of Tippecanoe founded by Tecumseh and his supporters, reducing it to ashes. The few survivors of the bloodbath flee to Canada, where they join forces with the English as they wage war against America. But they, too, fail to keep their promise to Tecumseh concerning an independent Indian ... Written by
DEFA Film Library
Tecumseh was an Indian chieftain who united many tribes in the early 19th century in order to fight back the white Americans. Tecumseh finally became an officer in the English army and fell in a battle. Despite this historical background, the movie romanticizes the biography quite a bit - with a love story in between and a typical 70s easy listening soundtrack. Earlier movies with "Tecumseh" star Gojko Mitic seem rather grim in comparison, "Weisse Wölfe" for example. A strength of "Tecumseh" lies in the dialogs, because all Indians speak in whole sentences instead of the broken words other screen-writers often put in their mouths. Obligatory for the East German "Indianerfilm" genre is the ideological background of honorable natives vs. imperialist aggressors, in this case led by governor Harrison (Wolfgang Greese) who is only interesting in snatching as much land from them as possible. However, this leaves room enough for a few characters to be torn between, especially Simon as a friend of Tecumseh who turns into an enemy.
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