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Abahachi, Chief of the Apache Indians, and his blood brother Ranger maintain peace and justice in the Wild West. One day, Abahachi needs to take up a credit from the Shoshone Indians to finance his tribe's new saloon. Unfortunately Santa Maria, who sold the saloon, betrays Abahachi, takes the money and leaves. Soon, the Shoshones are on the warpath to get their money back, and Abahachi is forced to organize it quickly. Luckily, he, his twin brother Winnetouch, beautiful dancer Uschi and the Greek Dimitri each own a quarter of a treasure map that leads them to 'the shoe of Manitu'. There, Santa Maria already awaits them to take their new treasure away as well. But he did not think about the determination of Abahachi's team. Written by
Julian Reischl <email@example.com>
Why is it that foreign films are so notoriously unpopular in America? Does the phrase "lost in translation" ring a bell? Michael "Bully" Herbig is a brilliant comic, writer, actor, and director and his television show is one of the funniest ever seen, just as "Der Schuh des Manitou" has the distinction (believe it or not) of being the most successful German-language movie of all time.
But like all great comedians, Herbig uses linguistics to point up the content. As someone else on this site mentions: Yes, you are basically screwed if you don't speak German and understand various dialects and the socio-political ramifications of the context in which they are employed.
Let's take "Monty Python" for example: there is simply no way to translate this humour. It can be done fairly well with subtitles, but to try and translate the actual text into another language and dub over the original voices? Think of just about any scene in a Python film or TV sketch and try to imagine it dubbed into another language. It just wouldn't work.
Another example is why Mel Brooks' brilliant early films are nowhere near as funny dubbed into German as they are in the original English. "The Producers," "Blazing Saddles," and "Young Frankenstein" all depend to some degree on the use of overdone, stereotypical German and/or Yiddish accents. When you dub these movies into German, you lose the jokes. Take a classic line from "Young Frankenstein:" being told of the scale of the monster's body parts, Teri Garr (as Inga) says, "He vould have an enormous schwanzstucker." This word doesn't exist in German: Brooks made it up as something he thought English audiences would find funny as a German euphemism for "penis." The joke is simply untranslatable.
The same applies to "Der Schuh des Manitou." I can't begin to imagine how it must sound translated into English (or any other language for that matter) sheer nonsense, I imagine. As a native English-speaker, I best enjoyed the film when I watched the DVD with the German subtitles switched on (some of the dialects are a bit much for me), but I was falling over and crying with laughter. It is a comic masterpiece, but I can only imagine that to see it in a dubbed version is a waste of time.
Even the premise doesn't translate well: Germans and Austrians have maintained for a century a fascination with the American wild west novels of Karl May (written and published in German and still widely available and collected in various old editions), about the native American Indian Winitou. How bizarre is that? Herbig takes it to the extreme by parodying the countries' obsession with cowboys and Indians, but then having them speak in German dialects and even German dialect parodies of movie Indian language.
Herbig's latest film, "(T)Raumschiff Surprise: Periode 1" (OK: there are already three jokes in the title which would take 250 words to explain!) is a sort of gay parody of "Star Trek" (and "Star Wars" and the Indiana Jones films, etc.), and there is no way I can begin to translate for you the jokes in the character names (i.e. Mr. Spuck) and the use of dialects. Consider this: Schrotty speaks Bavarian dialect with a Scottish accent. How can you possible translate that?
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