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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
So the Germans do have a sense of humour after all...
Like wines, some comedies just don't travel: most German comedies shouldn't even make the effort. Having sat through (or tried to) a few German comedies in the past that were so parochial as to be completely mystifying to anyone outside that country's borders (not to mention painfully unfunny in the loudest possible way), the last thing I ever expected to ever be able to recommend was a German comedy, but MANITOU'S SHOE (in it's 'Extra Large' version at least) is hysterically funny for at least 75 of its 102 minutes.
You don't have to have seen the WINNETOU films to get most of the jokes - pitched somewhere between vintage Zucker and Abrahams with a pinch of classic Mel Brooks. Indeed, it may even help that audiences outside Germany are not familiar with Bully Herbig's TV work: the repetition of TV sketches that so many German viewers have complained about really isn't an issue for us foreigners.
Like most comedies, it runs out of steam towards the end when the need to wrap up the plot (such as it is) takes over, but for much of its running time it throws in some breathtakingly absurd and unexpected jokes, all the funnier for being delivered straight (special kudos here to Sky Dumont as Santa Maria, who subverts audience expectations to brilliant effect). There are a few jokes and characters that fall flat, most notably a Greek Apache who has nothing funny to say or do, but there are so many laugh-out-loud-even-when-you're-on-your-own moments here that you can forgive them.
Also worth noting is the fact that, unlike most comedies (especially ones with their origins in television), MANITOU looks like a real film: well directed with a good use of the Scope frame and a genuine sense of scale. One word of warning for non-German speakers - avoid the dubbed version of the original cut, which appears to have been dubbed by many of the original cast who think their English/America accents are a lot better than they actually are (a major factor in the film not being released in English-speaking territories despite its massive local success). The 'Extra Large' version has a different American voice cast, and a very good one too
the voices sound right for the characters for a change.
Bottom line, it's not big, it's not clever, but it is funny.
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