When violent conflict breaks out between greedy railroaders and a tribe of Mescalero Apaches, only two men, destined to be blood brothers, can prevent all-out war: chief's son Winnetou and German engineer Old Shatterhand.
The construction of the Great Western Railroad creates heavy conflict between the railway company and neighboring Indian tribes. Worse, criminal gang leader Santer sets his eyes on a gold mine located on holy Indian land and influences the construction supervisor to re-rout the planned railroad straight through Apache land. Old Shatterhand, who works as a measurement technician, discovers the evil plan and searches contact with the Apaches in an effort to avert war.Written by
The rope Lex Barker is tied with on the "torture tree" changes positions between shots. See more »
The English version (i.e. "Winnetou, the Warrior") omits all scenes with Chris Howland. Some other scenes are trimmed as well - including a sequence between the character Sam Hawkens and a fat Indian squaw. The German 2005 restored DVD version has a English soundtrack option in which the scenes that where not in the English version reverts to the German soundtrack. It is therefore possible to see the differences between the two versions. The German soundtrack on the same DVD issue has been remixed into stereo and at least one sequence that has previously been censored in German VHS copies - the death of Santer - has been restored as well. See more »
Arguably the start of the notable German Western cycle of the 60's, along with Treasure of the Silver Lake (Der Schatz I'm Silbersee of the previous year). In this early adaption of the tremendously successful Karl May novels which formed the backbone of the series, Ex Tarzan Lex Barker, blonde hair slicked back in vague echo of Kirk Douglas, plays Old Shatterhand. French actor Pierre Brice is Winnetou, good Apache, his Indian blood brother. Unlike the cynicism of the Spaghetti Westerns which followed shortly afterwards, the German version is backward looking - nostalgic, perhaps, for the more simplistic and romantic version of the genre, common in Hollywood before the psychological complications wrought by the 50's. Thus Shatterhand and Winnetou are more Lone Ranger and Tonto than Trinità and Bambino. The present film is fully equal of its rivals elsewhere on the continent in recreating the old west in mid europe, wagon trains marauding indians and all. Winnetou 1 also has the distinction of a marvellous score by Martin Bottcher, its sweeping main theme instantly memorable and looks superb in the widescreen transfer. Recent months have seen the release of three or four boxes of the films featuring Winnetou et al, with another one including the 1980's TV series, also worth investigating. However prospective buyers should note that the English dialogue/subtitling is not consistent; box 1 for instance only has 2 out of the 4 films in English while even in those that do minor characters and small scenes often lapse back into German - not a problem when the plot is relatively straightforward but unless bought cheaply the annoyance is enough to dampen a full recommendation of a greatly entertaining series of films hardly known to western fans, at least in the UK.
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