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Winnetou und das Halbblut Apanatschi

Half Breed
Apanatsi

West Germany/Yugoslavia 1966
produced by
Horst Wendlandt for Rialto Film, Jadran Film
directed by Harald Philipp
starring Pierre Brice, Lex Barker, Uschi Glas, Götz George, Ilija Djuvalekovski, Mihail Baloh, Ralf Wolter, Walter Barnes, Marinko Cosic, Nada Kasapic, Petar Dobric, Vladimir Leib, Abdurham Salja, Marija Crnobori, Giancarlo Bastlanoni
screenplay by Fred Denger, based on the novel Halbblut by Karl May, music by Martin Böttcher

Winnetou, Rialto's Winnetou, Old Shatterhand

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Onme thing up front: I love the early films of the Winnetou-series, namely Der Schatz im Silbersee and Winnetou I, II and III. With this film however, the ninth of the series (8 of which have been produced by Rialto film, one by CCC-Filmkunst), the series has lost much/all of its steam. In other words, the film is dreadful, and almost everybody who has seen it agrees ...

 

The film starts out like a Heimatfilm (= a form of rural melodrama made in the German language countries, often set in the alps): It's young half breed Apanatschi's (Uschi Glas) 21st birthday, and all the family parties and sings at her forest home, and even Winnetou (Pierre Brice), your friendly neighbourhood Apache chief stops by to give her a lovely dreass as a gift, and on the way, he has saved her young brother Happy (Marinko Cosic), who tried to steal a feather from an eagle's nest for her birthday.

Things soon take a turn to the worse though, as Apanatschi's father (Walter Barnes) gives her a goldmine she doesn't even want ... anyways, two friends of her fiancé Jeff (Götz George) - Pinky Vladimir Leib) and Sloan (Petar Dobric) -  would be more than happy to take it off her hands ... and soon enough, Apanatschi's father is dead, and the girl has to turn to Winnetou and his friend, the friendly neighbourhood scout Old Shatterhand for help, who promise to take her to safety ... not very successfully though, because Pinky and Sloan have since teamed up with outlaw Curly Bill (Ilija Djuvalekovski) and his gang, who promises to help them force the location of the mine out of the girl ... and soon enough they have taken Apanatschi and Happy captive and as a little thank you note, Curly Bill, not too eager to share, has Pinky and Sloan shot dead ...

Exit Winnetou and Old Shatterhand from the main narrative (presumably for budgetary reasons), as suddenly all hopes lie with Jeff (who can do magic tricks, I should mention, and who for some reason smiles his way through the whole film), who soon infiltrates the gang, frees Apanatschi and Happy and helps organize an attack on Rocky Town, the headquarters of Curly Bill's gang.

What makes this even more annoying is that Götz George turns in an obnoxious performance. Now don't get me wrong, I like Götz George, and he has proven later in his career that he is a great, versatile actor. Only in Winnetou und das Halbblut Apanatschi film he - complete with his smile and magic tricks - is as awful as the rest of the movie.

However, Curly Bill and his men can somehow escape the attack unscathed, and soon enough they have recaptured, who is stupid enough to blow Jeff's cover ... but in an underwhelming fight against Curly Bill, Jeff makes good his escape.

Now Winnetou reenters the plot and offers to the outlaws to lead them to the gold in exchange for Happy's freedom. The outlaws agree, but once they have found the mine, they refuse to let the Indian and the boy go. In another underhelming scene, Winnetou and Happy escape anyhow, meanwhile Curly Bill is shot by his own right-hand man Judge (Mihail Baloh), then the outlaws return to Rocky town ... where all the good guys with quite a few helpers have already set a trap for them and use dynamite to blow the baddies to kingdom come.

In the end it's back to her forest home and Heimatfilm-romanticism for Apanatschi ... and naturally, Jeff promises to from now on stay with her ...

 

As I have mentioned above, a terrible film. The love for the genre is gone, so is directorial dillegence, any kind of decent script, fairy-tale like atmosphere, bigger than life heroes and villains and everything else you might associate with the Winnetou-series. Even the heroes of the series, Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, are degraded to supporting roles in their own film, playing friendly neighbourhood lads, while center stage is given to Götz George in his most annoying performance, and Uschi Glas, who plays her role as ahlf breed like a young, naive Bavarian girl and looks accordingly (in all fairness, she was a young, naive Bavarian girl, and in later life had a long string of successes playing just that).

Given, if you like unintentional humour, you might find a few scenes to giggle in this one, if you are looking for decent Western entertainment though, avoid it like plague.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD