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The Deerslayer

Germany 1920/1923
produced by
Arthur Wellin for Luna-Film
directed by Arthur Wellin
starring Emil Mamelok, Herta Heden, Bela Lugosi, Gottfried Kraus, Edward Eyseneck, Margot Sokolowska, Charles Barley, Erna Rehberger, Egon Söhnlein
screenplay by Robert Heymann, based on the Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper

Hawkeye, Deerslayer

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Somewhere in New York State/New Jersey, the 19750s: Deerslayer (Emil Mamelok) and his sidekick Harry (Charles Barley) are on their way to meet Deerslayer's friend Chingachgook (Bela Lugosi), whose fiancee Wah-ta-Wah (Margot Sokolowska) has been abducted by the Iroquois, and on their way bump into Tom Hutter (Gottfried Kraus), who for the longest time has been living a peaceful life with his two daughters Judith (Herta Heden) and Heddy (Erna Rehberger) in his "castle" in the middle of a big lake. But now with the Iroquois on warpath, he asks Deerslayer to take the girl to nearby Fort William - but Fort William falls to the French before Deerslayer can do so. What's even worse, Harry and Tom are captured by the Iroquois. Deerslayer meets up with Chingachgook, and with the aid of the retreating British forces, they manage to save Harry and Tom. Then they plan to free Wah-ta-Wah, and after much to and fro, Deerslayer is captured by the Iroquois to be burned at the stake - but ultimately, again the retreating British forces under Colonel Munro (Egon Söhnlein) and his second-in-command Worley (Edward Eyseneck) save the day.


Please note, this review is based on the 1923 condensed version of the films Lederstrumpf, 1. Teil: Der Wildtöter und Chingachgook/The Deerslayer and Lederstrumpf, 2.Teil: Der Letzte der Mohikaner/The Last of the Mohicans, which sheered both movies of half their running time, which might explain some of the choppiness of this movies storytelling.

That said, this movie has over the years gained some curiosity value for being a very early German western (a genre the Germans would only excel in in the 1960s), and for featuring horror icon Bela Lugosi in an early role as Native American. Apart from that, there's little of actual interest about it: Sure, the locations are quite beautiful and fit the material, but all the action is rather sloppily executed, plot elements seem to spring out of nowhere without dramatic urgency, and the rather evident racism in this movie is quite appalling. It's still worth a look for curiosity's sake, just don't expect a hidden gem.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD