Outlaws disguised as Indians commit crimes against settlers but Winnetou and Old Surehand are determined to unmask the bandits and keep the peace between settlers and Indians.Outlaws disguised as Indians commit crimes against settlers but Winnetou and Old Surehand are determined to unmask the bandits and keep the peace between settlers and Indians.Outlaws disguised as Indians commit crimes against settlers but Winnetou and Old Surehand are determined to unmask the bandits and keep the peace between settlers and Indians.
Middling entry in a series
Continuing in the tradition of previous German-made westerns based on the books of Karl May, this later entry can't hold a candle to earlier films such as "The Treasure of Silver Lake". This one has Granger as leading man and, though he has occasional moments of wit and presence, for the most part he isn't interesting enough to carry the film. He is joined (as in most all of these films) by Brice as Apache Chief Winnetou. The chemistry between the two doesn't quite match that of Brice and Granger's predecessor Lex Barker (who played a different character, but the roles are very similar.) The plot involves Granger and Brice setting out to discover who murdered a frontier mother and daughter. The surviving father blames the Indians while Brice feels that it was a gang of thieves called The Vultures (they certainly don't SOUND like a very friendly band of men!) In the mix is Sommer who is en route to see her father and is wearing a belt filled with gold. The son of the murdered family (George) finds himself falling for her as he investigates the murders along with Granger and Brice. Their adventures take them across various terrain and eventually alongside a wagon train which is beset by infiltrating bandits. This film lacks the grandeur and the production values of earlier films in the series. The lighting is about the worst that can be without having everyone completely in the dark. There is some unintentional humor as in seeing Sommer's extreme bubble bouffant hair-do in an old west setting and the usual hilarity that results from the awful dubbing (Why do these old-fashioned vocal dubbers always sound like they smoke 4 packs of cigarettes a day?) Most fun is seeing George bounce all over the place as if he has springs in his boots. No American western ever had anyone quite so gymnastic in his approach to action scenes. (Also note that, perhaps due to a European sensibility, the men in these films seem to touch each other so much more often than in American westerns. Look for it, it's really unusual.) The film just seems to have a deadening pall over it for some reason. It does not have the style, energy or vividness of the earlier works. It comes to life briefly during a pretty rousing "circle the wagons" stand off and an interlude at an Indian camp at which Granger has to prove his word to a disbelieving (and hilariously bulked up) chief. It's an okay movie to see once, but has no real lasting impact.
- Sep 17, 2003
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