WINNETOU Western Series to get Film Adaptation from Dances with Wolves Screenwriter

Movieby Joey Paur

Dances with Wolves screenwriter Michael Blake has been hired to script the adaptation of German author Karl May's western book series Winnetou. This wouldn't be the first time the book series was adapted into feature film form. There were nearly a dozen western genre films that were made from 1962-1968. The film's starred French actor Pierre Brice as the Apache chief and American Lex Barker as his friend and blood brother Old Shatterhand. 

Winnetou is a fictional story that is told in the first-person by the narrator Old Shatterhand who encounters Apache chief, Winnetou, "and after initial dramatic events, a true friendship between Old Shatterhand and Winnetou arises; on many occasions they give proof of great fighting skill but also of compassion for other human beings. It portrays a belief in an innate "goodness" of mankind, albeit constantly threatened by ill-intentioned enemies.

Non-dogmatic Christian feelings and values play an important role, and May's heroes are often described as German Americans.

Winnetou became the chief of the tribe of the Mescalero Apaches (and of the Apaches in general, with the Navajo included) after his father Intschu-tschuna and his sister Nscho-tschi were slain by the white bandit Santer. He rode a horse called Iltschi ("Wind") and had a famous rifle called "Silberbüchse" ("The Silver Gun", a double-barrel rifle whose stock and butt were decorated with silver studs). Old Shatterhand became the blood brother of Winnetou and rode the brother of Iltschi, called Hatatitla ("Lightning")."

As you know, I'm a huge fan of the western genre, and I couldn't be more excited that a new film is being made based on these stories, which have become a German classic. German mini-major Constantin Film is planning this revival, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Hopefully we will see a series of successful wester genre films come from it. 

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