An exciting film with some big action scenes and one of the last Karl May Westerns, Lex Barker stars. UFA German R0 boxset disc.
is a half-breed, her father white, her mother a Native American. On the
day of her twenty-first birthday, her father shows her the hidden gold
reserve that he found years ago, and intends for her to grow wealthy
from. However, the secret gets out and two men try to find the mine -
they kill Apanatschi's father and wound her fianceé Jeff. Apanatschi
and her brother set off to find Old Shatterhand (Lex Barker) and he
scares away the men who are chasing them. However, the men head into
town and run into Curly-Bill and his gang who also learn of the
gold, and set out to find it. Shatterhand, Winnetou and Jeff, helped by
the townspeople have to save the girl, and their town, from this evil
Winnetou and the Half Breed
was one of the last Karl May Westerns - the growing popularity of the
Italian/Spanish Spaghetti Westerns, with their gritty violence and
nihilistic attitudes was making the family friendly Karl May films
seem increasingly dated. The script here was the only one of the
Rialto studio Westerns to be entirely original and not directly
based on a Karl May book, although of course the Old Shatterhand,
Winnetou and Sam Hawkens characters are borrowed from the novels and
the general tone is the same. CCC Film had tried a similar approach
with their Old Shatterhand (1964) film, but it was critically panned.
script works well for the most part, although the beginning does not
seem promising - Apanatschi's family activities are sickly sweet,
and the film threatens to become a daytime kids movie - fortunately it
picks up once Shatterhand arrives at the 25 minute mark and builds to a
strong, and tense climax. Generally the storyline is remniscent of Karl
May's Treasure of Silver Lake
(1962), with the promise of gold being enough to motivate cold-blooded
murder, while Shatterhand and Winnetou have to rescue a girl from the
bandits, with help from her beau. In light of the newly popular
Spaghetti Westerns, the film itself is very different in tone to the
earlier Karl May Westerns - gone are the dramatic adventure sequences
and epic feel that formed the backbone of Winnetou1 - 3 (1963/5), instead replaced by a more "town centred" storyline and grittier action. As a result, Winnetou and the Half Breed often feels rather torn between the family friendly tone of the scenes involving the children, and the violent action scenes.
Philipp does a good job shooting the action, but the film suffers from
some noticably bad editing - scenes often seem to cut away too early,
and a lot of key action seems to take place off scene - characters will
often randomly appear together with no mention of when they met -
and some scenes seem to be unfinished. Production is strong and the
practical effects look great, although an optical effect at the start
looks very poor. The music is decent, similar to that used in the rest
of the films, although its implementation is rather bitty in places.
Barker and Pierre Brice give typically good performances as
Shatterhand and Winnetou again, and they are joined by regular Ralf
Wolter as Sam Hawkens. Götz George makes his third appearance in
the series, this time as Apanatschi's fianceé, and looks good in
some solid action sequences. The rest of the cast, including the
attractive young Uschi Glas as Apanatschi herself, look good in their
Although the Karl May Westerns were on their way out, and Winnetou and the Half Breed lacks
the epic adventurous tone of the early productions, it is still an
enjoyable film, with some very good action scenes, if it is a little
confused about its tone. Recommended to fans of the series,
althougn Winnetou 1 - teil. (1963) and Treasure of Silver Lake (1962) will make better starting places for newcomers.
Anyone famous in it?
Lex Barker - an American actor who made his name in Europe in adventure and horror pictures.
Directed by anyone interesting?
Harald Philipp - a lesser known German director who also shot Karl May Western Der Ölprinzr (1965)
A few gun, fist and knife fights, some blood.
A suitable orchestral soundtrack.
Who is it for?
Fans of the series will enjoy this, and it should be interesting to Spaghetti Western fans.
Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1 anamorphic wide-screen. Colour. The
image is very good - some noticable grain
but great colours and detail.
German 5.1 and mono. Strong audio. The remix is rather poor - with some noticable digital echo. English mono. Sounds good, some hiss. A few shot dialogue scenes are in German only.
German HOH English - this track translates the English soundtrack, so there are some
discrepancies when watching the German as the translations are
different. Impressively it even recreates the rhyming language used by one of the characters. English subtitles are also provided for the German scenes on the English audio track and are "forced".
Other German releases from Kinowelt - no English options.
film is believed to be fully uncut and includes the scenes cut out of
the English language prints. The film was cut by 9 minutes on inital
release for an FSK 6 rating, most of these scenes seem to have been
restored. Titles and credits are in German.
An interesting later Karl May
Western, closer in tone to the Spaghetti Westerns, but retaining the
feel and themes of the original novels. Recommended to fans.
A good looking release of this film with a decent English audio track.