Winnetou - 2. Teil (1963)

a.k.a Last of the Renegades
Klaus Kinski and Terence Hill join Lex Barker in this exciting Karl May Western from director Harald Reinl. UFA German R0 boxset disc.

The Film

The American West, the situation between the white men and the natives is bordering between war and peace. Winnetou (Pierre Brice), an Apache, is touring the countryside trying to talk peace and avoid war. He saves a young woman from a bear, and earns the favour of her tribe - he persuades them to release three American Cavalrymen who they are holding. The Cavalrymen, lead by Lt. Robert Merill (Terence Hill) return home, but are forced to watch, powerless, as a group of bandits, lead by David Lucas (Klaus Kinski) destroy a native village and kill all its people. Merill is saved when Old Shatterhand (Lex Barker) arrives and scares off the bandits. Tracking them down, he discovers that they are in the employ of Bud Forrester, an oil prospector who is trying to clear the Natives off their land so that he can mine it. Winnetou arranges a peace conference between the Cavalry and the Natives, but the village massacre causes tension and Winnetou and Shatterhand set out to track down the perpetrators...

Winnetou 2 is the third of the Karl May Westerns and follows along the same lines as the previous entires - Winnetou and Shatterhand get into a series of adventures and meet a variety of characters, good and evil. While Winnetou 1 was relatively close to Karl May's source novel, the writers have all but invented their own story here (the original book is more of a direct sequel to the first story involving Shatterhand chasing the villian Santer to New Orleans and trying to persue him back to Europe), only the theme of conflicted love remaining, in this case with Indian girl Ribanna torn between her feelings for Winnetou, or the politically important offer of marrage from US Cavalryman Robert Merill.

In keeping with the rest of the Karl May films, there are plenty of good action sequences and gun battles giving the film a real epic feel. Meanwhile the plot remains solid and has some interesting set-pieces, a peace conference between the native tribes and the US Cavalry has some nice details of native culture and a rather surprising conclusion, while the film builds to an exciting and dramatic climax. As with many other films in the series, Winnetou 2 does suffer under a little outdated comic relief, in this case Lord Castlepool, and eccentric English professor who teams up with Shatterhand, although his scenes are mercifully brief and actually gel with the plot better than those in the first two films.

Harald Reinl's direction is strong, with good camera work - the Jugoslavian locations look very colourful. The fiery night-time explosion of an oil mine is a highlight and looks very impressive - fortunately it is actually shot at night, rather than the blue-tinted day-for-night scenes in the rest of the film. The native villages and costumes all look strong and the production's budget can clearly be seen in the crowds of extras.

Actors Lex Barker and Pierre Brice reprise their roles from the earlier films and look as good as ever. Klaus Kinski, relatively unknown outside Germany at the time, plays his normal 'strong, silent type' villain quite well, although he gets a relatively limited part, while a young looking Terence Hill, credited under his real name of Mario Girotti looks good in his role as a Cavalryman - one of his first appearances outside Italy.

Like the other early films in the series, this is a relatively unchallenging adventure film (although the love triangle raises some interesting questions), lacking in the cynicism or political themes that by the late 1960s were dominating Westerns in America and Europe. With less exciting set pieces than Winnetou 1 but a more interesting cast, Winnetou 2 is highly recommended to fans of the series.

In brief:

Anyone famous in it? Lex Barker - an American actor who made his name in Europe in adventure and horror pictures.
Klaus Kinski - Soon to become one of the top euro-cult stars starring in dozens of Spaghetti Westerns.
Terence Hill - Soon to become famous in the later comedy Spaghetti Westerns alongside Bud Spencer.
Directed by anyone interesting? Harald Reinl - An Austrian director who shot a variety of films based on classic literature.
Any violence? Quite a lot of gun, fist and knife fights, some blood.
Any sex? None
Good soundtrack?A very fitting orchestral soundtrack.
Who is it for?
An exciting adventure film from a less cynical era. For newcomers Winnetou 1 is a better place to start.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio  - 2.35:1 anamorphic wide-screen. Colour.
The image is very good - some minor damage and heavy grain in some scenes, but great colours and detail. Some scenes are occasionally in a slightly lower quality, but mostly unnoticably.
Audio German 5.1 and mono. Strong audio. The remix is quite good with use made of the surround channels.
English mono. Sounds good, some slight hiss.
Subtitles German HOH
English (this track translates the English soundtrack, so there are some discrepancies when watching the German as the translations are different).
RuntimeMain feature runtime:  1hr 30m 45s (PAL)
Extras The disc includes:
  • Bonus Trailer reel (same as other discs)
Packing Only available in the Karl May Collection 3 boxset.
Region Region 0 (worldwide) - PAL
Other regions? Other German releases from Kinowelt - no English options.
Cuts? The film is believed to be fully uncut. Titles and credits are in German.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 28th July. 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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