Popularity USA vs. EU


This movie was very big in my country when it came out.
My father used to tell me stories about how people were standing in long lines to see it.

I was wondering if people in America (or other EU countries) liked it to? Or it was only one of those movies that people forget as soon as they have seen it?

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Well, I'm not an American, nor EU citizen (yet). But, being 40 yrs old Croatian, I can remember how Winnetou (and Old Shatterhand, too) was HUGE in whole former Yugoslavia. And I'm still thinking of taking a vacation some time, to visit some of Croatian locations where Winnetou movies were shot at (Krka River, Plitvice Lakes area and so on...).
In general, you're not alone in remembering that proud Apache warrior invented by German guy who wrote all those magical books (including Asian and SouthAmerican tales, too) without ever leaving Germany!

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You're absolutely right. I'm 30 years old, and i'm from Serbia, where all the Winnetou movies had enormous popularity. They are unforgetable.

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i grew up with those films and they were rather big in germany and german speaking countries. i guess i am not wrong if they say that pierre briece - for instance - is much more renown in germany than in france. internationally the films werent that succesful. :-(

ps. everyone still knows them... 40 years later.

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Well, in France, only few people knows the Winnetou's Saga or Pierre Brice (despite he's french).
Actually, I only know both of them because I saw a documentary about Brice on Arte.
I regret that, the movies looked fun.

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I grew up on Winnetou films myself - but I don't think many Americans know of their existence. It's understandable - why would they buy and see a western made in Yugoslavia with European actors and based on a book by a guy who've never even been in America? But it's also sad because I don't think they have those kind of films themselves. perhaps the Macahans-series comes close, but not close enough.

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B.t.w. why should this message been deleted by an administrator???

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You need to ask the administrator, obviously ;-)

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Since no Americans have answered this question yet, I will.

No, they weren't popular in America. They usually appeared as second or third bills in drive-in triple features (back when there were still drive-ins). Part of the problem was the dubbing, which has always been (and still is) very badly done in the states. And partly it was the "wrongness" of the landscapes. Americans had come to expect a certain look to the landscapes by that time (usually Old Tucson in Arizona), and when a film didn't have it, it sometimes butted-up against their expectations. The first European director to overcome this was Sergio Leone, but even he had to wait until late 1967 for his first Clint Eastwood western (A Fistful of Dollars) to be release in the U.S.and then as part of a double bill with its sequel (For a Few Dollars More).

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While I was a pre-teen during the mid-1960s I don't think these would have been anywhere near as popular in the States as they were in your country (Germany?)

At about that same time we had John Wayne (McLintock!, The Sons of Katie Elder, How the West Was Won, Rio Bravo, The Horse Soldiers, The Alamo) Audie Murphy (40 Guns to Apache Pass, Gunpoint, Six Black Horses, Gunfight at Comanche Creek, The Quick Gun, Apache Rifles) Joel McCrea (Sioux Nation, Cry Blood, Apache, The Young Rounders, Ride the High Country) and that was just the movies. We had on TV in that same period; Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Laramie, Rifleman, Bat Masterson, Laredo, Wagon Train, Lawman, Cheyenne, Maverick, Sugarfoot, Paladin, Wyatt Earp, Cimarron City, Rawhide) and MORE!

While these don't fit in the exact same genre they are close enough to the Shatterhand et al that they are in competition. The US was overloaded with westerns during this time period as my BRIEF summary demonstrates. There was no need to watch a foreign movie with dubbed or subtitled with lower production standards (in some cases).

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Another possibility as to why they weren't popular in the US, besides the dubbing and landscape expectations, is because the Americans were always the antagonists (and sometimes Indians were bad guys but only because they were corrupted by white bad Americans). The protagonists were always depicted as European (German) and the nature loving Indians (whom the Germans related to). Kind of hard to "sell" this story line to Americans, especially at a time when other western's purposes were to give of that good ol'American cowboy hero feeling.
Ps, I'm American but prefer the German Western as it tries to show the truths of what greedy men had done to the American Indians (ie taking their land, introducing diseases, alcohol, killing off many tribes' main source of livelihood like buffalo.)
These are all things Karl May portrays in his stories (later adapted by others into films like this one). These harsh realities that May brought to the forefront of his stories are not things most Americans necessarily wanted to face (and still don't), especially when they sit down to watch a film for enjoyment. On the other hand, these are things that Germans could relate to and wanted to see. After WWII, the men were defeated, they needed this escape, needed a hero who fought for the injustices of they found around them, in their confined reality in Europe. They wanted to escape to the country life (away from their urban dwellings) hence the 2 successful decades of heimatfilms prior to the Karl May film adaptions. Shatterhand gave Germans a victory that they desperately wanted (a man of unrivaled strength fighting in the name of good and all those who can't fight their own fight, against the bad/evil)

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Indeed! I agree to you wholeheartedly!
(Although the German Western is also likely to be clich├ęd and not necessarily more true to history - which, of course, does not contradict your statement)
I'm not an expert in this field (young & still haven't catched up on many movies) but you seem to get it. Just wanted to say that.

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