Despite the Winnetou debate, ZDF is sticking with the Karl May films with Pierre Brice and Uschi Glas. A classic is now on TV on National Day.
Mainz – The Karl May films from the 1960s – above all with Pierre Brice as Winnetou – shaped generations in Germany. The Winnetou films regularly flickered across the screen and uncritically fascinated.
This transfigured Wild West romance has been over since this summer at the latest. A heated debate about cultural appropriation and racism raged around Winnetou. The trigger: A publisher withdrew two accompanying books for a new Winnetou film for children. That really fueled the discussions. The depictions are racist, do not criticize colonization and romanticize the suffering and oppression of indigenous peoples.
Despite Winnetou discussions: ZDF shows Karl May classics on television
Others, on the other hand, thought the Winnetou book was harmless and criticized the publisher’s decision. In an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung , Karl May expert Andreas Brenne said it was a fictitious story and not to be understood as a proper representation of the life of indigenous peoples.
ZDF is sticking with the Winnetou films. The broadcaster made that clear at the end of August. “ZDF has broadcasting rights for various Karl May films that will be broadcast in the next few years,” said a spokeswoman for the dpa news agency. Previously, however, ZDF fueled the discussions on the subject with a Facebook post.
“Winnetou and the Half-Blood Apanatschi” – with Pierre Brice and Lex Barker – will be broadcast on ZDF on the Day of German Unity (3 October, 11:30 a.m.). Uschi Glas plays the settler’s daughter Apanatschi, who gets her father’s secret gold mine for her birthday and is kidnapped by greedy prospectors.
“The character of Apanatschi does not come from Karl May either, but is fictitious.”
The ZDF writes about the Winnetou feature film highlight: “After the great success of the previous Karl May films in the 1960s, the successful producer Horst Wendlandt remained true to the tried and tested procedure: The template of the famous author, in this case the story ‘Half Blood’ , has been altered and rewritten almost beyond recognition; only basic motives remained.”
“The character of Apanatschi does not come from Karl May, but is fictitious,” reads the ZDF website. For the young actress Uschi Glas it was the first leading role in a movie in 1966 and her voice could not be heard. “However, almost 50 years later, in an interview, she contradicted the persistent rumor that she had been dubbed because of her Bavarian accent.”
Uschi Glas was 22 when the film was released in the summer of 1966. The actress expressed herself in the picture rather uncomprehendingly: “In the films and the novels there are good and bad. They have white or red skin. It depicts real life. One should stop trying to find a reason to complain about something here by hook or by crook.”
The ARD broadcasters will no longer show Winnetou films. According to the ARD program directorate, the license rights expired in 2020 and should not be extended. (ml)