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COLOGNE, Germany – German mini-major Constantin Film is planning a revival of one of the country’s most beloved film franchises: the Winnetou series of Westerns based on the novels by German author Karl May. A remake of the Winnetou films has been rumored for years but now Constantin has confirmed that it is pushing ahead with the project. Writer Michael Blake, who penned the Oscar-winning script to Dances With Wolves, will adapt May’s work for the screen. Constantin’s Robert Kulzer and Martin Moszkowicz will produce.
Nearly a dozen Winnetou films were made from 1962-1968 starring French actor Pierre Brice as the titular Apache chief and American Lex Barker as his friend and blood brother Old Shatterhand. They were huge hits and are still stables on German television. As with Dances With Wolves, the films flipped the traditional cowboy and indian system portraying native Americans (at least Winnetou and his friends) as the heroes and white settlers mainly as villains. The franchise also inspired German comedian Bully Herbig to make his Winnetou spoof Mannitou’s Shoe in 2001, which went on to become the most successful German film of all time, earning some $90 million.
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