Friday, March 23, 2012
THE SONS OF GREAT BEAR (1966)
A couple of years a go I watched my first German made western and really enjoyed it. At the time I meant go out of my way to watch more 'Sauerkraut Westerns' but I've only checked out a few sporadically. I've caught a couple of the Old Shatterhand and Winnetou films and really liked those Karl May stories. Each one I've seen has been quite entertaining and I have at least three German productions waiting to be watched so I guess it is finally time to publish this brief review of SONS OF GREAT BEAR that I penned right after my viewing.
"While not perfect I really enjoyed this European take on the
genre. Much has been (and should be) made of the fact that in this
film the Indians are the good guys and the white men are the villains.
This adds a nice layer of nastiness to some of the standard scenes of
treaty negotiations and forced interactions between the two opposing
sides. The story pretty loosely follows events around the
pushing of the natives off their promised reservation in the Black
Hills because gold has been discovered in the are. Because of this there seems to have been a desire to be fairly realistic- within movie limits, of course.
This is a beautifully shot and well crafted film that played very much
like a classic Hollywood western of the 1950s. The only time I felt
letdown was with the editing of the final fight on horseback between
Tokei-Ihto and Red Fox. Some shots were spliced in poorly early on
that belonged in the latter stages of the battle. Having those shots
turn up a second time was off-putting and awkward.
I must say I was very impressed the Yugoslavian actor who played
Tokei-Ihto. Gojko Mitic was an impressive presence onscreen and I can easily see why he went on to star in 16 more westerns of this type."