Sunday, May 23, 2010

Manitou's Shoe

Der Schuh des Manitu; Western parody, Germany/ Spain, 2001; D: Michael Herbig, S: Michael Herbig, Christian Tramitz, Marie Bäumer, Sky Dumont, Hilmi Sözer

The Wild West, 19th Century. The Indian Abahachi was born in a small tent, together with his gay twin brother Winnetouch. Decades later, after cowboy Ranger saved Abahachi's life, they became friends. But both get double crossed by the evil Santa Maria who wants to sell them a saloon with only one wall for a fortune. He also kills "False Rabbit", the son of the Indian Chief. In order to prove their innocence, Ranger and Abahachi search for Maria who kidnapped prostitute Uschi, Abahachi's former girlfriend, because she has a map of the Manitou's treasure tattooed on her back. Santa Maria dies, Ranger gets married to Uschi.

Michael Herbig and his colleague Christian Tramitz hosted the TV comedy show "Die Bullyparade" on German station ProSieben which had solid ratings. Thus, it is quite surprising how their comedy film "Manitou's Shoe" broke many box office records when it attracted 12 million viewers in Germany. Herbig, of course, is no new Wilder, which is why his story that spoofs the kitschy western series "Winnetou" is not especially original or smart, ending up like some extract of Brooks' "Blazing Saddles", yet it has enough hilarious jokes. For instance, the evil Santa Maria kills the Indian "False Rabbit" so the Chief blames Abahachi. When Abahachi runs away, a pole falls accidentally on a rabbit, so the Chief announces: "First he killed the False Rabbit, and now even the real rabbit! Dig up the war hatchet!" - "But we don't have a war hatchet, it was too expensive", replies a warrior. "So what did you buy instead?" - "A convertible chair". - "Dig out the convertible chair!" The film is filled with fast pace and jokes throughout whereas Sky Dumont is especially good as the main villain Santa Maria, as well as the final monologue of the narrator: "Then Santa Claus, the brother of Santa Maria, went on to give present to the World to compensate for the victims of his brother". All in all, silly but fun.


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