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Westerns with a Twist

You’ve probably heard of spaghetti westerns—movies set in the American Old West, made by Italians and filmed in Italy and Spain, mostly in the ’60s and ’70s. But what about so-called “red westerns” — made from 1965 to ’85 by Communist East Germany’s DEFA Film Studios and shot in Eastern Europe? The twist: The Indians were the heroes and the cowboys the bad guys. This essential set, in German with English subtitles, contains three of these intriguing Indianerfilme—“Apaches,”“TheSons of Great Bear” and “Chingachgook: The Great Snake.” Among the extras on the DVDs are interviews with the
films’ star, Gojko Mitic, who says the filmmakers based the stories on real events and strived for historical accuracy portraying the Indians. “We tried to make it authentic by showing their customs, how they hunted and the way they lived,” he says. Any fan of westerns should seize this exciting
opportunity to explore new territory in the Old West.

RANDY A. SALAS
 

Review reprinted from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. November 7, 2006

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