Der Schuh des Manitu

Der Schuh des Manitu (English: Manitou's Shoe, literally The Shoe of [the] Manitou) is a 2001 German parody of western films. Directed by Michael Herbig, it is a film adaptation of the Manitou sketches from his Pro Sieben television show Bullyparade.

The Movie

The movie copies the parodies of Mel Brooks like Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Blazing Saddles, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Its humor consists of the character Ranger getting stopped by a sheriff for "fast riding" and being asked for his "riding license", or Santa Maria connecting the dots on a map by using a feather with a marker-tip. Greek character Dimitri owns a mule named Apollo 13 (his twelve brothers - and subsequently, he as well - were killed by speeding trains), and for lack of a hatchet the Shoshones, a Native American tribe, dig out a folding-chair they had buried.

The movie has several references to the Karl May movies of the 1960s and to Herbig's own TV show. It features many puns that are difficult to translate into English. In the German version, Abahachi, Ranger and Winnetouch all speak with a rather strong Bavarian accent that is predominant in the Bullyparade-Show, which is mentioned by the barkeeper at the saloon by "You must be Ranger, the man with the Southern States accent".

Many scenes have been shot in Almería, Spain, at the same places that can be seen in many movies of Sergio Leone. Most of the Indians in the movie are actually Spanish. The Shoshone chief is played by an East Indian, for humorous effect, and his two advisors are Native Americans. According to Herbig's comments, some Spanish can be heard on the DVD, and he was never entirely sure if the Spanish actors really knew what kind of movie they were participating in. The Mexican Hombre is played by Hilmi Sözer, a Turkish-German actor.

The Winnetou Novels

„Der Schuh des Manitu“ parodies a series of wild west adventure novels of the 19th century German author Karl May.

The main topic of these novels is the deep friendship of a fictional Apache chief (Winnetou) and his white settler companion and blood-brother (Old Shatterhand), who are both exemplarily virtuous and stand together to keep the peace between Indians and immigrating White settlers. Der Schuh des Manitu spoofs the friendship motif in the Winnetou novels and in their 1960s film adaptations (Karl May movies) which has largely led to high, but sometimes idealised and cliché ridden admiration of Native Americans in Germany. Many shots of the original Winnetou movies feature Old Shatterhand and Winnetou riding side by side, accompanied by romantic orchestral music (which is also happening in the parody).

Winnetou’s main objection against European settlers is their "greed." He dislikes that they want to take all the land for themselves and cannot share with the natives. A recurring opponent is the bandit Santer who kills Winnetou's father and sister, probably the namesake of Santa Maria in the parody.

There is also a movie called "Winnetou and the Half-Blood Apanatschi" based not on a May novel, but using his characters - the name of the movie's main character is probably based on this.

Plot summary

Abahachi (Michael Herbig) and his blood brother Ranger (Christian Tramitz) are an inseparable pair since Ranger saved Abahachi from a speeding train on an unguarded railroad crossing. When they aim to buy a pub with the monetary help of Shoshone chief Stinking Lizard through real estate agent Santa Maria (Sky du Mont), the deal (and pub) collapse, and Stinking Lizard's son, who has delivered the loan, is killed by Santa himself. Upon their return to their Shoshone tribe, they find themselves set up by Santa Maria and are unjustly charged with murder.

Once they free themselves, they set about to recover a secret treasure kept inside a large, shoe-shaped rock called Manitou's Shoe (a reference to "Der Schatz im Silbersee"/"Treasure of Silver Lake", another Winnetou novel and movie), in order to reimburse Stinking Lizard. Finding the treasure map includes finding his affected gay twin brother Winnetouch (also Michael Herbig), a Greek named Dimitri (Rick Kavanian), and Abahatchi's former "hough school" honey - and Ranger's fledging love interest - Ursula (Uschi) (a reference to Uschi Glas who played in "Winnetou und das Halbblut Apanatschi" - Half-Breed). In their quest, they are pursued by Stinking Lizard, but eventually captured by Santa who retrieves the treasure, a golden necklace with a giant blue diamond.

Abahachi, Winnetouch & Co. win back the necklace, only to lose it again in subsequent mishaps. The converted villain Hombre, however, returns the embezzled gold to Stinking Lizard, ending the hostilities, and Santa ends his life in a mudtrap. Uschi, while pregnant by Ranger, urges him to set off with Abahatchi, and both heroes ride into the sunset for new adventures.

English dub

The film was dubbed into English twice for English-language audiences. The original theatrical cut was dubbed using the voices of most of the original cast and used the German accents as a source of humor, as much of the original humor regarding Bavarian accents was lost. The "Extra Large" edition was completely redubbed by American voice actors, and did away completely with the German humor, deriving its humor from the (mis)placement of modern colloquial American slang.


  • Karl May has a sort-of cameo in the movie, as an alcoholic author who is looking for inspirations.
  • When the movie was presented, actor Pierre Brice, who had played Winnetou in the original Karl May movies (and who also has a cameo in an old photograph of Abahatchi's and Winnetouch's father), did not think that this parody was funny. A dispute resulted between Brice and Herbig, which was settled only after a meeting in the game show Wetten, dass..?, where Thomas Gottschalk helped mediate.
  • Michael Herbig actually plays three roles here: Abahatchi, his twin brother Winnetouch, and their grandfather, Grauer Star (meaning both "Grey Starling" and "Cataract"). The later - an Indian version of Elvis Presley - appears only in the extended version.
  • In the extended version, Abahatchi's grandfather, Grauer Star, had died because he had spontaneously invented stage diving - "but the audience was not yet ready for that" - and plunged face-first into the ground.
  • The blonde squaw who provided Abahachi with his ginger-bread heart is Diana Herold, a German model who has also participated in the Bullyparade as a background dancer and extra actress.

External links

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