In December 2016 three new Winnetou movies premiered in Germany; in January 2017 the Dresden theatre 'Das Staatsschauspiel in Dresden' premiered a two-hour production about Karl May's life and work, titled 'Der Phantast oder das Leben und Sterben des Dr. Karl May'. All productions - the three new movies, and the theatre piece, were creations of Philip Stoelzl; and quite clearly, in the twenty-first century, Karl May is at last permitted, without reservations, to be Old Shatterhand - more than 100 years after his death, leading up to which he was hounded by righteous guardians of German culture for his lies about having experienced 'all of those adventures' himself, and that he in reality was Old Shatterhand.
I selected a couple of media exposes to the centenary of Karl May's passing for my website because they are a) in English (or feature some English elements), and b) are in my opinion balanced and convey a fresher look towards the future for Karl May's work.
Karl May's Wild West is not the Wild West of Hollywood, or indeed that of history; Karl May created his own alternate, perhaps 'parallel' world in which he could re-write history, his own life, and make amends where required. He populated his fictional Wild West (though I hasten to add that he thoroughly researched the geography of his settings; one German language article states that May described a trail in Arizona that can actually be followed in the 'real' wilderness from his depiction only) with a rainbow palette of characters collected from all manner of sources. In other words: He was expressing ideas and emotions, using that setting--chosen because of its suitability, remoteness, and attraction, and because of his deep sympathy for the American Indians--as a stage.
Article in Deutsche Welle, by Gabriel Borrud, including audio voyage into the heart of Karl May country (English)
An excellent series of four articles in BILD.
Chief Frederick Chino, president of the
Apache Reservation in New Mexio, was interviewed by Damian Imöhl and
Christian Grospitz, journalists for BILD, a high-profile German
magazine, during their visit to the Reservation for ‘Auf den Spuren von
Winnetou’ (on Winnetou’s trails), an expose in several parts for the
magazine. Chief Chino: “It is nice to know that you Germans have such a
positive image of us Apache, thanks to Winnetou. Here in the USA there
is still much prejudice, that we are savages and always drunk. You
Germans are good people.”
Here are the links to the successive episodes of the BILD report (written text in German, interviews in English, with German narration):
Spiegel Online Photo Gallery - The Life of Armchair Adventurer Karl May
Precis for an article on Karl May by The New Yorker, 9 April 2012 (full article for subscribers only):
200 million copies sold impresses The Guardian ...
Requiem Apache - online guide to the 1960s Winnetou movies in English language, with notes on cast
Jay Tavare about Winnetou, the German Apache:
Thanks to Karl May and Winnetou, the Apache are the most famous Indians in the world for German people.
23 March 2013