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Karl-May-Forum • View topic - New Discovery: Pierre Brice’s Voice On "Winnetou I"

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 Post subject: New Discovery: Pierre Brice’s Voice On "Winnetou I"
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:42 am 
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To new Karl May fans who may be unaware: French actor Pierre Brice has portrayed Winnetou on film and television since 1962, when the first Winnetou film, Der Schatz im Silbersee (The Treasure of Silver Lake) was made. His uncannily insightful portrayal (he had no prior acquaintance of Karl May’s work) so perfectly captured the spirit and persona of the character that it will forever be the sole true physical expression of Winnetou.

Because the 1960s Winnetou films were international productions, with actors speaking different languages (thus requiring extensive dubbing for all language versions), it had long been assumed by many Karl May film fans that the only way to hear Mr Brice’s actual voice as Winnetou would be to resort to the two television mini-series, which, though delightful, are not really based on May’s stories. Winnetou le Mescalero (Mein Freund Winnetou/My Friend Winnetou), 1980, was a French production filmed in Mexico, so Mr Brice’s voice is on the French edition (now available on DVD from AmazonFrance). Winnetous Rückkehr (Winnetou’s Return), 1998, was a German production; and since Mr Brice was by that time able to speak German, his actual voice is on the soundtrack. This mini-series is not yet commercially available.

A wonderful discovery has just been made. Recently, a three-DVD box set of 1960s Winnetou films was placed on the market in France. It contains the films Winnetou I, Winnetou II, and Unter Geiern (Amongst Vultures). AmazonFrance lists the films as in English with French subtitles available. However, an advanced German Karl May film fan and collector—Silvio Prechtl—has found that not only does the Winnetou I DVD have the French soundtrack: he was also able to identify the voice of Winnetou as that of Pierre Brice! Subsequent investigation has definitively confirmed his conclusion.

An actor’s portrayal is both physical and vocal. It is thus necessary to hear an actor’s actual voice in order to experience his complete performance. This is one reason why Mr Prechtl’s discovery is so significant. But in addition to this, Pierre Brice’s voice, while not that of a classical stage thespian, has a wonderful quality that is “soft” and very expressive (he is a singer, too), and perfect for the character Winnetou. It is also noteworthy that the English dubbing actor for Winnetou in all of the 1960s films had a voice that was very poorly matched to the character. The German dubbing actors were considerably better, but still not ideal.

So, in sum: here—finally—is a way for Karl May film fans to hear Pierre Brice in a 1960s Winnetou film, and in Winnetou I, no less. Many thanks are due to Mr Prechtl for this beautiful discovery!

Note:

Please see other discussions in this section, to learn about purchasing and viewing DVDs from other countries.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:05 am 
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I have some information and clarifications to add. First, here is a link to some wonderful video clips, made by Silvio Prechtl, of Pierre Brice in the French version of Winnetou I, speaking in his own voice:



I was amazed when I saw and heard this!

I have been told that I was not sufficiently clear in my previous message, and I agree. The French DVD in question has only a French soundtrack, and not the English soundtrack as incorrectly stated on AmazonFrance. In fact, this is true of all three DVDs in the box set. However, Pierre Brice’s voice is not on Winnetou II or Unter Geiern (Amongst Vultures).

This wonderful discovery also gives hope of the possibility that some of the French versions of the remaining eight films might also have Pierre Brice’s actual voice.


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