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Karl-May-Forum • View topic - Happy Birthday to Pierre Brice (6 February)!

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 Post subject: Happy Birthday to Pierre Brice (6 February)!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:56 am 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 12:05 pm
Posts: 168
Location: U.S.A.
We have discussed on these forums the great importance of the 1960s Winnetou films to the legacy of Karl May, despite their lack of fidelity to the original stories. Even those who are not fans of the films must recognise the enormous good they have done for May, his work, and his reputation. In particular, the performances of Pierre Brice as Winnetou and Lex Barker as Old Shatterhand—which perfectly captured the spirit of the characters—both brought the characters to life in a tangible way, and provided insight into the meaning underlying May’s work.

It is an exceedingly rare occurrence that an actor is so perfectly matched to a role as in the case of Pierre Brice and Winnetou. But this was not merely a matter of having the right appearance or persona for the role. Quite a number of actors working in the 1960s had the general appearance to play Winnetou, and some of them were very fine actors; but none of them could have even approached Brice’s accomplishment. The power of his portrayal of Winnetou is the result of his profound understanding of the character, and his remarkable ability to translate this into a fully realised person.

I cherish the Winnetou films, yet I think that even Karl May fans who are not as keen on the films must still appreciate that Brice created an absolutely perfect, and extraordinarily noble embodiment of Winnetou. I strongly suspect that like me, millions of others now picture Brice in their minds as they read May’s stories of Winnetou. It will long be so.

To Pierre Brice: My sincere wishes for a Happy Birthday, with many more to come. I must also express my thanks: on my behalf, for the beautiful gift of your portrayal of Winnetou (and for your delightful performances in many other films and television programmes); and on behalf of Karl May, for the wonderful blessing you have bestowed upon his legacy.


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