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Film: Der Schuh des Manitu

Der Schuh des Manitu ("The Shoe of Manitou") is a German western comedy released in 2001 and one of the most successful German films of all time.

The story revolves around Apache chief Abahachi and his white blood brother, Ranger. After being conned by Santa Maria, "a real estate agent from Wyoming", who sold them a saloon that consisted only of a front wall, a firefight ensues. Not only does Santa Maria escape, but also Fake Hare ("Falscher Hase", a type of meat loaf), the son of the chief of the Shoshones is killed, who just happened to deliver the "Shoshone Loan". Being framed for his death by Santa Maria, Abahachi and Ranger have to escape from Shoshone captivity to prove their innocence and find a way to repay the loan to chief 'Sly Lizard'.

Abahachi remembers that he owns a treasure, which he inherited from his grandfather Gray Starling ("Grauer Star", meaning cataract, the eye disease). Unfortunately his grandfather raised him very well and tought him to share with others, so he divided the Treasure Map and shared it with his teenage friends. And so, Abahachi has to seek out and reunite the friends of his salad days — his own Camp Gay twin brother Winnetouch, the Greek Dimitri and his childhood sweetheart Uschi — and lead them on in a race against time to salvage the treasure before Santa Maria and his gang of bandits get there.

Der Schuh des Manitu is based on a series of short skits from the comedy show Bullyparade; its style is quite similar to many of Mel Brooks parodies, like Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, or (more to the point) Blazing Saddles. It is ultimately a spoof of the western novels by German writer Karl May and their movie adaptations, the Winnetou films of the 60s, which are immensely popular in Germany.

Being a parody, the whole movie is practically made from tropes.

There are two English dubs: one is by the original actors, but it suffered from trying to preserve accent gags that worked in German but didn't in English. The other is more of a Woolseyism that adds even more anachronistic slang (Ranger and Abahachi's catchphrase is now "Wassup?!") and translates the Punny Names fairly well (the son of the Shoshone chief is now called Sonny Rabbit).

There's also a stage musical that's been out for a while.

Tropes:

  • Acting for Two: Michael Herbig plays both Abahachi and his twin brother Winnetouch.
  • Anachronism Stew: Played for laughs a lot.
  • Ass Pull: Intentionally parodied with the gingerbread heart that protects Abahachi from being shot. It is introduced literally immediately before it's used. invoked
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: Looking through the bullet hole at the shooter.
  • The Chanteuse: Uschi is introduced this way.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The gingerbread heart.
  • Cross Over: Dimitri is actually a character from another skit.
  • Death Trap
  • Dramatic Gun Cock
  • Drowning Pit
  • Elvis Impersonator: Grauer Star. His impromptu invention of stage diving led to his untimely demise, as none of the audience were familiar with the concept.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Ranger and Hombre.
  • Fake Nationality: Apparently, the Wild West is full of people speaking with strong Bavarian accents including but not limited to the natives.
  • A Father to His Men: Santa Maria to his Mooks. Sometimes their dialogues would be more fitting for a group of kids on an excursion, with Santa Maria as the adult in charge, rather than a gang of bandits and their boss. This is of course due to the Rule of Funny.
  • Funny Foreigner: Dimitri.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The four parts of the treasure map.
  • Gratuitous English: "Ranger".
  • Heel-Face Turn: Hombre
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Abahachi and Ranger.
  • Ho Yay: Winnetouch and Hombre are established as a gay couple by the end.invoked
  • Hurricane of Puns: Right from the beginning to the very end.
  • I Owe You My Life: How Abahachi and Ranger first met.
  • Love Triangle: Abahachi, Ranger, and Uschi.
  • Meaningful Name: Dimitri's mule "Apollo 13", named after his twelve brothers who all died in accidents while crossing train rails. He ultimately suffers the same fate and is replaced by "Apollo 14" at the end of the movie.
  • Mobile Shrubbery
  • Mooks: Santa Maria's gang.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Uschi is named after German actress Uschi Glas, who played a lot of 'female love interest' roles in the 60s and appeared as such in at least one of the Karl May movie adaptations.
  • Plot Coupon: The treasure.
  • Pocket Protector: The gingerbread heart. Which could stop the bullet because it was at least 10 years old and long turned rock hard.
  • Pun
    Abahachi: But you always said "Abahachi, when we are big..."
    Uschi: But 5'5 is not big.
  • Punny Name: Almost all of the Indians.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Lampshaded with the mule "Apollo 13", who refuses to cross train tracks in the middle of a huge empty desert, because all of his twelve brothers were killed on train crossings. He then suddenly steps right on the track when a train approaches in the far distance and refuses to move in any way.
  • Ranger: Well, Ranger.
  • Rollercoaster Mine
  • Say My Name: "ABAHACHI!!!" In slow mo.
  • Somewhere, an Equestrian Is Crying: Invoked. Winnetouch's horse Jacqueline has to vomit after walking too fast, something horses are well known for not being capable of doing. The vomiting horse is actually a callback towards a joke from Herbig's old show, the Bullyparade, in which two men discuss the legend of having seen a horse vomit in front of a drugstop (based on a German figure of speech for believing something unlikely) and becoming partners in inventing throw up medicine for horses.
  • Temple of Doom: The caves in the mountain "Shoe of Manitu".
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: The "Super-perforator commercial song" and the "Gingerbread heart song".
  • Threshold Guardians: Lampshaded by Santa Maria: "No old Indian guarding the treasure? That's unexpected."
  • Treasure Map
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Santa Maria
  • Weapon of Choice: Santa Maria has a custom revolver that Hombre can identify by its sound alone.
  • Widget Series: A Weird German movie, made even weirder by the fact that most of the references will fly right over your head if you're not familiar with German culture. Fortunately, this adds to, rather than detracts from the movie.

DEFA WesternsIndex of Film WesternsDjango
DagonFilms of 2000 - 2004 The Devil's Backbone
The Treasure of Silver LakeGerman FilmsSchwarzfahrer

alternative title(s): Der Schuh Des Manitu
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