Chingachgook, The Great Snake

When DEFA started making westerns (Indianerfilme), they first looked to literature for stories. The only writer who was definitely off limits was Karl May, the most popular writer of western fiction in Germany. The fact that he was Adolph Hitler’s favorite author is usually cited as the reason for the GDR’s rejection of his books. … Continue reading Chingachgook, The Great Snake

In the Dust of the Stars

If I was to choose the one film that got me interested in East German Cinema, it would have to be this one. Sometimes referred to as the “East German Barbarella,” In the Dust of the Stars (Im Staub der Sterne) is one of the strangest film to grace the movie screens of the GDR; … Continue reading In the Dust of the Stars

Sons of the Great Bear

Westerns in East Germany? At first glance, it seems like an absurd proposition, but, in fact, DEFA made twelve of these films during their forty years of existence. While it is easy to laugh at the idea of Germans and Yugoslavians pretending to be American Indians, is it any worse than what Hollywood had to … Continue reading Sons of the Great Bear