The Blue Max Reviews
I have watched this movie a long time ago but I did not remember much about it except that I did not like the ending. Well I am older now and can appreciate more aspects of a movie than I could then but I have to say that I still find the ending somewhat depressing. Actually, the hole movie is rather depressing I would say.
Having said that, as a movie it is a very well done piece of cinematic art. The story, as depressing as it might be, holds together. The acting is good. The flight scenes are very good even by today's standards. Actually if you consider that the movie was done almost 50 years ago they are quite fantastic.
It is a shame that the story is so depressing. It is still a must watch movie if you are into war and historical flight movies though.
(1966) The Blue Max
Based on a novel written by Jack Hunter "The Blue Max" as it's called is a little medal that is given to German fighter pilots who have managed to stay alive long enough to shoot down as many as 20 planes or more all together during their duration. Takes place during the first World War, focusing on Lieutenant Bruno Stachel played by George Peppard for it's his first time becoming a fighter pilot. And he makes it his obsession to achieve this goal of obtaining this medal, even if meant disobeying orders and lying about it.
Because the movie is more than 2 hours long, it felt just a little too long even though it does use a cast of hundreds and sometimes thousands of extras, it's still uninteresting since actor Peppard does not make a convincing German fighter pilot at all for he may have got the role as a result of doing "Breakfast At Tiffany's" after studio executives couldn't get anyone else. James Mason also stars as General Count von Klugermann odes have a knack for playing German characters since he's done this before on such movies as "The Desert Fox" as well as it's sequel.
2 out of 4 stars
I pushed my throttle forward and my aluminum wings accelerate down the runway. My wheels leaped from the asphalt and my nose points towards the cotton balled cumulus clouds. The engine and propeller pull me from the soft green earth and that's when I hear over the wind noise the prelude music to the Blue Max by Jerry Goldsmith. Chills go down my spine as the Blue Max theme plays in my head. As I execute a climbing turn to dance among the clouds, my aircraft becomes a Fokker DR VII and I become Lieutenant von Fichthorn of Jasta 11.
I saw the Blue Max with my father. I was eight at the time and that film made me want to be a pilot. Twelve years later Im the top of my flight class as pilot in command and have flown for thirty. The Blue Max is a beautiful film reflection of a time when wood and canvas took to the skies and change the rules of war. Perfect casting and solid story line makes this film an icon in the history of film. Putting together a film with this many antique airplanes could never be perfect, but it comes so close to perfection. No pregnant computer generated dog fights in this film.
When I slide the Blue Max CD soundtrack in my cars stereo system, the Blue Max prelude still sends chills down my spine and I start to scan for English SE-5's on my six. The Blue Max is a must see.
The Blue Max is perhaps an overly long and emotionless, 2 hour plus 1966 American film about an ambitious German fighter pilot on the Western Front during World War I. But its also about a dangerous romance between an airman and a fellow flyer's wife. Ursela Andreus is the playful wife. The action takes place BEFORE the entry of America into the conflict but later involves her entry.
RT writes: "The Blue Max is highly unusual among Hollywood films, not just for being a large-scale drama set during the generally overlooked World War I, but in concentrating on air combat as seen entirely from the German point of view."
I have to agree. This is a well done WWI flick, not too many of those in great Panavision color. Some of his German co-stars are British speaking, but I guess that doesn't matter too much. After all, Peppard is an American with no attempt at a fake German accent, much to the credit of the movie.
Very well done, acted and photographed, I found this one realistic. A number of combat flying scenes, the pecurliar thing that marks this one is the film as scene entirely from the German perspective. There is a code of honor that is pointed out by Peppard's superior and apparently that is to not kill defenseless men. The code was a relic of chivalry where air combatants appeciated each other, even in combat.
But that relic of war history is dismissed by James Mason as a thing of the past. This is the modern era he proclaims. Well, it was refreshing to see officers willing to stand for more than machine like efficiency. Includes biplanes and tri-planes in vintage condition. The future of the war includes a mono-winged plane as well.
Just a very good, color film about ambition, standards and aerial history. The cinematography and acting by all is really first rate. Whether from the German perspective or otherwise, it really doesn't matter to the quality of this movie.
My only real critcism is the length, 2 and half hours long.
It may be considered "boring" to some. I found it slow, but in the end (and really DO wait for the end), the best WWI film I ever saw made in color. Can be watched more than once too. Still, that passion filled story was a bit absent.
George Peppard as Leutnant Bruno Stachel
James Mason as General Count von Klugermann
Ursula Andress as Countess Kaeti von Klugermann
Jeremy Kemp as Leutnant Willi von Klugermann
Karl Michael Vogler as Hauptmann Otto Heidemann
Anton Diffring as Holbach
Harry Towb as Kettering
Peter Woodthorpe as Rupp
Derek Newark as Ziegel
Derren Nesbitt as Fabian
Loni von Friedl as Elfi Heidemann
Friedrich von Ledebur as The Field Marshal
Carl Schell as Von Richthofen aka The Red Baron
Hugo Schuster as Hans, Elderly Servant
Alex Scott as The Orator
Roger Ostime as The Crown Prince
Directed by John Guillermin
Produced by Christian Ferry
Written by Novelist:
Jack D. Hunter
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Editing by Max Benedict
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) 21 June 1966
Country United States
Gross revenue $16,151,612
NOTES about the film:
1 Peppard wanted to create an "authentic" performance and learned to fly, earned a private pilot's license and did some of his own flying in the film, although stunt pilot Derek Pigott was at the controls for the under-the-bridge scene.
2 The casting of George Peppard in the mainly international ensemble cast was considered a "safe" choice, as he was establishing a reputation for leading roles in action films. Although youthful looking, at 39 years of age, he was much older than the Stachel depicted in the novel.
3 Although the flying scenes were considered the film's redemption, aviation observers cringed at Peppard's wooden, hackneyed characterization of a combat pilot.
4 Music and now famous composer Jerry Goldsmith was introduced to the project with scenes incorporating a "temp track" from Richard Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra. Goldsmith said of this experience "I admit it worked fairly well but my first reaction was to get up and walk away from the job. Once you've heard music like that with the picture, it makes your own scoring more difficult to arrive at."
5 The majority of the aircraft used in the film were converted Tiger Moths and Stampe SV.4s. Two Pfalz D.IIIs were produced (by two separate companies) for the film, along with three Fokker D.VIIs and two Fokker Dr.I triplanes. Other German machines were represented by repainted Tiger Moths and Stampes. The British aircraft were similarly mocked-up trainers.
Running time 156 min.