Published on August 20th, 2010 | by Chris1
The Blue Max (1966)
In much the same vein as "The Red Baron," we bring you "The Blue Max." A tale from the novel by the same name from Jack Hunter.
The story follows one Bruno Stachel (George Peppard) as he makes his way from the German infantry in The Big One up to a Lt. in the Luftwaffe. His goal? To win the holy grail of the skies, The "Blue Max" medal.
To that end he ruthlessly goes after any and every kill he can find, much to the chagrin of his fellow fliers. Even going so far as to spend an entire day out looking for the wreckage of a plane he downed, but can't confirm. He even manages to secure the Red Baron's plane at one point.
Along the way, he becomes a "golden boy" of the German propaganda machine, propped up as the "commoner's Richtofen", a contrast to the upper-class upbringing of his comrade. The problem is that Stachel buys into his own hype whole-heartedly, and quickly becomes a pain and a menace to the men around him, and to the officer corps in general, led here by General Count von Klugermann (James Mason.) He even takes his "conquest" to the next level by having a fling with the General's wife (Ursula Andress.) Eventually, the General
The problem is not the movie, the story, or the production, all of which are quite excellent, if a bit long (clocking in at 156 min.).... But rather Peppard himself. He's awfully, well, wooden in this picture. No other way to say it. There's no feeling here, no nothing really. He's a machine. But he's outdone in this picture by the *real* machines, namely the aircraft and the dogfights therein.
And to that effect there are some wonderfully executed flying scenes here. Done by real airplanes and pilots. No low-budget CG here, folks. It's the real deal, and it's really fun. But like I said, the rest just sorta drags along as Stachel barely cracks a face of any kind.
Any message here? That I'm not entirely sure of. Having not read the book I can't deduce if there's supposed to be one, but I really can't find one. The movie comes across as more of a classical "character tragedy" than anything else, as Stachel rises to fame, poisons that by his own doings, and pays the ultimate price for it.
All that said, it is an overall very good movie, with the one flaw being Hannibal's Peppard's seeming lack of enthusiasm.
Here's a trailer...
The Blue Max
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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...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Original Release Date:
- George Peppard
- James Mason
- Ursula Andress
- Jeremy Kemp
- Karl Michael Vogler
- Factory sealed DVD
Summary: The movie comes across as more of a classical "character tragedy" than anything else, as Stachel rises to fame, poisons that by his own doings, and pays the ultimate price for it.