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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Historical errors aside, a movie worth watching...,
This review is from: The Blue Max (DVD)
I enjoy this movie, though it is a bit slow moving at times. Of course, like all 'historical' movies. don't assume what you are seeing is the historical truth...Ehh...'Hollywood history'..wadda gonna do? But the flying sequences are well worth watching, just pretend you are watching a magic act and don't try to point out the goofs...(I'm bad about this, my adult son is far worse) But of course, one big plus is Ursula Andress at the peak of her beauty and sensuality...And Peppard, a better actor than he is usually given credit for, (well..some...)gives a interesting, watchable performace as basically decent guy who becomes/is driven to 'cutting corners' and taking advantage to get what he wants...Germany's highest award, 'The Blue Max...'
Very watchable movie, if a bit overlong
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful WWI flying movie,
This review is from: The Blue Max (Amazon Video)
The Blue Max is a 1966 British color motion picture filmed in Ireland. The story is about a very handsome young German who has spent two years as an enlisted soldier in the infantry at the Western Front in World War I. He escapes the horrors of the trenches by volunteering to become a combat pilot, and who develops the necessary skills aptly and quickly. He has the handicap of coming from a low middle income family, now thrust in the midst of elitist flying officers with high commitment to chivalry. George Peppard is perfect in that role; and the other actors are also superb, with James Mason and Ursula Andress having starring roles. Anyone who loves flying, and who enjoys great action films will be doing himself a favor by seeing this film, or even better, buying the DVD, as I did.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Blue Max,
This review is from: The Blue Max (Amazon Video)I'm not a good person to review WWI movies because they could star Gilbert Gottfried and I would enjoy it.
"The Blue Max" is a fiction movie about a WWI pilot who eagerly pursues the coveted medal. It stars a young George Peppard, Ursula Andress, and an older James Mason. As far as 1960s WWI movies go, The Blue Max has every thing but a great sound track. Since it's fictional, I can't be to much of a history snob and challenge it's accuracy but the planes used are real and exciting to watch.
The one historical issue I did not like was that the Movie is set in 1918, which of course was the last year of the war. They even mention in the movie that the Americans had entered the war and we were outnumbered in the sky. Yet the film makes you believe that the Germans have air superiority over France. (Which was not factually accurate) In one scene where Peppard's character supposedly saves the life of MVR; The red baron (Who would have been flying with a hole in... Read more
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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.