Watch: The Blue Max 1966 123movies, Full Movie Online – The tactics of a German fighter pilot offend his aristocratic comrades but win him his country’s most honored medal, the Blue Max. The General finds him useful as a hero even though his wife also finds him useful as a love object. In the end the General arranges for him to test-fly an untried fighter..
Plot: A young pilot in the German air force of 1918, disliked as lower-class and unchivalrous, tries ambitiously to earn the medal offered for 20 kills.
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Excellent Aerial Photography Highlights WWI Adventure *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*
REVIEW OF REGION 1 20TH CENTURY FOX DVD
Unmistakably one of the most entertaining war films to come out of the 1960s, “The Blue Max” is the kind of film that could only have been made in Hollywood. Featuring some of the best aerial combat scenes ever shot and a great ensemble cast, it’s enjoyable pulp fantasy for any war film fan.
The film opens with a brilliant, intense action sequence: Bruno Stachel (George Peppard, “Tobruk”) dives into a mud-filled crater on the Western Front. He’s visibly exhausted; his heavy breathing and unshaven face reveal how horrible front line conditions are. From above comes the sound of a dogfight Peppard’s bright blue eyes blare from a mud-covered face as he stares in awe at the action in the skies above him, the mood fully established with Jerry Goldsmith’s evocative score. Flash forward two years: Stachel has transferred to the Luftwaffe and is a green, inexperienced pilot. A peasant, Stachel has little in common with his high-class comrades, members of the elite Officer Corps. He’s ruthless and ambitious, and sets his sight on winning a Blue Max the medal awarded to a pilot with 20 kills to his credit. With this award, Bruno will have won the respect of his comrades. Squadron commander Heidemann (Karl Michael Vogler, “Patton”) has one, and hotshot Willi von Klugermann (Jeremy Kemp, “Operation Crossbow”) is awarded one early in the film. Stachel vigorously has to catch up to their status, and Willi takes a liking to him, helping him try to fit in.
As Germany is losing the war, Willi’s uncle, General von Klugermann (James Mason, “Cross of Iron”) enters the stage: he sees potential in Stachel for more than just flying prowess. This is a time when the common people of Germany need a hero. Stachel is a poor farm boy, someone they can all relate to. Von Klugermann sets out to make Stachel a national icon; when he received a minor wound, he’s escorted to a cushy Berlin hotel and the press takes pictures of a nurse tending to his wound, plastering pictures all over the national newspapers. Countess Kaeti von Klugermann (the beautiful Ursula Andress) sets her sights on Stachel, and soon a steamy affair has begun, right under the nose of the General. As Stachel’s selfish ambitions become more apparent and blatant, Willi’s friendly competitiveness fades and their adversity becomes an all-out battle. All of this builds to an unavoidable, somewhat depressing ending.
This is a character-driven drama firstly, and the action is simply a supplement to the story of the characters. Unfortunately, Peppard is a wooden lead. He speaks in unaccented English and never seems to be thoroughly involved in his part; it’s as though he’s sleepwalking through almost every scene. The rest of the cast deserves more credit. Co-star Jeremy Kemp is much more believable. He’s sly, cynical and delivers fantastic deadpan humor. James Mason is brilliant as usual as General von Klugermann, a career German officer whose chief concern is for the German people and his nation’s prestige. I have never seen Mason deliver a bad performance, and here he is simply fantastic. He’s often cool and restrained, but lets anger and rage come out full-force at key moments. As his unfaithful wife, Ursula Andress is her typical self; beautiful and often barely concealed. A standout is Karl Michael Vogler as Heidemann. A veteran flyer devoted to his duty, Heidemann is a career soldier. He’s been fighting since the beginning of the war, and although weary and tired, keeps doing his job. His chief goals are keeping as many planes flying as possible, despite Allied air attacks and supply shortages. He demands that Stachel’s ambitions take second fiddle to strategic operations; when he disobeys orders, Heidemann threatens to have him court-martialed. Vogler’s performance is excellent, and he walks away with each of his scenes.
Director John Guillermin and Director-of-Photography Douglas Slocombe weave some excellent flying sequences into the film’s story. These action scenes are not independent conflicts between German and English fighters conflicts between characters are developed on the ground and either expanded or settled in the air. The skies have never been bluer, and the vintage aircraft look fantastic as they dive, swoop and strafe enemy columns. The stunt work and special effects are genuine, even some brilliantly-staged crash sequences. Even the work of Guy Hamilton and crew in 1969’s “Battle of Britain” pales in comparison to this. The scenes of trench warfare and bombing runs are massive and spectacular. The mud-splattered soldiers, vast fields dotted with rotting corpses and bomb craters, and some hand-to-hand combat has never looked more authentic. Every cent invested in the film was put to good use. Scenes in Berlin particularly that in the hospital and food riots shot through a moving car window are historically accurate.
Guillermin isn’t afraid to experiment with the camera during the discussion scenes. Note how he often places two actors in one room on opposite ends of the frame, simply to capture the scope of the interiors. Marvelous pans show off huge numbers of extras and planes taking off and landing. There’s also a long crane shot showing a huge, lavish dining hall at the Von Klugermann’s mansion which captures the essence of nobility and aristocracy in one shot.
“The Blue Max” is a brilliantly shot, engaging and wildly entertaining World War I epic which should satisfy any fan of aircraft and war films. This is a must-see DVD, which preserves the CinemaScope ratio (a necessary asset, as pan-and-scan versions detract from the epic look of the picture) and also features a great restored surround-sound track and stunning digital image quality. It’s the only acceptable way to see this film in the modern world.
Twist, turns and not just with the ‘planes! A forgotten classic!
A humble,cannon-fodder German corporal in WW1, (Not Hitler), aspires to leave his mud-ridden foxhole of the infantry and fly, in the late stage of this war after looking at a fighter aircraft gracefully swooping above him. The next shot after the opening credits, he’s seen in officer corps uniform (Loin-nent!) casually tossing a ‘full bottle’ of what may be whisky to a bedraggled German soldier.
Bruno Stachel (Peppard) joins a squadron and immediately is exposed to the class-war struggles of the time, as a working class boy in an upper class world of flyers. As much as he wants to fly he’s also obsessed in earning himself the Blue Max (For 20 air-kills). Both his class and his recklessness/ambition in earning his ‘first’ kill, put him into confrontation with the squadron.
Willi Von Klugermann (sounding like a deliberate cross between Von Richthofen and Immelmann), the smug older head, has a kind of love-hate relationship with Stachel, especially as they’re both at odds over a girl (Ursula Andress as Kaeti) who is also Klugermann’s aunt by marriage to the older General (James Mason). The latter is keen to use Stachel though, even after he’s fallen out with the squadron CO (Heidemann)over a controversial less-than chivalrous ‘kill’ as his ‘low class’ will be used as propaganda to show the German population a ‘hero of their own’.
Stachel succeeds in moving up the ladder, with further kills, becoming as smug as Klugermann, getting Kaeti (Much to the latter’s disgust), and saving Von Richthofen’s life – who subsequently offers him a place in his famous ‘Flying Circus’. Stachel refuses him though to prove himself with his squadron first.
There’s also the obligatory ‘fly-off’ between the rivals (Not the British and Germans – Stachel and Von Klugermann!), and the latter’s killed in the fly-off, even to Stachel’s gut-wrenching guilt. As two Brit ‘planes were shot down before this fly-off in the area, Heidemann casually mentions that at least Willi didn’t die in vain/served the Fatherland etc, to which Stachel does his nut, asking Heidemann why he thinks WILLI shot them down. Stachel shows his nastiness here and claims the ‘planes, even though the armourer’s report shows Stachel’s guns jammed after firing only 40 rounds. ‘Amazing marksmanship’ says Heidemann sarcastically, emphasising to Stachel he’ll get a court martial for lying and stealing Willi’s laurels. The General insists, though, however thin it may seem he wants the award to go to Stachel (Even forgetting Willi was his nephew!) as it completes his tally for the Blue Max and elevates him to the ‘working class hero’ the General wants to project to counter the low morale of the German populace.
As it transpires, Stachel’s dalliance with Kaeti is the ruination of him – he’s admitted to her he didn’t get the two ‘planes Willi shot down and the ‘fly-off’ was just that and NOT about HER! In her anger at this eventual rebuff, the General gets wind of it and doesn’t want the publicity now of a ‘disgraced German Officer-corps’ flyer, whatever his class. Stachel is due to fly a new monoplane, at the same time as receiving his Blue Max – but the General now wants to cover up the mess – at Stachel’s expense. Heidemann takes the new ‘plane up and reveals it to be a ‘death trap’ that he was lucky to bring back down again. The General uses this to end the unfolding scandal by sending the unknowing Stachel up in the ‘plane, stating to him to show the crowd some ‘real flying’ – knowing that’ll be his end! Naturally, he’s killed, after receiving his Blue Max, but the General has had everything he wants – the acceleration of a now ‘posthumous’ working-class war hero – who importantly dies before any scandal can be revealed! Ironic, that Stachel receives the medal he wanted, but dies as a matter of his own shallowness and in being a pawn of the establishment.
This is truly an awe-inspiring film, with amazing flying sequences and vintage aircraft battling it out in the skies above France in WW1. Yes, it is talky at times, but the air action is worth seeing, as is the secondary action on the ground with the Brits and the Germans savagely ‘going over the top’. There’s also a very masterful score, which combines the beauty and action in the flying. The cheap DVD version I bought nonetheless had a handsome ‘intermission’ with a focus of the Blue Max medal itself with the score being played. A definite watch, it could be argued that it would be difficult to sit through more than once due to its longevity, but watch it the once at least if you haven’t seen it yet. Who hasn’t though!? (Oh, and guess what – Anton Diffring’s in it playing again – a German!)
Original Language en
Runtime 2 hr 36 min (156 min), 2 hr 33 min (153 min) (FMC Library Print) (USA)
Genre Action, Drama, Romance
Director John Guillermin
Writer Jack Hunter, Ben Barzman, Basilio Franchina
Actors George Peppard, James Mason, Ursula Andress
Country United Kingdom
Awards Won 1 BAFTA Award1 win & 5 nominations total
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix 6-Track Stereo, 4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System), Mono (optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)
Aspect Ratio 2.20 : 1 (70mm blowup) (unconfirmed), 2.35 : 1
Laboratory DeLuxe (color by) (as De Luxe)
Film Length 4,260 m (Sweden)
Negative Format 35 mm
Cinematographic Process CinemaScope
Printed Film Format 35 mm