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J. Lee Thompson
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J. Lee Thompson
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The life story of the famed rocket scientist Dr. Werner von Braun, one of the most brilliant and controversial figures of the space age. Dr. von Braun literally pioneered man's adventure into space through his rocket experiments; his was the brain behind the V-2 rockets which blasted London in World War II; his was also the brain which led America into the development and the launching of space satellites. Written by
Upon the movie's release in the United Kingdom, satirists began appending the film's title on advertising posters to: I Aim for the Stars (But Sometimes I Hit London). An ironic joke highlighting Von Braun's role in the Nazi V-Weapon program. See more »
The 30 second countdown to the launch of the Jupiter-C rocket, putting America's first satellite into orbit, takes 1 minute 14 seconds. See more »
"I Aim at the Stars" purports to be the story of Werner von Braun, one of the men responsible for getting the U.S. into space. In many ways, it is, but like many geniuses, von Braun lived a life full of controversy. To the film's credit, that controversy is somewhat handled here, though not enough.
The film covers von Braun's obsession with space travel, his work for Germany during the war, which resulted in rockets being used as war weapons, and he and his teammates handing themselves over to the Americans after the war. One word comes to mind: collaborator, but in von Braun's case, it goes a little deeper. Some people, such as opera star Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, collaborated with the Nazis. von Braun collaborated with anybody who could help him further his work. When that was no longer Germany, he was out of there.
It's foolish to go into all the aspects of von Braun not covered in the film. There are many more objective accounts of his life and work with the Nazis and whether or not he had to join or was a devoted member of the party. Curt Jurgens does an excellent job as von Braun, depicting him as a strong and determined man dedicated to his work first, last, and always.
The beautiful Victoria Shaw has a small role as his wife, Maria; James Daly plays an American soldier violently opposed to von Braun working for the U.S. Herbert Lom plays a member of von Braun's team who refuses to go to America, and he's very good.
There is some great rocket footage; many of the scenes in the film are short, almost like television scenes. It's not a big-budget movie. There is a love story subplot between a spy and one of von Braun's team; in fact, there was a spy, a female dentist, who reported some of his negative comments to the Nazis.
Werner von Braun was an individual of great accomplishments who helped the U.S. win the war in space. In the film, he is depicted as a reluctant Nazi, and it's true that he was, in fact, arrested by the Nazis for saying things against the party privately. In the end he was an opportunist and a survivor who did what had to be done to achieve his goals. Like many biographies, this film is merely one view. As to his efforts to get into space and instead making war weapons, there's always the joke about the movie: "I aim at the stars, but sometimes I hit London."
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