IMDb > The Blue Max (1966)
The Blue Max
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The Blue Max (1966) More at IMDbPro »

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The Blue Max -- 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.
The Blue Max -- Trailer for this wartime drama about fighter pilots

Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   4,985 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Jack Hunter (novel)
Ben Barzman (adaptation) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Blue Max on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 June 1966 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
MIRACLES IN THE AIR! See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Won BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(14 articles)
DVD Review: "Tobruk" (1967) Starring Rock Hudson And George Peppard
 (From CinemaRetro. 6 October 2015, 3:08 AM, PDT)

‘Towering Inferno’ Director John Guillermin Dies at 89
 (From Variety - Film News. 30 September 2015, 7:28 PM, PDT)

John Guillermin 1925-2015
 (From EmpireOnline. 30 September 2015, 10:52 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Excellent Aerial Photography Highlights WWI Adventure *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* See more (79 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

George Peppard ... Lt. Bruno Stachel

James Mason ... General Count von Klugermann

Ursula Andress ... Countess Kaeti von Klugermann

Jeremy Kemp ... Willi von Klugermann
Karl Michael Vogler ... Heidemann
Anton Diffring ... Holbach
Harry Towb ... Kettering
Peter Woodthorpe ... Corporal Rupp
Derek Newark ... Ziegel

Derren Nesbitt ... Fabian

Loni von Friedl ... Elfi Heidemann (as Loni Von Friedl)
Friedrich von Ledebur ... Feldmarschall von Lenndorf (as Friedrich Ledebur)
Carl Schell ... Von Richthofen aka The Red Baron
Hugo Schuster ... Hans. Elderly Servant
Alex Scott ... The Orator
Roger Ostime ... The Crown Prince
Ray Browne ... Pilot
Timothy Parkes ... Pilot
Ian Kingsley ... Pilot
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Warren Crosby ... (uncredited)
Nikki Van der Zyl ... Countess Kaeti von Klugermann (voice) (uncredited)

Directed by
John Guillermin 
 
Writing credits
Jack Hunter (novel)

Ben Barzman (adaptation) and
Basilio Franchina (adaptation)

David Pursall (screenplay) &
Jack Seddon (screenplay) and
Gerald Hanley (screenplay)

Produced by
Christian Ferry .... producer
Elmo Williams .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Jerry Goldsmith 
 
Cinematography by
Douglas Slocombe 
 
Film Editing by
Max Benedict 
 
Casting by
Stuart Lyons 
 
Production Design by
Wilfred Shingleton  (as Wilfrid Shingleton)
 
Art Direction by
Fred Carter 
 
Makeup Department
Patricia McDermott .... hairdresser (as Pat McDermott)
John O'Gorman .... makeup artist: Ursula Andress
Charles E. Parker .... head makeup artist (as Charles Parker)
Tony Sforzini .... makeup artist: George Peppard (as Tony Sfortzini)
Jay Sebring .... hair designer: George Peppard (uncredited)
 
Production Management
René Dupont .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jack Causey .... assistant director
Derek Cracknell .... assistant director
Anthony Squire .... director: aerial unit
 
Art Department
Brian Doyle .... plasterer
Joseph Musso .... production illustrator (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Richard Best Jr. .... assistant sound editor
John Cox .... sound
Chris Greenham .... sound editor
Claude Hitchcock .... sound
Bob Jones .... sound
 
Special Effects by
Maurice Ayers .... special effects
Ron Ballanger .... special effects
Karl Baumgartner .... special effects
Gerry Johnston .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Ken Byrne .... aerial stunts
Tim Clutterbuck .... aerial stunts
Pat Cranfield .... aerial stunts
Tim Healey .... aerial stunts
Peter Hillwood .... aerial stunts
Joan Hughes .... aerial stunts
Darby Kennedy .... aerial stunts
Darby Kennedy .... stunt coordinator
Roger Kennedy .... aerial stunts
Liam Mulligan .... aerial stunts
Derek Piggott .... aerial stunts
Taffy Rich .... aerial stunts
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Skeets Kelly .... aerial photographer
Skeets Kelly .... camera operator
Skeets Kelly .... photographer: second unit
Donald C. Rogers .... photographer: second unit
Chic Waterson .... camera operator
Mike Fox .... focus puller: second unit (uncredited)
Ginger Gemmel .... camera operator: second unit (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Elsa Fennell .... wardrobe supervisor
John Furniss .... wardrobe creator: Miss Andress
 
Editorial Department
Norman Cohen .... assembly editor
Elizabeth Thoyts .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Jerry Goldsmith .... conductor
 
Transportation Department
Arthur Dunne .... transportation captain (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Johnny Maher .... air engineer
William O'Kelly .... production liaison: Ireland
Willy Roe .... runner
Allen Wheeler .... air supervisor
Helen Whitson .... continuity
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
156 min | USA:153 min (FMC Library Print)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
6-Track Stereo | 4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System) | Mono (optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Canada:G (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 | Germany:12 (re-rating) (2003) | Iceland:12 | Ireland:12 (old rating) | Netherlands:14 | Singapore:NC-16 | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | UK:A (original rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #21312) | West Germany:16 (original rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Ursula Andress was dubbed by Nikki Van der Zyl, who previously dubbed her in Dr. No (1962).See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: The squadron in the movie that Stachel and von Klugermann belonged to and that Heidemann commanded was referred to as "Jasta 11". Later in the movie, after Stachel saves Manfred von Richthofen's life, Richthofen invites him to transfer to his Flying Circus. In real life, Jasta 11 WAS Richthofen's Flying Circus!See more »
Quotes:
Otto Heidemann:It's a cruel world Stachel.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
DeutschlandliedSee more »

FAQ

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29 out of 41 people found the following review useful.
Excellent Aerial Photography Highlights WWI Adventure *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*, 8 April 2005
Author: SgtSlaughter from St. Davids, Pennsylvania, USA

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.

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