The Blue Max is highly unusual among Hollywood films, not just for being a large-scale drama set during the generally cinematically overlooked Great War, but in concentrating upon air combat as seen entirely from the German point of view. The story focuses on a lower-class officer, Bruno Stachel (George Peppard), and his obsessive quest to win a Blue Max, a medal awarded for shooting down 20 enemy aircraft. Around this are built subplots concerning a propaganda campaign by James Mason's pragmatic general, rivalry with a fellow officer (Jeremy Kemp), and a love affair... with a decadent countess (Ursula Andress) As directed by John Guillermin (best known for 1974's The Towering Inferno), the film's main assets are epic production values, great flying scenes and stunning dogfights. The weak point is the sometimes ponderous character drama, not helped by Peppard who is too lightweight an actor to convince as the driven anti-hero. Clearly influenced by Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1958), The Blue Max is a cold, cynical drama offering a visually breathtaking portrait of a stultified society tearing itself apart during the final months of the Great War. On the DVD: The Blue Max DVD's only extra is a very grainy original trailer presented at 1.77:1. However, for the first time the film itself is complete to buy: the reel which was missing from the widescreen video release being restored here. Also included is the original intermission music. The film is presented anamorphically enhanced at a ratio approximating the original 2.35:1 CinemaScope, though some shots clearly have details cropped at the sides of the frame. Picture quality is good with an acceptable level of grain, which increases significantly during the brief back projection shots. There is a little print damage, but nothing too distracting and the aerial photography itself looks wonderful. The four-channel Dolby Prologic sound is excellent for a film of this age, with Jerry Goldsmith's superb score having richness and clarity and providing almost all the emotional impact. --Gary S Dalkin [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. James Mason, George Peppard and Ursula Andress highlight this stirring dramam set in Germany during the close of World War I. Bruno Stachel (Peppard), a peasant promoted into the elite German air force, finds himself battling both the enemy in the sky and the prejudices of his higher-born fellow flyers. To overcome this stigma, Stachel proves he will go to any length - honourable or dishonourably, to win his country's most coveted air medal, "Blue Max." But he soon learns the price he must pay for being proclaimed a hero in this highly acclaimed film with its uncompromising story and spectacular flying sequences. Actors George Peppard, James Mason, Ursula Andress, Jeremy Kemp, Karl Michael Vogler, Anton Diffring, Harry Towb, Peter Woodthorpe, Derek Newark, Derren Nesbitt, Loni von Friedl, Friedrich von Ledebur, Carl Schell, Hugo Schuster & Alex Scott Director John Guillermin Certificate PG Year 1966 Screen 2.35:1 Languages English Additional Languages French; Italian; German; Spanish Subtitles Dutch; French; Italian; German; Spanish; English for the hearing impaired Duration 2 hour and 29 minutes (approx)
John Guillermin directs this adaptation of the novel by Jack D. Hunter. During World War I, the Blue Max was the Luftwaffe's most coveted honour. Combat pilot Bruno Stachel (George Peppard) is determined to add it to his collection of awards, whatever the cost, even if it means betraying his own squadron. The cast also includes James Mason, Ursula Andress and Jeremy Kemp.