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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Blue Max (1966)

An ambitious and arrogant German pilot (George Peppard) becomes a fighter pilot during WWI. As he's from the working class, the other pilots coming from the aristocracy distrust him. But he intends on using his war career to climb socially into the aristocracy and he is ruthless to the point of using (and sleeping with) whatever means necessary. Based on the novel by Jack D. Hunter (there are considerable changes from book to film), this is one of the better aerial films. While so many films of this kind reign supreme in the air, they fall flat in their earthbound scenes but that's not the case here. The compelling story line keeps you invested in the outcome and the director John Guillermin was actually a pilot in the Royal Air Force so he brings some authenticity to the proceedings. The film is a favorite among flying buffs. Although he's on the mature side (in the book, he's 19), Peppard gives one of his best performances and Ursula Andress as the promiscuous wife of a General (James Mason) actually gets a chance to act rather than rely on just her looks. In addition to the spectacular airborne sequences (shot by Douglas Slocombe), there's a sensational underscore by Jerry Goldsmith. With Jeremy Kemp, Karl Michael Vogler, Loni Von Friedl and Anton Diffring.

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