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THE BLUE MAX – Jerry Goldsmith

May 21, 2014 Leave a comment

bluemaxMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director John Guillermin was inspired by the Jack Hunter novel “The Blue Max” and so adapted it for film. He assembled a stellar cast, which included George Peppard as Bruno Stachel, James Mason as General Count von Klugermann, Ursula Andress as Countess Kaeti von Klugermann and Jeremy Kemp as Willi von Klugermann. Set in the waning year of World War I on the Western front, it tells the story of a young man’s rise to glory and his tragic end. Stachel, is a classic anti-hero, a member of the lower cast who is driven by blind ambition. As such he leaves the Wehrmacht to join the Luftwaffe in search of personal glory – Germany’s most prestigious medal, Pour le Mérite, or the Blue Max. The prized medal is bestowed upon pilots for meritorious service and requires 20 dog fight kills. Driven with a grim, and relentless determination Stachel will allow nothing to stand in his way. His raw and unchivalrous demeanor offends his fellow pilots who hail from the German aristocracy and disdain this commoner among their ranks. Stachel’s rise is noticed by General von Klugermann, who seeks to exploit him as a national symbol in an effort to rally a weary public tiring of war. A tryst with the General’s wife only adds to Stachel’s ego and notoriety. While he ultimately succeeds in gaining the coveted prize, he does so by defiantly disobeying orders to defend ground troops. Von Klugermann does not wish to disgrace his ‘hero’ with a court marshal and so selects him to fly a proto-type mono-wing plane whose support struts he knows will not hold up. When Stachel dies in a crash von Klugermann’s dilemma is solved, he gains his “man of the people” hero and his air corps is not disgraced by scandal. The film was both a critical and commercial success. Read more…