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Blue Max

The Blue Max

3.8 5
Director: John Guillermin

Cast: George Peppard, James Mason, Ursula Andress


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John Guillerman's The Blue Max (1966) appeared on laserdisc twice, once from Japan in a dual audio version (the Japanese get actors who sound like the actors in whose place they're dubbing, and the results are interesting) and then in a letterboxed American release that looked pretty good. Both are supplanted and then some by the FoxVideo DVD edition, which


John Guillerman's The Blue Max (1966) appeared on laserdisc twice, once from Japan in a dual audio version (the Japanese get actors who sound like the actors in whose place they're dubbing, and the results are interesting) and then in a letterboxed American release that looked pretty good. Both are supplanted and then some by the FoxVideo DVD edition, which features a gorgeous new digital transfer, showing exquisite visual detail either in the air or on the ground and glittering clarity on the audio, from the strains of Jerry Goldsmith's soaring music score to the impact of every explosion and crash. As part of the Fox War Classics collection, the disc is low priced and comes without any insert or other frills, apart from trailers in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and a selection trailers from five of the other films in the May 2003 Fox War Classics release cycle (SInk The Bismarck, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, The Enemy Below, 13 Rue Madeleine, and The Desert Fox). Audio tracks in Spanish (mono) and French (mono) are also accessible, along with English captions and Spanish subtitles. The layer transition in the 156 minute movie is seamless, and the 44 chapters are up to the task of breaking the plot up for the viewer, principally based on the combat episodes in the script. The three-layer menu is straightforward in its design and very easy to maneuver around.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Anyone looking for simply stunning aerial action sequences need look no further than The Blue Max, in which such sequences are among the finest ever captured on film. Director John Guillermin and cinematographers Skeets Kelly and Douglas Slocombe are out to dazzle (albeit in the service of the story which they are telling), and dazzle they certainly do. They fill the wide screen with action and movement, whether of the exteriors of the planes as they perform their daring maneuvers or from the vantage point of inside the cockpit (giving an extra special thrill to the viewer). Tracking shots go in unexpected places, and even the backgrounds feature surprising and telling details. This trio was going for thrills, and they deliver in spades. Happily, Guillermin doesn't limit his visual prowess to the aviation sequences, but finds clever ways to utilize the CinemaScope even when only two figures are sharing the frame. If these "grounded" scenes had the dramatic power of the airborne ones, Max would rank in the absolute top ranks of adventure films. Unfortunately, the actual story that holds the aerial sequences is confusing and poorly told, a situation that is not helped by lead George Peppard's wooden acting. The rest of the cast, notably the excellent James Mason and the beautiful Ursula Andress, turn in solid performances, which helps matters considerably. Even with its flaws, Max is well worth seeing for those amazing flight sequences.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital Mono]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None Specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
George Peppard Bruno Stachel
James Mason Count von Klugermann
Ursula Andress Countess Kaeti von Klugermann
Jeremy Kemp Willi von Klugermann
Karl Michael Vogler Heidemann
Anton Diffring Holbach
Loni von Friedl Elfi Heidemann
Peter Woodthorpe Rupp
Harry Towb Kettering
Derren Nesbitt Fabian
Roger Ostime Crown Prince
Hugo Schuster Hans
Carl Schell Baron von Richthofen
Derek Newark Ziegel
Alex Scott The Orator
Frederick Ledebur The Field Marshall

Technical Credits
John Guillermin Director
Maurice Ayers Special Effects
Ron Ballanger Special Effects
Ben Barzman Screenwriter
Karl Baumgertner Special Effects
Max Benedict Editor
Fred Carter Art Director
Jack Causey Asst. Director
Derek Cracknell Asst. Director
Rene Dupont Production Manager
Christian Ferry Producer
Basilio Franchina Screenwriter
Jerry Goldsmith Score Composer
Gerald Hanley Screenwriter
Claude Hitchcock Sound/Sound Designer
Skeets Kelly Cinematographer
Stuart Lyons Casting
David Pursall Screenwriter
Jack Seddon Screenwriter
Douglas Slocombe Cinematographer
Elmo Williams Executive Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. The Western Front
2. Main Titles
3. Behind German Lines
4. The New Replacement
5. The Squadron
6. A Pretty Medal
7. First Mission
8. Dogfight
9. An Unconfirmed Kill
10. Stachel's New Partner
11. A Confirmed Kill
12. The Official Story
13. Something of the Cobra
14. General Von Klugermann
15. The General's Approval
16. 7000 Guns
17. The Wrong Room
18. Battleground
19. Shot Down
20. A Small Celebration
21. Von Richthofen
22. The General's Expert
23. The Wounded Hero
24. Countess Von Klugermann's Guest
25. Similar Tastes
26. Intermission
27. Entr'acte
28. At a Standstill
29. Two Against Five
30. The Bridge
31. The Better Man
32. A Hero's Funeral
33. Indiscreet
34. An Army in Retreat
35. Air Strike
36. Allied Attack
37. Twenty's Not Enough
38. Ordered to Berlin
39. Good Military Reasons
40. Kaeti's Offer
41. The Blue Max
42. A Change in Plan
43. The Hero's Last Flight
44. End Titles


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3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mikemikegigi More than 1 year ago
The Blue Max is a story of 2 kinds of obsession.One is for the highest honor that is bestowed upon anyone who can shoot down a maximum number of enemy aircraft-The Blue Max.Another is his squadrons relative-An Aunt by marriage,The Countess-who happens to be the wife of a German General(played by James Mason)-played by Ursula Andress.George Peppard gets the Blue Max,however in the end loses the girl and his life as he pilots an unsafe experimental aircraft.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Guillermin's 1966 film about Bruno Stachel (George Peppard), a common German soldier during WWI who leaves the trenches to join the elite Luftwaffe. Socially out-of-league with his aristocratic companions and eager for respect, Stachel will stop at nothing in pursuing honor in the form of the Blue Max, the most prestigious aviation medal. The recurrent theme is hubris/arrogance and how it affects the human condition. All of the characters are driven by ambition and are amoral to a certain degree. Bruno Stachel has the most humble of origins (a peasant who first served in the trenches) and so is the most arrogant of the characters. He knows he's an ace pilot but is unable to earn the respect of his fellow officers because of his low social status. In his mind, he can earn the social respect he covets by earning the medal: then, he feels, people will have no choice but to respect him. Ironically, the respect he obtains is nothing more than the arrogance of others. Arrogance from his superior (James Mason) who needs to create a hero to look good himself as a commanding officer. Mason is quite the pragmatist in creating a hero to the point of letting Stachel sleep with his wife (Ursula Andress)to boost his confidence. The countess needs the fire of a young hot-head like Stachel to fulfill her desires: she only needs her husband to preserve her lofty title of Countess. Unfortunately for Stachel, there's a price for being the hero, and the greatest heroes are often those who die in battle. Quite aware of this and tired of being cheated on, Mason's character realizes all too well the value of having the glory of a dead war hero illuminate his stale command. Alltogether a great film with good cinematography. The film quality is excellent for this almost 40-year old film: so good, one would think it was filmed recently but for the actors in it. The dog-fight scenes are some of the finest ever to be filmed. The film is well balanced between the combat scenes and the personal drama: the theme is well carried by the plot. All of the actors perform quite well. George Peppard performed his role competently as Stachel: his being out-of-place or uncomfortable enhanced his performance instead of limiting it. Bruno Stachel is a character who is supposed to feel out-of-place and uncomfortable in his social surroundings: he exceeds in skill and arrogance to compensate for his insecurity. Peppard was perhaps a little too reserved when his character demanded more arrogance but that is forgivable. The only actor who would have done better than him in that role would have been Marlon Brando in a similar role as in 'Young Lions'. In sum though, the acting is top-knotch with great direction. It's a film not to be missed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen this film many times and to this present day never tire of watching it, a most inspiring film of courage and gallantry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago