Friday, April 2, 2010

Life in the Penthouse-Period Movie Review-The Red Baron

Saw a great movie on DVD today. It's called The Red Baron. I just love period films and will pretty much watch anything period. What a fantastic story which captured my boyhood memories of reading Biggles books which my father had loved and introduced me to as a young boy.
Whilst a little bit inaccurate historically, the film does highlight the fact that Richthofen is an incredibly talented young man who is thrust into the limelight purely for propaganda purposes.
He is idealistic and realistic about both the war and his talent. He instructs his crew to shoot planes only and to avoid killing pilots, he considers it to be very much a game at first and considers his role to be sporting. This is probably because he is from German aristocracy and clearly has no concept of what kind of hell exists on the Western front. When he is finally invited to meet the troops on the front line he is shocked and disturbed and believes that the Germans should concede.
Wonderful cinematically and the story line is compelling. My only issue was the poetic licence of the writter in introducing a love interest. Personally I am sick of the stories of men and their creations and battles being hijacked by female characters that in reality have nothing to contribute to the story.
Once again it's the film industry catering to a female audience to make women feel as if they are creators and major contributors to society when in reality they rarely are.
But, apart from that a good war film that most will enjoy...Kooper gives it 3/5.
Dig the plot below.
Europe, 1916. Baron Manfred von Richthofen is, at the age of just 24, the crack pilot of the German aerial combat forces - a legend in his own time, a hero at home and a man both feared and respected by the enemy, including Allied Forces' Canadian pilot, Captain Roy Brown. Von Richthofen and his fellow officers, Lieutenants Voss, Sternberg and Lehmann see their duels in the sky as tactical, almost sportsmanlike, challenges that, at least at first, obscure their view of the horrors of the battlefields below. The provocative red paint job of his Fokker aircraft earns him the nickname "The Red Baron" and makes him famous the world over. For millions of his countrymen, he becomes an idol, a symbol of hope and pride. But the German high command increasingly misuses him for propaganda purposes - until the young pilot falls in love with Käte, a beautiful and resolute nurse who opens his eyes to the fact that there is more to war than dogfights won and adversaries downed. Manfred von Richthofen finally becomes aware of his role in the propaganda machine of a senseless and barbarous war. On another, more personal front, his ambitious and patriotic brother Lothar questions his chivalrous code of honor. But despite the heavy losses in his squadron and torn between his disgust for the war and his responsibility to his fighter wing, von Richthofen cannot stop flying. But even for this living legend, each new combat mission could be his last.