The aerial action is considerably more exciting than the scenes on the ground in director John Guillermin’s tale about an ambitious First World War pilot.
George Peppard stars as the reckless German fighter pilot Bruno Stachel who endangers the lives of his comrades and will stop at nothing to win his country’s highest honour for gallantry in the air, the Blue Max medal.
He also risks his reputation by having an affair with Countess Kaeti (Ursula Andress), the wife of his commanding officer, Count von Klugermann (James Mason).
The love story is unconvincingly staged and compares badly with the camaraderie of men under stress.
Watch instead for the glint of steel in Mason’s eyes as he takes revenge on Peppard, which, together with the superb aerial photography, more than makes up for the thin character development.
Count von Klugermann
Willi von Klugermann
Karl Michael Vogler
Loni von Friedl