The Red Baron Movie – A Preview
Many have called it one of the best aviation films ever made.
Growing up as a child of the late 1960s, the song “Snoopy Versus the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen was my introduction to the legend of the Red Baron. It stoked the fires of my imagination and led me down a road to explore the man behind the myth. There have been some great books on Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, and a brief appearance by Richthofen (as played by Carl Schell) in the classic film The Blue Max, but the only other film was the hard-to-find, 1971 movie Von Richthofen and Brown, which was almost ruined by some sloppy editing.
Now Red Baron fans can rejoice as a new production on von Richthofen recently had its U.S. premier and is currently being courted for U.S. theatrical release later in 2009. Nikolai Muellerschoen’s The Red Baron is a faithful recreation of World War I air combat. Made for just $22 million, film mixes state-of-the-art CGI (computer-generated imagery) with authentic-looking airplane mockups to tell the story of von Richthofen from his days flying Albatross D.IIIs to his final days leading the famed Flying Circus with his scarlet Fokker Dr. I.
While Muellerschoen, Red Baron‘s director, producer and screenwriter, admits to adding some dramatic elements to the movie to tighten the story, he tried to stay true to Richthofen’s story by utilizing elements revealed in biographies of the Red Baron as well as researching Richthofen’s own letters to his mother.
The film’s United States premier was at the Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation in Dayton, Ohio, on March 15, 2009. Muellerschoen and the film’s Art Director were in attendance. The audience reaction was very positive and many have called it one of the best aviation films ever made. Its authenticity will certainly please those who were turned off by the over-Hollywood-ization of 2006’s Flyboys.
The Red Baron was filmed in English and produced over a five-year period. It stars Matthias Schweighöfer as von Richthofen and Joseph Fiennes as Captain Roy Brown. A full review will be forthcoming upon the release of the film in the United States. Click here for an interview with director and screenwriter Muellerschoen.