Von Richthofen and Brown

Movie Information

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Von Richtofen and Brown at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 31, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.
Genre: WWI Action
Director: Roger Corman
Starring: John Phillip Law, Don Stroud, Barry Primus, Karen Huston, Hurd Hatfield
Rated: PG

Not that I think it very likely that anyone would watch a Roger Corman film for a history lesson, but on the off-chance that someone might be so inclined, it’s important to note that there’s not a lot of history to be found in his Von Richthofen and Brown (1971). There’s a certain amount of legend—like the idea that Roy Brown (Don Stroud) shot down “the Red Baron” (John Phillip Law)—but that’s not quite the same thing. I’m even a little skeptical that Corman was interested in the legend (it had already been pretty thoroughly debunked by 1971) as he was aware that, as a title, Von Richtofen and the Bullet Fired by an Unknown Soldier from the Ground was plainly lousy. Ultimately, though, what we have here is one of those movies where people tell you that this or that aspect is really good, regardless of the rest of the film. In this case, it’s the flying sequences. And, yes, those are pretty good—at least in the standard mix of real flight scenes and those with the stars in close-shot with process-work backgrounds. But it’s the sort of thing best appreciated by WWI-airplane enthusiasts (who will then likely pick apart the inaccuracies in the planes). As a straightforward piece of WWI movie, it’s not bad, but neither is it particularly exciting—unless you just want to see the impressive footage of the cool old planes.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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2 thoughts on “Von Richthofen and Brown

  1. DrSerizawa

    Yeah, but he got it done cheap and it made money and it looked better than it should considering the budget.

    Good ol’ Roger. You could always count on him for that.

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