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.
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