Red Baron (Movie)

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SOURCE: Times Online (UK)

FASTEN your seatbelts for some historical turbulence and critical fire. Germany is preparing to break a 61-year-old taboo by celebrating the life of one of its war heroes, the flying ace known as the Red Baron.

A film depicting the daring deeds of Manfred von Richthofen — who shot down 80 British, Canadian, and Australian pilots during the First World War — will be released in German cinemas next year.

It is sure to stir up a furore. Since 1945 German soldiers have either been portrayed on film as heel-clicking fanatics, closet pacifists or reluctant victims of the Nazi machine. From the terrified submariners in Das Boot (1981) to the tired survivors of Downfall (2004), there has not been much space for derring-do.

The Red Baron however is different: a cult figure abroad, though not in Germany, he is set to bring back the idea of battlefield bravery.

The film, directed by Nikolai Müllerschön, was intended to be a Hollywood vehicle with Val Kilmer playing the German pilot. The US appetite is big for the legend: the Peanuts strip cartoon frequently features imaginary battles between Snoopy and the Red Baron; there are Red Baron computer games and, for some reason, Red Baron pizzas.

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