The Blue Max is a World War I drama [from a novel by Jack D. Hunter, adapted by Ben Barzman and Basilio Franchina] with some exciting aerial combat sequences [directed by Anthony Squire] helping to enliven a somewhat grounded, meller script in which no principal character engenders much sympathy.
A downbeat air prevails in the drama. The hero, a lowerclass climber played by George Peppard, is a heel; his adversary in the ranks of an air squadron, also for the free affections of Ursula Andress, is also a negative character, played by Jeremy Kemp. James Mason, husband of Andress, is looking for a propaganda symbol, finds it in Peppard, and eventually causes the latter’s death. Only Karl Michael Vogler, the squadron commander, evokes any sympathy as a gentleman.
Director John Guillermin, who derived the uniformly fine performances within the given plot frame, has at times an exciting visual sense. On the other hand, his technique in more intimate sequences becomes obvious and mechanical.